Time for tea!


Bill and Helen Logan launched their tea company less than a year ago – but they have already brewed up a winner. Jane Hall joins them for a cuppa

Television ad breaks are normally an excuse to make a cuppa, but Helen and Bill Logan have gone a good deal further, citing a telly advert as the inspiration to go into the tea business.

For the ad for Yorkshire Tea got them thinking. “We thought, if Yorkshire can do it, why can’t Northumberland,” says Helen, which is exactly where the story could have ended, with just another storm in a teacup, but just five months later, Northumberland Tea was launched.

Northumberland-Tea---Glentilt-tea-plantation-in-Sri-Lanka,-one-of-the-places-The-Northumberland-Tea-Company-gets-its-tea-for-the-Northumberland-blendAn exclusive blend of Assam, Kenyan and Sri Lankan (Ceylonese) teas, the brand – fronted by Bill and Helen’s friend and Northumbrian football legend Jack Charlton – has made quite a splash.

Less than a year after the first teabags rolled off the production line, Northumberland Tea is in Tesco supermarkets, cafes, restaurants, tourist information centres and independent food retailers.

In total, it is available to buy from 245 outlets here in the North East and also through Tesco in the
North West.

And that’s good news for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, as a percentage of profits goes to the cancer charity based at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital.

As they negotiate with other outlets, it would be fair to say that Bill and Helen’s desire to do for Northumberland what Yorkshire Tea has done for its home county is no longer the pipe dream it seemed when the idea was sparked during Christmas 2012.

To make their mark, the Logans, who previously ran a chain of coffee shops, sought the help of tea blender and importer James Pogson, of family-owned Northern Tea Merchants in Chesterfield.

They spent many hours perfecting their blend, which Helen describes as “bright and brisk – a tea of character and strength”.

Northumberland-Tea---Jack-Charlton-launching-Northumberland-Tea-into-Tesco-stores-in-the-North-EastNow Jack Charlton proudly proclaims from the side of every box that it’s ‘the best cup since 1966’, while the Logans are now working on their own Earl Grey blend – Northumberland Grey – which it is hoped to launch this summer.

Charlton says: “When Bill and Helen asked if I would help out with the tea that was going to help raise money for Bob’s charity, I was more than happy to do so.

“I liked Bob; he was a good lad, a good friend of mine. We first met as footballers while we were both at school and were friends for over 50 years.

“Bob coped so well while he was ill. I never heard him complain once – he just got on with it.”

Both Helen’s parents died of cancer and her father Michael took part in the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation cancer research trials. Helen says she is sure her father would be proud of what she and Bill are doing and their plans for earning Northumberland a place in tea making history.

They have already proved there is a market for a Northumberland tea and with North Easterners drinking on average 3.8 cups a day – more than the national norm – it’s a sector that is ripe for more growth.

To buy online go to www.thenorthumberlandteacompany.com

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