A tea seller who is passionate about the perfect cuppa has won awards for his quality blends.
Phil Paton, 28, has always enjoyed a good cup of tea and has been looking for the right time to launch his own tea company. He set up a tea company as a school project and has always wanted to have a go for real.
So he took the plunge and launched Cheshire Tea with his best friend towards the end of last year. He imports premium tea leaves from countries including India, China, Sri Lanka and South Africa and packages them from his home on Buxton Road in Macclesfield.
Phil and business partner Paul Whelan, from Blackpool, sell their teas online and at food festivals and markets, as well as in shops in Macclesfield and restaurants including Arighi Bianchi and Chilli Banana.
They have now picked up a string of Great Taste Awards, sometimes referred to as the Oscars of the food and drink world.
This included one gold star each for their Cheshire breakfast, cherry sencha and lapsang souchong teas and the most prestigious three gold stars for their mint chocolate rooibos. Only 130 products out of 10,000 attained three gold stars.
Phil, who has gone part-time at his job with BT to pursue his venture, said: “It’s really exciting to have won the awards. I love a great cup of tea and it’s always been a dream to set up a tea company.
“I found it hard to find a high quality tea which was ethically sourced and tasted great. There is a growing demand for loose leaf tea and a shift away from tea bags.”
Phil and Paul have sold 2,500 packets of their loose leaf tea since setting up their company and are growing the business.
Phil is very fussy about the tea he chooses, only picking teas from the first and second ‘flush’ of the plant, which refers to the different picking seasons through the year.
He said: “We’re very selective. The first and second flushings are the premium quality.
“We tried around 150 different teas and whittled it down to 15. We make sure we select the best quality leaf with the best flavour.
“The perfect cup of tea should be made in a teapot and there are specific brewing times and temperatures for each blend.
“I am particular about what tea I drink and of course now I will only drink Cheshire Tea. I’m converting many other tea drinkers too.”