Who are we?
Founder Rishi Reddy’s research on tea has been featured on Chinese television, and he is a frequent speaker on tea culture. Rishi’s tea journey began in 2008, when a cup of white tea made him realize that he had never tasted truly fine tea before in his life. While living in Cambodia, he learned the art of Chinese tea from the owner of the country’s oldest Chinese tea shop. He has also spent time in India, Nepal, and China, visiting tea farms and studying under tea masters. Tea led him down roads he never would have found on his own, and he started Lost Tea because he wanted to bring fine teas to America and inspire others to follow adventures of their own.
Where do our teas come from?
Our teas are sourced from local farms in the southwestern province of Yunnan, which is regarded as the birthplace of tea and is the most culturally diverse region in China. The majority of our teas are picked by the Hani ethnic minority. Because these local farmers lack the resources to gain brand recognition within China, their incredible tea rarely makes it out of their villages. By helping these farmers reach larger markets, Lost Tea promotes prosperity in the Hani community while spreading tea culture to America.
How did you find these teas?
In the early days, Rishi mountain-biked from village to village in China, showing up on farmers' doorsteps with a handwritten note requesting to sample their tea. After identifying the cream of the crop, he worked with the Chinese government and US customs agents to import the teas to America. From these rural farms, the tea travels to Seattle by some combination of van, freight train, boat, and plane.
What makes Theanine so special?
Theanine, a unique amino acid found in tea, decreases stress and promotes cognitive well-being. The pleasant effect of drinking tea – a state of mind at once alert and relaxed - is produced by the synergistic relationship of Caffeine and Theanine. We believe that Theanine is what sets great teas apart, and in the course of our research, we were disappointed to find that the majority of teas available in the United States have virtually no Theanine. In effect, American tea-drinkers often get only half of the experience of drinking tea. Lost Tea solves this problem by exclusively sourcing teas high in Theanine.
Read our story in long-form: Call me Rishmael: A Relentless Quest for Tea
And in video: Have you ever had a truly good cup of tea?