Food and Cuisine

Published on July 8th, 2013 | by Scott Cooney


Tealet: Sharing Responsible, Sustainable Tea with the World

Among the companies we love here at Green Living Ideas is an international tea wholesaler called Tealet. The company was founded by a Elyse Petersen, who completed her MBA at the University of Hawaii and who was a leader of the Net Impact chapter there. (Net Impact is a non-profit organization focused on sustainable business; we love them too!).

In addition to her business studies, Petersen is a serious connoisseur of tea. On her many journeys to Asia, Petersen was inspired by the timeless ritual and delicate beauty of tea. More importantly, perhaps, her entrepreneurial spirit kicked in and she  was inspired to find ways to help small farms diversify their crops and sell their artisanal teas to the world. Thus Tealet was born, and continues to grow in their mission to create a bridge between tea growers and tea drinkers.

our latest (sustainable) shipment of four gorgeous teas!

Tealet launched a successful crowdfunding campaign by pre-selling subscriptions of a monthly tea delivery. As one of the campaign’s supporters, I have been loving the tea since day one. The variety of red, black and green teas from Japan, China and Indonesia have beautiful, nuanced flavors and inspire the tea ritual in our house often. Tealet continues to make successful strides, including being selected for 500 Start-Ups and spending time in California developing their business. The company also moved farther into the sustainability arena, revamping their packaging and choosing completely recyclable aluminum tin instead of plastic pouches. The tins are as beautiful as they are sustainable, and keep the tea fresh. When you open the container, the aroma is pungent and inviting.

one of our green teas– doesn’t look like Lipton, does it?!

But the packaging is noteworthy for another reason. The amount of information packed into its label is impressively done, without getting to the point of saturation like a Dr. Bronner’s soap bottle (not that we don’t love Dr. Bronner’s too!). The pretty label shows the location of the farm is, the name of the farmer, the amount of caffeine, and some characteristics about the tea including brewing directions. The package also includes informational cards about each farmer, with a QR code to learn even more.


The Honolulu-based Tealet is growing and seeing good customer feedback, and expects to continue to expand its operations in Asia helping farmers stay financially viable (and hopefully steering farmers away from Monsanto and their false promises). If you too are tea connoisseur, check out their annual subscription offerings here on Tealet’s website and find them on Facebook too!

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About the Author

Scott Cooney (twitter: scottcooney) is an adjunct professor of Sustainability in the MBA program at the University of Hawai'i, green business startup coach, author of Build a Green Small Business: Profitable Ways to Become an Ecopreneur (McGraw-Hill), and developer of the sustainability board game GBO Hawai'i. Scott has started, grown and sold two mission-driven businesses, failed miserably at a third, and is currently in his fourth. Scott's current company has three divisions: a sustainability blog network that includes the world's biggest clean energy website and reached over 5 million readers in December 2013 alone; Pono Home, a turnkey and franchiseable green home consulting service that won entrance into the clean tech incubator known as Energy Excelerator; and Cost of Solar, a solar lead generation service to connect interested homeowners and solar contractors. In his spare time, Scott surfs, plays ultimate frisbee and enjoys a good, long bike ride. Find Scott on

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