Joe Uhl is the newest addition to my collection of Tea Mentors, and although we haven't met in person, he has introduced such a beautiful and modern approach to tea than I ever knew to be possible.
My first blog post about his tea company is by far the most read, shared, liked article I have ever written. While I'd like to think it has something to do with my writing skill, I know it's because of the story itself, the person and the brand that provides a very unique and strong perspective rising from the ashes of Detroit, Michigan.
A Detroit Moment - In which I discover the wonderful story of Joseph Wesley Tea and fall in love with the most perfect Lapsang Souchong.
So, it was rather serendipitous that out of the blue, a package arrived yesterday from Joseph Wesley Tea. Joe couldn't have known that I was planning to showcase him and his company today.
Detroit Freedom House-inspired tea house
In addition to a beautiful new tea (Classic Chinese) that I am currently sipping and will be writing about at a future date, there was this little house. An unglazed ceramic tea house, created by Canadian Potter, Dayna Wagner, is a nod to a nine-hundred year old Chinese tea tradition of dousing an unglazed ceramic tea pet with tea in the hopes of acquiring attributes of that pet.
But this is more than a sweet spirited trinket. This is a movement to support the Detroit Freedom House, which is a temporary home for survivors of persecution from around the world who are seeking asylum in the U.S. and Canada. While I first thought, "Oh, what a nice service," my mind began reeling when I read more about what Detroit Freedom House provides at no charge:
- shelter and clothing (of course)
- language classes (nice)
- legal aid (very good)
- mental health care (oh. yes, I can see the need)
- medical care for injuries due to torture (whoa.)
The reality and enormity of what this sanctuary provides has stopped me in my tracks. And to learn that of the 98,000 refugees who seek asylum in North America, about 45% of them are under 18-years old.
I'm a mom now. I feel sick to my stomach if one of my daughters takes a rough tumble off the edge of their bed at night. Imagine being a mother to young ones who have seen or even experienced physical deprivation, torture and worse.
So this tea house, you see, is one company's way of helping shelter a community in great need. Extremely great need. Joseph Wesley Tea Company is donating the net proceeds from the sale of these Tea Houses to Detroit Freedom House.
I wrote this last night when I had opened the Joseph Wesley package and absorbed the contents.
Thank you, Joe Uhl, for creating Joseph Wesley Tea. Thank you for sharing the beauty of some of the most exciting single estate black teas I've ever encountered. And thank you being a part of the rebuilding of Detroit and the rebuilding of lives who seek shelter from unimaginable storms.