Tao – Tea

Like Tao, the art of tea is universal. We began our work with tea with the intent to be a connecting thread for tea culture. Based in Portland, Oregon, we are a pure leaf tea company comprised of tea enthusiasts from different backgrounds and countries. We travel, learn about, find, take delight in, and offer pure leaf teas with great flavor, artistry, and soul. All of our teas are in their original form, as they were intended, with no artificial flavors, additives, or preservatives.

Pure Leaf Artistry

We offer a wide variety of specialty teas as well herbs and blends, and our focus has always been on sourcing the best tea leaves (camellia sinensis) possible. Similar to grapes, tea plants have many regions, varietals, processing methods, and seasons. We as merchants are particular in working with growers to secure exceptional-tasting leaf each season, as good tea sells out very quickly and is seldom made in large quantities. We pledge to share teas made with artistry and skill, and to help educate on tea origins, processing methods, flavor vocabulary, and spirit.

Serving Knowledge

We learn and share about tea through service and daily practice. Our teahouses are located in Portland, Oregon. Each teahouse has a different flavor, artistic design, and essence of hospitality. Visit us when in Portland to experience the art of tea one cup at a time.

Being Organic is Not Enough

Care for the soil and tea plants must be coupled with recognition and sustainability of surrounding ecosystems. The genesis of tea plants was in naturally occurring tea forests where bio-diversity creates rich flavor. We are proud to be among the leading group of companies to offer certified organic teas, and we seek to raise awareness for sustainable tea farming methods.

Honoring Old Wisdom

Making handcrafted tea has become less common over the years in favor of more modern, mechanized methods. In China, the old style roasting of green tea leaves in a wok over fire has given way to electric woks or industrialized ovens and roasters. Rolling of Oolong tea leaves by hand in Taiwan has given way to mechanical presses that mimic these hand movements. The most sophisticated modern methods can probably be found in Japan, where color sorting of leaves is done by laser-guided machines. Although these methods have allowed more yield for farmers, they are a departure from the art of the leaf.

Our focus is to offer teas that have been made per old-style methods. These approaches vary with the landscape and few remain committed to the raw form of tea spirit. Our work attempts to provide new infusions of energy and channels for traditional skills to be recognized.

More Than Fair Trade

We believe in being socially conscious with all of our teas. We were among the first group of tea companies to join the Fair Trade movement in the United States, and we pledge actions that better people’s lives through a healthy environment and a future for children. We purchase many of our teas at above-market prices and raise social premiums for tea communities. Call us to learn about our current projects.

Journey Relationships

All of our products are a result of establishing relationships with tea people. Although the products mostly originate in Asia, they pass on to various places in the world as a result of our efforts. Along the way, there is also a sharing and appreciation of various tea cultures. We hope you join us in promoting the art of tea at its highest level and sharing the traditions, cultures, and flavors that enhance our understanding of each other. We pledge for our relationship to savor the journey of wellness and conscience.

Eminent Freshness

As with flowers, fruits, and other specialty foods, tea flavor is most enjoyable during a certain period of time. All tea begins to lose freshness after it is made. We pledge to offer leaves with inherent freshness and a full flavor profile. We evaluate each of our teas for freshness on an ongoing basis.