February is Black History Month in the United States which celebrates the accomplishments of Black Americans and recognizes the past (and ongoing trauma) of systemic racism in the country. If you’re looking for way to celebrate Blackness, supporting Black owned business is a great way to start. Buttcape’s list of Black owned kawaii businesses is fantastic for j-fashion specific brands, but this year I wanted to try to incorporate regularly patronizing Black owned businesses with something I’m constantly buying anyway: tea. Here are 4 Black owned tea brands (with online shops!)j
Just Add Honey
Located in Atlanta, Georgia, Just Add Honey also has a tea shop where you can browse and sample their teas. For those of us outside Georgia, their online shop offers an impressive selection of loose leaf teas in clear top aluminum containers. I’m a particular fan of their Black Coconut Tea, which has a nice dessert flavor without being too sweet. I also really enjoy their Fruit Market as an iced tea in the summer. Their tea comes packaged in aluminum tins with clear lids, which are great for storing small things when you finish your tea. Their tea gift sets also make a great gift!
Only in Oakland would you find a brand called “Hella Tea.” Anyone outside of California may not know the word “hella,” a wildly specific term that has widespread use in the San Francisco Bay Area and nowhere else (I’m kidding. But I’m also a SoCal native and therefore do not use hella). Inspired by hip hop culture, Hella Tea’s names are all puns, which I’m always here for. They have a variety of caffeinated and herbal loose leaf teas, with some particular star in their Don’t Gimme No Bammer, which is a wonderful toffee and chestnut black tea. Their package doesn’t really reflect the lolita “aesthetic” but with tea this good, who cares.
Tea comes with steeping instructions and indications for caffeine levels. My tea was “hella caffeinated”, a distinction I’d agree with.
I ordered a full bag of tea and a “sample” to try a couple different things. I did not realize that my “sample” came in a cassette tape case! The packaging is absolutely brilliant.
Located in South Los Angeles, Mingle Tea also has a physical location. If you can’t make it to Inglewood, their online shop contains a huge selection of loose leaf teas, including Grade A matcha powder. Their shop doesn’t have a description of their teas on each item, but you can find them easily enough on the “tea selection” page.
Unfortunately, their teas don’t come with steeping instructions, which is expected because they’re mostly an in-person tea bar/cafe. Luckily their tea seems to be pretty idiot proof (It’s me. I’m the idiot).
Their Aztec Spice is a surprisingly drinkable blend of tea and spices that was extremely forgiving when I left it steeping for over ten minutes. This definitely puts it at the top of my list for “teas I can make when I’m in a hurry and can’t babysit a pot of tea.” Not all teas get this distinction (I’m looking at you Jade tea that turns bitter if I look away for 5 seconds). Their Chocolate Monkey was an aromatic herbal blend that tasted like a delicious dessert without being overly sweet.
Fairy Tale Teas
Last is hands down my favorite of the bunch. Florida based Fairy Tale Teas takes the cake for packaging with their dreamy, fairy tale inspired tea collection. This is also the only tea brand that offers tea bags if loose leaf tea isn’t your jam.
Your package will have a handwritten note from your fairy godmother who packaged it, a gorgeous tissue wrapped package and a wax seal on every bag. Teas come in two sizes, 1.5 oz and 3.5 oz. 1.5 oz is packaged in a reclosable pouch and 3.5 oz comes in a paper canister with a tight fitting lid. Every tea comes with detailed steeping instructions so you get the fairest cup of tea in the land. Of course, if that’s not enough for you, then you can also order your tea with edible glitter. Their Once Upon a Time tea is a great black tea that I love for breakfast and their Happily Ever After is an amazing delicate white tea with cherry blossom. While their bags are generous, I’m constantly running out because it’s so good!
The packaging for Fairy Tale Teas fits the lolita aesthetic so well!