I lived in Olympia, WA for about ten years, and anyone who knows that town knows it is full of hippies, hipsters, and a large group of nutbags who keep getting elected to the state legislature. In an environment like this, there are are a number of places that offer high quality tea. Being somebody who enjoys hot liquids that deliver caffeine, I’ve been known to have a cup of tea now and then at some of these weird plays, reasoning that “hippies make good tea.”
Turns out American patriots make good tea too. Damned good tea in fact. Or, given the fact that my new favorite from them is their ever popular Soul Collector tea, perhaps it is the tea of the damned? Either way, this isn’t the stuff you want to dump in the harbor, so I was excited to have a chance to talk to Chris Hubbard of the Tactical Tea Company to find out what makes his tea better than the stuff sold to me by some dude with a man bun and tie dyed shirt.
How did you get into the tea business?
We consider ourselves entrepreneurs and had always brainstormed on potential business ideas; of course, you can’t be in the military or a veteran, talk about business ideas and not bring up the numerous military/veteran owned coffee companies and how successful they have been. However, we didn’t want to jump into what we perceived as an already saturated market.
The president of our company is from the South and “sweet tea” (or, “iced tea”) was a part of everyday life (and still is throughout the southern U.S.) so it was suggested as an option. With tea being the second most popular drink on the planet (water being first) and its growing popularity in the United States—not to mention the fact there was virtually no competition from others in the military/veteran community—it seemed like a great opportunity. As the saying goes, the rest is history.
How do you brew a good cup of tea?
There’s lots of debate on this subject and we print what is recommended for each blend on our packaging. We always defer to those directions when someone asks our opinion because some tea will develop a bitter taste if brewed for too long. However, and this will piss off any tea “purists” who read this, 99% of the tea we drink is made in a Keurig!
We use our loose leaf tea, we place it in a generic, reusable K-cup, and let the Keurig do the all the work. We like to drink our tea hot and by using this method, everyone here is able to brew their preferred size, using whatever blend of tea they desire at that moment, and make it as strong or as weak tasting as they like.
An added consideration is that loose leaf tea is more flavorful so the Keurig method produces a better tasting tea when compared to heating water and then soaking a tea bag in it (in our opinion).
Will your tea make people high speed, low drag?
Anybody who has ever been in the military will tell you that there is no one ingredient which will make a person high speed, low drag. But, when it comes to being healthy and/or getting into better shape, most experts say the process relies 80% on a person’s diet and only 20% due to exercise—when you see these percentages and look at the health benefits offered by tea, it’s crazy to NOT add tea to your diet and exercise routine.
Drinking tea has been shown to improve a person’s cardiovascular, digestive, and immune systems; promote fat burning and weight loss; strengthen teeth and bones; defend against heart attacks and strokes; and fight cancer, in addition to several other health benefits. These benefits should be important to everyone—especially anyone who wants to become high speed, low drag!
What kind of tea would you pack for SHTF, and how long can it be stored?
Without a doubt: Matcha Green Tea. Matcha green tea has all the health benefits of regular green tea—only supercharged due to Matcha being in a concentrated powder form. A person will get approximately three times the regular health benefits per serving of Matcha compared to what they would receive from ingesting a serving of regular green tea.
Additionally, one study showed Matcha having 137 times the amount of antioxidants per serving when compared to regular green tea. Matcha also has a higher level of caffeine so, in a SHTF situation, the added caffeine and health benefits provided by it would be unmatched by other teas (or most beverages, for that matter). And, being a powder, it would be the easiest and best tea candidate for long-term storage.
While our Matcha has a stated shelf life of one year, we’re sure it would last a lot longer if a person prepped it for long-term storage as they do other food items; oxygen is the enemy of Matcha (as it is with many things) so vacuum-sealing, using oxygen absorbers, placing in an airtight container which can’t be penetrated by light, and storing in a cool location would go a long way in this regard (we’re sure your readers are familiar with the process).
Americans once threw tea into Boston Harbor, why should we be drinking it now?
At the risk of sounding repetitive, the primary reason Americans should be drinking tea is due to its many health benefits. Americans, as a society, are overweight and nowhere near as healthy as we should be. Even if a person did nothing other than drink tea (without sugar or other sweeteners) once or twice a day instead of when they would normally drink sugary drinks, they would see dramatic weight loss and markedly improved health in a short amount of time.
As for the Boston Tea Party reference, unlike 246 years ago, Americans would be infinitely better off today if we drank the tea and threw our politicians in Boston Harbor.
You spend a lot of time calling out stolen valor on Twitter. Can you share a little about why this is important?
First, anything we post regarding stolen valor is a repost of work done by other people to highlight this issue; there’s a lot of people and organizations that put in the time and sweat to call out the people guilty of this—we don’t want to take credit for their efforts. But, we feel it is important for us to help disseminate the information because the people who commit stolen valor are the lowest of the low, in our opinion.
America’s military men and women are the most honorable and virtuous people produced by our country and the people who commit stolen valor want to portray themselves as one of these heroes and acquire benefits and special treatment for themselves, which they never earned and do not deserve.
Additionally, all of us know people who have either been injured or paid the ultimate sacrifice in the war on terror (both from combat-related injuries and suicide once home) and we’re not going to let anyone diminish their service by claiming to have also served when, in reality, they didn’t even have the courage join the military themselves.
You’ve written a lot about local history on your Facebook page. What is your favorite historical anecdote?
We’ve always been a huge fan of anything and everything from the Roman era: their 1000 year history, society, military, commerce, etc. One of our favorite anecdotes comes from their history and deals with Julius Caesar. When Julius Caesar was young and not well known on the world stage, he was captured by some pirates and held captive for ransom (which was common in the Mediterranean during that period due to the Romans ignoring the pirates since wealthy Romans purchased slaves from them).
The pirates demanded a literal fortune for Caesar’s return; Caesar, upon hearing the amount, laughed at the pirates, informed them that they did not realize what a great and powerful man he was, and told them they should demand a lot more for his release—at which point, they demanded a ransom 250% more than their initial demands.
While the ransom was being raised, Caesar befriended the pirates, gambled with them, joined in all their games and daily activities, and even wrote speeches and poetry which he read to them—all the time telling them that, once he was released, he was going to return with a powerful navy and crucify them all.
Being a man of his word, once the ransom was paid and he was freed, Caesar returned with his navy, crushed the pirates in battle, and crucified the survivors (some stories say that Caesar showed them mercy since he had befriended them while in captivity and ordered their throats slit as they were being crucified, saving them the agony from dying by crucifixion). Caesar recovered the money which had been paid for his ransom in addition to keeping all the other worldly possessions owned by the pirates as spoils of war. One wonders why we don’t elect leaders like this today.
Do you have anything to say to people who impersonate soldiers, or misrepresent their military service?
Fuck them all—they’re not even worth teabagging.
Tactical Tea makes some great stuff. Chris was kind enough to send me samples of their Freedom Tea as well as their Soul Collector Tea, both of which I found extremely flavorful and delicious. The Soul Collector is a green tea, that doesn’t taste like grass, but rather like a rich, herbal drink that is something to wake up to, or enjoy after a hard day’s work. The same goes for the Freedom Tea. A nice orange pekoe, one could make the ultimate iced sweet tea with it, or enjoy it hot. Both teas are clearly sourced with very fresh ingredients, and their taste and smell show a commitment to quality that I’ve never before encountered with tea.
While I remain a hardcore coffee drinker, I’ve always kept tea on my shelves, and after trying Tactical Tea, I threw all the mass produced junk away. The difference between Tactical Tea and Weird Hippie Tea, and That Stuff I Found At The Grocery Store is like the difference between freedom and communism. Try it, you’ll love it, and will be supporting real American patriots at the same time.