Who we are?
We are an independent family-run business based in London
We are driven by the belief that a harmonious blend of quality ingredients combined with a balanced lifestyle is the key to feeling great.
We have had a lot of fun over the years creating our original and unique range of loose leaf teas combining only the finest ingredients in our bold, healthy and refreshing takes on the classics.
Our Tea Philosophy
Our idea is a simple one; to use the highest quality tea leaves and ingredients in the creation of blends that boost the natural health benefits of tea at the same time as creating exceptional flavors and tastes that everybody can enjoy.
We always use loose leaf tea, even in our tea bags. So you're getting real leaves, spices, fruits and even vegetables.
We prefer to purchase from estates that strive to produce the very best quality and as such will get a proper premium for their teas of which a percentage will go back into the health and welfare of the employees - in simple terms, if we pay more, more money goes back to the employees. Whilst we are totally aware that certain countries have a higher standard of health and wellbeing than others, there are many occasions where estates go ‘above and beyond’ what they legally need to do just because it is the right thing to do, and not because it makes them look good.
Primrose Hill Teas are not Soil Association accredited. Although over 30% of all the ingredients we purchase now happen to be organic, we are not allowed to sell them as such unless the tea or herb itself (from bush to cup) has been accredited at every stage of the process. This also comes at a large cost (in both money and time) to every person in the supply chain, from the farmers, exporters and us - not everyone can afford this and we don't think they should be discriminated against..especially if they actually have better tea!!
Our options, in terms of quality as well as the range of ingredients we can use, will be restricted if we want any or all of our blends to be organically certified. The range of tea and herb ingredients available for purchase in organic formats is still limited, with a considerable amount of teas and herbs being only available in non- organic formats on the wholesale market.
This availability issue also means that organic does not necessarily mean better in terms of the quality of the tea or herb being sourced. For us, the quality of the tea and herbs we use is paramount, so we will always source our ingredients with this in mind. There are some instances where we use organic ingredients as our standard over other non-organic alternative due to the quality in some instances being better, but, as they have not been through the certification procedure, we do not sell them on as organic (currently, an example of this would be our Japanese Matcha green tea, which is all organic, yet not sold as such).
Despite the complications involved, we do have excellent links with a variety of organic suppliers, and can source a good range of teas and herbs that are approved to Soil Association standards.
With regards to our non-organic teas, it is good to know that there are very strict controls for importing teas into the EU from a pesticide Maximum Residue Level (MRL) point of view, and for countries that we consider to be high risk (notably China), everything we bring in is tested prior to dispatch from country of origin and positively released only after the product has been proven to be of these stringent EU safety standards.
Fairtrade is a non-profit brand. Whilst we believe that the principles of the Fairtrade organization are inherently sound, we feel that it leads consumers to believe that all teas (or all other products which aren’t sold under the Fairtrade banner) are ‘unfair’, which simply isn’t true.
In our experience, some Fairtrade accredited estates where non- Fairtrade estates next door are significantly better in terms of health and well-being for their employees.
The Rainforest Alliance is a very ‘watered-down’ version of Fairtrade and in our experience, doesn’t really mean much to the estates themselves. Unlike Fairtrade, under the Rainforest Alliance scheme, no premium is paid to the estates and their employees, and its main role is to act as an independent audit for producers to check their systems.
Ethical Tea Partnership
Just like the Rainforest Alliance, this is an audit verification scheme. It was set up by the UK tea industry in the 1990s as a way of (quite rightly) inwardly looking at it’s own ethical and corporate social responsibility. Whilst independently controlled, it was entirely funded by the tea companies themselves and as such, the more money you put in, the more influence it bought you in the partnership.
Whilst we don’t want to sound negative of schemes which have been set up to improve working conditions for workers, and we agree very much with the general principles of them, we do have reservations surrounding the methods these schemes use to market themselves, and their practical applications.
We prefer to purchase from certain suppliers that have a proven track record of quality and systems management, that includes employee welfare as well as quality of the finished product.