Tea is nearly as old as time itself.
Below are some of the milestones that have made the world’s second most popular beverage (after water) what it is today.
2737 BC : According to legend Chinese Emperor Shen Nung discovers tea when some leaves from a nearby bush fall into his pot of boiling water. (Water was commonly boiled at this time before drinking.) Rather than discard the water, he sipped it and found that it invigorated him.
206 BC- 220 AD : During the Han Dynasty, tea becomes a major commodity for the first time.
1191 : A Japanese monk named Eisai brings tea seeds to Kyoto and plants Japan’s first tea bushes.
1500's : The Japanese tea ceremony begins to develop under the guidance of Zen monk Sen-no Rikyu.
1600 : British East India Company granted a charter by Queen Elizabeth I.
1602 : Dutch East India Company established.
1610 : The first shipment of Chinese tea, Fujian grown Tong mu Phoenix Lapsang, reaches Holland. News of the exotic new beverage begins to spread throughout European society.
1630's : Tea appreciation begins among the elite of Paris. It is believed that the practice of adding milk to tea was developed in France by a noblewoman, Madame de la Sablière.
1652-1654 : Tea introduced to England by the Dutch. The new beverage comes to be touted as one of the world’s first “health products” and is recommended by the government as a replacement for Ale, then the traditional breakfast beverage.
1679 : London’s tea auction begins selling its first lots of Chinese tea.
1713 : East India Company's tea sales reach 97,000kg for the year.
1773 : Boston Tea Party. Chests of tea are thrown into Boston Harbor to protest against a newly imposed tax on tea by Britain. (Tea continues to be enjoyed however, albeit in smaller quantities.)
1813 : East India Company's tea sales grow to 14.5 million kgs per annum. These large numbers may be attributed to the fact that the company holds a monopoly on British tea imports from China.
1823 : Robert Bruce, a Scot, learns of wild tea growing in Assam and reports his find to East India Headquarters in London. (Until this time the British Empire had yet to produce her own tea in large quantities)
1838 : First lot of Assam tea sails for London. This lot of 12 chests fetches high prices at auction. China’s monopoly on world production begins to diminish.
1841 : Tea is first planted in Darjeeling by a British surgeon working in the area.
1860's : James Taylor establishes Ceylon’s first tea factory.
Late 1800's : Cultivation and trading of Rooibos begins in South Africa.
1903 : The silk teabag makes its debut. Purists everywhere sigh. Note: the first teabags were made of real silk, not the “silken” material used in many of today’s teabags - a non-biodegradable nylon.
1904 : Tea merchant Thomas Sullivan of New York first sells teabags commercially. Iced tea makes its debut at the St. Louis World Fair.
1920's : By the early 20th century, world exports of tea reach approx. 310,000 metric tons per annum. Of this, 75% is from India and Ceylon and 9% from Dutch producers in Indonesia. 60% of all exports go to Britain. (Exact figures for China during this period not known. As well, wholesale commercial production of tea in Africa would not start until later in the 20th century.)
1978 : Metropolitan’s Master Taster begins his career in tea at one of North America’s oldest tea import companies.
1990 : Metropolitan Tea opens its doors with its mandate to “Provide an unparalleled tea experience.” 1991 Metropolitan Tea enlists European certifying bodies, BCS, OKO, ECCOCERT, to certify all organic teas.
June, 1998 : London Tea Auction closes after 300 years of trading.
2000's : Global tea consumption continues to push new boundaries in terms of volume and styles produced.
2008 : Metropolitan Tea Co.’s continued commitment to the environment sees the company earn USDA NOP Certified Organic Food Handler certification.
Below are a number of articles about the health benefits of tea. Click on each link to view each complete article.
Tea is not a dietary supplement and should never be used as a replacement for fruits and vegetables. This page deals with the health benefits of “true tea” from the Camelia Sinensis plant. (Black tea, green tea, white tea and oolong) This information is not intended to replace the advice of professional medical practitioners.
* BLACK TEA LINKED TO A REDUCED RISK OF OVARIAN CANCER - Click here to view article
* BLACK TEA COULD LOWER RISK OF PARKINSON'S DISEASE - Click here to view article
* TAP COMMENTS ON LATEST DIABETES FINDINGS AND THE LINK TO TEA - Click here to view article
* BURN FAT QUICKLY WITH GREEN TEA - Click here to view article
* GREEN TEA DIET – THE BEST WAY TO LOSE WEIGHT EFFECTIVELY - Click here to view article
* SLIMMING DOWN THE FACTS: WEIGHT LOSS STUDIES ON GREEN TEA - Click here to view article
A smaller footprint
Leaving a small environmental footprint is something Metropolitan Tea takes very seriously.
HOW DO WE DO THIS?
REUSE : Cardboard boxes - From time to time your shipment may arrive in boxes with odd, and/or foreign labeling. Whenever we can, we reuse the packing we receive from our suppliers. Over the course of a year, reusing boxes can save literally thousands of pounds of cardboard.
REDUCE : Metropolitan Tea embraces the discontinued use of traditional wooden tea chests. While tea chests have a storied and historical place in the world tea trade, they can only be used once, increase shipping weight and contribute to deforestation. (Helping the world’s forests is an important part of worldwide CO2 capture.) Rather than using traditional packing foams, our packing is comprised of newsprint end cuts. This helps reduce waste and greenhouse emissions from foam production. If alternative packing is required we purchase 100% post-consumer waste packing filler.
Our North American factory recently underwent massive environmental renovations to reduce emissions.
All space heaters were replaced with more effective radiant gas heaters. Old windows were replaced with tinted Thermopane® windows that hold heat during winter and block heat during summer. Existing light fixtures were replaced with high efficiency units. Loading doors and dock levelers were replaced with insulated versions Special heating and cooling zones were created using plastic sheeting so areas that don’t require climate controlling aren’t exhausting energy.
The measurable result of this renovation?
Our new facility, which is 3.5 times larger, uses the same energy to operate as our previous one.
RECYCLE : Any scrap we receive in shipments, i.e. metal pallet strapping is sent for recycling. Any carton or cardboard that cannot be reused is sent for recycling. All office paper, bottles, tin cans, etc. are recycled regularly.
Pesticides : While we cannot guarantee that all our teas are pesticide free, we can assure that great steps are taken toward responsibly sourcing our products. In all cases, we insist that Minimum Residue Levels for pesticides, MRLs, fall below US, European Union or even Japanese standards, the most stringent in the industry. Metropolitan has a broad range of in-stock organic teas for those who wish to avoid pesticides all together. Metropolitan also carry teas from parts of the world that are traditionally pesticide free. In these cases garden elevation may negate pesticide need, as is the case of Darjeeling and the Kenyan highlands, or because geographic and financial reasons prohibit their use, as is the case in Tanzania.
ZERO tolerance child labor policy:
Child labour is a fact in many of the world’s developing countries. Metropolitan tea takes strict care to ensure our teas come from estates and companies that do not employ children at any stage of the tea production process. We feel very strongly about this and wish other tea companies took the same view.
Annual visits :
Yearly visits to estates and tea factories help us evaluate our supplier’s business practices. Any supplier found in violation of our policy will be dropped from our list of approved suppliers, immediately.
Children and the tea estates:
Tea estates are essentially small villages where workers and their families may live for many generations. In most cases, our approved tea estates provide a high standard of living and education for the children of all workers living on the estates.
Metropolitan Tea is an active member of the Ethical Tea Partnership:
ethical tea practices since 1978 Since 1978 when some company personnel began in the tea business, we’ve seen many advancements in the way tea is produced, marketed and distributed. The Ethical Tea Partnership is one of the more positive developments we’ve seen over the years.
North America’s first member company:
Metropolitan Tea was the first non-UK firm to join when the ETP opened membership to North American companies in 2003.
What is the ETP?
The ETP is an initiative started within the tea industry to monitor and regulate the living and working conditions on tea estates. The organization is run and regulated by member companies and bolstered by regular external audits by Price Waterhouse Cooper. (The global accounting firm responsible for tabulating and guarding votes for the Academy Awards.)
A transparent view of the tea trade:
The goal of the organization is to provide consumers with a complete understanding of where tea is grown and manufactured. Everything from fair compensation to health coverage, housing and childcare comes under close scrutiny.
Note: The ETP is similar to the Fair Trade organization, but has a much broader scope for tea consumers since its focus is on tea only. Because tea is not a publicly traded commodity like coffee, Fair Trade is unable to penetrate many of the nuances and regional peculiarities of the tea trade.
Where the ETP also differs from Fair Trade is primary focus. Fair Trade’s focus is mainly on economics. The ETP is a socially and environmentally directed organization. This can be helpful since an economically based model, where higher prices are paid in the developing world, can leave the door open for unscrupulous companies to bolster lost margins elsewhere along the supply chain.
In some instances it is becoming clearer that purchasing ETP certified teas is the best way to ensure that your teas were produced in an ethical manner.
For more information, please call one of our representatives or visit: www.ethicalteapartnership.org
Fair Treatment has been our mandate for almost 30 years.
As part of this mandate, Metropolitan Tea does business with estates and suppliers that are Fair Trade certified wherever possible.
What is Fair Trade?
Fair Trade is an international movement that promotes increased standards of living for laborers in developing countries. The movement has a focus on export products and endeavors to ensure that a fair amount of profits remain in workers’ hands. Fair Trade also attempts to regulate environmental controls on industries in the developing world.
Fair Trade for the Tea industry.
As of 2007, some estates are still beyond the scope of Fair Trade certifying bodies. In these cases, we do what we can to ensure that our suppliers adhere to fair practices for their own workers and any freehold tea growers who supply their factories. In the world of tea, governance is accomplished primarily through the work of the Ethical Tea Partnership. The Ethical Tea Partnership is a tea industry initiative to regulate all facets of tea manufacture to ensure that ethical practices are adhered too. While Fair Trade deals with many different commodities, the ETP is 100% focused on tea and is quickly becoming a highly respected and trusted overseer. Learn more here.
Exceptional teas are not produced by a workforce under duress.
Rather, they are produced by a healthy and fairly compensated workforce. One with a vested economic and social interest in their product In many cases this includes free schooling and medicare for children and family in addition to fair prices for fresh leaf. Doing business with only the top 10% of the world’s estates and making annual visits to our suppliers ensures this is always the case.
You can order online with us at any time, using our website. Our online store is is encrypted with 128bit SSL security by Verisign. This allows you to shop online with us with both confidence and peace of mind that all your sensitive information is kept secure and private. If you have any questions, please feel free to call us TOLL-FREE at 1-888-264-1879.
You can also place a phone order anytime between 9:30a.m and 5:00p.m. Monday to Friday. Call us TOLL-FREE at 1-888-264-1879.
Tweed & Hickory accepts Visa, Mastercard & American Express. Tweed & Hickory is unable to accept pre-paid Credit/Gift cards at this time. Our payment gateway requires a billing address that accompanies the issued credit card in order to complete your order.
Tweed & Hickory now accepts Paypal. Please select paypal as your payment method in your shopping cart. Our website will direct you to the paypal login page for you to make your payment.
Confirmation with Tracking Number.
All loose tea orders will have a tracking number assigned to them once we have determined we have all items in stock. and the order is fully packaged and sent.
Tweed & Hickory will send you a confirmation email with your tracking number (within 1-7 business days, depending on variety of selected tea products).
In the unlikely event you didn't receive your confirmation email with a number, please let us know.
My Parcel is Late. Where is it?
Did you receive your confirmation email with tracking number?
Please track the whereabouts of your parcel at Canada Posts website before asking us to locate it for you. The information provided is the most accurate information available. Please note that Tweed & Hickory only knows as much as their website states with regards to dates and times of delivery / pick-up etc. Parcel traces can only be made by us 24 hours AFTER the expected delivery date has been and gone.
Unfortunately, Tweed & Hickory are unable to provide refunds or accept exchanges on opened OR partly used loose tea products. If you have purchased non-food items such as teapots or infusers etc. you may return these if you are unhappy or wish to exchange them.
If you have something you would like to return, simply call us TOLL-FREE at 1-888-264-1879 or use our contact form with a full description and reason for your exchange or return. Please remember to include your order number & telephone number so we can contact you.
There are NO REFUNDS or EXCHANGES from December 26th to December 31st.
Please send any returned items to the following address.
Attn : Lesley
Tweed & Hickory
227 Third Avenue Timmins, ON
Canada P4N 1C9