Mark Webster, the 28-year-old owner and operator of Webster’s Tea, developed the concept while travelling the world. He caught up with the team to discuss the wonderful world of tea.
What is your company background, how did you start the business?
“Webster’s Tea was hatched on my big OE. My travels took me through Asia where I was immediately taken by the ritual of brewing loose leaf tea and its significance within their culture. It was my interest in the brew that landed me a job in a tea company in Canada where I continued to soak up both the brew and every tidbit about it. When I returned home to NZ the tea situation slapped me like a wet tea bag to the face – Kiwis had come to accept bland, bagged dust as tea and in many cafes little attention was given to the mighty brew I had come to love. Somewhere along the way we became too busy and convenience sucked the fun and goodness out of our beloved brew. Determined to redeem NZ’s cuppa I started Webster’s Tea in a garage on the outskirts of Tauranga in November last year.”
What is the current product range and variants and how do these products stand out in the market?
“I offer a range of 15 organic loose leaf teas and tea accessories – everything you need to ditch the bag and enjoy the awesome ritual and flavour of Webster’s Tea at home.”
“Hand blending quality organic tea and ingredients in small batches Webster’s Tea proudly offers organic loose-leaf teas that look, smell and taste ridiculously good.”
“A note on quality – tea quality is indicated by leaf wholeness and size. Most Kiwis settle for tea bags with the flavour equivalent of sawdust. Webster’s Tea uses large organic leaves sourced from around the world. The leaves are then blended in small batches with various other organic ingredients.”
“I believe that we have a responsibility to our customers, community and planet so organic certification is a given. It means that the production of our tea uses only organic products and is free of synthetic and harmful chemicals and fertilisers too commonly found in other teas. Basically, Webster’s Teas are free of nasties, better for you because of it and are produced sustainably.”
Has there been any recent company news?
“Product expansion. I am extremely receptive to customer feedback and request for new tea blends and flavours. As such I will be introducing news teas periodically to keep the range fresh and in line with consumer tastes and preferences. Tea of the people! I also follow seasonal trends in tastes and consumption. For example, emphasizing fruity iced tea blends in the summer. The tea range is dynamic so sign up for updates and check back often!”
“Webster’s tea will soon be offering gift pack collections of 3 teas. Tea is an amazing gift, who doesn’t love and appreciate a good cuppa?! These bundles will make decision-making and gift buying easy. Collections include: Webster’s Top 3, Black Tea Collection, Caffeine Free Collection, and a Feel Good Collection.”
“Staff. Team of one at the moment! Won’t last long however and I will employ someone to help with packaging and dispatch in order to keep up with demand.”
What are the plans for the business moving forward is there any expansion on the horizon?
“Being new on the block expansion is inevitable!”
Where are your products currently available to buy, and are you looking at or wanting to expand your availability?
“Currently customers can buy Webster’s Tea online at www.websterstea.co.nz and keep up to date by signing up to the newsletter and following @websters.tea on Instagram and Facebook. I am extremely active in local markets. Weather permitting the Webster’s Tea stall can be found every Saturday in the Bay of Plenty. I wholesale to cafes who proudly serve up Webster’s Tea. I wish to expand into all New Zealand cafes that want to make serving quality, organic, loose leaf tea a considered part of their offering. Want to serve Webster’s Tea? Get in touch and let’s talk tea! Once the three pack collections are available shortly I will be expanding into retail spaces and gift stores also.”