Mushroom Tea Line Result of University Partnership

Photo courtesy of Choice Organic Teas
Choice Organic Teas partnered with Bastyr University to create a wellness tea collection that boosts both organizations. The collection debuted in 2017 and centers around mushrooms. The four teas in the collection are: Shitake Mate, Reishi Matcha, Shitake Turmeric, and Reishi Detox. “We have worldwide sourcing; we have knowledge of botanicals,” said Choice Production Manager Eric Ring. “In 2013, we just felt the time was right, the consumer interest was there.” A few Choice employees who love mushrooms presented the mushroom tea concept. They educated the staff about the benefits of mushrooms and everyone got on board with the idea. “Very few companies have tried to do mushroom teas and we felt we could do something better, new and intriguing,” Ring said. “Mushrooms are healthy on their own, but maybe not so tasty or good by themselves in a cup, so we partnered them with synergistic herbs.” Bastyr University is a natural health research university in Seattle. Bastyr also works with conventional universities in integrated medicine. Choice’s staff spearheaded the project by identifying certain areas of focus. The partnership with Bastyr University originally came about because the people at Choice wanted Bastyr’s faculty to vet Choice’s blends. “I didn’t really feel like my knowledge was strong enough to truly say that these herbs, if consumed daily, are effective and safe; and we wanted science behind it, that was a must,” Ring said. Choice learned Bastyr was a fan of Choice’s teas and both entities decided to partner. Together they developed blends they believe to be safe and effective. Ring said both entities are like-minded. “It’s a really nice back-and-forth collaboration,” said Ring, who believes the partnership allowed for creative interaction on a higher level than each entity could have achieved on its own. Bastyr’s Herbal Science Department brought scientific knowledge, and Choice brought knowledge of flavors, packaging and distribution, according to Ring. “The whole is stronger than the parts,” he said. “The benefit for us and for our customers is that these teas have science and authority behind them,” said Ring, who believes this is what sets Choice’s wellness teas apart from others. “Our tea is good, safe and effective.” Ring added the partnership benefits for Bastyr are twofold: it promotes Bastyr and its expertise by having the university’s name on the tea box; and it raises money for a student scholarship fund. A percentage of tea sales goes to Bastyr, and the university puts all of this revenue into the scholarship fund. The wellness teas have received a positive response from customers, who keep coming back for more. The two entities plan to continue their relationship indefinitely.