June 29, 2018
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Rakkasan Tea Company Launches Line of Teas from Laos
Hard-to-find loose-leaf tea from Laos will further RTC’s mission to promote peace and economic development by importing and selling premium tea grown in post-conflict countries
Dallas, TX – Tea enthusiasts can now access unique, loose-leaf tea grown in Laos: Beginning today, Dallas-based Rakkasan Tea Company is offering three new selections from small farms in mountainous Xiengkhouang Province and from the Bolaven Plateau in southern Champasak Province. The new tea from Laos joins RTC’s premium selections from the post-conflict countries of Nepal, Rwanda, Vietnam and Sri Lanka.
“You can’t go into Whole Foods and find tea grown in Laos,” said RTC founder and CEO Brandon Friedman. “This is some really special tea and it’s an opportunity for U.S. tea drinkers to try something they’ve probably never had. It’s also a great way to help rural farmers in recovering countries reach the U.S. market.”
Since launching with a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2017, veteran-owned RTC has brought thousands of Americans uncommon, hard-to-find loose-leaf tea grown solely in post-conflict countries.
In seven months of operation, RTC has shipped tea to customers in all 50 U.S. states and four countries. In November 2017, the Global Chamber® Dallas named RTC its “Startup Impact Importer of the Year.”
About Rakkasan Tea Company’s Tea from Laos
Bordering China’s famous tea-producing Yunnan Province, Laos is a “cradle country” of tea and home to some of the oldest trees in the world. While Laotian tea is superior, conflict throughout the 20th century harmed the industry. During the Vietnam War, the U.S. secretly dropped more bombs on Laos than were dropped during the entirety of World War II. That devastation largely prevented Laotian tea from reaching U.S. consumers for decades. Fortunately, times have now changed.
RTC’s Laotian tea comes from Xiengkhouang Province near Phou San (“the tea mountain”) in the northeast and from the Bolaven Plateau in southern Champasak Province—an area known for its stunning waterfalls. All of our teas from Laos are organically grown in biodiverse environments and carefully hand-crafted by selected artisan families.
- Lan Xang Black (1.2 oz., retail: $11.99)
Lan Xang Black is a large-leaf, sun-dried black tea (known as a “shai hong”) consisting of two leaves and a bud. While most black teas are roasted to stop oxidation, the process for this tea is stopped by drying the leaves in the sun. This technique is little known in the West and it lends the tea characteristics similar to a Pu'erh. The farmer that produces Lan Xang Black oxidizes it in a banana leaf with no machines for oven drying. This tea ages very well over six months or a year, becoming deeper, richer and more complex with time.
- Paksong Green (1.1 oz., retail: $11.99)
Paksong Green is a large-leaf, green tea grown on the Bolaven Plateau of southern Laos. This fine green tea owes its character to the careful hand-processing of artisan farmers. After plucking and withering, the tea leaves are hand-rolled. Then a short roast on a wood fire gives the tea a subtle, slightly smoky finish with notes of baby corn, young asparagus and seaweed.
- Lan Xang Golden Tips (1.5 oz., retail: $29.99)
Lan Xang Golden Tips are the large, fluffy buds hand-picked from the same several-hundred-year-old tea trees in Xiengkhouang Province from which we get Lan Xang Black. After steeping, initial notes of sweet cocoa and raisin are soon followed by orange peel and dried fruit which linger on the palate long after drinking.
About RTC’s Leadership
- Brandon Friedman, Founder and CEO
After 16 years in politics and public service, Brandon entered the tea industry in 2017 and quickly made a name for himself with Rakkasan Tea Company. In November 2017, the Global Chamber Dallas named Brandon its “Startup Impact Importer of the Year.” He has completed the Specialty Tea Institute’s Level I and Level II courses on his way to becoming a Certified Tea Specialist recognized by the Tea Association of the USA.
Before becoming an entrepreneur, Brandon served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Before that, he served as a vice president with global PR firm FleishmanHillard, as the first Director of Digital Strategy at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and as a spokesperson for VoteVets.org. Brandon began his career in 2000 as an infantry officer in the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division, serving in both Afghanistan and Iraq.
Brandon has appeared on CNN, BBC, MSNBC, Al Jazeera and C-SPAN. For his work in communications, he has been profiled by The Washington Post, PR Week, Stars and Stripes, and Government Executive. Brandon's memoir, The War I Always Wanted, was recognized in 2010 by The Military Times as one of “The Best Military Books of the Decade.” He is a regular columnist for The New York Daily News.
- Terrence Kamauf, Founding Partner and COO
“TK,” as his friends call him, has completed the Specialty Tea Institute’s Level I and Level II courses on his way to becoming a Certified Tea Specialist recognized by the Tea Association of the USA.
A former Green Beret with more than a decade of service, TK became a tea drinker during his four combat tours with the Army's 101st Airborne Division and 5th Special Forces Group in Afghanistan and Iraq. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army’s Ranger School and Special Forces Qualification Course. He joined RTC in 2017 after working in the oil and energy sector.
For information about RTC’s Advisory Board members, click here.
Rakkasan Tea Company works with farmers in post-conflict countries to import and sell premium loose-leaf tea. We hire military veterans to do it.