LeafLeaf Journal, Note 001
Dear fellow Human,
This being LeafLeaf’s first note, I suppose it’s polite to introduce myself: my name is Alex Basler and I am the Founder (& self-proclaimed Brewmaster) here at LeafLeaf Inc., a small-batch ready-to-drink tea (RTD) company with a home base in Tucson, Arizona.
We seek to offer nutritious, wholesale, ready-to-drink teas of unparalleled quality to retailers nationwide.
LeafLeaf’s beverages are the harmonious fusion of traditional Chinese whole leaf tea, full-spectrum hemp extract (CBD), and organic mushrooms — no, not the magical kind — for a healthy body and a balanced mind. I am excited to announce that we will begin brewing micro batches of our 100% recyclable teas in January of 2020, available exclusively to the Tucson market to start. As we validate and grow, we will expand our reach throughout the Southwest region and beyond.
All of our ingredients are transparently-sourced and while our teas are not currently USDA Organic-certified, we opt for fair trade & organic-sourced ingredients in all of our formulations. While we are by no means an energy drink, all of our teas contain the equivalent of roughly half a cup of coffee, so you can think of LeafLeaf as your grab-n-go morning brew, or as your post-lunch pick-me-up.
Our information age is promoting a new wave of enlightened, health-minded consumers who are always searching for the next best product. With the increasing popularity of CBD, there is an equally-rising flood of hemp-derived products that are hitting shelves in cities nationwide. Consumers of these products — us — are often taken advantage of through false claims, unknown ingredients, and excessive prices in order to fulfill profit-based agendas. Transparency, from ingredient sourcing to sustainability, is commonly left off of the table — or in this case, the label. We need better options that place people over profits. Our mission is to challenge the status quo of the beverage industry in pursuit of a healthy, transparent, and sustainably-minded future.
LeafLeaf is the first tea beverage of its kind and you have my promise that we will remain committed to the open sourcing of our tea leaves and all supplementary ingredients, always.
Our ingredients partners are masters within their [quite literal] respective fields. Utilizing only top quality ingredients allows us to eliminate the need for flavor masks such as sugars, concentrates, and powders that still dominate the nearly 11-billion-dollar RTD tea market. Instead, our brewing techniques focus on extracting the most natural flavor out of the tea leaves through our contemporized brewing process — a convergence of science and tradition.
Without delving too much into the nitty gritty of the science behind tea, mushrooms, and CBD, as this will come in the form of following articles, each bottle we hand-brew in Tucson contains a specific curation of synergistic ingredients that provide as much utility as they do flavor. For example, in the case of our Organic Shade-Grown Matcha tea, matcha is naturally packed with antioxidants, such as EGCg, and is boosted by 800mg of cordyceps mushrooms, which is a centuries-old remedy for fatigue, immune disorders, and cardiovascular disease. The shade-growing process of the tea results in an increased amount of L-Theanine, which is the amino acid in tea leaves that provide you with the ‘calm-focus’ feeling.
Complimenting this calm focus is 30mg of full-Spectrum hemp extract (meaning CBD extracted with all naturally-occurring source compounds), which has potential non-psychoactive benefits, such as reduced anxiety and inflammation. CBD directly affects the endocannabinoid system, which is present in all animals, by interacting with our endocannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2. This interaction is scientifically thought to promote systemic homeostasis — or essentially, internal and external balance. I believe that many of us on this planet, myself included, are actively looking to achieve balance — homeostasis — in our daily lives. In my own life, this has become a sort of reoccurring theme.
My hometown of Cedar Rapids, Iowa is known as the City of Five Seasons, with the fifth ‘season’ being a reminder to enjoy the other four. There is a towering concrete tree downtown that depicts this through five equally-spaced branches that meet in the middle. Thinking back now, trying to answer the why LeafLeaf question, I can’t help reminiscing on my time growing up there and that concrete tree. What stands out in my memories are the little details: the sand as my toes sink into the summer lake, the vibrant colors of the changing flora, the smell of Cap’n Crunch day at the Quaker Oats factory, and freezing Christmas leftovers on the porch because the fridge is full. Like Cedar Rapids’ fifth season, I want each LeafLeaf tea to be a subtle reminder to slow down and find your balance.
Just over seven years ago, while struggling to balance my own life, I signed an eight year contract with the United States Army Reserves to become a Paralegal Specialist (a 27-Delta, as I would say) after a year of studying architecture at the University of Arizona. Although at the time I said I was doing it for the tuition assistance, I think that deep down I was was really doing it out of excitement a new, unknown challenge. I found the training to be rewarding, and I learned, albeit the hard way, to appreciate something that I hadn’t experienced prior in my life: community. Upon returning from training, I picked up architecture courses once again and found myself quickly surrounded by a new community — one that I resonated with more than the Army (however, I still maintain the utmost respect for my fellow service men and women). Four years following, it was that community that helped myself and many others see the program through to graduation, and it is that community that I still surround myself with today.
There is much to be gained through struggle and hardship — and through perseverance.
The strongest human bonds I’ve ever seen have been between soldiers who’ve shared the battlefield together. Beyond the military, travel has reinforced the importance of education through hardship to me time and time again. During the Summer of 2015, myself and two trusted companions, Andrew & Miguel, agreed that it’d be a great idea to race an open-air Tuk Tuk (this one) 3,500km across India over a span of five weeks, once again, teased by the prospect of a new adventure. It was there in India, 8,500 miles from home, stomach-sick and coated in unidentifiable layers of grime from endlessly Tuk-Tukking, where I was inaugurated into the world of true, quality tea for the first time. Tasting fresh-brewed cups from Shillong down to Kochi right alongside the fields where the leaves were grown leaves quite a lasting impression. As it turns out, so does getting a penicillin shot in the ass in front of a village from food sickness, but that’s a story for another time.
Upon returning from India, I began viewing life (and my tea drinking habits) from a new perspective. Along the way, I had discovered the importance of respect for the land and others, and I grew to further appreciate the power of community. Here in our desert community of Tucson, we are lucky to have a renowned tea shop and international tea importer of our own that shares our same values: Seven Cups Fine Chinese Teas. With their help, we are now able to source the best grade teas for use in our formulations. I would like to take this moment to thank the members of the Seven Cups team for their dedication, care, and knowledge of tea that they have kindly shared over the past seven years. Fast forward to present day and here we are. We’re the new beverage on the block…er, the shelf, but we’re not new to the game.
We’re after a healthy, transparent, and sustainably-minded future that uses socially-conscious & science-backed ingredients, and we plan to lead by example. We aim to inspire connections between us humans, our beverages and practices, and this planet we all share — our global community.
I thank you for taking the time to read my first words and hope that LeafLeaf’s teas help you as much as building LeafLeaf has already helped me. I ask that, if you are interested in knowing about LeafLeaf’s product evolution & availability, to please add yourself to our digital email list in the footer of this page. Please do not hesitate to reach out us if you have any questions along the way or if you are interested in learning more — I may always be reached at [email protected].
Founder & CEO, LeafLeaf Inc.