Swallowtail Tea is a natural step of growth for Red Rooster Coffee. We're excited to offer the finest tea and herbs available. Our tea lab and cafe is housed with in the Red Rooster building at 823 E. Main St. Swing by the new cafe to taste what we've created.
Created in 2016 as an answer to the demand from cafes and restaurants for a high-quality tea source, Red Rooster Coffee Roaster developed Swallowtail Tea. Nestled in the tiny hamlet of Floyd, Virginia, Swallowtail has met that need by working with high-end tea importers and local herb farmers. Swallowtail is built on the same foundation that made Red Rooster successful - great quality, robust customer education, and great customer service.
Known for its abundance of bucolic vistas, gentle rolling hills, clean water, rich music heritage, and eclectic counter culture, Floyd (pop. 432) is among the most unique small towns in the country. Without a major industry, railroad, college, or interstate to help its economy, Floyd's residents have created small thriving enterprises to sustain the vitality of this sweet place we call home. Learn more about Floyd VA here.
At Swallowtail, quality is not just a word, it is the cornerstone of our business. Every step, from importing to tasting to blending and packaging is all done with the intent of providing our customer with the highest quality product. We inspect and cup every batch of tea and herbs we receive at our lab in Floyd and taste them religiously throughout their time in our care.
Knowing where our tea comes from is just as important as knowing where our food comes from. Our importer takes multiple origin trips a year, sending back pictures and information about the estates' farming practices, labor values, and production standards. We work hard to source a clean, ecologically responsible, and ethically produced product.
Swallowtail Tea's philosophy is to provide the finest tea and herbs available. Though the Camilia sinensis plant does not grow well in our region, there are many herbs that we can source locally. From ginger to turmeric to anise and mint, our tea blends are designed to be both delicious and good for your body.
At Swallowtail, we strive to achieve all forms of sustainability. Our ethical and transparent sourcing, honesty, commitment to quality, fair pricing, packaging, and growth all play into our sustainable values. We have built our facility using green building technology and upcycled materials. As we grow, we will strive to stay committed to these standards and more.
David Grimsley began his journey with medicinal herbs 20 years ago, when he was living in the South Tyrol region of Italy. This area is steeped in medicinal folk medicine and the wild crafters would often share their knowledge and remedies as he became more curious. When he moved back to the states, he began working with NC State’s Medicinal Herbs for Commerce project under Dr. Jeanine Davis. This solidified his passion for herbs, both for personal use and as an economic opportunity for farmers. He and his family moved to Floyd, VA in 2007 to start their own farm. After getting to know the local agricultural community David saw the gaps in production and distribution that prevent most farmers from becoming successful.
His knowledge and passion for medicinal herbs and community action go hand-in-hand as the director of Swallowtail Tea. Though the Camillia sinensis plant cannot grow in Floyd County, countless herbs can. David has begun to organize farmers in the area to grow various herbs that can be blended with tea or blended as tisanes and sold under the Swallowtail label. This way, when you drink Swallowtail tea, blends, and tisanes, you will be supporting the farmers who keep this gem of the Blue Ridge beautiful!
Tea Director David Grimsley
Because Swallowtail and Red Rooster are essentially the same team, we all work together for our common goal. Sourcing tea, cupping blends, providing customer service, and training our partners are all done under one roof with the goal of providing our customer with the best tea experience imaginable.
Team Tea in the flesh!