Voće Tea was founded in an effort to solve three problems, all of which involved me or members of my immediate family.
The first problem I was trying to solve involved my son. About four years ago, one of my twin boys was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Prior to his diagnosis, our family ate fairly well, but we really didn’t pay much attention to what we put in our bodies. Once we began planning meals for our son, we finally realized how difficult it is to find beverage options that are produced in a healthy, sustainable manner and don’t contain excessive amounts of sugar.
Shortly after my son's diagnosis, my wife came to me with a related complaint. She drinks ready to drink fruit flavored water on a daily basis. (Spindrift is our favorite!) Yet none of the flavored waters on the market is served hot. There are, of course, herbal teas that partially fill this void, but most herbal teas are filled with unnecessary additives—sugar, chemical flavorings, preservatives—and use highly processed, low quality ingredients. I decided there was a clear need for a high quality option in the hot beverage market.
The third reason for starting Voće emerged out of personal concerns about food security. In my day job, I'm a professor of Chinese history and religion, and I have lived for many years in China and Taiwan. Like many other people, I have been distressed by the extraordinary level of pollution I have witnessed in Asia, and I regularly refrain from consuming food products that originate in China or India. I have personally walked through tea fields that are doused in pesticides, bathed in toxic water, and enshrouded in polluted air. (My concerns about the safety of tea and fruit are explained here.) Having seen all this firsthand, it's been years since I've been comfortable drinking tea in large quantities. Although I enjoy it, I'm just not ready to jump back on the tea bandwagon.
About a year ago, all of these issues came to a head. I began to wonder why somebody couldn’t produce a high quality bagged tea that provided a convenient hot alternative to cold flavored beverages. I began infusing dried fruits in my kitchen, and six months later, Voće Tea was born. Voće is my attempt to make a hot fruit beverage for adults and children that is both delicious and healthy.