Simon Collins is one of the brains behind the fantastic website Cup of Tea, a veritable treasure trove of exotic teas (keep your eyes peeled for the new 'tea travels around the world' starting on the blog in the next couple of days to get an idea of their fantastic range.)
1) How did you first become involved in the tea industry?
Christine, our MD worked for Ronnefeldt in Germany for many years. Ronnefeldt is a traditional tea business which specialises in supplying the very best teas to four and five star hotels and restaurants worldwide. Most people in Great Britain don’t realise that the Germans drink lots of fine teas and the average knowledge of tea there is far higher than in the UK. When Christine came to the UK in 2001 she became the UK distributor for Ronnefeldt and Cup of Tea was born. Since then Cup of Tea has grown to become very well established as an online and wholesale trade supplier of a huge range of quality teas.
2) What is your favourite variety of tea a) to work with and b) to drink
The tea we like to work with is Morning Dew. Because the majority of people here are only accustomed to tea with milk it’s a superb way to introduce people to green tea. It’s refreshing, tasty and easy to drink with no extremes of flavour or aroma.
It’s very hard to pick just one but our favourite tea to drink is Darjeeling First Flush. It’s absolutely delicious – light, delicate, slightly sweet. We drink it at all times because it’s so refreshing.
3) Where do you think the best tea comes from (e.g. Japan, Sri Lanka) and why do you think that?
8) Where do you predict tea businesses (and tea itself) heading in the next few years?
We see a great future for specialised businesses like Cup of Tea. There is increasing demand for really good teas and we believe our huge range helps. Tea as a category will also continue to grow as more consumers become aware of what is available outside of dusty teabags! We are increasingly encouraged that more and more people are prepared to brew and drink real loose leaf teas.