Diners at gourmet restaurants in Great Britain and Ireland are now able to experience the unique flavour of Belfast based Suki Tea’s loose-leaf blends. Joining the ever-growing portfolio of Suki Tea clients are Jamie Oliver’s inspired ‘Fifteen’ restaurant at Watergate Bay, Cornwall, Rick Stein’s ‘The Seafood Restaurant’ at Padstow, Cornwall, and the Donnybrook Fair ‘Eat Up’ Restaurant in Dublin.
he company was introduced to Donnybrook Fair by Invest NI and has taken part in a range of Invest NI programmes including ‘meet the buyer’ events. It also put together a special tea menu for Donnybrook Fair featuring 12 of its most exquisite blends including the rare Jasmine Pearls, White Tea, Darjeeling, and its own Fairtrade products.
A range of Suki teas is also now available at Donnybrook Fair gourmet retail outlet in Dublin. In addition, Suki Tea, which blends tea sourced worldwide from carefully chosen plantations at its plant in Belfast, is continuing to develop its export sales to Belgium, Norway, Poland, and Sweden.
“Selling our teas to such prestigious restaurants is a marvellous endorsement of the quality, variety and innovation of our product portfolio. We’ve been winning business steadily in the UK from an extensive marketing campaign, which has included distribution agreements with organisations such as Espresso Warehouse.
“Working closely with the team at Donnybrook Fair to develop a unique and distinctive tea selection was a tremendous experience which we hope to repeat with other gourmet customers in Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland. What we are offering is the same sort of variety and excitement usually associated with the contemporary coffee business. Restaurant and café customers can now sample a very diverse range of teas and we have also developed our own branded Suki Tea teapot and bespoke tray which makes each serving more of an experience,” says Oscar Woolley, a Suki Tea founding director.
“It gave us an opportunity to demonstrate our knowledge of the teas available. We are seeing an increasing demand for the taste and quality that I believe is only available from loose leaf teas. We are also benefiting immensely from the range of export and business development services provided by Invest NI,” he adds.
Welcoming Suki Tea’s latest successes, Maynard Mawhinney, Invest NI’s Food Director, says: “It’s tremendous to see the progress being made by this small but very progressive company in markets outside Northern Ireland. It is making an important contribution to the re-invention of tea as a fashionable and healthy product.”
Donnybrook Fair has also taken the company’s upmarket accessories, such as the distinctive and branded Suki Teapot and tray, for sale in its supermarket.
Among the company’s range of teas are Fairtrade Breakfast Tea, Green Tea with Ginseng, Fairtrade Darjeeling, Organic Camomile and Organic Rooibos, and fruity infusions including Mango Tango, Apple Loves Mint, and the exotic rare Jasmine Dragon Phoenix Pearls.
Formed in 2005 by Mr Woolley and Anne Rooney, Suki Tea, an Invest NI client company, is also developing significant business through its website from customers in Europe, the US and further afield.
The company has achieved SALSA (Safe and Local Supplier Approval) accreditation, an assessment process for smaller food companies, which ensures consistently quality services for customers.
SALSA has been developed by the British Retail Consortium, the British Hospitality Association and the Food and Drink Federation to provide food retail buyers with demonstrable assurance that the locally sourced food meets fundamental food safety and legal requirements.