Posted in Kafevend Blog

The old and the new in tea

Tea is a drink that the world never seems to tire of. Some people stick to their tried and tested brands with lifelong devotion, but equally folks who are ever on the look out for something new are well served by the constant innovation of those in the tea industry with a more entrepreneurial spirit. Today's blog considers both the old and the new in the tea sector.

The oldest tea company

The UK's oldest tea company that's still in operation today is Twinings. Having learnt the tea trade from a British East India Company merchant, Thomas Twining decided to go it alone and in 1706 bought a coffee shop on the Strand in London. Coffee was the more popular of the two drinks at the time, but Twining tapped into that human desire to try something new by offering tea at his establishment. Only society's wealthiest could afford to buy his tea at the time, but it is society's elite who often set the direction for a new fashion and Thomas Twining's tearoom was just the innovation they were were looking for. The novelty of tea soon became an established trend and Britain became the tea loving nation we're famous for across the world today.

The British public continued to buy loose tea for around two and a half centuries until Tetley introduced us to the convenience of the teabag in 1953. Not everyone was convinced however and this particular tea invention took a long while to catch on. Now it's the other way around and the tea luddites are those of us who stick to the safety of a familiar brand of black tea contained in a teabag, be it circle, square or pyramid shaped. The trend setters are busy experimenting with green, white, oolong and masala chai, not to mention an endless array of tisanes; loose lea teas are very much in vogue again too.

In with the new!

So we've looked at the old, what about the new? There are a plethora of recently established tea companies to whet our appetite for quality tea and the internet has undoubtedly provided great business opportunities for many tea start ups. One example among many is The Greenwich Tea Company which began life as recently as 2013 when Elizabeth Sambrook began to develop her own tea blends to sell at local markets. The company website means she can also reach out to tea lovers everywhere.

Running in tandem with our new found appetite for high quality loose leaf true teas, there's been considerable expansion in the range of fruit and herbal teas available. Tisanes tick the box for those who need to curb their caffeine intake and they can also provide a combination of flavours limited only by the imagination of the blender. Take Tea Ink's Perfect World which includes a heady mix of blackberry leaves, chamomile, melissa, peppermint, strawberry leaves, lemon grass, hazelnut leaves, rose petals, marigold petals and lavender.

Established in 2006, popular online tea company 'teapigs' is reaching out to customers who want tea to suit or alleviate the way they're feeling inside with the creation of a 'mood-o-meter'. They also cater well for the growing trend to try out tea traditions from around the world; matcha is one of their specialities, the powdered green tea from Japan that lies at the heart of the tea ceremony and has come to the attention of the West for its ability to boost concentration and aid in the run up to exams or presentations. One thing's for sure, there's never been a better time to enjoy a cup of tea!


The history of Twinings

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