11 May 2023, 11:09 AM
  • Ahmad Tea, the family-owned UK tea company and a global leader in fine tea, explores the loose leaf tea revival and the opportunity this offers speciality food retailers

Right now, loose leaf tea is having something of a revival, and Ahmad Tea is leading the charge. As a business, the brand’s mission is to share their love of extraordinary tea, bringing communities together with their passion for tea and commitment to quality.

Loose tea lends itself perfectly to this – not only in the craft, theatre and beauty of the brewing process, but also in the depth of flavour and freshness that’s harder to achieve with teabags. As a family business that’s been present in the tea industry for three generations, Ahmad Tea wants to change the way tea is viewed, to celebrate it as a delicious beverage that creates genuine emotional connections. That means producing the finest loose tea that matches the time and effort that goes into it, from crop to cup.

Exceptional artisan tea: Galerie Du Thé
Ahmad Tea’s Great Taste award-winning luxury loose leaf brand, Galerie du Thé, is breaking new boundaries. The brand has used their heritage and connections in the industry to source rare, handcrafted teas, sustainably made by skilled artisans in exceptionally remote, single-estate tea gardens, from a red oolong from South East Taiwan to a green tea from Fujian province, China. What elevates these teas to the next level is not only the knowledge and skill that goes into the growing and harvesting, but also the steps taken to maintain the freshness of the teas; using both traditional and the state-of-theart techniques including nitrogen flushing, vacuum packing the tea at source, storing it in climate controlled facilities, and removing oxygen and water vapour from the packaging to preserve the freshness and depth of flavour.

A Natural Collaboration: Kew Beyond the Leaf
The Beyond the Leaf collection with Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, also taps into this. A collaboration between two iconic British brands, the Great Taste award- winning collection balances Ahmad Tea’s four generations of tea knowledge with the natural beauty and heritage of Kew to create a range that is refined, elegant, and quintessentially British. This partnership with one of the UK’s best loved natural heritage brands is resounding well with speciality food retailers across the UK. It is supporting ground-breaking conservation and preservation work to create a world where nature is protected and managed sustainably, whilst tapping into growing demand for responsibly sourced, high quality, great tasting tea.

Tea 4 Good
Ahmad Tea is committed to people and planet. They’re passionate about bringing communities together to help those in need, and donate a substantial percentage of profits to support local grassroots projects. One of these is a partnership with Children In Need India, the first project of its kind in the Assam region, which produces half of India’s tea. The project aids women and children in the transition from pregnancy to infancy through the critical first 1,000 days of a newborn’s life. The work to date has provided vital access to health, nutrition, water and sanitation. It’s about engaging the whole plantation community; changing behaviours, breaking the negative cycle of poor standards of care, and educating women on their rights and entitlements.

Tea artistry: creating the perfect cup
The perfect cup of tea isn’t created without a lot of hard work; tea artistry takes time and dedication. Ahmad Tea has some of the world’s best Tea Tasters on their team whose job is to consider the compatibility of different teas, like an artist creating colour. Tea Tasters sample up to 500 cups each day to ensure the blends are of the highest quality and the taste is consistent. Senior Tea Taster, William Manning, describes the work that goes into creating the perfect cup: “I believe that tea blending is an art. It’s constant trial and error. Sometimes you can select the two best tasting teas and when you put them together, they clash. But when you create the perfect blend there’s no other way to describe it other than euphoria! To be a tea artist takes a huge amount of passion and determination to achieve something at the highest level.”