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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.
Reading the Writing on the Wall

Reading the Writing on the Wall

Jeremiah 29:7” Seek the peace and prosperity of the city (neighborhood) to which I have carried you into exile”.

Orange Mound isn’t exactly exilic, but many who live here feel they are in exile compared to the prosperous and gated neighborhoods they drive past.

We are not gated here; we are boarded up.  Windows are nailed shut, doors are bolted, and crime is ubiquitous looking and finding foot holds where we let our defenses slack.

Memphis has received yet another unwanted distinction. We are THE most dangerous city in America according to FBI statistics. We are a proud city despising that nomenclature.  We who are loyal and committed are determined to bring peace. I imagine most in our city who still want to initiate law, order, peace, and safety would consider Orange Mound as a logical place to start remediation.

Last week I invited 5 of our employees into a conversation and asked what might be contributing to our community’s high crime rate. One said,

“Babies are having babies, and don’t know how to raise a child in the way he should go”, as she quoted Proverbs 22:6.  

Another added, “

Young kids are walking around with guns in their hip pocket, skipping school and joining gangs”. 

“No decent jobs,” answered a third.

What can a dozen women working in a tea company in a crime-ridden neighborhood do to further peace and safety? Could we find courage to step in where there is a need we can help meet? 

“The teens don’t listen to us” said the fourth, and mother of yet another teen who is pregnant and expecting a baby boy this winter.

“What is our responsibility as citizens to the young women who are birthing children in their teens?  What is our role for reaching their babies?” I asked.

One answer to a complicated problem with many needed interventions can be found in improving literacy. Members of three churches have stepped up to address struggling literacy rates in our public schools.  Arise 2 Read, a successful, faith-based literacy intervention nonprofit has agreed to guide us.

The statistics are heavy-laden as of May 24, 2023, 84% of third graders in Shelby County did not meet proficiency requirements on the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP). Professionals who administer and evaluate the results attribute this to the tragic truth that 76% of these third graders in Shelby County cannot read at grade level.

Experts universally agree that reading proficiency by the end of the third grade is one of the crucial markers in a child’s educational development. Failure to read proficiently by then is linked to high rates of school dropout, which impacts their confidence, productivity, and contributions to the community.  My pastor has said that prisons expand as students drop out of school.

Sixty-five percent of students who are not reading on grade level by 4th grade will eventually be incarcerated or on welfare. By contrast, 89% of students who are proficient by 4th grade will graduate from high school drastically improving the chances they will thrive as adults.

If a child is not reading in the third grade, he or she will most likely eventually drop out of school and look for something to do with lots of time and no diploma to leverage for a job.  The statistics continue to predict that unsupervised youth find each day full of dangerous options, and their choices include drugs, car theft, reckless driving, and gun violence. High school dropouts are 3.5 times more likely to be arrested than their peers who complete high school, for example.

I asked all five ladies if they would be willing to help second graders learn to read at our neighborhood elementary school, and they said “yes”.

Two who said “yes”, became proactive and attended training by Arise 2 Read last Thursday night. Now, within a week’s time they have joined 500 more women and men who want to be part of the solution for our stressed public schools. Low literacy rates in our elementary schools are a burdensome and sobering fact, and though we can’t enforce criminal laws ourselves, we can coach a 7-year-old how to read at grade level.

 The investment of time, which is one hour a week, and prayer will be faith-wrapped. 

But when the righteous prosper the city rejoices and there is dancing in the streets”, Proverbs 11:10. 

 The righteous are those citizens who are seeking peace for our city.

 Prov.11:11 encourages us,

 “Through the blessing of the upright a city is exalted.”

 “A kind-hearted woman gains honor.” Prov 11:16.

 In a few weeks, our ladies will join other coaches commencing fresh relationships with second graders, the graduating class of  2032.

This Spring 8000 Memphis kids will drop out of high school, if conservative estimates prevail.

 We must try.

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Two mature Black women exchange Christmas gifts

No Breaks with Tradition

“People thrive when they have a mix of new and novel experiences combined with steadfast foundations like a home, family, routines, and traditions.”

This is the opening sentence in an article from Psychology Today by Dr. Kimberly Key. It could almost serve as a reimagined mission statement for My Cup of Tea. At its core, our mission is to help women in Orange Mound “thrive” vocationally and spiritually.  We introduce them to “novel experiences” like gardening, food preparation, and properly steeping and drinking hot tea. We want The House to feel like a “home” and the employees and volunteers to feel like “family.” Every day is filled with “routines,” like prayer and lunch together. After years of working together in the Orange Mound community, we have our traditions, too.


A slender Black woman holds a blue birthday cake and wear a brooch of cash on her lapel

Celebrating a co-worker’s birthday is a common workplace occurrence, but at The House we do it special. It starts as soon as the doors open in the morning. All sorts of breakfast fare provided by the honoree’s co-workers are spread across our kitchen table. The “birthday lady” enjoys fruit, pastries, juice, and most of the usual delectables that comprise a Continental Breakfast.

A clothespin is attached to the uniform of the honoree and throughout the day co-workers and guests fill it with various denominations of cash. The celebrant wears the money-filled clip the entire day like a large brooch and typically goes home with a handsome sum.

After lunch, there is the customary birthday cake, but not the traditional, tired rendition of the “Happy Birthday” song. The version the My Cup of Tea ladies sing is boisterous, enthusiastic and involves clapping, dancing, and laughing. It is impossible not to feel loved and celebrated when the ladies sing “Happy Birthday.”

Garden Days

From the early spring to late fall, Wednesdays are “garden days.” We have written often about the vegetable gardens at The House. Every woman who wants a garden has a garden and “hump days” are generally reserved for that activity. When they weed, plant, or harvest, the ladies are not alone. They are usually joined by volunteers with gardening expertise who help them maintain the gardens and suggest what will grow well. If the work in the vegetable garden is light, there is always the large herb garden in the back that needs tending or flower in the various beds surrounding The House. The vegetables and herbs are important for staving off food insecurity, but the conversations and camaraderie are just as nutritious. From discussions about various ways to prepare squash to deep spiritual truths, time together in the gardens is about sharing and learning.


Many families take their Christmas traditions for granted, but many of the women we have served over the years didn’t have holiday traditions until they arrived at My Cup of Tea. The My Cup of Tea ladies enjoy a hearty holiday lunch with volunteers, but the climax of the celebration is when their “Secret Santas” are revealed. Weeks prior to the event, each lady draws the name of a co-worker and keeps it to herself. She purchases a gift using the money she has earned working at My Cup of Tea and the knowledge she’s learned about the recipient. One at time, the ladies open their gifts for everyone to see and learn who is their “Secret Santa.” The “Santas” explain why they chose the gift for their recipient, and there are usually tears, laughter, and excessive Christmas joy.

Prayer Sessions

Maybe the most important traditions we have at My Cup of Tea are our impromptu prayer sessions. It is understood that anyone at The House, the volunteers, friends or relatives, or our Orange Mound neighbors can ask for prayer at any time. Just show up and ask and everything stops. We gather around the person and pray as specifically or generically as they have requested, trusting that our Heavenly Father hears and answers in His perfect way and time.

When My Cup of Tea was founded, it was not explicitly part of our plan to establish traditions. Traditions come about because of our need for belonging, continuity, and the ability to trust in something or someone. These traditions sprung up organically, in part because most of the women we have served lacked a place or purpose to which they could belong. Most had little to no continuity in their lives from having a place to go and work daily, a place to live for an extended period, or people on whom they could rely. Specific details of the traditions may change over time, but the women of My Cup of Tea know that they can count on them to happen, and they can trust the people who are a part of them.

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Won't You Be My Neighbor

Won't You Be My Neighbor

Last month many Memphians experienced power insecurity as rarely seen before when the power grid was down for days.  The delays in restoring the power frustrated all who were waiting, as well as those who were feverishly at work in record heat indexes to recover it.

Hot heads committed felonious acts, and a sense of desperation dogged the “dog days of summer.” When an entire block is down, there is no impetus to be neighborly.

Two ladies on a custom motorcycle

Most of us don’t know our neighbors anyway. A recent poll states only 26% of Americans have said they really know their neighbors. Professor of Sociology, Rebecca Adams has noted “There are a few key conditions necessary for developing neighborly friendship. Included are: proximity, repeated unplanned interactions, and a setting that encourages people to let their guard down.”

Perhaps the lack of sidewalks and front porches and commercial businesses within their neighborhood have kept most Memphians merely waving and rarely talking to a bystander. We drive by unsociable.

Sidewalks, commerce, and front porches abound in Orange Mound.  Nevertheless, doors stay locked to a knock, and no one is rocking on the veranda. Creditors and predators make house calls here and hospitality is a lost art to caution and defense.

The NIV translation of the Bible says “Love your neighbor” 508 times. Obeying that charge is our mission at The House, and we are gaining on it.

At My Cup of Tea our employees are beloved neighbors, though none live on our block. Many were without power in July’s extended heat advisory. Normally hot

Two women assembling tea boxes

days lead to hot and angry reactions, but not so with our ladies.  The patience in inconvenient times is unmistakable and the creativity they show is uncommon.  Deborah instructed all to use wet towels as a light cover when trying to sleep.  Many volunteers brought food and beverages. We who had power offered extra sleeping arrangements for those who had nailed shut windows and intentionally bolted doors.  The House stayed open, and most were able to come and refresh as our utilities never stopped.

Vulnerable, yet never overcome, the ladies could have taught techniques and lessons to many Memphians who were stuck in the unlucky parts of town. There is always an exchange of tricks and tips among our women who work at the tea company.

In the 10 years we have been working with women in Orange Mound, our mission has always been to be present and trustworthy. The Kingdom advances only through relationships of love and availability.  Befriending takes time and emotional energy.  God calls us to entangle our lives in thick and thin, cold and hot, clean and dirty, darkness and light, easy and hard, and we do this very well.

A older white woman and older black woman hugging

Recently, each of the ladies selected a Volunteer/Sister from one of the dozens who come here to be her personal mentor.  Authentic friendships have superseded the initial awkward attempts to be more than an acquaintance.   Our volunteers have been unwavering in their commitment to know the ladies without judgement or patronym.

All the coupled ladies are meeting once a week to share the common threads that occupy our prayers and needs and hopes.  I am convinced there is no obligation among any, for there is an air of excitement.  Several have gone out to dinner together, and two had a date to the movies.

Some are sharing Bible study, and some are working shoulder to shoulder in the tasks for the day. Neighborly love is swarming around us, and our rocking chairs are slapping in rhythm on the porch.

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