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our story

A small but nimble family-owned company.


Our story begins like all human life: with Mom. She imprinted on the company's founders the idea that tea was important, and good tea was an integral part of a good life. We grew up drinking Mom's special blend of Indian and Chinese teas, which she served guests in lieu of coffee.

But mom took her sweet time turning her passion into a business. After all, she was mom, raising kids, making meals, receiving guests. Only when her children were grown, did she finally turn energies to brewing tea for the public, and dreamt of opening a tearoom.
First-born Michael offered to help Mom in her research, which uncovered that a tearoom can't succeed on tea alone. Most offer sandwiches, salads and soups, rendering them restaurants in all but name. No one in the family relished the idea of running a restaurant, yet bringing gourmet tea to a country that barely knew it was an idea we couldn't shake. It fell to younger son Ilya to suggest that online sales would offer the most efficient means of bringing Mom's dream to fruition. Furthermore, everyone agreed that offering tea nationally rather than locally was far more exciting.

Conveniently, Ilya is a technical whiz who was growing weary of a job on Wall Street. Michael was also ready for a challenge, having just returned from the frontiers of Eastern Europe. The brothers, armed with mom's passion for tea, created an online tea store they called Adagio, a musical term meaning "slow," or "at ease." The word perfectly captured tea helping us unwind, slow down and relax.
adagio teas old website
one of the old versions of adagio website
What about product? We began with a domestic supplier. When our carefully selected teas arrived, the markings on the boxes indicated that some were a few years old. The salesperson assured us that the carefully packaged teas were impervious to aging, but we knew differently and began a search for fresher sources. This led us to Germany, the epicenter of global tea trade. Freshness and quality improved, but there were still limits to selection and a sense of mystery about the origins of our products. In search of these, we began visiting and forging relations with tea growers in Asia. Now all the teas we offer come direct from the farmers who painstakingly cultivate them. We invite you to meet them by visiting our Roots.

tea growing region
Like all happy family stories, ours too comes back to Mom. The company she birthed had grown to three facilities (NJ, CA and UK) to speed delivery to a million happy customers. We're also perfecting a retail model (three Chicagoland locations) that we plan to expand to a location near you. Needless to say, Mom is very proud.
warehouse
warehouse
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our east coast warehouse


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