The Republic of Tea is a nationally-recognized tea brand and the leading purveyor of more than 300 delicious, premium teas and herbs. But our company has humble beginnings and a colorful, storied history that many Citizens may not know about.
In honor of our 28th anniversary, which we celebrate on May 1st, 2020, we are reflecting back on The Republic of Tea’s origins and our brand’s journey over the years. Steep a cup of your favorite tea, settle into your coziest chair, and enjoy these 10 surprising facts about The Republic of Tea.
- The Republic of Tea was founded in 1992 in Mill Valley, California by Mel Ziegler, Patricia Ziegler, and Bill Rosenzweig. The Zieglers had previously founded Banana Republic, which they sold to Gap in 1983.
- During its first year in operation, The Republic of Tea introduced 21 innovative teas to the American marketplace. This was the start of our national “tea revolution.” Today, The Republic of Tea offers more than 300 premium teas, herbs, and gifts.
- Our three founders published a book about starting the company, titled The Republic of Tea: Letters to a Young Entrepreneur. An entrepreneur named Ron Rubin read the book and was so inspired he purchased the company just 18 months after its founding.
- On May 1st, 2015—the brand’s 23rd anniversary—Ron welcomed his son Todd as the new Minister of Evolution (President) of The Republic of Tea. Ron now serves as the Minister of Tea and Executive Chairman.
- The Republic of Tea is a whimsical and creative place. Our customers are “Citizens,” our employees are “Ministers,” our sales representatives are “Ambassadors,” and our specialty retail outlets are “Embassies.”
- The Republic of Tea strives to bring harmony to the workplace by offering various benefits for our Ministers. Each year, we send a group of Ministers to visit a country of origin where our premium teas are grown. All Ministers are invited to participate in a Healthy Minister program that includes reimbursement for wellness classes and athletic shoes, as well as Make-a-Difference Days where they give back to the community through volunteering.
- Innovation is one of the cornerstones of The Republic of Tea. We were the first tea company to receive USDA Certified Organic certification and now offer more than 70 Certified Organic teas and herbs. The Republic of Tea was also the first tea brand to bring 100% white tea, rooibos tea, and yerba mate to the American marketplace.
- The Republic of Tea abides by the ancient Chinese philosophy of Ta Shun, or Harmony for the Whole. We are mindful of how our actions impact the greater community, and we actively support worthy organizations. Over the years we have donated more than $3 million dollars to our non-profit partners, including Whole Planet Foundation, Community Link, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the North Bay, and Homeward Bound of Marin.
- The Republic of Tea has revolutionized the tea industry with recyclable and reusable round steel tins and unbleached round tea bags that are free of unnecessary tags and staples. We encourage all Citizens to embrace sustainable tea-drinking practices.
- In collaboration with the Ethical Tea Partnership and the PALM Foundation, The Republic of Tea launched the Women of Tea: Sri Lanka program, which aims to elevate thousands of working women and their families. More than 27,000 people and 6 gardens have benefited since the program’s inception.
As we reflect and celebrate 28 years of The Republic of Tea, we would like to thank our Citizens for joining us on this long and splendid journey. Thank you for being an essential part of The Republic of Tea story!