By BEN WOODS, Business writer
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
A Norwich couple are aiming to create a stir in the hot drinks market with the launch of a new green tea business.
Alex and Lorraine Tosh have set up the Kensington Tea Company, which sells green tea imported from Japan and teaware sourced from Holland.
And despite only starting the company this month, they are already on the verge of establishing new strands of the business by selling a range of locally produced green tea chocolates.
Mr Tosh, who is the director of Norwich-based design agency Creative Sponge, said the couple had funded the start-up from their own funds and were running the business from home until they have found a permanent premises.
He said: “A couple of years ago I spent a bit of time living and working in Australia where they drink a lot of green tea because of their Asian influences.
“I then moved back to the UK and found it hard to find a decent cup of green tea.
“So I thought I would launch my own and specialise in high-quality green tea, and last year I thought ‘let’s make it happen’.
“It has taken lots of research, and I have spoken to a couple of London tea merchants and I found one in London who is sourcing the most high quality tea.
“I went down and did lots of testing and picked the best teas from those guys and began importing a tea called Matcha directly from Kyoto in Japan.”
Mr Tosh said they were able to develop the marketing and the branding side of the company quickly by using their skills at the design agency.
But he believes the product’s success will come from the pair spotting a gap in the market for a premium green tea.
“I have got high expectations for the brand and I am focusing on building a good customer base for the green tea business and looking at selling tea sets to hotel chains,” he added.
“We are also keen to launch a premium green tea in a silk bag, as well as expanding into other high end areas such as chocolates infused with green tea.
“It is all about finding a point of difference from the companies that are already out there. We eventually want to get some permanent premises and create local jobs for people.”
Meanwhile, Mrs Tosh added: “We have done a lot of research and are confident there is a definite gap in the market for this type of product.
“All our teas are of the highest quality and are mostly from Japan and China. We have some interesting and unusual blends such as Japanese popcorn and Japanese cherry tea.”