Honest Tea was started by Seth Goldman and Barry Nalebuff in February 1998. They wanted to make a tea that was made from real tea leaves instead of the leftover dust most bottled teas were made of. Seth quit his job and took some batches of tea he made in his kitchen in thermoses to Fresh Fields (Whole Foods Markets). The buyer ordered 15,000 bottles. They had to figure out how to make that much tea.
They have since expanded to make Honest Ade.
Their philosophy is to make real tea with real taste. In 2011, they converted all their green, black, oolong and white teas over to Fair Trade Certified™. Their teas are USDA Organic Certified, low calorie and “just a tad sweet”.
Last August, Honest Tea conducted an honesty social experiment. From August 8-19, they set up unmanned kiosks in 50 cities across the country stocked with Honest Tea and Honest Ade. They put up a sign asking for $1.00 per bottle and trusted you to leave the dollar for the bottle. They set up cameras across from the kiosks to record the activity. Overall, they found people to be 93% honest. They found both Salt Lake City, UT and Oakland, CA to be 100% honest while the least honest was Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn, NY at 61%.