We are Tea2you, selling the best Darjeeling loose-leaf tea in the UK. Unlike most online stores we do more than just shift products. We actively search for the best tea growers in Darjeeling and Assam and work on-site to develop unique blends and flavours so that our customers enjoy the very best. It is this attention to detail which makes us proud of our teas and the reason why our customers return time and again. We are physically based in Borough Market, near London Bridge in the heart of the British capital and we have been selling the finest teas to the good people of London and visitors from around the world for over a decade. For those who can’t make it to the Market, using the online presence (tea2you.co.uk/tea2you.us), Tea2You delivers directly to global addresses by post.
Born in Kolkata, West Bengal, India, once the capital of the British Raj, Ratan was well surprised to see the gap in the British market over the availability of good loose-leaf tea despite they being the discoverer of tea and planting them in Darjeeling, West Bengal, India. He started the tea business with the motivation to address this gap. The business started in a market in Manchester in 2008-09 where he would regularly sit in the stalls and say, “try the tea” and he would not let any customers go, after all, he is the best salesperson there was. It took him good long years to establish himself as the best loose-leaf tea seller in the UK.At the market one day a person told him about Borough Market, London’s premier food market and that he should apply. And that is when Tea2You Borough Market began. Initially, Tea2You was situated as a stall, after its success, it then moved into a store which is where we are based now. The business started with just 6 different types of teas, white tea, green tea, black tea, Assam, English breakfast and Masala chai; the business now sells over 70 different types of teas to accommodate a wide range of palates.
Challenges and ways to overcome
As we know, times are not easy. With challenges including economic turmoil, there is always uncertainty around the market. But a quote that Ratan lives by is ‘tough times don’t last but tough people do’. For example, through the pandemic one of the major challenges for us was to ensure the supply of tea from our many small tea growers in Darjeeling and Assam was not interrupted. For most of the small tea growers, tea is the only source of livelihood. Tea is a way of life for the communities that have lived in the gardens for generations. Hence, despite a significant fall in revenue, there was no major reduction in procurement to ensure the performance of the tea smallholder sector was not impacted. This was made possible by UK governmental support; careful planning and the depth of Ratan’s passion being echoed by everyone in the team.
Starting with only six different teas today the store holds more than seventy types. At Tea2You, we don’t just sell tea, we educate the customers by disseminating knowledge about the benefits of tea and the properties of different teas. Educating the customers on how to make a cup of good tea, especially without milk the founder makes every effort in bringing the age-old culture of having good-leaf tea. Ratan regularly engages in tea-tasting workshops and provides with a deeper knowledge of this integral part of British culture. Ratan travels to plantations himself to maintain traceability and ascertain authenticity, sampling and carefully selecting a wide range of teas to ensure only the best crop is obtained for his customers. Teas are sourced from sustainable and ethically minded gardens situated 6,000 feet up in the foothills of the Himalayas, including the coveted Darjeeling first and second flush. One of our signature products, Darjeeling's first flush, harvested when the fields awaken from their winter hibernation, is referred to as the champagne of teas. Ratan puts significant effort into procuring orthodox teas, meaning the leaves are kept whole and there is limited mechanical interference. He stresses FTGFOP, ‘fine tippy golden flowery orange pekoe’ – or “far too good for ordinary people” as those in the trade jokingly have it. In the cup, FTGFOP commands delicate, fragrant flavours with astringency and beautiful sweetness. Ratan will not make an offer on any batch without tasting it.