Slow and Sustainable: Dachi Tea Co

"Steer away from shortcuts. Ignore the path of least resistance. Have faith in your vision."

Nicholas Palumbo and Simon Thomas believe in doing things AHAP (“As Human As Possible”). “It’s the antithesis of ASAP (As Soon As Possible),” they say.

The pair met while living in Taiwan, and bonded over cups of tea shared after their evening Chinese language classes. In 2015, they founded Dachi Tea Co., hoping to share the rich history of Taiwanese tea culture with the world.

Nicholas Palumbo and Simon Thomas

Nicholas Palumbo and Simon Thomas

Palumbo and Thomas have grown their business by “resisting the temptation to cut corners,” they say. They’ve built relationships with local tea artisans and source their teas directly from family-owned farms. While it would be quicker and cheaper to purchase tea from traders, they say, that would betray their core values of “direct trade, quality, and transparency.”

Making sure things are done “as human as possible” means slower production and shipping, a difficult proposition for any new business trying to build a customer base. But Palumbo and Thomas have grown their company slowly and sustainably with the support of loyal community that shares their values. Their first Kickstarter project, for a curated collection of oolong teas sourced from the high mountains of Taiwan, raised over $36,000 from 629 tea enthusiasts around the world.

“Their support and validation is the most impactful thing of all, since it gives us the courage to hold firm and not compromise,” they say.

Palumbo and Thomas wanted to give their community an even more in-depth look at the art of producing (and appreciating) Taiwanese tea. So for Kickstarter Gold, they curated a new collection of nine teas, along with a series of “Meet the Maker” and “How to Brew” videos. They also plan to print a magazine offering notes on the taste, tradition, and terroir of each tea, as well as photo essays and travelogues, stories from the field, and long-form features about the art of Taiwanese tea.

Summing up Dachi Tea Co.’s core philosophy, Palumbo and Thomas say: “Steer away from shortcuts. Ignore the path of least resistance. Have faith in your vision and stay the course.” Words to live by — whether your creative practice involves paintbrushes, graphic design software, or Taiwanese teas.