FrontRunners: Tea Timing

<< Back to Robb Report, November 2005

Peter Hewitt has journeyed great lengths for a cup, but the founder of Tea Forte (800. 721.1149, www.teaforte.com) need only travel next door to harvest leaves for his line of teas.

Before launching his Shanghai-based business last year, Hewitt spent months visiting teahouses throughout Japan. “During tea ceremony, everything slows down,” he says of Japanese teahouse rituals, occasions at which he feels “most centered.” For his business, however, Hewitt has quickened the pace of tea-related traditions. To reduce time between harvest and distribution, he built his factory adjacent to the gardens where he grows his teas. “We ship tea that was picked a couple weeks ago,” says Hewitt. “Other manufacturers deliver bags that have been shelved for months.”

Hewitt packages his eight tea varieties—which include Lemon Ginger, Black Currant, and Earl Grey—in pyramid-shaped nylon infusers. The extra space at the top of each pyramid provides room for the leaves to travel freely for maximum aromas and taste.

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