Bangladesh Artisans

Mai Handicrafts_VietnamWhether ambling down humid, steamy southern streets of Ho Chi Minh City, or resting at home with family, tea is an important part of everyday life and culture in Vietnam.

In the northern part of the country, people tend to drink their tea hot out of tiny cups, while in the south, tea often comes iced in large, frosty glasses to beat the heat.

It’s no wonder then that Ten Thousand Villages turns to Mai Vietnamese Handicraft,an organization that provides employment and training to disadvantaged families and ethnic minorities in Southern Vietnam, to create many of our beautiful mugs and teapots.

“Tea is a popular beverage, cheap but exciting,” Phuong, a spokesperson for Mai recently wrote to us. “Tea is good for health and mind.”

Mugs, such as our new Loose Leaf Tea Mug, which comes with an infuser, are crafted by pressing or pouring clay into moulds before glazing and firing them in a sweltering 400°C kiln. This kiln experience is passed down from generation to generation.

Association for Craft Producers in Nepal is another of our partners with a strong connection to tea consumed in the mugs its artisans make. Handcrafting them is hardly a short process though. It takes a week to shape, glaze and fire each mug made from local clay, which is sourced from a ceramic co-op.

Pottery is considered a traditional skill and artisans are highly experienced in the wheeling process that shapes each piece. In fact, when the artisans were asked to create a new design for our Himalayan Chai Mug, the pros were quickly up and running.

“They tried two or three times and they made a perfect shape!” Srishti Bajracharya recently wrote to us.


Like in Vietnam, tea is consumed all day in Nepal, whether people are sipping Darjeeling, green tea or butter tea – made from tea leaves, yak butter and salt.

You don’t have to go that far to enjoy a traditional Nepalese cuppa though. Reach for an organic Himalayan Black or Ginger Tea, brew and sip. Not only is tea good for mood, but drinking it from a fair trade mug makes a difference in the lives of artisans who create beauty out of nothing but clay, heat and years of experience.

Note:  News of the recent massive earthquake in Nepal may make you wonder how purchasing a tea cup or mug can make a difference in the wake of the tragedy. It can. Our long-term relationships with our artisan partners – in good times and bad – means they’re better able to react to disasters when they happen. 


Himalayan Chai Mug Loose Leaf Tea Mug

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