Our Story

Learn more about 3 Mountains, Tima Tea & Silverback On Tap!
3 Mountains, LLC is based in Asheville, North Carolina and partners with producer groups, farmers and artisans in Rwanda, to bring premium products to market through our retail partners in North America. Under the brand name TÎma Tea, the company sells organic, pesticide-free, ethically-sourced, non-GMO Rwandan tea. This socially-minded business practices conscious commerce and honors every person in the supply chain. The tea we sell is grown and harvested with the utmost care by cooperative-formed farmer groups in the Northern part of Rwanda where the elevation is perfect for tea. There are approximately 100,000 people in the community there who are directly impacted by the tea trade.
Our tea comes from pesticide-free fields and we offer certifications for organic and fair trade.



Why Rwanda? When I learned about the 1994 Genocide of Rwanda it was six years after the tragic series of events, when nearly 1 million people were killed in 100 days. I wondered 'where was I when an entire nation was traumatized in the worst possible way?' It was then that my own personal journey of healing began and I knew that one day I would move to Rwanda and learn about this powerful thing called human resilience.

Since 2007 I have been building personal relationships with people in Rwanda and they teach me that true happiness comes not from things outside of ourselves but from the heart, and in relation to others.

Why Tea? The camellia sinensis plant is one that heals and energizes, and in Rwanda it is very resilient to climate change. It grows abundantly and supports many people, bridging cultural divides and supporting daily ritual. There are many premium products in Rwanda and 3 Mountains identified tea as being most representative of the Spirit of Resilience. As the demand for this beverage grows we want to offer you the best possible quality in its purest form!

~Sara Stender

 3 Mountains Founder/CEO Fair Trade Story

In 2007, while completing her graduate degree at School for International Training in Brattleboro, VT, Sara Stender, the Founding CEO of 3 Mountains, did her practicum with a local fair trade company called Kusikuy, an importer of high quality alpaca fiber sweaters and children’s clothes from Bolivia. During that process, she and the owner launched an annual fair trade festival with Sara organizing many  local companies that were actively sourcing fair trade products to be part of the movement. She completed her masters dissertation on “The Role of Multinational Corporations in the Fair Trade Movement.”

Sara became so passionate about this work, she was quickly introduced to some other Fair Trade activists in the U.S. and met David Funkhouser and Paul Rice, two of Fair Trade USA’s originators. At this time the organization was known as TransFair USA and Sara helped to form the nation’s Fair Trade Towns campaign. She was also the National Coordinator for Fair Trade Day and worked closely with other leading organizations to help raise awareness about fair trade, including Fair Trade Association, Fair Trade Resource Network, No Sweat, and Oxfam America.

From the age of 22, when she was profoundly impacted by the story of the Rwandan Genocide of 1994, Sara knew that one day she would go to Rwanda and work with women there, to learn from them about the “Spirit of Resiliency”. Thanks to Fair Trade USA and other global citizens working to improve international trade, Sara was able to clearly see her purpose and passion and since 2007 she has been building personal relationships with producers, farmers, and artisans in Rwanda, and has supported women starting businesses and a Women’s Association  through the nonprofit that she founded, Africa Healing Exchange (AHE).

Having come full circle and now joining Fair Trade USA as an importer through a vision and a mission to help create a quality exchange between tea producers in Rwanda & conscious consumers in North America, Sara and 3 Mountains invite you to learn more about the product lines TÎma Tea and Silverback on Tap.   Please consider joining the 3 Mountains crew on the next Crop to Cup Tour in Rwanda, June 2019! Find us at www.drinktimatea.com