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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.

ABOUT MY CUP OF TEA

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."
KB M.
★★★★★
"Awesome tea, inspirational ministry that empowers women!"
Rebecca E.
A Leap of Faith

A Leap of Faith

If you’ve been distracted lately by the romance between some football player and a musician, you may not have realized that February has 29 days this year, not 28. Twenty twenty-four is a Leap Year, but besides delaying the beginning of March, what is the significance of it?

As a matter of science, the earth’s orbit around the sun is not exactly 365 days. It is closer to 365.2422 days. Over time, if the calendar is not adjusted to compensate for nearly an extra quarter of a day each year, the alignment between our calendar and our seasons becomes skewed. So, Julius Cesar with help from the Egyptians invented what we now refer to as Leap Year.

Beyond the science, the quirkiness of adding an extra day once every four years has spawned a number of peculiar traditions and observances. For example, in 5th Century Ireland, Saint Bridget convinced Saint Patrick that women should have a day when they are allowed to propose to a man. Saint Patrick agreed and endorsed women having a day to propose…once every 4 years. Thus, Leap Day became known as Bachelor’s Day.

Adding to the tradition across Europe, Queen Margaret of Scotland decreed that if the man declined the proposal from the woman, he must pay a fine of one pound up to a silk gown. It is unclear why some men paid a pound and others the excessive silk gown fine – maybe it was based in the vehemence of the rejection or whether he declined in public. To further spice up the infrequent occasion, at some point women were allowed to wear red petticoats presumably to signal to the world and the would-be husband that a proposal was at hand. And speaking of hands, in Denmark men who rejected a proposal were required to purchase 12 pairs of gloves so the women could disguise the embarrassment of not having a ring.

In Taiwan, married daughters are required to come home on Leap Day to prepare a meal for their aging parents. And the meal is just not any old meal. Daughters bring and cook the ingredients for Pig Trotter Noodles. What are Pig Trotter Noodles, you ask? Pig trotters are pig’s feet, and rice noodles are stewed in pig’s feet broth. The meal is said to be so delicious that it guarantees good fortune and health to the parents.

In Germany’s Rhineland, boys place a small, ribboned birch tree on the step of a girl they are “sweet on” the night before May Day. However, in Leap Years the roles are reversed, and the girls place the decorated tree at the doors of the boys. It is also tradition that only the girls dance around the May Pole the following day.

Right here in America, the town of Anthony, Texas hosts a four-day-long festival to celebrate Leap Year. People born on Lead Day, known as Leapings or Leap Day Babies, are elevated to celebrity status and people from all over the world visit the town of Anthony to enjoy the food, music, and activities in celebration of Leap Year.

What does all this have to do with My Cup of Tea and Orange Mound?

What all of these traditions, and others not included, have in common is an urging to do something out of the ordinary. They recognize that Leap Year doesn’t happen every day or every year, so it’s a chance to do something different. It’s an extra day to live life in a way that makes a difference for someone.

On this Leap Year, we have a proposal of our own.

Would you consider supporting the ladies at My Cup of Tea by becoming a sustaining donor?

Our sustaining donor program is called The Blend. Members decide how much they want to give, and each month that amount is charged to a credit or debit card. You can join for as little as $10 dollars per month. In addition to receiving gifts based on the amount you donate each month; you will have the joy of knowing that your money is supporting the women of My Cup of Tea in their journey out of poverty. Unlike the Leap Year proposals of old, if you decline, we won’t be looking to collect a silk gown or 12 pairs of gloves.

Doing something unique often involves a “leap of faith.” It wasn’t a Leap Year or a Leap Day, but 10 years ago, we trusted the Lord and founded this tea company and much good has come from it. We ask you to pray and consider taking a leap of your own.

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Orange Mound is Black History

Orange Mound is Black History

February is Black History Month. Orange Mound has a compelling chapter in the story of remarkable feats of Black men and women in our country. Original and resolute, the Black Memphians who worked for white Memphians carved out a section in Southeast Memphis in 1890 and built a neighborhood for themselves called Orange Mound.

Melil Powell, a local historian, said:

Orange Mound was built on the John George Deaderick Plantation. Deaderick purchased 5,000 acres of land between 1825 and 1830, and the neighborhood got its name from a local fruit called the mock orange that grew in the shrubs there. The Deaderick Plantation was sold to a white real estate developer, Izey Eugene Meacham, in 1890. Meacham divided the land and created a segregated subdivision for African Americans. Lots were created in narrow grids and sold for less than one hundred dollars each. The neighborhood originally contained 982 shotgun houses. Compared to white neighborhoods, Orange Mound was inferior, but it was still an important symbol of status among Black Memphians during the Jim Crow era. Overall, Orange Mound has faced many hardships, but continues to foster a strong sense of community and identity within a large urban environment. The neighborhood has a long history of resilience, pride, and sense of identity that continues to live on today.  

One hundred thirty-four years ago, along with the pioneers who settled this city within a city, Jesus moved in as well.  Churches, schools, parks, and economic opportunities were spawned and given life here. Though modest in scale, the bold step engendered robust pride, safety, and a strengthening of cultural values. The valiant success to preserve Black community more than a century ago is lamentably now on “life support.” Crime has created a crucible for all who live within our boundaries.

My Cup of Tea’s objective for over a decade is that The House that is our operations hub stabilize and dignify single moms and grandmoms who live in the neighborhood. Though heads of their homes, they are largely devoid of resources to protect them. Fifty years of slack economic resourcing impedes any who desires to vacate the dangerous blocks within our borders and the creep of crime along our sidewalks and streets. The progress we have imagined for their protection is still improbable, but not impossible.

Rather than capitulate, the ladies are bolstering their courage to take back the neighborhood.  Aligning with the fond memories of their courageous forebearers, the women are seizing their moment to stop the evil in our midst. God’s anointed Orange Mound founders’ ‘enterprise is at the grass root where we abide.  Our women are rising to defend our neighborhood and protect our children.  We are connecting with our local police precinct and following the guidelines of Neighborhood Watch.  Good neighborliness unifies, and knowing our neighbors is paramount to protecting our home and the block on which we live.

Nonetheless, knowing neighbors is more challenging here. Rental houses turn over frequently, front doors are intentionally unwelcoming, and sidewalks are hazardous for pedestrians and bikes.  It’s a small beginning but not one without hope.  What God is stirring within us is re-establishing a safe place for children to play, gardens to thrive, and neighbors to fellowship is in view.  The ladies have found the personal firm footing that our many volunteers and programs have offered.  Within that security, a new obligation has been realized, and with the Lord’s guidance and empowerment, they will redeem what is broken on our blocks and bring safety back to the neighborhood.  We are a ministry of equipping women to do the next thing for the Kingdom. We believe we are part of the solution for the safety of our city within the small corner we live and love. We do not shrink back from the call to do as Isaiah has prophesied.

They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined city. Isaiah 61:4

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More Than the Worst Thing We've Ever Done

More Than the Worst Thing We've Ever Done

The anxiety is almost palpable. Joyful conversations inevitably pivot in a darker direction. Demands for relief are louder than I can ever remember.

I’m talking about crime, of course.

While crime rates were dramatically declining across the nation, homicides in the City of Memphis hit a new record in 2023, breaking the previous record set in 2021. The new year so far doesn’t seem to be relenting, and rightly, we all want something done about it. We desire that criminals be punished in proportion to the severity of their crimes. We expect there to be justice.

But when people are gripped with fear, our “priorities pendulum” swings hard and fast to the side of self-preservation. We tend to forget, to quote Bryan Stevenson author of Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption that,

Each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done.

At The House, we’re outraged and afraid too. Last year, a woman was gunned down on the sidewalk next door by her partner, and our security cameras captured the whole horrid incident. The daughter of one of the ladies was murdered in a drive-by shooting. And still another employee’s daughter was shot on purpose by a “friend.” Thankfully, she survived.

We plan to channel our anger into efforts to help reduce crime in our little corner of Orange Mound by getting to know the police better, engaging our neighbors, participating in the annual  Night Out, and possibly organizing Neighborhood Watch.

But what we can’t forget is that of the more than 80 women who have crossed the threshold of our tea company, well more than a majority have crossed the law at some point. From illicit drugs to theft to prostitution to gang activity, many of the women we’ve served have spent time in rehab and/or jail. But central to our model is the belief that all of these women are far more than the worst thing they’ve ever done.

Stevenson explains that one who lies, steals, or kills is not just a liar, a thief, or a killer, but a complex and broken human being with gifts and faults and not just the capacity for evil deeds, but the ability to do good too.

For the Christian, this is validated by a higher authority. In Matthew 9:13, Jesus responds to the Pharisees who question why he would dine with tax collectors and sinners. Quoting Hosea 6:6, He says,

Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.

If we fail to demonstrate mercy, which the late pastor and theologian, Dr. Timothy Keller said, “…must be free and unmerited to the wrongdoer,” then the experiment happening at 3028 Carnes fails. We instead replace acceptance with judgement, opportunity with rejection, and reconciliation with bitterness.

The My Cup of Tea ladies are benefactors of mercy too. Forty to fifty women, from completely disparate backgrounds and experiences volunteer at My Cup of Tea every year. Few have any real experience with poverty, violent crime, and surviving in the world as a racial or ethnic minority. In their zeal to serve and help, honest, but nevertheless hurtful, mistakes have been made. But so far, the ladies have heaped mercy upon us.

When we consider crime in our community, few, if any, are saying criminals should be absolved and not punished. But for the violent criminal, who may not have shown any mercy to his victim, you can bet he lived a merciless existence prior to the day he committed his worst offense. Children who are abused or witness frequent abuse are more likely to become abusers themselves. A merciless community where guns are the arbiters of disputes breeds less compassion in those surrounded by violence, not more. And a society that permanently labels its members according to the worst thing they’ve ever done produces anger, fear, and an unrelenting cycle of brutality.

Susan Monk Kidd in The Secret Life of Bees says this about mercy,

The world will give you that once in a while, a brief timeout; the boxing bell rings and you go to your corner, where somebody dabs mercy on your beat-up life.

The continuation of that poignant idea is that the bell inevitably rings again, the boxers rise and bounce to the center of the ring and proceed to beat the heck out of each other for a much longer period than the brief respite in the corner.

Maybe it’s naïve, but what if we could begin to extend the time spent in the corner where mercy is dabbed on our beat-up lives? A little more dabbing, a little extra salve for those we meet in our everyday lives might start to make a small difference in the violence that surrounds us.

Afterall, God showed us mercy in that, while we were sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
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