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Our mission is to walk with women beyond the boundaries of poverty and neglect and assist them in finding their purpose.


My Cup of Tea is a non-profit, social enterprise located in the heart of Orange Mound, considered the oldest African American community in America. We import the highest quality tea from tea estates and gardens in the Far East to The House at Orange Mound, where it is weighed, re-formatted, and packaged for sale by women who impact the historic neighborhood.

Their lives are stabilized and dignified through training and purposeful work. Resources for personal and professional growth are included daily to enable them to provide for their families and serve their community.

Your purchase online or at one of our local retailers opens a pathway for positive change, upward mobility, and pride for the courageous women who prepare our tea. You can also directly donate to My Cup of Tea. 

What Customers Are Saying:

"So glad I took the time and found the time to drive over there. Lovely, lovely lovely."
Linda G.
"Excellent tea and great location in the orange mound community. The founders Mr. Richard and Mrs. Carey More have created a world class operation benefiting women in the community while proving a high quality tea product."
Dwayne J.
"It's more than a tea shop; it's a teaching facility/family for many women! They sell teas of all kinds and have entrepreneurial classes to empower women to change or enhance their lives. Please visit and patronize."
Dr. R.
"This is a GEM of a place. The staff is nice, friendly and knowledgeable of the product. This need to be you go-to place all things tea."
Keeling A.
"I ordered tea from this shop for the first time. The caramel tea was just what I was looking for. It was just like the tea I bought in Poland."
Susie E.
"Absolutely wonderful organization and outstanding tea. I cannot stop talking about this place to my family and friends. If you are in Memphis this is a must visit. My good friend Cheryl will be there to greet you with a smile."
Valisa G.
"These ladies are passionate about what they do and always eager to please and to share their life journey. And the tea is spectacular! I think I've tried most of them, but I'll return often to be sure I don't miss a single one. Right now I'm obsessed with the camomile, so pure it will help you sleep peacefully all night long!"
Melissa K.
"Always a great experience! Plus a great community program. I went for honey sticks and left with 4 packs of those, an infuser, and a mug."
"Awesome tea, inspirational ministry that empowers women!"
Rebecca E.
Sermon on The Mound

Sermon on The Mound

The Beatitudes, recorded by the apostles Luke and Matthew, ignited the hopes of the crowd on the hill as Jesus proclaimed the Kingdom of God’s open door for the ones in His midst.  They were the unlikeliest. They were underexposed to the Laws of the Torah and overexposed to the vicissitudes of life.

“Blessed,” He said, “are the poor in Spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.”

My Cup of Tea boldly operates within that Kingdom and invites prospective employees, volunteers, and guests to join us. In 2013, when we began our mission in Orange Mound all but three of our ladies began their employment with little, if any, Biblical education. Daily exposure to the Word, and to our manager Debbie H.’s irresistible witness of Christ has enriched each lady. No longer is anyone poor of Spirit or shy of the truth of God’s love.

For all who have mourned, God is accessible, His presence is available, and guidance to get there has come.  It was life-changing when Jesus preached and remains the best news today.

The apostles and disciples of the Gospel for the last 2000 years have shared the way, and Orange Mound has a vast citizenship of members within it.
“Blessed are the sat upon, spat upon, ratted on,” in the words of songwriter Paul Simon.

Blessed as well are the crushed ones, like one My Cup of Tea lady who recently slept in her car until we became aware of her situation. Her family has turned its back, but her friends and volunteers at the House have been helping her with support and offerings. Catherine T. taught her how to make jewelry to sell. She keeps her Bible open, and she calls herself blessed.

Blessed are the poor. All the ladies have struggled financially, which is what brought them to My Cup of Tea. One of the ladies, though, generously tithes her income every two weeks and has kept the payments for her bankruptcy intact and on time. She has Ginny N. to help her prepare her Bible lessons, which she has been honored to teach among her peers at her church.

“My heart is full, and though I can’t explain why my budget is working as never before, now it is. I have money at the end of the month now without fail.”

She is rich in the knowledge and experience of God’s economy.

Blessed are the former drug addicts and the abandoned, like another woman. 

“I have learned so much!” she opines. “I was in a very deep dark place, when I came here, but I am living in the light now, and I am getting my life back, the life I once had.”

She answers, “Blessed!” every time I ask her how she is. She is beautiful in spirit, drug free, and thriving.

Blessed is the underemployed, and the unemployable.  Two of our ladies are functionally illiterate. Before coming to us, they earned only minimum wage.  They hold an important and key role in our production process and are irreplaceable in our hearts and fellowship. They bless us and in their presence is an aura of joy. Their income is meeting rent and necessities.

Blessed are the emotionally starved, like our newest hire.  She came to us from foster care and unspeakable abuse from her childhood. Eight “mothers” here immediately adopted her, prayed for her, and lovingly coached her in caring for her new baby girl. She has tasted the blessing and remains in our prayers. Though she doesn’t know it quite yet, she is the apple of God’s eye.

The blessings rain down, and the floods of praise rise up.  Much of the flow of the Spirit within our walls is related to our volunteers - sisters whom we have collected and kept close. We don’t say enough about the ministry they bring to Orange Mound.  Twenty ladies bring a full lunch every weekday and have served us for 10 years. With the bounty, we have leftovers and food for the evening meal at home.

All our ladies have a close connection to at least one of the sisters who resources them with ideas and advice when asked.  Time and trust have afforded all of us authentic relationships.  There are many more sisters who donate furniture to L. Cool’s enterprise. She refurbishes and sells with the help of Shelley H. Cool has saved enough now to make an application for one of the new houses to be built soon down the block from The House.

There are experts in their fields, such as Robin B., Tracey S., and Sandy H. who give time and treasure to all.  Each has brought a professional offering that none of the ladies would be able to access or afford.

There are gardeners who coach and labor in our vegetable plantings such as Macon I., Marynell T., and Susan L. They help plant and harvest and water and weed on the hot days of summer, always encouraging, and now rejoicing in the skills the ladies have gained.

There are advisors in finance, like Paige P.  and many who shop with us and help market our tea. Some help with social media, some assist in social courtesy, and some lavish hospitality when we are out in the city in unfamiliar spaces.

The mount where this sermon was preached is not all that different from The Mound where our crowd of women is living today.  The message is the same. The sisters who help lead us resemble the apostles He chose.  All are giving their resources and genuinely loving their neighbor in Orange Mound.   I have said in this column more than once that we must know our neighbor to love her, and love always requires action.  The Gospel is advancing to the ends of the earth, as well as to the center of our City of Blues. The irony remains. The blessed poor are rich, and those giving away the riches are most blessed.

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A Mother's Hope

A Mother's Hope

Mother’s Day has come and gone again. The social media feeds are still filled with photos of mothers and accolades for all that mothers do – and rightly so.

We talk a lot about mothers when we discuss My Cup of Tea because the women working here are mothers. They represent children from eight months to over forty years old. Collectively their experiences encapsulate nearly every high and low a mother can experience. They know the joy of graduations, marriages, births, new jobs, sobriety, and healing. At the other end of the spectrum, they’ve lived through their children’s struggles with injury, addiction, arrest, imprisonment, and illness. Some have even survived the death of a child. For many, the well of despair has been dug so deep that it is hard to fathom that anything cleansing, refreshing, or revitalizing could come from it. And yet, they still hope.

My mother had the gift of hope too. Her life was a difficult one, but if she were living, she would say that her challenges paled in comparison to the ladies at My Cup of Tea. Mom was the middle child of five and grew up in our small town with limited opportunities. Money was tight in her home and throughout her entire life she labored just to make ends meet. She married young and became a mother at eighteen. Mom remarried when I was ten and became a survivor of physical and emotional abuse for the next twenty years. After finally escaping marriage to my stepfather, mom struggled with mental and physical illness for the rest of her life. She died at sixty-eight from complications of diabetes and heart disease.

Despite the hardships, what I remember most about my mother is that she was always hopeful. Mom had the innate ability to see a positive future for my sister and me, even when she couldn’t see one for herself. Mom was determined to encourage us with that hope, help us grasp the opportunities, and be around for as long as possible to see us thrive. It is that quality that I miss about my mother the most.

Perhaps the ability to instill hope is inherent in mothers. If it is naturally there inside all mothers, then it seems that the ability to tap into it and convincingly convey it is harder now. Many people are choosing recklessness and violence because they have lost hope. They can’t imagine a future where their lives are any better. Fundamental to the purpose of My Cup of Tea is providing tangible examples of the byproducts of hope – jobs, meals, safety, community, and knowledge about the Source of it all.

Christians believe that eternal hope comes from faith in Christ. We share and reinforce that message in daily, voluntary devotionals and Bible studies with the My Cup of Tea ladies. But even the most devout when confronted with tragedy and prolonged grief strain to see the Hope. So, we thank God for his mercy, for the everlasting hope in Christ, and for giving us mothers to help us see it.

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Necessity of Community

Necessity of Community

Poverty among us has a far-reaching and a long-lasting impact on the physical and mental health of the women we see in Orange Mound. Vast complications lead to social isolation that is often self-imposed and unfortunately leaves struggling women without a supportive community.

Recently three Orange Mound ladies began orientation classes with Diane, our Work Life Instructor. The several weeks of classes she teaches provide a glimpse of our philosophy, chemistry, and benefits.  Employment at My Cup of Tea comes with pay, delicious lunches, fellowship, guest speakers, garden plots, generous gifts, advocates, rides, and abundant freshly steeped world-class tea.  We also furnish tools without charge, business guidance, and encouragement to our ladies who want to attempt entrepreneurship within their personal interests and skill sets.

Last week one of the three ladies in training suffered an insulin reaction after class. Several of our employees rushed to her aid with fruit juice and prevented a potential life and death scenario. Diabetes, as well as other chronic health issues, is no stranger to us. Several have successfully lived in the disciplines of managing it for years.  We prayed for her, she stayed for lunch and fellowship, and returned the next day for class. While we ministered to her, we learned that diabetes was only part of her physical and mental health needs. The long list included a serious surgery for which she was preparing.

Two of our ladies explained to her with compassion and empathy that a job with us is secondary to her pursuit of healthful choices and a primary care physician’s care. We assured her we would pray and pointed her to the Orange Mound Christ Community Health Clinic. We told her to come back with her doctor’s permission and resume her place in our embrace. She is truly seen by us, and she knows hope and a brighter future with us is in view.

In attending class, she had benefitted from the emotional support, skills-building, and stimulation of genuine friendships that we cultivate daily.  She needed the community even more than the pay. 

The significance of community cannot be overstated. Single mothers without trusted neighbors and stable family members are missing the vital support to navigate life’s complexities and increase resilience.

When we began our mission, I mistakenly believed that there was a network of knowledge, available assistance, and many comraderies in Orange Mound. But most of the ladies who came to the House for assistance were human silos living in fear behind double-locked doors and boarded windows. We are created for social interaction. That simply is not happening among many women who live in Orange Mound.

However, that is not the case on our corner of Semmes and Carnes. Security and trusted friendship, optimism, and voices resound within. Our ladies share rides, advice, recipes, and burdens.  They make plans to be together on the weekends.  They celebrate milestones and new babies. They grieve with one another in the illnesses and losses that are common to all.  The Lord has designed our community and necessity fits our broken lives together into a body of courageous and valued women.  The sum of our caring parts far exceeds what we can do independently. We are walking in His light arm in arm.

We want more women to experience our loving atmosphere and have invited the one who is not able to be hired yet to return soon and be a contributor to the growing impact we have within and without the walls of the House in Orange Mound.  “We are changing lives, one cup at a time”, is often said. We are also changing a neighborhood one lovingly resourced woman at a time.

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