Jam Bands

Tea and Jam: A Boulderite Helps Launch a Grateful Dead Tea Brand

The Hill Tribe farmers of Northern Thailand harvest tea without using machines.
The Hill Tribe farmers of Northern Thailand harvest tea without using machines. Love Some Tea
Thirty-year-old Beach Helterbrand doesn't remember when he first saw the Grateful Dead — probably because he was only two years old at the time and sitting on his father's shoulders — but 28 years later, the Boulder native and CPA by training finds himself crunching numbers for a venture that produces ethically harvested tea from Thailand with approved branding from the legendary jam band.

"I love the mission," says Helterbrand, CFO and one of four owners of Love Some Tea, a Virginia-based company that recently created the new Grateful Tea line. "It's exciting to be a part of a company that does good things for its workers and that provides natural plantation-free teas."

Helterbrand says he appreciates the values embraced by his company and its product, which is harvested by the Karen and Lahu Hill Tribe farmers of Northern Thailand. He also enjoys the music that helped inspire the business.

"I grew up in a Deadhead household," he relates. "When your whole family has lived in Boulder since the ’60s, it's kind of hard not to be into their music. I saw my first live Furthur show in Broomfield in 2013, and I haven't missed a Colorado [Dead-related] show since. I also made it out to California in 2015 to see one of the Fare Thee Well performances for the band's fiftieth anniversary."
Six different teas with Grateful Dead-approved branding. - PHOTO BY GRATEFUL TEA
Six different teas with Grateful Dead-approved branding.
Photo by Grateful Tea

The legendarily groovy spirit of the Grateful Dead community is evident in the overall approach embraced by the new beverage-based enterprise. The company does not clear land to plant its teas and does not use machinery to harvest; the sales of the teas help the Hill Tribe farmers and their families, encouraging them to live in their traditional ways, as they have for thousands of years.

"We're focused on giving back to the farmers of Thailand and making sure that they are taken care of," Helterbrand explains. "We also do our best to minimize our environmental impact. Everything we do is recyclable and compostable. We want to take care of people and the environment. "

Grateful Teas also provides internships for two advertising students from the University of Colorado Boulder, who assist with the marketing of the products, which come in colorful cardboard canisters. The company is an official partner with Warner Media and Rhino Records, which allowed Love Some Tea to create the Grateful Tea brand.

"I'm the youngest of the owners," says Helterbrand. "They all know each other from their Deadhead days; that's how they all got connected. I haven't been to Thailand yet, but I'm waiting for the opportunity to make the trip. Everyone at our company speaks glowingly of the country."

Grateful Tea is loose-leaf tea (using organic black and green teas for a base) that's available in a few flavored varieties, including Cosmic Coconut, Minty-O, Passionate Prophet, Ramblin' Apple, Tropical Weather and Workingman's Blend. Find out where to get it here.
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Nick Hutchinson writes about music for Westword and enjoys playing his guitar when not on deadline.
Contact: Nick Hutchinson