Posted on Thursday 17 May 2012 by Ulster Business

thompsons tea

Thompson’s Family Teas, the family behind Punjana, has recently launched “Thompson’s Titanic Tea” – a unique blend of tea to celebrate the Titanic Centenary and the Thompson family’s connection with Belfast harbour for over a century.

Northern Ireland’s Award Winning tea blender, has also been appointed as the ‘official tea provider’ to Titanic Belfast by Fitzers Catering – securing the exclusive contract to supply tea to the iconic building, which opened on Saturday 31st March. Thompson’s Titanic Tea is featured in the gift shop at Titanic Belfast and is served in all café’s and dining and banqueting events at the facility.

Founder Robert Thompson established the company is 1896, blending tea in his Belfast premises, close to the harbour, and he watched with fascination as the Titanic took shape. His blend of tea helped fuel the thousands of shipworkers from Belfast and beyond as they laboured on the great liner. The company has been owned and managed by three generations of the Thompson family, who blend and pack their best selling Punjana tea and more recently an extended range of speciality teas for both retail and food service outlets.

Ross Thompson, the founder’s grandson and current Joint Managing Director of Thompson’s Family Teas, stated: “We are incredibly proud of our roots in Belfast, where we are still based. Our premises have been adjacent to the harbour for over a century. My grandfather imported the finest teas from India, the tea chests making the last leg of the journey to his Musgrave Street premises by horse drawn cart. One hundred years later, much has changed, but we still import India and Kenya’s finest teas, and taste them on a daily basis, within view of the famous Harland and Wolff cranes. We are delighted to have launched ‘Thompson’s Titanic Tea’ in commemoration of the greatest feat of engineering ever achieved in Belfast and are very proud to be appointed as sole supplier of tea to Titanic Belfast – itself an example of engineering excellence and a major tourist attraction for Northern Ireland for many years to come.”

Titanic Tea is available at Titanic Belfast and in most major supermarkets and grocery retail outlets throughout Northern Ireland. This unique blend, containing teas from some of the world’s finest gardens, has been crafted by Ross and his cousin, fellow Joint Managing Director David Thompson, and retails circa £2.49.

Lenny Fearon, Executive Head Chef of Fitzers Catering added: “When making the appointment for Titanic Belfast, we were looking for a premium tea supplier that had both a genuine passion for the project and a real affiliation to this landmark building. Thompson’s Family Teas proved they had the best credentials to supply Titanic Belfast with their fantastic range of award winning specialty teas – including Thompson’s Titanic Tea.”

Thompson’s famous Punjana brand was awarded double Gold in the Guild of Fine Food’s ‘Great Taste Awards’ for three consecutive years, a feat achieved by no other blended tea bag in UK or the Republic of Ireland. The company currently employs over 50 staff at their state-of-the-art tea blending and packing facility in Belfast and its major markets include the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, and USA.

Claire Bradshaw, Head of Sales and Marketing at Titanic Belfast added: “Sales through the gift shop have been exceptional and the quality and variety of teas available to visitors throughout the building has ensured their tea drinking experience at Titanic Belfast has been a special one.”

Ross concluded: “Our teas are Northern Ireland’s favourite because we ensure every tea blended is taste-tasted by a Thompson, a tradition we have held for 116 years. We are immensely proud of Punjana’s place in the hearts of Northern Irish tea drinkers and are committed to importing the world’s finest teas into our city”.

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