Oakland's Numi Tea Turns 20

Its brother-and-sister founders aim to impact at-risk Oakland students.


Image courtesy of Numi

Oakland-based Numi Organic Tea is celebrating its twentieth anniversary this fall.

Brother and sister Ahmed Rahim and Reem Rahim Hassani launched the company in 1999, after Ahmed had studied theater and traveled the world as a professional filmmaker and fashion photographer, and after Reem had earned a biomedical-engineering degree, then a master's degree in fine art. 

Both siblings speak numerous languages.

Naming their new company after a Middle Eastern-style dried-lime drink they had enjoyed as children growing up in Iraq, the pair were determined to not just sell certified-organic, full-leaf-quality teas and herbal teasans but also boost community, sustainability, and supportive partnerships with farmers, students, and like-minded business owners around the world.

Among these efforts is the Numi Foundation and the NUMI (Nature Underlies My Inspiration) program, whose curriculum was first integrated into Oakland schools and has since expanded to schools in San Francisco and Marin County. 

The program aims to benefit at-risk students through connections to the natural world and the importance of family, community, creativity, and wellness via artistic expression, organic gardening, and other activities. 

Globally, through its Together for H2OPE programs, the foundation also provides fair-trade farming communities with access to safe drinking water.

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