Why are you serving free tea?
Serving free tea is an experiment in service. The main thing that serving free tea does is bring people together over a non-monetary exchange. In this way there is nothing expected in return other than genuine human interaction. We feel that community is the first step towards any kind of positive social or environmental change. See the About page for more info.
How long have you been serving tea?
The first tea servings started in January of 2006 on Hollywood Blvd. See our History page for more on this.
Are you selling tea?
How do you make money doing this?
Uh, we don't. :-)
The free tea concept is based on the idea that goods or services can be offered without expecting anything in return. This is known as the gift economy. We find more value in things other than money. What we find is that when we help build a resilient community, we set the stage for us all to thrive.
Wow, this is so unique!
Well... not really. Free tea parties happen all over the world millions of times every day. We just don’t realize this in America because we’re not a tea culture (give thanks to the Boston Tea Party for this). Head to England for afternoon tea, South America for a Maté session, or any part of Asia for, well, just about any occasion. Tea to these tea cultures represents connecting with friends and strangers, relaxing and shedding outside worries, slowing down, settling disputes, finding beauty in simple things, etc. We are just taking these aspects of tea and bringing them to the people of North America.
Do you accept tips and donations?
We do not accept monetary tips and donations while serving tea. We like to keep it as money-free as possible. We do, however, accept monetary donations here on our website, as well as non-monetary gifts while serving tea (people often give us all kinds of things from fresh produce to a place to park for the night).
We also have a Gift & Take area on board the bus where anyone can put in and anyone can take out all sorts of things from money, to gifts, to Share Cards.
Wait, does that mean that you actually give money away while serving tea?
Well, yes and no. The money is never actually ours, and is only held in a community box for safe-keeping, and as an easy way to distribute it to people who may want or need it. The money (and other items) in the Gift & Take can be responsibly given or taken by anyone.
How is the tea bus sustained?
First of all, the tea bus is a lifestyle, not a business. Guisepi created his life and Edna Lu the tea bus in a conscious manner so as to be as self-sustaining as possible. Every time Guisepi has extra time and money, he invests it back into himself, the bus, and the community, so that he doesn't have to make as much money. This allows his focus to be on being of service to people rather than of service to money. The Universe will provide, if you provide for the Universe. Most of our tea and tea supplies are donated by our sponsors, donors, and people like you! Many people give back to the bus as it travels the land through monetary donations, hands on help, and resource sharing. All other costs are covered by Guisepi, who works every day of his life, though only sometimes for money.
Guisepi, what is your favorite kind of tea?
Well, that’s a good question, but I always answer it the same: whatever's in my cup! In the morning I like a good green or black tea. If I am driving far, I like a thermos of hot water for Maté or Holy Maté. One of my favorite non-caffeinated blends is called the Peace Blend, which is comprised of spearmint, chamomile, lavender, cinnamon, passionflower, and rose petals. I also enjoy brewing up and drinking concoctions for specific health and vitality related concerns.
Are you affiliated with the “Tea Parties” that are happening all over the country?
No, we are not political, although we do support people and movements that strive for positive social and environmental change. Are we opposed to serving tea at a politcal rally? No, everyone deserves tea from the "Tea Party" movement to the "Occupy" movement.
Is the Free Tea Party a non-profit?
In the legal sense, no, we are not a tax-deductible 501(c)3 as conferred by the IRS. Yet, in the sense that we don’t make money doing this, yes we are “non-profit.” However, we feel that the term non-profit implies that no good comes from the activities of these kinds of organizations. The term profit means much more than just the monetary sense. We believe that there is a lot of social, environmental, and personal profit that comes out of our activities. Our revolution is a ground up, grassroots approach that needs no permission from above.
Is it mushroom tea?
Well, no actually, it’s not. Yes, we are peace-loving school bus traveling folks, however we adhere to a strict no drugs or alcohol policy.
Do you document any of this?
Yes, check out our Blog, as well as our Media Page.
Can I serve free tea too?
Yes! It is one of the most simple and easy things one can do to make positive change. As tea master Sen no Rikyu once said: “The Way of Tea is naught but this: first you boil water, then you make the tea and drink it." It is easy. Just make it and share it.
Who is the Free Tea Party?
Essentially, the Free Tea Party is just a guy who travels the land in his bus making friends and inviting them in for tea. He also likes to collaborate with other people too! The "I" and "we" pronounced throughout the website represents Guisepi, Edna Lu the tea bus, and friends.