Storm Tea – June Featured Tea Specialist

Storm Tea, a family run business, was started in 2010 on the four principles with which they live on today.

They are passionate about amazing flavours, the consideration for tea farmers and their staff, the care for the planet and the care for general wellbeing.

These English tea merchants based in Newcastle Upon Tyne focus on sourcing high quality, authentic teas and tisanes that are complex, refined and always beautiful in the cup.

They are big believers in provenance and work with individual tea estates and tea gardens wherever possible so that many of the products that they sell are sold by their names – such as the Thotolugalla Estate in the Uva Highlands of Sri Lanka or Margaret’s Hope in Darjeeling, India.

The Ethics Behind Storm Tea

Storm Tea cares deeply about the land where their teas are grown and those who grow it.

Because of that, they love to offer a range of organic teas and tisanes. They travel extensively to meet the farmers they depend upon.

Not only that but the team at Storm Tea are fascinated by the health properties of the teas, herbs, spices and fruits that they sell.

They always strive to share this information with all of their customers.

What You Will Find Inside

At Storm Tea, they offer speciality teas across several ranges: Organic pyramid teas and tisanes, their handcrafted loose leaf speciality tea collection, the Flavour House range of scented teas with fruit pieces and tisanes and they have beautiful teapots, tea-ware and gifts.

Interview with Storm Tea

We recently got the chance to interview the folks at Storm Tea. It’s always fun to get up close and personal with our featured tea specialists.

How did you get started in the tea business?

It was back in around 2008 and worked with a friend in the coffee industry and it was clear the tea industry was a little lacking at the time. I was a graphic designer and instead of helping other people build and create brands I thought I’d build my own.

What sparked your interest in selling speciality teas?

Aside from the opportunity to start my own company, who doesn’t love a cup of great tea? It was a no brainer.

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

Classic Breakfast tea.

What is your favourite steeping method and do you drink a lot of tea at home?

Always brewed loose and do like using a cast iron Tetsubin tea pot that really helps extract the best flavour from black teas – as the temperature in these pots stay so high.

Which tea flavour is your favourite and why?

Depends on the time of day, each tea has its place. I do love our Jasmine Pheonix eyes and our Harington Estate Earl Grey Tea.

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

We have a few points of difference, firstly where possible we use organic tea, as general rule this is about 20% more expensive. Then really it goes down to sourcing the teas and knowing the ins and outs of them to ensure they are as ethical as possible, but also taste fantastic.

For example, the organic breakfast tea (our best seller) is from 2 farms we know all about and have conducted our own social audits on (Mike Riley one of the other company owners is a trained social auditor and co-founder of Falcon Coffees who lead the way in sourcing specialty coffee ethically).

The Jalinga tea estate in Assam is the Worlds only carbon neutral tea farm as has the best ethics we think of any tea farm. It’s also organic, fairtrade, UTZ certified, operates biodiversity projects and treats the workers very well.

It is just one example but in all our best selling teas we have mirrored these kinds

of ethics to try and contribute to their trade as best we can by paying a fair price and supporting them to make a difference. It was poignant when we last visited we almost couldn’t visit due to severe flooding so there commitment to help play their part in repairing the environment was all to clear to see.

In essence we source the teas ourselves (we don’t just buy in bulk from Germany and pretend it’s our own tea in new packaging).

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

None especially, just ensure the tea is brewed correctly (especially noting your water temperature) as whatever your method as it can be easy to spoil very good tea.

Have you read any great books about speciality teas?

Tea (Second Edition), by Kevin Gasgoyne

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

Really as above expanding in the trade arena and we have significant growth in Dubai working with a distributor over there.

Do you have a cafe?

No we don’t. We focus on trade supply.

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

The world doesn’t need another tea company, so ask yourself what would make yours different to the rest and improve the industry?

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

I’m a fan of Speciality Coffee too so do enjoy cupping coffee as well as tea. Time away from work is a case of just relaxing with my family.

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 do visit other places as it’s always interesting to learn. Tea is such a vast subject you could study it everyday and travel extensively and still never learn all the ins and outs.

Finally

To learn more about Storm Tea, be sure and visit their website. You can also follow along with them on Facebook 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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