Happy Chinese New Year from Seven Cups

This new year is the year of the water tiger. It will be a year full of challenges and changes that will take courage, curiosity, spontaneity to solve. That sounds pretty good to me. It also marks twenty years that Seven Cups Tea has been in business, twenty-one years if you count the year I purchased tea to start the business. It has also been twenty years since I met my wife, Zhuping, and this year will mark our nineteenth anniversary and eighteen years since our teahouse opened.

In that time, we have served our community through our teahouse. Before it opened, we built a customer base selling tea at a local farmers’ market. At the time, we were selling unknown grades of tea at prices not understood by most American consumers.

A cozy teahouse interior brightly lit by natural light from a large window.
The early days Tucson teahouse in 2007.

When we opened our teahouse in 2004, the oddsmakers didn’t give us a year. The Tucson community pulled us through. One of the main reasons a Chinese teahouse exists in Tucson, Arizona, is that I live here, and there is nowhere else I want to live. Nevertheless, we are now an internationally recognized brand and are at the top of a niche within the tea industry. We have sold tea to thousands of customers in more than one hundred countries through our website. Our brokerage and wholesale services have continued to grow, and we now have customers located in the US, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Denmark, Norway, Germany, Sweden, and Australia. We are grateful for the opportunity to share tea with like-minded people from around the world.

The core of our business is located in Tucson and revolves around our teahouse. We have won a lot of awards and recognition over the years. Travel + Leisure magazine named us as one of the best places in America to have a cup of tea. We thank our customers for being by our side during the highs and lows and helping us thrive.

Our teahouse is a cultural creation of my wife, Zhuping. She wanted to bring the Chinese culture and heritage that she experienced throughout her travels across China to the US. It’s been our dream to create a little piece of China here in Tucson and to immerse our customers in its wonderful culture with a cup of tea. It has become an institution for many people, as a teahouse ought to be. It is a marker of a civilized community, and whoever enters, poor or rich, gets treated with dignity and respect. It’s not a holy place, but a social one, where people can talk and share a good cup of tea that is prepared with skill. Under the guidance of Zhuping, our knowledgeable staff can answer any question that you may have and works hard to make sure that customers have a memorable experience.  No dust will be found in our teahouse in our dusty town because no detail goes unnoticed.

A group of people gathered in front of a building with large baskets of freshly harvested tea leaves in front of them.
Austin and Zhuping visiting tea producers in Da Pu County, Guangdong Province.

I also have to mention our incredible suppliers and tea makers. We stand on their shoulders and cherish our relationships with them. Every tea we have is sourced directly from them, more than 30 of them in almost every tea-growing area in China. Some of them are now multigenerational, and we are honored to share their legacy and bring their tea to you. They also supply our customers and us with a depth of information unmatched in the industry so that you can know everything there is to know about the teas you enjoy drinking. From the beginning, one of our values has been to be completely transparent, but we go way beyond the basics. We care deeply for the people who make our teas for allowing us to supply their exceptional teas to our customers. We even have Chinese immigrants that send our tea back to China, where it might be harder to get than it is for Tucsonians.

It has been our mission at Seven Cups to enhance the lives of people that we come in contact with as a company. We hope that we have been able to do that for you, even in a small way. If not, we’ll keep trying. After twenty years, please forgive my bragging.


Happy New Year


Austin Hodge



A special salute to our staff, ten people that show up every day to fill orders quickly, hand pack all of our precious tea, manage our complex seasonal inventory, do personal customer service, do creative marketing, make tea for people and keep their cups full, keep the teaware clean, maintain our website, write our weekly newsletter, post to social media, and keep the books and keep the dust from settling.