Celebrating 150 years of Birchall Tea

Birchall Tea owes its name to its founder, Birchall Graham, who started growing tea in Darjeeling, India, in 1872, a country that he had become very fond of during his time serving as an officer in the Duke of William Regiment.

150 years and 5 generations later, the company is still run by the same family. Using a century and half of knowledge, Birchall know that producing great tasting tea requires sourcing the finest on the market.

Achieving this is no easy task. It takes up to 5 years (or one million cups!) to refine a palate enough to be considered for the position of a Birchall tea taster.

Birchall purchase much of their tea from the weekly Mombasa Tea auctions in Kenya, the second largest of its kind in the world. Around 20% of the world’s black tea (that’s around 380,000 tons per year) is traded through here.  

The weekly auction sees bidders from many of the world’s tea drinking countries such as the UK, Egypt, Pakistan, and Yemen, bid for batches from countries ranging from Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania to name a few.

Despite the wealth of offerings, Birchall are keen on bidding on the best batches from Rwanda through to the Great Rift Valley in Kenya. A combination of altitude, lush volcanic soil, and heavy rainfall place this region of East Africa among one of the best tea producing regions of the world.

This dedication to only sourcing the best means that, out of an average of nearly 5000 teas on offer, around 5 are considered for Birchall’s blends. Once purchased teas are usually packaged and distributed within 8-12 weeks of picking. Compared to an industry standard of 4-6 months, this ensures that Birchall’s tea selection is some of the freshest and flavourful on the market.

Producing great tea is of course a fundamental aim but Birchall’s ethos aims to do so in an environmentally sustainable way, whilst also investing in local communities. Aside from recently having opened the doors on a new solar-powered factory in Wiltshire (the first of its kind in the UK), Birchall are also involved in conservation efforts in the 3000 square mile Virunga national park, education initiatives in communities in Africa, and are the first tea company to be a part of the UN’s Climate Neutral Now Initiative.

With some of the finest teas on the market, ranging from peppermint to rooibos to English breakfast (there is even a special edition tea to celebrate 150 years of the company), and an impressive total of 78 Great Taste Awards, we highly recommend checking out the full range today.

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