2015 had some harsh notes in its finish. The shadow of terrorism and conflicts, and climate change cast its long shadow across the world. Right here in Rochester, NY, a local was arrested hours before he could launch an alleged ISIS-inspired attack in a downtown pub on new year's eve. The city's fireworks were cancelled - like in many parts of the world - in the wake of the incident.
As if reflecting the agitation among mankind, nature too behaved "abnormal." Storms ripped through parts of the south, and snow piled up in northern California (much needed), while our region recorded record high temperatures for December. Children complained of snow's no-show over Christmas and adults half-joked about not having to shovel. It just did not feel right going around in shorts in the depth of December.
Yet today there is snow on the ground.
Although just a thin layer, it does its magic. The earth now rests peacefully under a soft blanket of snow, its blemishes erased and painful memories exorcised. Almost. Children, upon their return from school, will delight and frolic in it; the hearts of the grown ups shall once again be filled with innocence....
I drink some Jun Chiyabari out of a most apt cup - a gift from my wife - while writing these lines.
As we look forward to the new year, our hope remains to bring you a few moments of peace, joy and beauty as you sit down with your cup of tea.
We started 2015 with a line of oolongs curated by an experienced Taiwanese tea master, and finished off by adding an organic Gyokuro from Japan, besides several other teas. We also visited new tea farms in Nepal, Darjeeling and Sikkim and deepened our tea knowledge and relationship with the growers.
Furthering our social commitment, in 2015 we became members of 1% for the Planet, by which we donated 1% of our annual sales (not profit) towards conservation efforts. We also became partners of Ama Foundation, a non-profit that houses and schools over 50 orphaned children in Nepal. 10% of all our Nepali tea sales go to the Foundation. While on the subject of Nepal, we would like to once again thank the many Rochester area donors, customers and local businesses who helped us raise over $3000 for Nepal earthquake relief in May!
In 2016, we hope to bring you more wonderful teas. We also hope to continue making a positive social impact through our business in the local community, and in the community at large.
Our accomplishments and dreams would not be possible without your continued support. Thank you very much, and we wish you all a happy new year!
And yes, do not forget, where there is tea there is hope. Here's to 2016!