by Bryon White June 28, 2020 3 min read

As Independence Day approaches, we find ourselves at the crossroads of a new kind of revolution where we are reinventing what it means to be "American." Equality, oppression, the pursuit of happiness and liberty, all remain central themes as they were at the onset of the American Experiment. But it is not so well known that tea played a key role in kicking off the American Revolution; moreover taxes on tea. Remember hearing "taxation without representation?" Part of that is rooted in the Tea Act, which was passed by the British Parliament on May 10th, 1773. 


The act didn't actually raise taxes on tea coming into the American Colonies, but it did undercut American merchants and damage their business. It made it easier for the diabolical British East India Company to sell its tea directly to the colonies, effectively cutting out the intermediaries who were often American merchants. Needless to say, they were not too happy. 

We've written about the British East India Company before, and if you've read our blogs you know that we aren't their biggest fan. The British East India Company, (EIC for short), was literally an evil enterprise that conquered and subjugated entire populations to produce goods for the British market. India was a colony that was in many ways completely controlled by the EIC. The company also started the infamous Opium Wars in China, and to top it all off, they gave Yaupon its horrible botanical name, Ilex vomitoria. Read more about that mess here


William Aiton, royal botanist at Kew Gardens, was responsible for giving Yaupon its icky botanical misnomer. He is also linked to the EIC.

The EIC's idea was always to crush the competition at all costs, and squeeze as much profit out of everything they could. It didn't matter how many people they had to kill or enslave, as long as the dough kept rolling in. But, back the Tea Act! 

The Tea Act was passed for a simple reason, and that was to help the EIC get out of debt by unloading 17 million pounds of unsold tea they had just lying around. Selling their tea directly to the colonists would open up a lucrative market, but it also cut the American merchants out of the deal. The situation escalated when colonists sent the EIC ships back to England and refused to offload their tea. From November to December in 1773, three EIC ships loaded with tea arrived in Boston Harbor. The Chief Justice of Massachusetts refused to let the ships return to England until the tea could be unloaded. On December 16, 1773, a group known as the Sons of Liberty dressed in Mohawk costume and dumped 343 chests of EIC tea into the harbor. The British government responded harshly with a series of aggressions that culminated in the American Revolution. The rest, as they say, is history!

In some ways, big business hasn't changed much since the EIC days. It seems most large corporations are still primarily concerned with squeezing the most profit out of everything, damn the consequences. We are not cool with that. We promise you that our Yaupon will always come from a supply chain that is organic, transparent, and grown in the USA. Our workers will always earn a dignified living wage and be treated fairly. Our company will always respect the indigenous origins of Yaupon and support indigenous people. Thank you for supporting the American Yaupon Tea Revolution!

This Independence day, why not drink some of our American Yaupon Tea?  What a great way to celebrate the birthday of America, with a nice cuppa.

Also in News

Yaupon Brothers and Sweetgrass Trading: An Entry from Molly Roe
Yaupon Brothers and Sweetgrass Trading: An Entry from Molly Roe

by Bryon White September 18, 2020 3 min read

Molly Roe is the account manager at SweetGrass Trading Company, a subsidiary of Ho-Chunk, Inc., the economic development corporation of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska. Roe is an enrolled member of the Ioway Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska. She received her Master’s degree in media communications at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln before joining SweetGrass. In addition to account management, she writes blog posts for the website, represents the company at conferences and acts as an advocate for food sovereignty across Indian country.
What does "Organic" mean? A quick rundown of organic food production
What does "Organic" mean? A quick rundown of organic food production

by Bryon White August 20, 2020 1 min read

The term "organic" is now almost ubiquitous in the grocery store, and the little green USDA organic stamp can be observed on pretty much every kind of product. We have organic toothpaste and moisturizers, drinks and snacks, fruits and vegetables, and even household cleaners and pet foods. But what makes a product "organic?" 
Domestic, Local, and Internationally Grown Products and Their Carbon Footprint
Domestic, Local, and Internationally Grown Products and Their Carbon Footprint

by Bryon White August 04, 2020 3 min read

 Since Europeans first imported tea from China, food has traveled across the globe, but never at the speed or in the magnitude that it has over the last decade. According to theUnited Nations, what we eat, drink, and consume directly impacts climate change. Reducing both individual and collective (businesses, countries, and industries), carbon footprinting is needed in the fight for environmental responsibility.