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Yogi Tea creates and manufactures a wide variety of teas, including green, herbal, black and red tea. Yogi Tea is part of the East West Tea Company, LLC (EWTC) - former Golden Temple of Oregon, LLC. EWTC employs about 150 people in the United States and Europe, with offices in Springfield and Portland, Oregon, and in Hamburg, Germany.
Yogi Bhajan, an Indian spiritual teacher who brought the Sikh religion to the West, began teaching Kundalini Yoga in America in 1969. After each yoga class, he served a special spice tea to his students, which they affectionately named "Yogi Tea". The tea was a blend of five traditional Ayurvedic spices: cardamom seed, cinnamon bark, clove bud, ginger root and black pepper. Ayurvedic medicine holds that this combination of spices has unique, healthful properties, so they are still included in many current Yogi Tea formulas.
In the 1970s, students of Yogi Bhajan opened Golden Temple Vegetarian Restaurants in the United States, Canada and Europe. Through these restaurants, the first batches of Yogi Tea were sold to the public, and by 1984, the Yogi Tea Company was born. Over the next couple of years, the business developed a nationwide distribution network, with three flavors of finely ground spices packaged in teabags. In 1988, Yogi Tea’s team of herbalists expanded the line to include a number of formulas developed to address specific health needs.
In 2010 Yogi Tea was sued by Yogi Bhajan's widow Bibiji Inderjit Kaur Puri, and the State of Oregon. The suits allege that trusted advisers of the Yogi had forged documents relating to their take-over of the company, exclusion of the family from the board, excessive compensation for the executives, and the abandonment of what Bibiji describes as orthodox Sikh practices. The 2007 sale spurred numerous other lawsuits, including one against law firm Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt, as well as the parent company filing for bankruptcy protection.
- McDonald, Sherri Buri (14 December 2010). "Yogi's widow sues managers". The Register Guard (Springfield, Oregon).
- McDonald, Sherri Buri (November 10, 2010). "State targets Golden Temple". The Register-Guard.
- "Records in lawsuit claim Golden Temple executives drew excessive compensation". Statesman Journal. The Associated Press. May 12, 2011.
- Culverwell, Wendy (February 24, 2012). "Schwabe Williamson sued for $230M in Yogi Bhajan-related suit". Portland Business Journal. Retrieved February 24, 2012.