Education & Jobs

Suki Tea

Suki Teahouse Ltd was started in 2005 by co-founders and directors, Anne Irwin and Oscar Woolley at St George’s Market in Belfast.

Background

With a growing team of 16 staff, the specialist tea company imports, blends and exports loose leaf tea to the hospitality and catering trade of the UK, ROI and export to 10 countries worldwide, including Japan (76%), and retail online world-wide (20%). With ethical sourcing and innovation in the industry at the forefront, Suki Tea was the first independent loose leaf tea company in the UK to launch triple certified teas (Fairtrade, Organic and Rainforest Alliance certified).

What Suki Tea did

Suki Tea focusses on great taste, quality and variety, but also importantly on ethical sourcing. This is critical to ensuring a sustainable future for the company’s brand and for the community. Through championing ethical trade, it has attempted to change the perception of the consumer in the UK, Ireland, and worldwide of the quality and varieties available, which can also have a positive social impact on the workers in developing countries and on their environment.

Suki Tea’s vision is to grow a global community of loose leaf tea drinkers, an appreciation society of the ritual in a great-tasting, ethically-sourced cuppa. It does this in an adventurous yet sustainable and responsible way that respects and values people, plant and planet. The organisation did not have the luxury of spending years in the tea gardens, gaining first-hand knowledge of the industry, so it adopted a sourcing policy that was robust and could provide evidence of practices on the gardens that focussed on making real, positive social and environmental change for the workers, their communities, and environment.

It is the first independent loose leaf tea company in the UK to offer teas carrying Triple Certification – Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance and Organic, its ethical champions. Relying on the power and infrastructure of these bodies to implement real social and environmental change, and with our focus on triple certification, it has put forth the challenge to all other tea companies in the UK and Ireland, leading the way in sustainable sourcing of its everyday brew and communicating this core message to influence consumer behaviour.

Many household names in the tea industry have followed Suki Tea’s lead, recognising the increasing consumer demand to trade and operate responsibly. This is a welcome change in the tea industry, and one which Suki Tea is proud to have championed.

Impacts and Outcomes

  • Now sold in over 2,500 cafes in the UK and Ireland as well as exporting to 10 countries worldwide
  • A leader in certified products and offering a unique triple certified range
  • Gained approx 10% of the UK market share on sales of orthodox Fairtrade tea
  • 74% of tonnage sold was Fairtrade teas from five producer organisations, equating to a contribution to the local communities throughout India, China and East Africa of approximately $45,000
  • 24% of all kilos of Suki Tea sold were certified Organic
  • For more information, email annie@suki-tea.com