Rishi Tea & Botanicals

The Vanguard of Tea Since 1997

Independently owned, direct trade importer of organic teas and botanicals. We are selectors, importers and makers.

Rishi Tea was founded on the commitment to set the standard for quality and expand the awareness of tea and its rich, inspirational tradition. We offer premium tea and botanicals imported directly from gardens across the world. We draw inspiration from ancient artisanal practices that use organic cultivation techniques as well as modern culinary innovation. From our modest beginnings over twenty years ago to becoming an established leader in the specialty tea market, our mission has never wavered.

Our Promise to You

Our commitment to sustainability is a core part of our mission that stems from the organic tea gardens where our teas and botanicals are harvested. Our firsthand experience in many tea-growing regions led to our heightened awareness of the dire need for social responsibility. Rishi Tea was among the first to earn organic certification under the USDA’s Natural Organic Program in November of 2002.


Organic

We believe that organic certified teas and herbs, grown without the use of agrochemicals like pesticides and fertilizers, are generally healthier for the environment, farmers and tea drinkers alike. We support growers who cultivate ecologically sustainable gardens in remote locations around the world.

Direct Trade

Our practice of Direct Trade is not just a romance story or marketing gimmick: it is the very foundation of our quality control program. Our travel and hands-on work with farmers allows us to verify where, when and how our organic teas are grown and to offer traceability on each lot back to the farm. 

Culinary Inspired

Tea was originally a food and medicine long before it became a steeped beverage. It is only natural that our tea practice draws inspiration from numerous disciplines, including third wave coffee, cocktail mixology, sommeliers’ oenology, botanical apothecary, and the traditional culinary arts from global food cultures.

The Beginnings of Rishi

Rishi Tea began in 1997 when Joshua Kaiser, founder and tea buyer, recognized that the traditional handcrafted teas he grew so fond of during his travels in Asia were rarely available elsewhere. Joshua felt that North American consumers would embrace artisan tea as they did single origin coffee and fine varietal wine. We travel thousands of miles each year to the diverse points of origin where our teas are harvested, maintaining the personal relationships we have developed over the years with farmers and artisans whose families have been making traditional teas for generations.


THE PILLARS OF OUR BUSINESS

SELECTOR

We are a team devoted to traveling the most remote regions of the world to source and study tea and botanicals of rarefied quality and provenance. Our selection sets the standard.

IMPORTER

We are a pioneer of the organic tea and botanicals which we import on a direct trade basis from artisan growers and specialist producers. Our global supply chain and enduring relationships are our core strengths.

MAKER

We make artful botanical products inspired by equal parts ancient herbal tradition and modern culinary innovation. By sharing out passion for the botanical and culinary arts we aim to be a wellspring of inspiration for your tea life.

Sustainable Business Is Conscious Business

No one encompassing certification, logo or label accredits a business as “sustainable.” At Rishi Tea & Botanicals, we subscribe to being a conscious business where our entire ecosystem matters. From the farmers we work with overseas to our manufacturing conditions at home, we are steadfast in following our code of ethics and ensuring the well-being of all the parties involved. A conscious business is one that pays attention to both the raw materials and the human effort, recognizing it is the sum of these resources that creates a sustainable and resilient business.

 

One of our missions at Rishi Tea is to change the behavior of consumers, introducing them to the benefits of choosing organic food and beverages. With the support of local co-ops and national chains who share this calling, the availability of organic options is ever-increasing. We consider ourselves ambassadors of the organic movement – approximately 95% of our products are certified organic and we have been a leader in the market in North America since our inception in 1997. By creating demand for organic teas and botanicals, we are showing the origin farmers that there is a sustainable business opportunity in meeting this demand.

 

For years, we provided only loose leaf tea to the market, knowing full-well producing and offering tea bags held big financial opportunity. On a quest for a material that was compostable, BPA-free and allowed for an authentic infusion of our teas and botanicals, we researched and experimented with many variations of a sachet fabric. We refused to sell ourselves short just to participate in a market segment. In 2013, we finally found a sachet that met our quality standards and respected the environment.

 

Throughout the year our buyers are in the fields consulting, tasting and verifying where, when and how our organic teas are grown and to offer traceability on each lot back to the very soil where the tea trees and botanicals are planted. We work directly with the farmers in a collaborative effort to produce elevated products grown with organic agriculture. 

 

Our conscious culture was put on showcase in 2014, when Rishi moved into a 48,000sf headquarters in Milwaukee, WI. During the construction of this state-of-the-art facility, attention was given to mindful practices. Lighting is LED and motion-controlled in areas of low activity, all appliances are energy-saving and some of the materials were reclaimed from a few of Milwaukee’s former buildings. Our employees have initiated many philanthropic activities including volunteering in greenhouses, soup kitchens, energy fairs and other outlets. We also work with Milwaukee gardens to compost any excess product, thus feeding the next cycle of trees and plants in our community’s own backyard. A consciously sustainable culture is the very fabric of Rishi Tea & Botanicals.

 

Direct Trade Tea & Botanicals

Direct Trade is not a formal certification but a sourcing philosophy and a commitment to a way of doing business. Rishi’s Direct Trade is defined by our active, personal relationships with tea growers and farmers around the world. We work directly with the producers and pay fair prices for the crops that they grow.

The farmers we work with recognize that in following elevated agricultural and production standards they will receive a long-term, committed partnership from us. Our buyers travel to origin during each growing season to meet with the farmers, taste the fresh crop and work together in the fields to achieve our desired flavor profiles. By cutting out the middlemen we can leave 100% of the price paid for crops on the table of the growers who worked to bring the product to us. We even collaborate to create new styles of tea. The tea and botanicals you love from Rishi are the result of these authentic, trusting partnerships built up over years of renewed business together.

Our practice of Direct Trade is not just romance or marketing gimmick; it is the very foundation of our quality control program. Our travel and hands-on work with farmers allows us to verify where, when and how our products are grown and to offer traceability on each lot back to the very soil where the tea trees and botanicals are planted.

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