How we trade
"To truly understand tea, how it's grown and the people who grow it, our tea buyers travel the world visiting growers at their tea gardens in person."
Trading fairly and respectfully
To truly understand tea, how it’s grown and the people who grow it, our tea buyers travel the world visiting growers at their tea gardens in person. It’s something we feel is essential to ensure we’re always buying the best quality tea. It’s how we’ve managed to build such strong, long-standing, meaningful and sustainable relationships with our tea producers. Our growers are as passionate about tea as we are and they know that our experts only buy the very pick of the crop. That’s why they’re proud to supply us and, in return, we promise to pay fair prices. Our ‘Rewarding Quality’ scheme shows our appreciation and commitment to them too.
Assam and aprons
Assam, in north eastern India, is the largest tea-growing region in the world. Why? Well, it has the perfect climate for tea and a long growing season. For decades, we’ve worked with some of the best tea gardens in the area and we continue to visit regularly. Assam tea gives Yorkshire Tea its strength, and malty flavour. But our relationship with Assam goes beyond tea. On one of our tea buying team’s recent tours (thirty tea gardens in thirty days, believe it or not!) we came across the ladies of the Bodo Handloom Scheme. Living on the north bank of Assam’s Brahmaputra River, they are incredible hand weavers, keeping generations of tradition alive. We asked them to design and weave beautiful aprons in Yorkshire Tea and Yorkshire Gold colours. Available now in our shop, we cover production costs and all profits go directly back to the scheme.
Kenya and Kionyo
Think tea and most people think India or China. However, Africa is responsible for some of the world’s finest teas, grown in lush, green tea gardens. It’s actually Kenyan tea that gives Yorkshire Tea its bright colour and brisk, refreshing taste. So high is the quality of these leaves, we awarded our first ever ‘Supplier of the Year’ trophy to Kionyo, one of our leading Kenyan suppliers. Kionyo is supplied by thousands of smallholder farmers, whom we’ve helped fund the training of, in the safe of use fertilisers, re-cycling, planting, managing water usage and better farming techniques. The award is in recognition of not only the quality of their tea, but also their work towards achieving independent Rainforest Alliance certification.
Rwanda and real Gold
Rwanda produces something truly special: the tea that puts the ‘gold’ in our Yorkshire Gold. It’s Rwandan tea that gives our luxury blend its gorgeous colour and uplifting, brisk taste. Our tea buyers visit Rwanda frequently and when possible we also invite our suppliers to Yorkshire to see what we do and share ideas. Recently, we’ve matched a grant from the Department of International Development to help the Rwandan tea industry improve the lives of 10,000 small-scale farmers and their families. We hope it will not only raise the quality of tea in Rwanda, through training in cultivation and processing and improving environmental practices, but also raise the income and quality of life for its people.
Partnerships for good
"We want the way we do business to be not only fair, but to have a positive effect on the world."
We want the way we do business to be not only fair, but to have a positive effect on the world. However, it’s not something we can do all by ourself. That’s why we’ve formed strong partnerships with independent certification schemes such as the Rainforest Alliance. Doing this helps us to make a very real difference on the ground quickly and effectively. We’re currently working towards helping 100% of our suppliers become Rainforest Alliance certified by 2014.