In 2011, Harmless Harvest launched its 100% raw & organic coconut water to popular acclaim. Two years later the pioneering beverage company has set out to “reconnect people to the plant” in another beverage category: Tea.
As with their first product, when it comes to tea, the madness (or genius) is in the method: After two years of research and development, the company has finalized its groundbreaking approach to delivering a fresh perspective on the classically celebrated plant. Picked fresh and flash frozen upon harvesting, the tea leaves are then brewed cold to create a specific flavor and nutritional profile. The company’s methods create a caffeine-free product with more amino acids, less tannins, and a much-toted umami taste. Best of all, they are ready to unveil the final product exclusively at Whole Foods– and shake up the bottled tea industry in the process.
As for their thought process, co-Founder Justin Guilbert explains: “We felt like there has been a lot of excitement and innovation around juice and coffee, and we wanted to apply those things to one of our favorite beverages. With this project we tried to take a comprehensive approach to tea by creating innovative processes and a brand new end-product. Our desire is to deliver the qualities of this fascinating plant in its most primal form, essentially rethinking tea from scratch and offering a fresh, unique and pioneering approach to tea harvesting, processing and delivery.”
To achieve this feat, Harmless Harvest traveled the world to discover the right supply chains and capabilities for their model. From Japanese tea gardens to frozen pulverization, high velocity blending and high pressure processing (HPP), Harmless has built its sourcing and process from scratch. Like any raw and fresh plant product, the 100% Raw Teas are highly perishable and must be kept refrigerated at all times. Consistent with the company’s “never heated” mantra, the bottles hitting Whole Foods shelves have been cold every step of the way.
To be sure, the process Harmless Harvest has created is a delicate one, but they insist the final product is worth the wait. According to co-founder Douglas Riboud, “The result is a tea unlike any other. It effectively maintains the powerful fragrance, flavor and nutritional profile of the raw leaf while controlling the release of tannins, or bitterness. Unless you have wandered through an ancestral tea garden at harvest time and chewed on the tender new leaves of the season, it would be hard to compare this to anything you’ve encountered before.”
But Harmless Harvest maintains that their unique approach to the teas is not only about how it tastes when you pull it off the shelves. Guilbert explains that the true purpose of the project is to create a more direct and active relationship between the consumer, the producer, and the plant itself. Sourced from the pristine volcanic slopes of Southern Japan, the tea leaves are 100% USDA Organic. Their harvest contributes to supporting the traditional rural fabric of the region while encouraging organic farming as a growth opportunity for the Japanese tea industry. “Thanks to our success with the coconut water, foreign farms are willing to think long-term and work with us on steps toward USDA-organic and fair trade certifications. We think our model will promote more sustainable practices at every step of production, whether farms are working directly with us or other companies.”
This pioneering line will launch exclusively through Whole Foods Market, with whom Harmless Harvest has been actively working to perfect the product and establish a new understanding of the benefits of tea. “At Whole Foods Market, we love offering our shoppers fresh flavors and new, innovative products they simply can’t find anywhere else,” said Dwight Richmond, global grocery purchasing coordinator for Whole Foods Market. “Partnering with Harmless Harvest to offer the first 100% raw tea on the market is not only rewarding from a product development standpoint, it’s exciting to give shoppers yet another new favorite they can get excited about.”
This exciting new project will come in three formulations to offer unique and complementary experiences:
UNSWEETENED: Just water and 100% Organic raw tea leaves, 0 calories.
RAW PEPPERMINT: Sourced fresh in California and Mexico, 100% Organic raw peppermint and a touch of 100% Organic raw agave is added to the mix for an icy fresh wave of flavor. Just 35 calories per serving.
RAW HONEY & LEMON: Sourced in the Brazilian wilderness, 100% Organic raw honey is poured into the cold blend adding its powerful flavors and benefits and topped with a few drops of 100% Organic raw lemon juice for a zesty finishing touch with 60 calories per serving.
About Harmless Harvest:
Founded in 2010 by Douglas Riboud and Justin Guilbert, Harmless Harvest is a progressive food & beverage initiative set on demonstrating the success of an ecosystem-based business model. By combining innovative scientific methods with local traditional knowledge, Harmless Harvest integrates the long-term welfare of all its stakeholders – from plant to customer – in the creation of better products for all
For more information, visit www.harmlessharvest.com.