My Desert Sage Natural inboxes can be complicated and messy places.
Queries from customers, whether about orders or teas are the majority of the messages, but far from all.
There’s a wide variety of spam, ranging from normal to disturbing. (I get that the protocol is that sex sells everything, but that’s really not who we are as a company.)
There are also requests for donations or free samples or … Some of these are fine, some are very obviously just “I want free things and feel like you should give them to me for the EXPOSURE” – an attitude that is especially troubling when they do not seem to understand that to offer exposure, you at least need to have an audience to give.
Once I had a trio of friends contact me about “modeling our teas” – and they sent photos to give an idea of what they could do. Reference prior comment about advertising assumptions and our sense of who we are as a company.
Donations, though. Those are harder to field. We did a number of things we probably shouldn’t have early on. I am, sadly, not entirely immune to being scammed – and we were quite excited to be found and asked in that first year.1
But when you know for certain it is a real event for a real charity – it’s hard to resist, no matter what the numbers say.
One of our hopeful goals from the beginning was for Desert Sage Natural to try to improve the world where we/it can. As we are a micro-business what we’ve managed so far has been small, but it is still something that we strive for.
Around a year after we opened, we received one of those donation requests.
The organizer sent more information than I’d ever been given regarding what she was doing, why, for what cause, and why that cause was so important to her, and why we’d caught her eye.
It was detailed, it was heartfelt, and when I did my “once burned twice shy” looking into things routine – every single detail checked out.
Her original request had been for teas to offer as event favors, and maybe something to raffle off.
Mister Tea and I went in a somewhat different direction during our first discussion.
The charity she was raising money for was RAINN. I will avoid going into gory details, but both Mister Tea and I have personal connections to the work they do and the circumstances they try to help with.
We definitely wanted to contribute to this event. We started discussing it, and it became obvious that we’d already mutually decided to do the thing – and apparently also that we should create a tea specifically FOR the thing.
It was one of those conversations where it felt like one thought-chain hadn’t decided which of our minds it wanted to hang out in, so it zipped back and forth between both, leaving trailers of connection behind it.
This was true even as we approached the ideas for the blend. There are a few of our teas that are as much his fault as they are mine, and I Will Survive is definitely one of them.
We wanted something that would be tasty, but where there would also be meaning in the ingredients chosen. Additionally, I wanted to make the tea relatively accessible, so that it would be something many people would want to drink. (I am well aware that some of our teas are not for everyone, and possibly only for a scant handful of people.)
Thankfully, at the time, we had far fewer ingredients in the toolbox, and I was still relatively new to blending teas for taste.
Once we’d decided what ‘extra’ flavours we wanted, we needed to pick a black tea.
We knew that a good portion of the tea would be floral, so we wanted to use a lighter tea.
We had a much smaller toolbox back then, and were only using four or five black teas. And one of those was an earl grey, which is a category unto itself, for tea.
We chose Keemun Black, as the best of our available options.
Then we moved on to the flowers.
Calendula is a wonderful plant. Tenacious. Depending on where you live it may actually be classified as a weed. In my gardens it has held its own with tomatoes – which given our soil makes them want to take over the world – is truly impressive. Known to be healing, especially to skin, and having a history of being used to ease and calm, it fit perfectly for the intent of this tea.
Roses share the physical and mental aspects of this tea with Calendula, but they also have a personal significance to me.
Roses grow just about everywhere. When I flip through the images in my head of all the states and countries I have lived in or visited, I cannot find one where I did not see roses. I’ve grown them myself, in multiple places, and they always seem to adapt.2
Mister Tea spoke of seeing them in Kuwait, when he was describing to me what would happen after a rain.
Add to this adaptability what I have always felt roses show us about life.
They remind us that life has multiple facets, both beauty and thorns. They teach us that even in winter things can have a stark stern beauty.
They were one of the plants that taught me that if a trauma-scar can be survived, it may reshape the path, but it doesn’t have to detract from the whole.
The last ingredient, Vanilla, was chosen in part to sort of knit the other three flavours together. Under many circumstances, Vanilla makes a lovely taste bridge.
It was also chosen because it is a light, bright scent and taste. One could even call it hopeful.
When we got back in touch with her, we presented her with the tea idea, and thanked her for giving us an idea for a whole new line of teas.
ChariTeas. Teas where their profits would be dedicated to a particular organization.
We sent samples for event favours and a full batch of tea for the raffle.
And we were happy in having this new Tea Idea that would allow us to put our teas where our ethics are.
For I Will Survive, the proceeds from each full-batch sale will be donated to RAINN.
And now, for the basics:
Organic Ingredients: Keemun Black Tea, Calendula, Rose, Vanilla
Batch Weight: 1.5 ounces (approximately 25-30 cups of tea)
Options: Loose Tea (Sample, Bag, Tin, Latch-Tin), Teabags (Single, Sample, Bag, Latch-Tin)
- Ask me about the Whovian Wedding Disaster at some point. But perhaps bring a decent whiskey along for the conversation.
- Except for the one I managed to drown. Hadn’t realized ALL the runoff from the roof came down at that one spot. It was fine until monsoons. I still feel kind of terrible about that one.