Honest Tea  NewsletterMarch 2012
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Happy Spring!

As you read this, I am recovering from a whirlwind tour through Southern India and Sri Lanka.  We source our black teas from India, and during this trip I discovered some amazing new suppliers - innovative in their organic practices as well as their Fair Trade programs.  Look for more details in upcoming newsletters.  I also visited tulsi farms for the first time and had a chance to roll up my (pant) sleeves. If you haven't yet tried our Heavenly Lemon Tulsi, you should--the taste is delightful and there's a great story behind it too--see the article below.  Stay tuned for more stories, pictures and videos from the trip once I unpack! 



Honestly yours,




NTST bottle

We are proud to announce the national launch of our newest varie-tea, (Not Too) Sweet Tea!  It is an Honest take on a traditional sweet tea, but with 40% less sugar and fewer calories than other leading sweet teas.*  The organic, Fair Trade Certified™ black tea is sweetened 'just a tad' with organic cane sugar and organic stevia, which provides a sweeter, yet smooth taste at 100 calories per 16.9 oz bottle.  Check out (Not Too) Sweet Tea, available on grocery and convenience store shelves by the end of the month!




*HONEST FACTS: (Not Too) Sweet Tea contains 25g of sugar and 100calories per 16.9 fl oz. bottle.  The leading brands of sweet tea contain an average 43g of sugar and 174 calories per 16.9 fl oz. bottle.

Seth helps plant tulsi in Southern India




The name says it all--Heavenly Lemon Tulsi.  That's because we combine lemon peel, lemon myrtle, and lemongrass to create a light, citrus taste that blends perfectly with tulsi, an herb known as "holy basil."  The caffeine-free plant has been used for thousands of years in India for many purposes and has an enticing aroma. Pick up a bottle of refreshing Heavenly Lemon Tulsi and let us know what you think (it has some superfans in our office)!  


After meeting with several dozen tulsi farmers near Channapatna, India, Seth joined our tulsi supplier to cut the ribbon on a new tulsi drying shed. Seth was brought to the center of the village where he was greeted by a costumed group of drummers and presented with a beautiful garland of flowers.  The shed, which also includes two rinsing stations, will enable the villagers to process their own tulsi, and capture more value from their harvest.


                   Currently, the farmers sell unprocessed tulsi on contract for 7 rupees per kilo (approximately 14 cents). The shed allows them to rinse and dry the herb so they will be able to sell the tulsi for 185 rupees per kilo (approximately $3.78). "This shed transforms the tulsi the farmers sell from a commodity into a value-added ingredient. It is truly creating community wealth," Seth said.  "Before cutting the ribbon I expressed my thanks to the village for making me feel so welcome. I shared how excited Honest Tea is to be their partners in introducing tulsi to American consumers. I said it's a wonderful product not only because it's grown with such care, but also because it embodies the hopes and spirits of their community. It was one of the most gratifying experiences I've had since we started Honest Tea 14 years ago," Seth said.


Seth at the ribbon cutting ceremony



Like a supernova that shines brightly before it fades, our line of CocoaNova beverages brought joy to many but flashed brightest before its end.  We had great hopes for Cherry, Mocha, and Mint CocoaNova, but the cacao infusion was a beverage ahead of its time.  Stock up now because like the supernova, once CocoaNova is gone from store shelves, all that remains will be a black hole where it used to be.  Parting can be sorrowful.  To read more about the painful process we go through before discontinuing a product, click on the link to read Seth's blog "I Love You, You're Fired." 


Our friends at the Organic Trade Association (www.ota.com) are sponsoring a trivia contest in March & April on their Facebook 

page to find out how much people know about organics.  By answering 5 trivia questions correctly, you will be entered to win weekly prizes (including free cartons of Honest Kids thirst quencher pouches), and anyone who answers all 10 questions correctly will be entered to win the grand prize.  Check out OTA's Facebook page to test your O-IQ!



How long have you been at Honest Tea? 

Mike: I joined Honest Tea in 2005 as an intern; Milo was an intern in 2010 and started full-time after he graduated.

Why is 'organic' important for tea? 

Milo: Unlike most produce which is rinsed after picking, tea leaves aren't rinsed until they are steeped in hot water.  Since our tea leaves are grown without pesticides, there's a smaller chance pesticides end up in our tea.    

What is the process of coming up with new beverages? 

Mike: Seth and others from all around the company come to us with ideas - some are great, some are worth exploring, some not so much. We brew up small batches with different teas, juices, and sweeteners (or unsweetened) and tweak them based on our own tastes and the feedback we get from other employees and customers.  We have a few rounds of tasting in the office; no big labs or focus groups, just us in the kitchen, and our Honest Tea co-workers for taste testers. 


What is the best part of your job? 

Mike: Seeing the bottles come down the conveyor belt at the brewing facility after we lauch a new variety. It is amazing to see all those bottles streaming toward you.

Milo: I love catching sight of people buying Honest Tea at the grocery store.  

What's your favorite variety?

Mike (pictured left): Heavenly Lemon Tulsi.

Milo (pictured right): Half & Half! I love it.    



The Green Schools National Movement works to increase student and public awareness of the importance of Green & Healthy schools - and Honest Tea is proud to be part of the change.  Seth was invited to speak at the 2nd Annual Green Schools National Conference where he led a breakout session and joined Gary Hirshberg, founder and chairman of Stonyfield Farm, at a Solutions Summit to discuss 'Obstacles to Healthy Food in Schools.' To learn more about the Green Schools National Movement, go to:  http://www.greenschoolsnationalconference.org/green_schools_national_network.php



Want a sip of HONEST?



USC Derby Days - March 31  

Los Angeles, CA



Baby Loves Disco - April 1

San Francisco, CA



Autism Speaks U: Race for Research - April 7

Berkeley, CA




Mohegan Sun Mass Appeal - April 14 & 15

Uncasville, CT




Bunny Trail EggVenture - April 7

Denver, CO




FRESHFARMS Farmers Market, Dupont Circle - March 25
Washington, DC


White House Easter Egg Roll - April 9

Washington, DC




Tour de Cure - April 1

Lakewood Ranch, FL



Lego KidsFest - March

23, 24 & 25



Big D Texas Half Marathon - April 15

Dallas, TX




Hop Scotch Festival - March 30 & 31

Seattle, WA



About U


Honest Tea is the nation's top-selling organic bottled tea company.  The company seeks to make great-tasting, truly healthy organic beverages sweetened with less sugar and fewer calories than most bottled beverages. Honest Tea's product lines include: Honest Tea ready-to-drink bottled teas, Honest Ade and Honest Kids organic thirst quenchers.  All varieties are USDA-certified organic and all tea varieties are Fair Trade Certified™. Since Honest Tea was founded in Bethesda, Maryland in 1998, the company has sustained an impressive double-digit annual growth rate.  In addition to being named one of The Better World Shopping Guide's "Ten Best Companies on the Planet based on their overall social and environmental record," Honest Tea was also listed as one of PlanetGreen.com's "Top 7 Green Corporations of 2010," received Greenopia.com's coveted 4-Leaf Rating as "the greenest beverage company" for the third year in a row and was recently ranked by The Huffington Post as one of the leading "8 Revolutionary Socially Responsible Companies." Honest Tea is an independent operating unit of The Coca-Cola Company.


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