About Time You Met: Joe Kinch, Founder of Joe’s Tea Co.By Angelica Malin
Joe Kinch believes that tea can bring people together. And so, after much sweat, toils, travels and tea-guzzling, Joe created Joe’s Tea Company in 2012. Joe’s dream is all about making tea approachable, and as a result, taking the ‘toff’ out of fine tea.
Joe’s sought after organic blends have since won 25 Great Taste Awards, and are now stocked in artisan delis, outstanding independent restaurants including M&S, Selfridges, Gordon Ramsay’s and The Breakfast Club. We chatted to Joe about sourcing organic tea leaves, our growing love for a good brew and new blends:
What first attracted you to founding a company specialising in tea?
Having been in the industry for a number of years before launching Joe’s Tea Co., it felt only natural to create a tea company that represented a more contemporary approach to offering quality organic teas.
I learnt from a young age how to combine flavours and the right ingredients, having originally trained as a chef, and from this understanding I wanted to create a product that tasted great and looked great, but without the pretension of fine tea.
My dream was to create a tea brand that would champion a shift in the category and inject more of a lifestyle approach to Britain’s most-loved drink, appealing to not only the avid tea drinker, but those with a millennial mindset and an ethical conscience.
Why do you think Brits love tea so much?
Tea is a part of our British heritage, like it is for many other countries. Popping the kettle on and having cuppa is about taking a moment out of your day just for yourself, a chance to catch up with friend or an ice breaker when meeting someone new, it makes us feel comfortable and brings us back to the present.
All of your tea is certified organic – where do you source your leaves from?
It certainly is, and I’m very proud to say so too. We source all our black, green and white teas directly from small hold farms in Sri Lanka.
When I set up Joe’s Tea Co, I wanted to make organic, premium, great-tasting tea accessible to a younger generation. I source the best tasting tea I can find cultivated by farmers using old-school, organic methods which ensures there are no nasties in the ingredients. I’m passionate about ethical sourcing and we’re proud to be certified as organic by the Soil Association.
Tell us a little bit more on why you only use Ceylon tea?
For me, it has be the people. I work closely with my chosen Sri Lankan partners and I’m fortunate enough to be able to call them my friends. The tea, in my opinion, is second to none; it’s bright, refreshing and beautifully light in taste, making it ever so moreish.
What’s your favourite tea from the range?
I’m proud of all our teas but I’m very excited with our newest launch, Feisty Turmeric Guru – it’s definitely of the moment and is a tasty blend of soothing turmeric and fiery ginger, which has a real kick. With wellness being such an integral part of our key audiences’ lifestyle, we knew we had to create a blend that does good for the mind and body, with its traditional Ayurvedic healing ingredients. It’s just launched on Ocado, go get some!
Let’s settle this debate: do you put the milk in first?
Haha, I think I must have been asked this question a million times!
Back in the day, people had to put the milk in first to stop the bone china from cracking from when the hot tea was poured in to the cup, the milk was merely used to bring down the temperature of to tea. In this day and age, you can add the milk in before or after, whichever makes you happy.
Any advice for people who want to explore tea further than the classic breakfast brew?
If people are looking try something a little different in character to their normal builder’s brew I would encourage them to try our Ever-So-English Breakfast blend, it’s world’s apart from what they’ll be used to. It’s organic black tea from the heart of Ceylon with delicate, floral and refreshing flavour profile.
What’s the secret to making a good cuppa?
We have a no-nonsense approach to tea and truly believe that tea should be drunk how you like it, not how anyone else tells you to drink it.
There are a few basic guidelines to making the best cuppa:
1. Always use fresh water, as it’s the oxygen in the water that brings out the flavour of the tea leaves. Double or triple boiled water is a big no no.
2. Buy good quality organic tea.
3. It’s best not to use boiling water on green, white or herbal teas.
4. Black teas prefer boiling water for a fuller brew.
5. Let the tea brew – good quality black tea should take at least 4-5 minutes to brew properly.
6. After this, it’s your cuppa, drink black, add your preferred milk etc, it’s up to you.
What’s been the most rewarding part of starting your own business?
Still to this day, there is nothing I enjoy more than working with our customers. “Joe, we love your tea, we’d like to serve it in our cafe” is music to my ears.
What’s next for you guys – anything fun in the pipeline?
We have a number of exciting projects in the pipeline with our new loose leaf range for retail launching early next year.
For more information on Joe’s Tea Co., click here.