Mizuba Tea

Tell us about your company.

Mizuba Tea Co. is a woman-owned, family-run company that has specialized in heritage Japanese matcha and traditional loose-leaf teas for over a decade. Existing as a platform for small tea farms and award-winning matcha producers to showcase our work, Mizuba’s commitment to quality, transparency, and education manifests in a range of meticulously crafted Japanese teas.

Our curation covers deep forays into Japan’s tea categories, from exquisite single-cultivar matcha to rare loose-leaf styles like Kamairicha or Japanese oolong –while also providing excellent offerings of everyday classics like genmaicha and sencha.

How did Mizuba start?

Mizuba began in 2013. Founder Lauren Purvis, who studied specialty tea for 23 years, grew up in a foodie family and always drew inspiration from the stories behind what made food special rather than just something simply to consume. This appreciation for the context behind what people enjoy had Lauren enamored with tea by the age of 11. She found that she experienced so much of the world and her community through tea!

As a senior in college, Lauren traveled to Japan to visit a friend in 2013 and became connected with the heritage of the nation's tea culture. On her first trip, she met a community striving to keep the art of Japanese tea alive by dedicating their lives to this art form. Six months later, she agreed to help some of the matcha producers by sharing their tea in America. Together with farms and producers, Lauren stewards Mizuba Tea Co. by sharing their beautiful teas and preserving Uji Matcha history ever since! 

What inspires your craft? What is your philosophy?

As the tea farms and producers entrust Mizuba Tea to steward the integrity and quality of their teas, we care first and foremost about being a conduit to share their knowledge about why these teas are so special. We’re especially inspired by the passion they have to make excellent tea year after year. 

We’re also always so thrilled when we see people experience excellent tea for the first time. Most often, folks try tea from the grocery store because that’s the first place they think to buy tea. But there’s nothing like tasting a specialty tea that has depth, character, and multifaceted flavor! So many of our customers exclaim that they didn’t know tea could taste so dynamic. That moment is really special and exciting to witness,  and we love enjoying that spark of discovery with our customers.  

What do you hope to inspire others with your products?

While tea is indeed something special to consume, our culture often frames food in the context of “what will this do for me.” What we eat can become mindless and focused on utilitarian function. However, that disconnect can depreciate the value of the incredibly hard work it takes to make such beautiful and delicious tea. There is nothing wrong for drinking tea because it is indeed good for you – but we hope to inspire a wider understanding of Japanese tea so folks can appreciate the context and art of where it came from.

What is a typical day like for Mizuba?

Certainly filled with a *lot* of tea! Our days vary, but include checking in with our producers, evaluating new lots of tea, training coffee shops to make your favorite matcha lattes, organizing events and classes, and helping our customers have their best matcha moment! 

What’s the process for creating Mizuba Tea? Tell us about the traditional techniques to create tea? What makes Mizuba tea different from other tea brands?

Over the years we’ve had the privilege of working alongside our producers to highlight different teas that feature really unique and captivating flavor profiles. Different cultivars, harvest methods, and production techniques all affect flavor. We love working with our producers to highlight special attributes.

For example, stone-milling is becoming quite rare in matcha production these days. All Mizuba Matcha is still stone-milled (versus jet-milling). Stone-milling imparts a depth and richness to the tea that is lacking with other techniques to powder matcha. We also prioritize continued support for traditional matcha production techniques so the heritage of it isn’t lost in the mass market demand.

How does sustainability fit into the work that you do?

At Mizuba we always strive to choose the right eco-conscious resources available to us both in Japan and here at our US headquarters. About 97% of our tea catalog is officially organic certified, which is a relatively new movement in Japan. We’re very proud to have recently enabled one farmer to convert his entire tea fields from conventional to organic. 

Mizuba partners with 8 farms, including one slated to become a UNESCO World Heritage site. Our organic Kamairicha tea is grown in an area recognized as a Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System. This system employs a special farming method that uses bamboo and Japanese pampas grass that fosters diverse living organisms, enriches tea fields, and protects rare meadow plants. Mizuba teas are also nonGMO, certified radiation-free, and certified heavy metal free.

We also promote initiatives like using zero-waste mailing labels and using recycled and compostable packaging wherever we’re able.  Mizuba is honored to support these efforts for years to come.

Where do you hope to see the company in 10 years?

The tea industry in Japan as a whole is on the decline. Four out of every five tea farmers or producers has quit in the past 20 years. But we are optomistic – global interest in Japanese tea has grown exponentially, and we truly hope to see Japan’s iconic tea traditions flourish in years to come. We hope beautiful styles of traditional Japanese teas like gyokuro or exceptional matcha will be preserved. And as a family, we hope to continue sharing wonderful tea times with you! 

We carry a collection of Mizuba Tea's products, which you can shop here.