Joe’s Tea Co. – June Featured Tea Specialist

Joe’s Tea Co. was born in 2012. Because his tea is so awesome and so amazing, it has won over 25 Great Taste Awards.

Joe’s fast-growing list of stockists, loyal tea-loving following, passionate team, as well as their big plans and new blends, means that there is always a reason to stop by and check out what’s steeping over there.

His commitment to only using Ceylon tea means he goes that extra mile (well 5,399 miles to be precise) to source from – and support – precious plantations that are now a rarity, due to the amount of hands-on effort that goes into their organic farming.

The Ethics Behind Joe’s Tea Co.

Joe knows just how hard the farmers work and how vital their knowledge is in achieving the exceptional quality of his tea blends, that’s why Joe’s Tea Co. pays all farmers a premium on top of their fair trade price.

Their manufacturing facility employs over 300 dedicated staff in Columbo and, to make sure they’re eligible for medical and life insurance, each and every one of them has a permanent position.

That makes this the largest permanent workforce in the Sri Lankan tea industry.

From daily nutritious meals and snacks to the annual outing and Christmas and New Year party, all staff are well looked after.

What You Will Find Inside

Joe doesn’t just put his name on any tea out there. It has to be the best, and by ‘best’ it means it will be sourced from the most exceptional and ethical organic tea plantations he could find.

Why? He does that to bring that favourite British drink in its finest form without the faff; to take the ‘toff’ out of fine tea, to tingle the taste buds with quirky and colourful concoctions, all in good-to-go pyramid bags.

Interview With Joe’s Tea Company

We recently got the chance to interview Joe’s Tea Company. It’s always fun to learn something new about our featured tea specialists!

How did you get started in the tea business?

Ten years ago I fell into the tea industry looking after a small supply chain and was given an opportunity to learn the ropes in purchasing tea.

This was the beginning of a journey I could never have imagined. After a few years of sourcing teas, travelling to farms and endless trade shows, I had a penny drop moment of how to turn my experience and skills into a business.

A simple vision of making good quality tea accessible and affordable.  

After a bit of planning, mixed in with some procrastination, Joe’s Tea Co. was born in 2012 – six years on, we directly source exclusively organic teas and herbal infusions and supply to some of the best restaurants, hotels and retail shops across the UK and Europe.

What sparked your interest in selling speciality teas?

People are at the very heart of Joe’s Tea Co. – tea brings people together and the honesty it brings out people is simple but meaningful. Just maybe we can take a timeout from our fast-paced busy lifestyles and stop, have a cup of tea with our work pals or friends and be present in the moment. It’s powerful stuff.

What is the very first cup of tea you ever remember drinking?

I believe it would have been on a cold wintery morning when I was working on a building site in my teens – my only salvation for a tough days graft ahead!

Which tea flavour is your favourite and why?

I drink 3-4 cups of our Queen of Green every day and I just love its clean and fruity character, it’s like no other gunpowder green teas that I’ve tried. We source ours directly from Greenfield organic farm in the Uva highlands of Sri Lanka.

What distinguishes your teas apart from other speciality teas out there?

At Joe’s Tea Co. we are mainly working with organic farms in Sri Lanka and we communicate this on our packaging and via our website. We pay above fair trade price and give back directly to projects that have a benefit to the farms and people working on them.

The majority of these farms being small hold, family-run businesses that are faced with very common everyday organic farming aches and pains.

By only working with organic farms we are ensuring that our ecosystems are kept well for the long-term benefit of the planet and creating the true definition of sustainability, a supply chain that cares for its people which is paramount, fair pay for all and a farming eco-system that continues to create quality crops year on year.

What gear or gadget is at the top of your tea wish list?

No gadgets or gimmicks needed, just pick your favourite cup and tea and go for it! I should add, that fresh water is the key for a great tasting cuppa as it’s the oxygen in the water that helps bring out the flavour and character in the tea.

Do you have a favourite tea cup? If so, tell us about it.

I have a few! I’m big into ceramics and anything that’s beautifully crafted.

What does the future look like for you? Where do you see your company in the future?

I’ll give you a comparison to think about for a second… when was the last time you bought a pack of coffee? I’ll paint the scene, you head to the supermarket aisle and you’re faced with plenty of choice, Columbian, Ethiopian, Peruvian.. the list goes on.

The story of how/where the beans are grown is so visible. Big bold statements ensuring that farmers are being paid fairly and that the coffee beans are sustainably sourced.

Now head down the aisle a little and check out the tea section – can you tell me where your tea is from, it’s real provenance? I’m guessing the answer is no. This is because most large brands in the UK blend multiple provinces.

A big part of what we’re trying to achieve as a business is to create a window into an industry that people don’t know much about – telling the story of the whole journey of your cup of tea. #Fromfarmtocup

What advice would you give someone looking to get into selling speciality teas?

Source the teas you love ethically and never compromise on quality. In business, be flexible. It helps.

What is your favourite thing to do when you are not working with your special origin teas?

My other favourite project is my two-year-old daughter, a very different and exciting challenge that has reset my lifestyle and business goals in many ways for a positive reason. When I’m not spending time with my girls I like good food and running trails.

When traveling, do you visit other stores or cafes that sell tea?  Do you ask them about their methods or do you relax and take it all in?

I like to take a back seat when I’m out but I’ve always got my eye on what’s going on 😉

Finally

To learn more about Joe’s Tea Co., be sure and visit their website. You can also follow along with them on Instagram to keep up with all the new blends they will be creating over the year.

To see which teas we are featuring this month from Tea People, be sure and visit this post.

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