Matthew Algie turns over new leaf with tea line

COFFEE merchant Matthew Algie & Co is returning to its roots with the launch of a new line of speciality teas.

The range, Pavilion Garden, features ten teas and infusions including six fair trade and four organic varieties. Their development has been based on the Victorian tea pavilions for which Glasgow-based Matthew Algie blended its first tea consignment from the Clyde clippers in 1864.

Pavilion Garden will be launched in March through the group's existing customer base of coffee retailers, which includes the likes of smaller independents, larger chains and institutions such as the Scottish Parliament.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Eric Hagman, chairman of Matthew Algie, said Pavilion Garden had been created to appeal to a variety of tastes and the desire for different types of tea at different times of the day.

"As we have been going through a rebranding exercise and refocusing our business, we felt it was appropriate to go back to our roots a bit," he said.

Global coffee consumption has grown strongly during the last decade, driven by the rising popularity of speciality coffees in developed countries and broader-based demand from developing economies. However, tea has started to make a comeback during the last two to three years as well.

Gordon Muir, director of marketing for Matthew Algie, said tea remained the second-most consumed beverage in UK coffee shops, with 76 per cent of cafe visitors opting for tea at least some of the time. This represents a significant opportunity for the importing and roasting specialist, which sells 225 million cups of coffee per year compared with just 22 million cups of tea.

"Tea is cool again, and with Matthew Algie's heritage being directly linked to the Glasgow tea trade, we're very proud to be going back to our roots in this way," Muir said.

"We're passionate about coffee at Matthew Algie but we're also very focused on our customers' needs. With tea being the second most popular drink in coffee shops we know that a range of high-quality teas, backed by a unique well-designed brand, represents a great market opportunity for both our customers and for Matthew Algie."

The company's eponymous founder set up the business as a grocer, and for many years the purchase and preparation of tea was its main operation. However, its focus gradually shifted from leaf to bean, with coffee accounting for the bulk of revenues for the past few decades.

Earlier this year, Matthew Algie launched the biggest-ever rebranding in its history in a bid to raise the wholesaler's high street profile.About 40 per cent of its clients are smaller independent coffee houses, while larger customers include Marks & Spencer, Pret A Manger and Gleneagles Hotel.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The family-owned firm employs more than 200 throughout the UK and Ireland.