The Republic of Tea incited a “tea revolution” in the early part of the 1990’s by introducing estate quality loose leaf teas, blended & flavored teas and herbal teas packaged in beautifully designed tins.
The Republic’s motto is to enjoy life “sip by sip, not gulp by gulp”. The book, The Republic of Tea, Letters to a Young Zentrepreneur (Doubleday, 1992), caught the imagination of many readers who joined the tea revolution and quickly helped create The Republic of Tea’s success. Today, the Republic’s teas are leaders in the specialty tea world and have won numerous awards.
Caroline MacDougall’s Story
Early in 1990, I got a call from Bill Rosenzweig asking me to design herbal teas for a new company he was creating with Mel & Patricia Ziegler of Banana Republic. “Does the world need another herbal tea?” I asked him.
I felt the marketplace was oversaturated with flavored herbal teas and declared that I really wasn’t inspired to create more of them.
“Well, what kind of tea do you drink?” he asked me. I replied that my favorite teas are made from herbs I harvest from my own garden that have unique and refined flavors from the actual leaves and flowers themselves. I carefully choose those herbs and spices from other parts of the world, based on premium qualities harvested in the countries that grow the most flavorful varieties.
“Well,” he replied, “that’s exactly the kind of tea I want you to produce for me!”
I remember the day I brought him my first four teas. I was filled with trepidation. I feared they were too subtle, that he wouldn’t like them without a burst of an overriding, dominant flavor. I was truly nervous. I watched him carefully as he savored his first sip with his eyes closed.
“Ah,” he sighed, “that’s what I call a cup of tea.”
Thus began my relationship with The Republic of Tea where my creativity has been allowed to flourish to heights I never suspected possible. Little did I know that many new teas would come into being based on herbal discoveries I was commissioned to seek far and wide. To this day, I proudly fulfill my duties at The Republic of Tea as “The Minister of Herbs”.