For Nina and Bharat Chudasama, founders of Hope & Glory Tea, a tea-loving nation deserves only the best a brew can be. Tea may still be the UK’s favourite hot beverage, with research pointing to the billions of cups Britons consumed ‘out of home’, but Nina and Bharat Chudasama aren’t taking any chances.
‘For us, tea symbolises everything that is great, was great, and can be great about being British, and we want to keep it that way,’ says Bharat, who gave up a high-flying corporate job to set up Hope & Glory Tea with Nina, the company’s CEO, two years ago. Hope & Glory’s strapline is ‘Devoted to Tea’, and the Chudasamas have made it their mission to make people as crazy about tea as they are.
Bharat believes that a tea renaissance may be just around the corner, but it’s predicated on consumers being able to discern what constitutes a great cuppa. This means knowing how such key factors as provenance, size (of the tea leaves), and process impact on the tea’s appearance, flavour and notes, or aroma.
‘At the moment, most people seem to be content to accept a cup of tea that’s made from dustings, the substance you find in ordinary teabags,’ he says. ‘The size of the tea leaves do count, and the larger the leaf, the better and more complex it tastes. There’s also more research to show that the better the quality of the tea, the greater its health benefits.’ He points out that in a sense, younger tea drinkers can be more discerning, being the band of drinkers behind the tea industry’s recent uplift with their growing consumption of more premium, herbal, green and fruit-based teas.
Bharat and Nina take it in turn to visit tea gardens and tea plantations in India, Sri Lanka and China so that one of them can be left at home to look after their young family. ‘We need to travel ourselves because we’re so particular about where we source our tea,’ Nina says, ‘And we only work with growers who are part of the Ethical Tea Partnership. We’re serious about sustainability. Our teas are single estate, Fair Trade and Soil Association approved. They are also packed at source.’
Today, there are eleven varieties in the Hope & Glory Tea range, and only months after they launched the company, their English Breakfast Tea and Masala Chai received Great Taste Award stars. Other varieties include their signature Red Velvet infusion (blended in Germany), Jasmine, Earl Grey and Green Tea.
Bharat and Nina must be doing something right because Hope & Glory is now the exclusive tea partner of the 5-star Waldorf Hilton in Covent Garden, and the company has recently partnered with Pride of Britain Hotels, the small but perfectly formed consortium of luxury independently owned hotels.
Not only do they supply the teas, but they also play a role in training staff and helping management to better recognise tea’s contribution to the bottom-line.
Last year, they also teamed up with another entrepreneurial couple, restaurateurs Cyrus and Pervin Todiwala, to offer Café Spice Namaste’s first Afternoon Tea experience, which was a huge success.
Bharat is optimistic about the future of tea. ‘I think the industry as a whole has a huge role to play in the state of British tea, and establishments like the ones we work with know it. Once operators start approaching tea like they do wine, we’ll begin to see tea regain its full glory. Customers’ attitudes will start to shift. Pretty soon they’ll be demanding only great tea.’
Written by Gina McAdam
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