How do I reintroduce craft into the business of tea? How do I reintroduce high-quality, single-origin, estate grown teas to a world that expects highly processed flavored teas? How do I refocus the discussion of tea to embrace the pure form of tea in a culture that is mostly talking about blends, herbs, flowers, and fruits? And, how do I turn this into a business that supports my family?
In 1992 I decided to leave Detroit and study in Malaysia. This decision began a lifelong journey that took me around the world and gave me a passion for tea’s craft and culture. Through the years I met extraordinary tea growers and producers and connected with luminary connoisseurs all over China, India and Africa. These encounters guided me through the cultural and philosophical importance of tea.
Yet, because I thought I did not know how to run a business and because I thought I wanted the security of an office job, I returned to Detroit, earned a law degree, and became an attorney at a Detroit law firm. It was not long, however, before I felt out-of-place; the work’s purpose was not mine. So, after eight years I resigned, reconnected with old friends and mentors and resumed my journey. This time, I wanted to share my knowledge and passion for tea and to introduce the teas produced by the best growers and producers I met throughout my journey. Thus, Joseph Wesley Black Tea was born.