by Angie Brown
Photography Courtesy of The Republic of Tea
Almond Coconut Macaroon Red tea. Milk Oolong. Double Dark Chocolate Maté. These are just a few of the names that tempt consumers to add at least one of the tasty teas to their carts as they shop The Republic of Tea in a store or online. The innovative tea company began in 1992, its inception documented in a collection of faxes between its founders and published as The Republic of Tea. Inspired by reading the book, Ron Rubin offered to purchase the company in 1994. He and his family still own and operate The Republic of Tea.
In the 20 years since it began and almost 300 teas later, the company has become a well-known and popular tea purveyor. Consumers are known as Citizens, retail stores that carry the products are called Embassies, and the employees of the tea business all have whimsical titles such as Minister or Ambassador.
Todd Rubin, Ron's son, is Minister of Evolution. Todd wears many hats in his job but focuses mainly on marketing and product development. "Citizen satisfaction is really important to us," he says. "We want to make sure the consumer's experience with The Republic of Tea is a positive one." To that end, the company works tirelessly while still staying true to its original teas.
Innovation is our core," says Kristina Richens, Minister of Commerce. "We're always looking for new ideas, new trends to delight people with tea."
Some of these interesting offerings include the company's Doubles Collection (Double Green Matcha, Double Dark Chocolate Maté, and Double Red Rooibos); Cuppa Chocolate Teas (calorie-free herbal teas made from rooibos and chocolate); and Be Well Red Teas (a line of 17 wellness herbal teas including Get Relaxed for stress and Get Gorgeous for clear skin). According to Kristina, The Republic of Tea was the first to bring green rooibos, through its product Raw Green Bush Tea, to the American marketplace. But the company also believes in staying true to its roots. "Our No.1 selling tea, Ginger Peach black tea, has been our consistent No.1 selling tea since The Republic of Tea was founded," says Kristina. "Many people have discovered us through Ginger Peach."
Another tenet of this brand is a commitment to social responsibility. The company supports organizations such as Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the Prostate Cancer Foundation, Room to Read, and Sunny Hills Services by creating specific teas for these nonprofits and donating $1 per tin sold. "It's all about giving back and being responsible to help others," says Todd. "Two years ago, we started Make A Difference Days, so every Minister at The Republic of Tea has two paid days off to volunteer. We want the employees to take photos and share their experiences. We have pretty much 100 percent participation. Along with a dedication to helping others, the company is also focused on sustainability. The airtight tins are efficient—containing 36 to 50 tea bags, depending on the blend, or 50 to 60 servings of full-leaf loose tea—and are easy to recycle or reuse. The Republic of Tea does not use gluten to seal its tea bags, making it possible for almost all its teas to be Certified Gluten-Free. The purveyor is also a member of The Ethical Tea Partnership, which is a "group of tea companies from around the world trying to make sure ethical practices are occurring at origin," explains Kristina.
The Republic of Tea strives every day to create and delight customers with its inventive, quality products. "We're launching more than 20 new teas a year," says Kristina. This includes a special blend to commemorate the company's 20th anniversary. "The ideas just keep coming. It's really about listening to what our Citizens are looking for and listening to each other. We stay very true to our quality and our mission to bring premium teas to the American marketplace."
Look for The Republic of Tea's products in Embassies, such as Whole Foods and other specialty-foods stores. Purchase the teas online, and find out more about this family-owned business at republicoftea.com.