The story of Taylors of Harrogate is one to savor over a cup of our very best tea. Founded in 1886, CE Taylor & Co was a purveyor of the finest speciality teas – a range that has grown to offer teas including black tea, herbal tea, Earl Grey and fruit tea. Based in Yorkshire, Northern England, Charles Edward Taylor was a Quaker with two sons, Llewellyn and Charles. Both young men were sent to Ashby’s in London to learn the art of loose tea buying. Charles, the younger son, opened ‘kiosk’ tea and coffee shops with tasting rooms in Yorkshire’s booming, highly fashionable Victorian spa towns of Harrogate and Ilkley. Local guesthouse proprietors would visit regularly to purchase tea leaves blended to precisely suit their local water source.
Supremely popular, Charles expanded his tea and coffee empire, creating the genteel Café Imperial cafes in Ilkley and Harrogate then teahouses in Harrogate’s Valley Gardens, Winter Gardens, Royal Spa Concert Rooms and also Wakefield, Keighley and St Anne’s-on-Sea.
The Great War seriously injured Charles’ only son Douglas. Bernard, Llewellyn’s son, had a child by his actress wife whom the Taylors ‘adopted’ to give him a settled home. After leaving school and learning the tea trade at Ashby’s of London, he joined the family business and eventually became chairman in 1956. However, James was childless and, without an heir to the business, he decided to sell in 1962.
Legend has it that the café manager at local tearoom ‘Bettys’ overhead local businessmen discussing over tea how the Taylor family were considering putting their business up for sale. She saw the opportunity and excitedly informed Bettys owner Victor Wild. He didn’t want to lose tea and coffee business CE Taylor & Co to a competitor, so he made an immediate offer, which was accepted. The rest is history.
Today, all those fine traditions – buying premium quality teas from around the world and expertly blending them to create the very best tea – are upheld at Taylors of Harrogate. Not only that, but we’re proud to say that one of our creations, the Yorkshire Tea blend, has grown to become one of the most popular teas in Britain, and can now be found in stores all over the world.
Commitment to Quality
Taylors of Harrogate never compromises on quality, particularly when selecting the very finest tea leaves for our speciality teas. This is something that has not gone unrecognized by the royal family, as we are loyal suppliers to the royal household and are proud to bear the Royal Warrant, the ultimate stamp of quality.
Every one of our tea buyers is also a highly experienced taster. This ensures they understand tea completely and know precisely which of the 1000 teas they test each day are of the very highest quality. Body, color, flavor are all expertly assessed.
Our team of buyers travels the world regularly visiting tea gardens in person to build strong lasting relationships with our suppliers. We also pay top prices in return for the absolute pick of the crop, rewarding not just quality but the extra effort, care, and attention to detail these artisan growers lavish on their tea.
Tea has a 7-10 day growing cycle, so each week a new crop is plucked and processed for tasting. Even the smallest changes in temperature, rainfall and soil condition can have a profound effect on quality and flavor, which is why our tea buyer’s job is so important.
We handle all our teas with extreme care. Tea is delicate and does not appreciate rough treatment. Fruit tea and flavored tea with flowers and scents are blended with meticulous care in small batches. Our most exclusive teas are inspected almost leaf by leaf to ensure absolute quality. Our fine orthodox leaf teas are very carefully ‘withered’ then pressed between two brass plates to rupture the leaves and create a twisty and tippy speciality loose tea.
Green tea, black tea, herbal tea, Earl Grey, fruit tea, organic tea – whichever is your favorite cup of tea, by selecting Taylors of Harrogate, you are assured of a superior quality infusion.
At Taylors of Harrogate, we want our teas and coffees to not only make you feel better, but to improve the lives of the people that grow and harvest them. Our independent family business buys the best quality, with respect for both the people and the planet.
Over decades, we have developed long-lasting, sustainable relationships with our growers and are founding members of the Ethical Tea Partnership, which helps producers meet internationally recognized standards. Our expert buyers regularly visit the farms and co-operatives that supply our tea and coffee and have a genuine rapport with our suppliers. More importantly, it also helps them to maintain or achieve certification with independent bodies such as Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance.
By guaranteeing to pay our suppliers sustainable prices and a premium for quality, they gain vital stability to plan and improve living conditions in their communities and achieve and maintain independent environmental standards. By working together, we’ve also helped them reduce their environmental impact with natural water filtration schemes and the prevention of soil erosion through better farming techniques.
We also have a history of going the extra mile when it comes to the environment. 20 years ago our former chairman promised his children he would plant 1 million trees to help deforestation, something that actually produces more carbon emissions per year than the whole of the USA. In the end we planted 3 million trees with the support of our customers. But his vision was bigger than that – we’re now on a mission to save an area of rainforest the size of Yorkshire – the biggest county in the United Kingdom.
Her Majesty the Queen has also recognized our work by bestowing on Taylors of Harrogate the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise at Buckingham Palace. This award sits alongside previous achievements including the Business in the Community Award ‘Example of Excellence’ and The Queen’s Award for Enterprise For Sustainable Development.
The way you do business needn't leave a bad taste in your mouth. In fact, we think knowing that everything is sourced responsibly might just make our tea taste better!