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How it all began
Northern Tea Merchants has a very interesting history.
In 1926, Albert Pogson, having moved to Chesterfield from Lincoln took a sales position that was offered by 'The Ceylon Tea Growers Association' (based in Nottingham) to develop the Chesterfield area for them and increase their door-to-door sales business. He undertook this task with a will and soon was promoted to the position of Van Sales Superintendent. (The vans in question were Model 'T' Ford's!)
In 1936, he decided that he could do the job better for himself. He established the 'Spire Tea Company' and commenced selling tea door to door under his own name, wearing plus fours, a bowler hat and driving an Austin 7 Van. The unfortunate onset of World War in 1939 meant that tea was rationed which made trading very difficult. Despite this, his business continued to flourish, and when tea ceased to be rationedin the mid-1950's he was still trading and had cultivated many loyal customers, some of whom are still purchasing tea from the Pogson family today, some 70 years later!
His son, David was born in 1937, and inherited his father's passion for tea. He says"One of my earliest memories was the delightful smell that filled my father's office and the fascinating markings from far-away places that were stencilled on the tea chests in his store-room." Having left school in 1953, David commenced work with his father until May 1959, when his entrepreneurial spirit drove him to establish his own tea company (in a different area to that that Albert had cultivated), and Northern Tea Merchants was born.
In the early 1960's, an invention that was to change the shape of tea drinking in the UK was launched - The tea bag. David realised how revolutionary this idea was and by 1965 was selling his own. He then purchased a tea bag machine that would make 250 tea bags per minute and things started to take off. By this time he was employing 5 members of staff and using 2 vans to deliver his goods to both retail and wholesale customers.
In 1971, Albert (aged 70) retired and his business was amalgamated with Northern Tea Merchants growing customer base. From these beginnings, David has taken every opportunity to expand his business and widen his interest in the world's teas and coffees. He now employs 27 members of staff, and owns 5 vans, which are in daily use delivering within a radius of 150 miles from Chesterfield.
Over two million cups of his tea and coffee are enjoyed every week! Northern Tea Merchants are specialist contract packers of Organic Teas, Coffees and Cocoa, they support ardently the FairTrade concept, and offer their specialist services to any company who wish to improve the quality of their teas and coffees. The UK Tea Council is the mouthpiece of the UK Tea Trade and devote their time and (considerable) budget to improving the British Public's perception of Tea. To this end, they created a 'Guild', which would promote standards of excellence in the presentation and service of tea to the public.
Only establishments that are of a high quality are invited to join. Naturally, Northern Tea Merchants was a member from early in the Guild's history. It is the desire to pass on his passion for tea that has driven David to extensively refurbish his shop on Chatsworth Road, Chesterfield, with the introduction of a range of light meals and tasty lunches to complement the vast range of excellent quality teas and coffees already sold. There is even a set of pairings of tea and food offered that have been devised by the Tea Council and the Academy Of Food and Wine where the tea complements the food served!
Northern Tea Merchant's menu of beverages spans over 60 pages and is also an insight into the history of tea, its countries of origin, its flavour and the best way to brew the marvellous leaf. This has earned David FOUR Awards of Excellence from The UK Tea Councils Tea Guild in the last 4 years The first thing that you experience when you enter this emporium of taste is the heady aroma of tea and coffee.
Then, whilst your olfactory nerves are still reeling from the delicious smells, your eyes take in the beautifully lit, classically presented layout of the shop. The shelves on the left-hand side offer teas from all over the world, beautifully packed in the distinctive gold packaging that Northern Tea Merchants use.
There is, to the centre of the shop, a series of large bins that contain some of the world's finest freshly roasted coffees, which can be purchased as beans, or ground for no extra charge. A series of wonderful circular tables graces the right hand side of the shop, whose glass tops cover samples of 36 different teas and coffees from the enormous range supplied.
Whilst you sit with your chosen drink, your eyes wander around the walls which are covered with historic quotations about tea and coffee and fascinating insights into the way that tea and coffee has been marketed throughout the last century. Tastefully lit display cabinets contain many interesting tea and coffee related items that are ideal for the ardent drinker or make wonderful and individual gifts. The staff have all been trained in the products they sell and posses many interesting insights into particular ways of brewing your chosen beverage. David's favourite quotation is the Chinese Poet Lu-Wah's 'Tea is water bewitched'. Tea has bewitched him since he was a child. Come and share his infectious enthusiasm. You will be bewitched too.
Our cafe opening hours are...
Monday - Friday 9am - 4.30pm
Saturday 9am - 4pm
Our shop opening hours are...
Monday - Friday 9am - 5.30pm
Saturday 9am - 5pm