Outwoken Tea spreads message of sustainability

Outwoken+Tea+is+a+Milwaukee-based+company+specializing+in+biodegradable+packaging.

Photo by Phoebe Goebel

Outwoken Tea is a Milwaukee-based company specializing in biodegradable packaging.

When you wake up in the morning, what is the first thing that you reach for? For people all around the world, the morning ritual of enjoying a warm cup of tea is the only way to set themselves up for having a productive day.

Outwoken Tea, a sustainable tea brand based out of Milwaukee, hosted a tea tasting event at the Wehr Nature Center in Franklin, WI, last Sunday. The star of the event was the Kenyan purple tea, which was paired with chocolates from Zachariah’s Chocolates, a craft chocolate shop in Mackinaw City, MI.

Aureal Ojeda, the founder and president of Outwoken Tea, came up with the idea of a sustainable tea company during her days working in construction. After seeing the negative effects that garbage has on the environment, Ojeda created a sustainable tea company that uses natural materials that are compostable. These materials include mushroom and cornstarch-based packages that make them biodegradable.

Ojeda said that one of the key aspects of Outwoken Tea is that fact that they do not use the typical mesh tea bags that other companies use. She said that these bags contain harmful chemicals that not only harm the environment but can also have negative effects when people ingest them.

This Kenyan purple tea not only soothes the soul but also benefits the environment. This woodsy noted tea is grown at an elevation of 6,000 ft above sea level on the mountains of Kenya and was tested for 25 years to ensure that the bold flavor packs a punch. Each time the tea is purchased, Outwoken Tea plants a tree in the Milwaukee area to help with deforestation.

“Lots of sacrifices went into making this exact tea. But this sacrifice produced the best tea in the world, of course, in my opinion. While you’re sipping your next cup of tea, keep it in mind that you cannot get this tea anywhere else,” Ojeda said.

As guests sipped on their tea, Wehr Nature Center event volunteers passed out boxes filled with a variety of gourmet chocolates from Zachariah’s Chocolates. Ojeda explained that the chocolate flavors were picked to perfectly accompany the tea and featured notes of cherry, orange, strawberry and hibiscus.

The chocolates also followed the overall theme of being produced sustainably. The chocolates are hand-made in a factory in Michigan and contain only natural ingredients. Unlike other American chocolate companies, these chocolates do not contain corn syrup, which helps enhance the taste of the cacao beans themselves.

As Ojeda expands her brand, she hopes that she can reach organizations such as schools because they are huge contributors to the environmental effects of tea bags.

“My first year of business, I only sold 100 bags of tea, but I still planted 100 trees,” Ojeda said. “One person can make a difference. One person can make a change. We are all doing that today, one cup of tea and one chocolate at a time.”

This story was written by Phoebe Goebel. She can be reached at [email protected]