“What’s her name?” I asked Gordie Nathan of Tap Twice Tea. He replied, “Not sure. I sent the photo to Jody. But I imagine he’s in a tea jungle somewhere between India and Nepal…” This sums up the life of the owners of Tap Twice Tea, Gordie Nathan and Jody Beavers. They love tea and the community it coalesces. Their journey began when they created a tea-buying club. The plan was to garner a greater variety and better tea pricing. The idea blossomed into a partnership that sources quality loose-leaf teas from around the world.
Beavers travels with a focus on finding small family-run operations. He stays with the families and works the tea farms from which Tap Twice Tea sources its tea. An example of such a plantation is a small community in Nepal looking for ways to provide a livelihood for needy community members. Beavers, said, “Our teas are sourced responsibly, and we know the exact source of each batch of tea.”
The term “Tea Company” understates their profound understanding and dedication to tea. One partner manages the orders in their offices in the Mission District offices while the other searches for unique tea. “We never intended to start a company. Tap Twice Tea drew us into a community that we enjoyed. We felt that the teas and the conviviality they brought were having a positive effect on our lives. We were able to better connect with others around the tea table. Our health seemed to improve, and we found tea to be good companion to our creativity,” Said Beavers.
I didn’t fully understand that comment until I sat in their apartment surrounded by a diverse group of very interesting people. The only thing everyone had in common was a love of tea.
As he poured, Nathan described the region in which each tea was grown and described the influence location has on taste. We drank twenty different teas, each one unique in flavor and aroma. Complete explanations of all the teas enriched the experience.
With each cup of tea the diverse group relaxed and the conversation drifted. We heard of a visit to an art museum in Tasmania that had a model of the human digestive system. Yes, from beginning to end. www.mona.net.au Somehow the conversational spotlight drifted to San Francisco restaurant workers’ vulnerability when returning home after work. The loosely linked discussion swirled through as many topics as there were teas.
The term “tap twice” is a gesture of gratitude given the tea server. The custom originated in a Yam Cha tea serving. Evidently, during the Qing dynasty the emperor attended a tea serving incognito. A dilemma emerged when tradition gave the emperor the responsibility to serve. Custom required that people kowtow in deference to the emperor. Obviously, such an action would expose the dignitary. So the person being served tapped the table in gratitude with three fingers. Two fingers symbolized outstretched arms while the other was the bowed head. The story has it that gesture of gratitude carries forward in tea serving today.
The name Beavers and Nathan gave their company artfully demonstrates their gratitude for both the tea and the group of people it gathers together.
Tap Twice http://www.taptwicetea.com/ teas can be bought on line, Local Mission Market and Rainbow Grocery here in the Mission, and at Driver’s Market in Sausalito.