When is a cup of tea not just a cup of tea? The answer of course is when it is an experience. Harpenden based Twist Teas founders, mother and daughter duo Nicky Kavanaugh & Claire Ayers tells us about the Twist Teas journey. Based at Pollards Farm in Harpenden, Twist Teas are a family business creating beau-tea-ful tea for tea lovers across the globe. We will stop with the puns as it will become tea-dious.
Where did you start? A Tea Story with a twist
“We’ve always loved tea and knew that the tea from a pot with loose leaf always tasted better than tea in a mug made with tea bags. The lovely loose leaves floating in the pot released the flavour but powdery tea in tea bags didn’t have quite the same hit . We could see no reason why tea in a bag should be different from tea in mug and, in 2017, set out on a mission to change that.”
Fast forward to 2020 and Twist Teas now have over 50 blends and 10 “Great Taste” awards. All their blends are made from the finest, ecologically sound ingredients and are hand blended and hand packed in the UK. Leaves in their corn-silk biodegradable pyramid tea bags are the same as the lovely loose leaves that are brewed in a pot – whatever the leaves: black, green, rooibos, chai or fruit and herbal.
Tea time is now me time
While traditional black teas will always be popular, there have been some changes in terms of who is drinking tea and why. 25 to 40 year olds are drinking tea at a rate faster than ever before. More and more consumers are looking for drinks that give them specific health benefits and demand for healthy green and herbal teas is growing. The wellness trend is also being driven by previously hard to acquire products being made accessible in the home.
‘The Tea Maker’, a product from Sage Appliances for example, steeps tea leaves at the right temperature for the required amount of time at the push of a button. This trend has seen consumers take note of all aspects of the tea making experience. Even water filter brand BRITA have seen increased engagement from the tea community by integrating a filter into kettles. There are exciting times ahead in the tea market and this is exactly the landscape that shaped the Twist Tea offering.
Sweet dreams are made of teas
Twist Tea have a wide range of uniquely crafted blends, with new, versatile ways of brewing and serving: lattes, cold brews, in milk, in water … and Twist Tea continuously innovate to meet the growing demand from contemporary tea lovers. Their premium leaves capture loose leaf flavour with the tea convenience of a biodegradable tea bag. Just as consumers moved from freeze dried granular coffee to freshly ground artisan coffee, so they are moving from dusty black tea in plastic laced tea bags to premium teas in biodegradable tea bags.
Twist Tea were first to market with their Cold Brew range. They are also taking the lead on popular sweet-but-sugar-free flavoured rooibos and herbal infusions with added functional benefits in their Puds Without Sin range: blends such as Lemon Drizzle, Creme Brewlee, Mint Humbug & Banana Shake have proven to be a very popular and offer the sweetness of a pudding without the calories.
Twist Teas are continuously focusing their marketing efforts on brewing and serving ideas for their premium blends and believe there is a lot of scope for more innovation and development in this area. For Twist Teas, it is a fabulous time to be a player in the premium tea sector and great for consumers too.
Not only are Twist Teas passionate about great tasting tea, they fully understand their social responsibility and are passionate about the environment. Twist Teas pride themselves on great tasting tea that’s environmentally sound. All their teas and ingredients are ethically sourced from sustainable growers and producers. The card used on their beautiful designed packaging is forest stewardship certified. If that was not enough, their storage caddies are made from recycled tin and are reusable.
Twist Teas has taken advantage of the government’s Kickstart scheme which is helping young people from our district enter employment.
The initiative is aimed at 18 to 24 year old students in receipt of Universal Credit who are looking for work and experience in a variety of roles. The company, which is located at Pollards Farm in Kinsbourne Green, has already taken on five staff and is looking for more.
Daniel Salter from St Albans in one of the new recruits. He said he loves the friendly environment and how much questions are welcomed, “I’m learning a lot,” he added.
Founder Claire Ayres explained that Twist Teas has created roles especially for local young people at risk of long term unemployment: “We’ve also set up training opportunities, for example a CV bootcamp, and real work experience talking to customers, so they can develop the skills necessary to progress into fulfilling careers.”
The company is a Living Wage Accredited employer and will be topping up the government grant for all Kickstart employees to ensure that they are paid the Real Living Wage during their placements.
Twist Tea began trading in 2017 and were enjoying steady growth in sales to food and beverage outlets when the pandemic closed down the hospitality sector overnight. Without missing a beat, founders Claire and Nicky Kavanaugh pivoted their business model to focus on selling their popular tea offering directly to consumers, managing to hold their own despite unprecedented circumstances.
On Friday the company invited Harpenden MP Bim Afolami to visit their headquarters and meet the six young people employed under the Kickstart Scheme.
“Bim actively champions local business and supports young people so we thought he would be the perfect guest to mark this milestone for our business. It was also a great opportunity for our new employees to give their feedback to Bim on the scheme so far,” said Claire.
To find out more visit www.twist-teas.co.uk