Posted in Kafevend Blog
No matter which part of the British Isles you live in, you're likely to see Yorkshire Tea on your supermarket shelves, but are you familiar with Lancashire Tea? It turns out the War of the Roses is still going strong thanks to a company launched in 2005. Let's begin by checking out the credentials of Yorkshire Tea before delving into the more recent history of their Lancastrian counterpart.
Yorkshire Tea is brought to us courtesy of Taylors of Harrogate, a company with a pedigree stretching back to 1886. Charles Edward Taylor was a Quaker and like many of his faith saw tea as a good alternative to alcohol. Both of his sons spent time at Ashby's in London where they learnt the art of selecting the finest of loose leaf teas to buy for their family business. The younger of the two brothers, also named Charles, took to the tea business with gusto, launching tea and coffee shops that incorporated tasting rooms in both Harrogate and Ilkley. Going from strength to strength, it wasn't long before he'd added a number of highly popular tea houses and cafés to the enterprise. Eventually in 1962, having run out of heirs to pass the family business onto, Taylors was bought by fellow Harrogate tea business, Bettys Tea Rooms.
Charles Taylor's success had much to do with the fact that he was able to blend teas to suit the hard water of Yorkshire, thus producing an outstanding cup of tea. And so, during the 1970s the company's tea experts worked to develop a definitive blend that catered to the region's water characteristics and the obvious name for it was Yorkshire Tea. The fact that so many regions of England receive hard tap water has no doubt helped to ensure Yorkshire Tea's widespread popularity.
So what do we know about Yorkshire Tea's opposite number? Although stocked by the UK's major supermarkets, it's safe to say that as a far more recent player in the tea game, and without the heft of one of the UK's top tea companies behind it, Lancashire Tea is by far the less well known of the two. This doesn't deter founder, Paul Needham, however. While Lancashire Tea hasn't quite reached its tenth anniversary yet, Paul himself has some thirty years experience in the tea industry having previously served as operations manager with Typhoo Tea. Successfully battling through a financial setback in 2009, he's wholeheartedly committed to making Lancashire Tea an ever growing force to be reckoned with and a worthy rival to Yorkshire's alternative.
Lancashire Tea's signature product is blended from twelve teas from around the globe and, unlike Yorkshire Tea, is designed to suit the full range of UK water types, making it equally suitable for tea drinkers in soft water areas like Scotland, Wales and the South West. So it's definitely not just for those Lancashire tea drinkers looking for a way to thumb their noses at their ancient rivals in the east! And if you've never tried either of today's featured teas, remember to have a look for them when you're next trudging the aisles; the approaching winter could be a good time to stock up on extra tea and you may even discover a new favourite!