Rishi Tea Refreshes Brand With Compelling Packaging


Since its founding in 1997, Rishi Tea has focused on a commitment to providing organically sourced tea and botanicals not otherwise found in the US. That commitment is the core of their brand. They have a dedicated team that travels the globe to source and partner directly with farmers to provide the best organic ingredients possible. As a company, their goal is to share those flavors, ingredients, and stories with everyone. They are not just providing tea, they are setting an example as vanguard leaders in sourcing practices that are committed to organic and direct trade.

 The Rishi Tea brand exploded into popularity at a national retail level when it reached the shelves of Whole Foods. “The mid to late-2000’s saw our brand recognition grow beyond the café level with the creation of a full retail line that included over 50 flavor profiles! This made our product available to more consumers seemingly overnight. It also forced us to move quickly in choosing packaging to meet demand,” says Chris Hilbelink, Art Director for Rishi Tea.

When Rishi Tea celebrated their 20th Anniversary, they knew it was time to refresh the brand identity and they started where their business started, with their loose-leaf tea bag. Working with Studio MPLS, Rishi wanted to convey the culture and history of the brand, with modern aesthetics. Choosing Neenah ESTATE® Label no. 8, was critical to achieving their desired results. They wanted a label that conveys the elegance and timelessness that exemplifies Rishi Tea and positions them as a premium brand that stands out from the competition.


 “We had over 100 tea profiles to consider and each with a unique but core brand story to tell. The design considerations included embossing and gold foil. So, we knew the label would need to be beautiful, but also quite durable. Neenah’s ESTATE Label had it all – performance, aesthetics, and classic appeal,” continues Hilbelink.


In 2019, Rishi Tea decided it was time to rebrand and rethink their Tea Sachet Cartons as well. They turned again to Studio MPLS, selected as their process of visual storytelling aligned with Rishi’s, and they already had a well-established relationship. “Studio MPLS has been an amazing partner and has helped drive our brand forward to where it is today. They really considered our product at every stage of the rebranding process. It wasn’t just a logo redesign, it was about creating unique and compelling packaging for beloved products,” says Hilbelink.

 Hilbelink continues, “We are proud that our customers include everyone from “tea geeks” to “foodies” and “newbies” to “health and wellness fanatics.” The process of experiencing tea is very sensory – seeing the packaging, the smell of the tea, and the sound of water pouring over the tea. Just as the experience of drinking tea has levels of engagement, as an extension of the brand, we believe the packaging should carry that same engagement.”


 In selecting materials, Rishi knew they wanted an uncoated folding board for a more tactile experience and learned the value of choosing paper during the early stages of the design. With uncoated folding board, there were more options to create a package to stand out on the shelf using print processes that don’t always work on SBS board. They chose NEENAH® Folding Board, Bright White in an Eggshell finish. The result? Packaging that is “rewarding on all sides”- from informative product information and messaging to charming illustration and details shown in embossing and foil. This tea box invites engagement by teasing the senses.


 “We believe this new packaging to be perfect for our brand philosophy, and we are super excited to see our customer’s reactions as it hits the shelves this spring. We achieved exactly what we were hoping to do- aesthetically pleasing packaging to complement our brand philosophy and engage our audience of tea enthusiasts. This rebrand was successful because of the high-quality collaboration between Rishi Tea, Studio MPLS, and Neenah,” concludes Hilbelink.