It is estimated that about 13 million people worldwide work in tea. Most of those people are women - and far too many live in very real poverty, facing great hardship not just for themselves, but their children. Life expectancy in many of the tea communities that supply big brand teabags and "prestige" European and American brands is in the 40s. That means the women who make your tea may not live to be 50. We don't believe a cheap cup of tea is worth that human cost.
But it doesn't have to be that way. There are people changing the appalling status quo of the tea industry. We'd love to tell you about some of the women doing things a whole lot better.
Wouldn't you like to know who makes your tea, and who you are supporting?
Lost Malawi English Breakfast
Meet Alice. She is the factory manager at Satemwa in Malawi. She and her team (with female managers out in the fields too) make our Lost Malawi single estate English Breakfast. A tea that is crafted for the highest flavour and value. Lost Malawi is deep, rich and malty with notes of caramel and burnt sugar.
The Satemwa Tea Estate supports women into leadership and were the first estate in Malawi to introduce female field managers. If you'd like to find out more about the incredible work Alice has done as a manager to support her fellow women in tea, you can watch her talk to Henrietta about her experiences.
Our wonderfully sweet and bright lemon blend comes from smallholder collectives of farmers in Sri Lanka and Malawi - mostly women with tiny garden plots. To supplement the family incomes they grow Lemongrass and Lemon Verbena, respectively.
They only produce a few kilos each, but together, in corporation, these incredible ladies make enough to create vital income, and a delicious blend of lemon herbs to make the heart sing, but not race.
Nayan in Meghalaya, India, owns and runs her own farm. Her Cloud Tea comes from the foothills of the Himalayas in an area known as the "abode of clouds". Nayan and her community only make tiny amounts of incredible handcrafted tea, like a fine wine from a tiny vineyard. The tea is floral and bright with deep malty notes, rich dark chocolate and exceptional notes of apricot.
Together with her small, hilltop community they make truly delicious, organically grown and sustainable tea, that doesn't cost the earth. But it does cost more than the tea produced by giant agri-businesses where women are expected to live in poverty.
Last, but certainly not least is Matsumi Moriuchi in Japan, who works in partnership with her husband, on equal footing. This tiny family farm in Shizuoka produces some of the finest Genmaicha in Japan.
Matsumi is in the fields every day, she works tirelessly. It’s not a rich life in terms of luxury accessories, or expensive possessions - she lives simply but happily doing something she loves and feels proud of. You can taste it in her tea which is remarkably complex with rich, verdant notes and a deep, comforting finish with aromas of popcorn.