Morning Hope: Deep Ellum tea shop holds special mission for Army combat vets

DALLAS - Something special is brewing at Rakkasan Tea Company in Deep Ellum.

"We try to stay true to the way we learned to drink tea. It's kind of our origin. We don't have all the fancy stuff in the office for that reason," Brandon Friedman said.

For Brandon Friedman and Terrence Kamauf, the tea journey began while both were serving in Iraq and Afghanistan as part of the US Army's 101st Airborne Division.

“When we spent time in these places, we did a lot of tea drinking. We didn't do any business with locals in Iraq or Afghanistan unless it was over tea,” Friedman.

Kamauf and Freidman kept in touch over social media and, eventually, Rakkasan Tea Company was born.

“It came out of the blue for me," Kamauf said. "He'd been thinking about it for a few months so he contacted me.”

Rakkasan brings tea from post-war countries into the US market to boost that country's economies and provide Americans with unique teas from around the world.

“We've seen firsthand what happens to communities that are affected and impacted by war, and we have seen how they struggle to get back on their feet,” Friedman said.

And the teas come from all over. “We have tea from Rwanda, Vietnam, Nepal, Laos, Sri Lanka,” Friedman said.

The pair are providing teas that most people in the this country have never had the opportunity to taste. “The altitude, the rainfall, the soil content; this all affects the feel and mouth-taste of the tea. We're bringing in tea that has different character," Friedman said.

But Rakkasan doesn't stop with great tasting tea that helps revive post-war economies; they also employ US veterans, bringing each sip full circle.

“We always say we want to help communities recover from war -- at home and abroad," Friedman said.

You can purchase teas from around the world at Rakkasantea.com or visit them at Saturday's at the Coppell Farmers Market! You can also find Rakkasan at various boutiques around DFW.