In order to feel at home here and to understand what this Tea House is all about, please see my very first post at

Friday, December 4, 2009

the social business

Photo by: The Hostess

I'm now sipping (for the very first time) Organic Red Rooibos Tea from Peet's Coffee & Tea which had recently opened near our campus. What tea would you like to have?

I had bought a small box of this Rooibos tea (in teabag form) since I've only briefly heard about it and its health benefits and was just curious about how it tasted. To be honest with you, although the aroma of the teabag was welcoming, I am slightly disappointed. I was expecting a bitter yet refreshing taste that relaxes the senses doesn't seem to have any taste at all, although I've steeped it for more than five minutes! Any of you **Tea Mates** had rooibos yourself and think differently?

Although I didn't like the tea too much, I did try their Pumpkin Spice Latte while I was in Peet's Coffee & Tea cafe. I must say that I like their pumpkin spice latte more than either Starbucks' or Dunkin Donuts' because it feels like I'm actually drinking a coffee with legit natural flavors. (I just realized that I'm now speaking positively of coffee in a tea house!! What hypocrisy and blasphemy!! XD)

Aside from either tea or coffee, one thing that I really liked about Peet's Coffee & Tea is its aim to not only provide with quality teas and coffees, but to do so with socially, environmentally, and economically responsible practices. It also donates to and supports organizations and entities (like TechnoServe) that aim to improve the lives of the farmers it works with. Unlike some businesses that make similar claims, Peet's Coffee & Tea seems to be more transparent about how it aims to achieve such ideals and what particular organizations and entities it supports.

This may seem like a childish thought, but I wish that all the businesses out there follow such practices that is good for everyone; practices that both take and give back rather than just take till all is exhausted. It is indeed quite childishly stubborn of our "modern", "civilized", and "cultured" societies to be still doing the latter and to still associate being a "do-good-er" as being "anti-capitalist". In addition, it is ironic how even when societies may value democracy, equality, morality, etc. their economies exclude the poor and underprivileged in their own nations and/or worldwide (a topic discussed in a blog post I had shared in my last post: At times, I feel guilty of eating the food I eat, wearing the clothes I wear, etc. in our highly globalized world since I wonder whether a single poor person, an animal, or the environment has been abused or denied their full rights in order to produce and sell me such products. And it is astonishing to see that such tyranny still exists. I also feel guilty for being the one to have such luxuries while many others are denied it.

It is, however, uplifting to see the increasing awareness of individuals and businesses about the importance of equitable and sustainable trade. Instead of continuously feeling guilty and hopeless and blaming God, Fate, or any person or circumstance, I think that we must make use of this challenge and produce a positive ripple effect which can not only uplift those whom the ripple touches, but also ourselves. Otherwise, we'd paralyze ourselves with vain negative energy and that is not adaptive for us or anyone. I think we should also consider that the underprivileged have much more to teach us and that we ourselves are "poor"; we are just too arrogant to acknowledge that. I could go on and on about how in the end we are all "poor" but I'd rather leave it up to you to reflect in your own way and maybe possibly promote discussion.

After blabbering about being thankful, charitable, and socially minded in my previous two or three posts, I now present to you a video of a speech about the concept of a "social business" from Muhammad Yunus, founder of the Grameen Bank. My professor of  my Social Entrepreneurship class showed us this video and I'm glad that I found it myself to share it with you (this is not a complete video though and I highly recommend watching the full video via the button already provided (watch full program) or look it up in, the question and answers part in the ending is not to be missed. Oh, and don't forget to pause the background song by pressing the pause button on the Ipod gadget on the right side bar of the blog before playing the video!):

From your Tea Mate,
Reema B. :-)


  1. Thank you Patrick and thanks so much for stopping by the Tea House! By the way, I see that you are from Malaysia, I had traveled there twice and its among my favorite destinations! :-D