San Francisco Magazine

November 2010

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Drinking buddies by JORDON MACKAY

A dynamic duo takes on the Bay Area's tea moguls.

SanFranciscoMagazine6"With all our mom and pop teahouses and prominent tea importers such as Numi, Peet's, Mighty Leaf, Lupicia and Republic of Tea, we've pretty much got the tea market covered around here. But now there's a new contender with a distinctive product that could give the heavy hitters some stiff competition. San Francisco's Five Mountains tea, a small upstart company founded by two fellows with a taste for travel, Eastern philosophy, and of course, tea.

Jason Creech and Jeffrey "McCloud" Dorchaide met in their 20's in Asia where both had become Buddhist monks and tea fanatics, but it wasn't until they crossed paths 10 years later in San Francisco that they decided to turn their passions into a business. Their young company was founded loosely on the Eastern philosophical notions of purity and simplicity. "We don't do flavorings, additives or fanciful sugary concoctions," says Creech. " We don't like the whole mystical aspect of tea or the hokey marketing." Many Five Mountains teas are heirloom varieties organically grown and sustainably harvested in the region of southeast Asia known for the five legendary mountains where tea cultivation is said to have begun. The proof is in the cup: The company's white tea is so perfumed with plums and almonds as to be almost intoxicating: the green is ecstatically fruity. SanFranciscoMagazine2aFive Mountains is also the first tea company in the country to use 100 percent biodegradable and home-composting packaging.

For now, you have to go online or out for dinner if you want to sample the company's teas, since the Five Mountains boys haven't gone for the retail market. "We have a pretty solid following through our website, and we cater mostly to local restaurants and hotels." Creech explains. Spruce, Darwin Cafe, and Quince offer Five Mountains, and the company hopes to get its teas into more Bay Area restaurants soon. But it doesn't plan to grow to big. "We're tea guys who got into business, not business guys got into tea." says Creech.

Southeast Globe article >

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