March 27, 2018
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Rakkasan Tea Company Launches Line of Vietnamese Teas
Hard-to-find loose-leaf tea from north Vietnam 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 now have an easy way to access unique, loose-leaf tea grown in the mountains of north Vietnam: Beginning today, Dallas-based Rakkasan Tea Company is offering three new selections plucked from wild tea trees in the provinces of Hà Giang and Yên Bái by members of the minority H’mong and Dao communities. The new tea from Vietnam joins RTC’s current premium selections from the post-conflict countries of Nepal, Rwanda and Sri Lanka.
“You can’t go into Whole Foods or Teavana and find Vietnamese tea, much less wild-grown Vietnamese tea,” said RTC founder and CEO Brandon Friedman. “This is an opportunity for U.S. tea drinkers to try something they’ve likely never had before and it’s a great way to help rural farmers in recovering countries reach the U.S. market.”
Since its successful Kickstarter campaign in 2017, veteran-owned RTC has worked solely with sustainable tea estates as a way to promote peace and economic growth in communities still emerging from years of war and conflict.
In just over four months of operation, RTC has shipped its tea to customers in all 50 U.S. states and three countries. In November 2017, the Global Chamber® Dallas named RTC its “Startup Impact Importer of the Year.”
About Rakkasan Tea Company’s Vietnamese Tea
Vietnamese tea trees are some of the oldest in the world. While tea farming in Vietnam has existed for hundreds of years, 20th century conflict badly harmed the industry and prevented its tea from reaching Western consumers. Only in the last generation has the political climate in Vietnam improved.
RTC’s Vietnamese tea comes from wild trees growing in the pristine, ancient forests of the far northern provinces of Hà Giang and Yên Bái. The tea is grown on mountain sides at an altitude between 4,300 and 5,500 feet. Tended by families on small farms, each tea selection exudes superior character and is ethically and sustainably produced. RTC’s wild Vietnamese teas are organically produced and comply with international standards.
- H’mong Kings Tea
This is a rare wild-grown, green tea produced by Black H’mong families in Hà Giang Province, Vietnam at over 5,200 feet. It is different from other green teas in that it is fired and dried by hand in a wood-fired cast iron pan rather than a drum oven. It has a smoky aroma and earthy and woody notes reminiscent of the surrounding pine forest where it grows. Like other wild green teas, it is naturally sweet with little bitterness.
- Hà Giang Jasmine
Harvested by ethnic Dao families at 4,600 feet in Hà Giang Province, Vietnam, this is a wild green tea infused with real jasmine blossoms. Hand-blended during the season that runs from May to August, the blossoms are layered overnight with tea during which time the flowers open and the fragrance is absorbed. The tea and flowers are separated and the process is repeated for three more nights until the tea has absorbed just the right amount of delightful jasmine fragrance.
- Six Borders Black
While Vietnam is better known for its green tea, Six Borders Black is a surprisingly excellent wild black tea from the high mountain slopes of Yên Bái Province—a region that borders six other Vietnamese provinces. Grown above 4,300 feet and harvested by a single family of H’mong farmers, this tea is full of character and flavors of malt and chocolate. It has a rich copper-colored liquor.
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 in the Obama administration as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. There, he played a key role leading communications for Secretary Julián Castro. Brandon previously 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. He 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 currently a regular columnist for The New York Daily News.
- Terrence Kamauf, Founding Partner and COO
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. In 2007, TK trained and led 150 Iraqi Special Operations Forces at the height of the surge. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army’s Special Forces Qualification Course, Ranger School, SERE-C and the Airborne and Air Assault courses. He joined RTC in 2017 after five years 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.