Skip to main content

Tea Packaging, Distribution & Trading

Packaging

For loose-leaf packets, the blended tea is put into a hopper which feeds a machine that carefully measures and dispenses the right amount of tea into the packet, filling it and sealing it, and weighing it as a final check. This is all done automatically in seconds.

Tea bag tea is fed into specially designed machines which will fill thousands of teabags, be they round, square or pyramid shaped, each minute. Each bag usually contains at least 2.27gms of tea and is hermetically sealed, then packed into cartons.

Speciality teas, that is a blend of teas which take their name from a growing area, time of day or person's name, are blended in just the same way, but there are not so many teas in any one blend of speciality tea as there are in a popular blend.

Distribution

The tea packaging companies sell their tea to the supermarkets, and other retailers using a national accounts system, through wholesalers and even by a team of salesmen calling on corner shops.

Your tea reaches the supermarket or shop shelf between 20 to 30 weeks after it has been plucked on the estate or smallholding.

To see a list of companies and organisations involved in the journey from estate to cup, go to the Tea Directory within the Tea and Business section of the website.

Trading Tea

Tea is sold in a variety of ways. Tea may be sold at auction in countries of origin. There are international auction centres in Mombasa in Kenya, Colombo in Sri Lanka and Limbe in Malawi. India has auction centres in the north and south. Indonesia sells tea in Jakarta. China sells her tea by numbered standards at commodity fairs at Guangzhou.

Tea prices are governed by quality, supply and demand. Tea brokers act as intermediaries and taste, value and bid on their client's behalf. Tea may also be sold from the tea garden by private sale or at offshore auction whilst on route to its destination.

After its arrival in Britain, the tea is taken to the various packaging companies for blending and packing.

Tea & Business

Featured Member: Williamson Fine Teas Ltd
Williamson Tea has been growing and selling the finest quality teas in the world since 1869. Not only do we have over 135 years experience of buying and blending teas from all round the world but we also own tea farms in Kenya, generally regarded as producing Premium quality. Our farms have Fair Trade approval and several awards for tea... Read more

Tea Advisory Panel (TAP)

TAP The Tea Advisory Panel was created to provide media with impartial information regarding the health benefits of tea. Panel members include nutritionists; dieticians and doctors. For further information please call 0207 052 8989. Read more...

TEA a brief history...

Tea is so much a part of everyday life in Britain that we might never stop to think about how a unique plant from faraway China became the nation's favourite drink. But the history of tea is fascinating, and in this section we can follow its story from the earliest times in Imperial China right up to its present place at the heart of British life. Read more...