At English Tea Shop, love for our people and our planet is at the core of everything we do. Join us for regular chats with our employees and associates, to find out a little about them as individuals. Next up… a cup of tea with Sampath, the Master Blender here at English Tea Shop. We talk about organic farming, favourite blends and Prajãva.
Tell us about your role at English Tea Shop. What does your job involve?
My day starts with a batch of fresh tea samples either directly from our partners from the central hills in Sri Lanka or our internal production team. One of my key roles is sourcing the right ingredients and selecting suppliers for our broad range of raw materials for the teas, making sure they are of high quality and meet our organic standards.
What do you love the most about English Tea Shop and the farm-to-cup ethos?
Transparency. We have initiated this through love, care, and the ‘change concept’. This brings English Tea Shop close to people and nature.
What does Prajãva or community mean for you?
Prajava’s core meaning for me is looking after the entire value chain. The more we look after the community, the more the community will look after us. For this, we have to create stronger, sustainable relationships with everyone involved from farm to cup, our farmers, suppliers, employees, customers etc.
Tell us more about the blending process at English Tea Shop…
- We source organic raw materials that we use in the teas from small-scale organic farmers and producers on a long-term contract basis.
- Ensure that what we source carries high integrity and meets our desired quality standards.
- Once it passes the incoming inspection, raw materials will be stored separately in dry and temperature-controlled facilities.
- The blending team will pick ingredients according to the system, often the standard recipes. Blends will be issued for production after 24-48 hours maturity once microbiology and organoleptic properties are tested.
- The Master blender team adopts 3 pillars for quality and sensory evaluation (using a quadrant system): incoming raw ingredients, after blending and after production, just before shipment.
What is the process for creating a new blend?
With our vast array of teas, herbs, and botanicals, we were able to create unique recipes for
different occasions, moments, and trends that are out there in the market. The selection of ingredients happen in three segments: the core, secondary and hidden. It involves a deep look into the behaviour of each ingredient we source, how they work together, and the scientific validation that we conduct in our in-house lab.
Tell us about the open book management initiative at English Tea Shop…
In a few words, it’s called radical transparency. Opening up your financial performance numbers and indicators to each and every team member creates an empowering unique culture. This brings new discussions and understanding of the role each member plays at the English Tea Shop.
Are you more of a tea cup or a mug person?
A mug person.
What is your favourite blend of tea and how do you enjoy it?
I prefer Super Berries, which is robust and acts as a good mid-day refresher. It can be
prepared either hot or cold. I prefer it without sugar as it’s very flavorful and unique in taste. You can try the loose tea and pyramid options for a nice balance of authentic taste profiles, however, I prefer the sachets as it gives me an intense experience.
What blend do you reach for when you’re feeling unwell?
Lemongrass, Citrus and Ginger. This has a nice, floral, and zesty taste. It’s a great relief if you
are having a heavy head or tummy.
What is your favourite ingredient in its natural form, and why?
Black tea is my favourite! For me, this challenges me as there is a constant desire to achieve
standards and to offer consumers more perspective on organic teas. We are trying to do this by working closely with small farmers and primary producers.
That’s all from Sampath for now, we hope you enjoyed the read. Do let us know which part of the team you’d like to hear from next. Until then, why not check out our blog on our new gifting collection, or tracing our supply chain.
Did you enjoy reading this? Share it on your social media pages