T PROJECT SUMMER HOURS: FRIDAY & SATURDAY, 12-5

ABOUT

WHAT: T Project is a small batch tea company, shop and gallery based in Portland, Oregon. My passion for flavor and scents and my admiration of the botanical world all meld into one cup of tea and the many lovely things that accompany it. We offer hand-tied compostable sachets for that very special friend or occasion as well as loose-leaf in specialty tins or kraft bags.

WHO: I've always been an artist, whether my materials were paint, clay or metal, the creative spark is always alive. To support my art life, I worked in restaurants which led to a career in food: teaching cooking, writing cookbooks and producing an NPR food show for over 5 years. To cook and eat well is a basic means of survival for me and a lifelong obsession I just can't seem to shake.

WHY: Flavor and beauty followed me to Portland, Oregon in 2005 where I relocated from Southern California to raise my child. I volunteered at my favorite nursery to learn about the plant life of the Pacific Northwest. With a full thermos of hot tea, I'd head out the door wearing more layers of clothing than I knew possible to keep dry and warm in the rain and dirt. Sipping tea and weeding was my meditation when my 1 year old baby still needed much of my time and attention. It was in those quiet hours on Sauvie Island that I thought hard about my future. I was ready for a new job in my new city. I kept pondering tea, tea, tea!

WHERE: Why couldn't my love for cooking and feeding people morph into a tea business, something healthy and delicious that every age person can enjoy. I was frustrated with the teas I found in the marketplace. I thought I should try to do better so I found a tiny basement room in a brick building downtown and began to experiment. Responses were positive from friends and retail stores alike, and, before I knew it a "project" was brewing. Little by little, my offerings grew and the tea found itself out in the world. I was fortunate to find the light-filled storefront and blending kitchen I have now. The building has a lot of history and there was even another tea company there years before. 

SUSTAINABILITY:  Finding the best organic ingredients -teas, herbs, spices and flowers - is my mission. As a small buyer and producer, this is no easy feat. Ninety percent of my teas are organic and fair trade, as these are two things I stand by firmly. I work strictly with growers and importers of the highest integrity in order to provide my customers with a tea that I feel very good about. Packaging was a challenging issue for me. Witnessing the thrashing of our planet and the decline of our country's manufacturing sector, I wanted to source US made packaging when possible, despite the huge cost difference. Of course my tea leaves would come from the tea gardens of Asia and India, however, my canisters would be made here. After a long search, I had them custom-made from 80% post-consumer recycled paper and we hope you will either reuse or recycle them. It's a surprise as to which paper your tea canister will be wrapped in, but we promise you that all of them are stunning. We recently collaborated with Egg Press and if you order this special limited edition, you will see how gorgeous their design looks and feels. The cello bags the tea comes in are plant based and compostable.The Kraft bags are also biodegradable and can be recycled.
NEXT: T Project strives to stay small, kind and delicious. As we grow, we hope to find more local farmers to procure our botanicals from. If you are interested in collaborating, please contact us. We also provide tea in hand-tied sachets or looseleaf to cafes and restaurants and other businesses. Artists interested in showing portfolios are welcome to email me.

VISIT: My retail shop in Northwest Portland is open Thursday through Saturday. I have a gallery/meditation room where we hold special events and tastings, along with changing exhibitions.

MOTTO: By doing things the right way, we can live up to the Japanese saying- Sampo Yoshi - Good for seller, good for buyer, good for community.


 

READ AN INTERVIEW WITH TERI GELBER