FAQ with Sky White - Founder/CEO of Wendigo Tea Co.
Q. Why is your tea so expensive?
It matters what you are comparing us to. There are thousands of tea companies fighting over selling you cheap garbage tea. If your experience is exclusively with those kinds of companies, then yes, we are going to be at a higher price point than you are used to. Wendigo Tea has ZERO interest in competing with them. We are proud to do our own thing here.
Our company really makes a lot more sense if you think of us as ridiculous tea fans that will do anything to drink the best possible cup. We simply won't carry a tea if anyone else can do it better, so if you want an incredible tea experience, then you should give us a try. If you are new to Wendigo Tea, I would start here.
Q. Why is your tea so affordable?
We purposely have a very limited roster of teas so that we minimize shipping, packaging, and labor costs. Our sources are the actual growers or exporters directly associated with the growers, so we eliminate middlemen. (This also makes our tea not sit in a warehouse for ages before it makes it to you!) We really want Wendigo Tea to help supply incredible tea for the few out there that would truly appreciate what we do, so we work hard to keep our prices as low as possible for tea of this quality. Enough humans drink tea daily that if we can supply tea that is so good that you will want to keep ordering it FOREVER, then we all get to keep drinking awesome tea all the time.
Q. How do I make it?
All tea has unique steep times, temperature requirements, and suggested brewing styles. Most store-bought tea tastes boring, so many people are trained to steep as long and hot as possible in order to get anything at all out of that dumb little soggy bag. All of our teas come with suggested brewing that is very easy to understand and follow.
If you are lacking a way to brew loose tea, then you can be as fancy or cheap as you want. I traveled the world with just a mason jar and a metal mason jar lid that I'd cock the lid to the side a bit to filter out the tea leaves while pouring. And I have done all sorts of dumb stuff like filtering through paper towels at a gas station when I needed my morning Japanese Sencha while traveling. If you are a coffee person, then you can use a French Press if you have one laying around. The most useful and utilitarian tea tool is this, though. I cannot overstate the usefulness of a stainless steel steeper enough. Don't feel overwhelmed, though, because brewing good tea can be thought of as adding tea leaves to hot water and then removing the leaves so you can drink it.
For those of you that have an unbreakable attachment to your teabags, we have our most popular tea now available in a premium teabag. Nobody puts awesome tea in a teabag because those who drink premium tea know how to brew loose tea, but I wanted to make it as easy for you as possible to get converted away from bad tea.
Q. What is a Wendigo?
If you haven't noticed yet, our teas are all named after cryptids, beasts, and lore. "Wendigo" specifically comes from Algonquian lore with a wide range of depictions. Some see the Wendigo as an evil spirit or devil-like entity that punishes those who cross moral (or literal lines) that should not be crossed, such as the Laws of Nature. There are some places that mankind should not go, and if you do, then a Wendigo will get you. Insatiable hunger (even to the point of cannibalism) and greed is a sign of Wendigo possession. And the word for many is too evil to even say... Luckily for us, there are dozens of pronunciations of the original translation. The spelling we use is more of the westernized understanding of Wendigo as a cryptid or unknown entity that lives deep in the woods.
Out of respect, I stay away from the other spellings that are more culturally associated with ancestral faith.
Q. Why in the world would you name your company after that???
While the possible ways of interpreting the stories are varied, there is one overarching theme that speaks specifically to me, which is "Don't F%#$ with Nature."
So many of our food sources are getting pulled further and further away from natural processes. Humans usually take these paths because it is more profitable, but we are dealing with unknowable amounts of damage we are causing to our environment and ourselves. We use Wendigo more as a guide to not be swayed by greed and to stay true to nature.
Q. Are all of your teas Organic?
Many of our teas are certified US organic, but we omit that on the branding. We tend to be fans of EU standards for international foods, especially Chinese and Indian tea, as it includes additional safeguards against organic pesticides that the rest of the world has found carcinogenic and strict genetic modification controls. It also gets weird when growers use organic processes but aren't allowed to use the word "organic" if it isn't certified... I personally still regularly buy organic, but with tea, there are a few reasons it is kind of an incomplete identifier for what we are looking for.
If certified US organic is important to you, then stick with our Wendigo Green Tea, Kappa Matcha, Siren Vocal Health Herbal Tea, and Baba Yaga Herbal Mushroom Coffee.
Q. What do I do if my order was wrong or vanished in the mail?
Email me at Sky@wendigotea.com, and I'll take care of it.
We are humans listening to records and having fun drinking tea while shipping stuff out. We are going to make mistakes, and our current record is about one of every two hundred orders is missing a product or we did something dumb like ship the wrong item. We'll make it more than right for you.
Q. I really want to get into tea, but I just don't like tea.
Well, there has been a renaissance in most beverages in the US, especially coffee and beer. Coffee, for example, a few decades ago used to only be convenient at gas stations or making at home. This coffee tasted awful, by the way... Now there are incredible coffee shops covering every city in America. So if you have a taste for quality and you are exposed to premium coffee regularly and still only exposed to bad tea, then of course you shouldn't like tea. It may take a while getting over a lifetime of negative association with tea. We can help you with that if you would like!
Q. How do I get my water temperature right?
Getting the water temperature right for your tea is essential for a perfect brew. Here are some guidelines to help you achieve the ideal temperature:
Use a kettle with a thermometer: One of the most accurate ways to control water temperature is to use a kettle with a built-in thermometer or a separate kitchen thermometer. Heat the water to the desired temperature, and you're good to go. If you are trying to treat yourself, then we usually have these pour over kettles in stock. It is what I personally use every day.
Boiling and cooling: If you don't have a thermometer-equipped kettle, you can boil the water and then let it cool for a specific amount of time. Here are some common water temperature recommendations:
- 200°F + (93°C+): Suitable for black tea, puer, and herbal infusions. Pour the boiling water directly over the tea leaves or tea bag.
- 185°F (85°C): Suitable for white teas, with different types requiring different temperatures. Experiment to find the best temperature for your specific white tea.
- 175°F (80°C): Suitable for green teas like our Wendigo Green Tea and Nessy Jasmine Green Tea. Boil the water and let it cool for a few minutes.
- 160-185°F (71-85°C): Suitable for oolong teas, with different types requiring different temperatures. Experiment to find the best temperature for your specific oolong tea. Lighter color oolongs tend to be at a lower temperature range and darker oolongs such as our King Dragon and Skunk-Ape require higher temperature range.
- Use an electric kettle with temperature control: Electric kettles with variable temperature settings are available. These allow you to select the precise temperature you need for your tea, eliminating the need to cool the water separately. We like this one!
Visual cues: If you don't have a thermometer or temperature-controlled kettle, you can rely on visual cues. For example, for green tea, you can heat the water until it's hot but not boiling, with small bubbles forming on the bottom of the kettle.
Remember that the water temperature can significantly impact the flavor of your tea, so it's worth experimenting to find the perfect temperature for your favorite teas.