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History of Taylors of Harrogate

Charles Taylor, a former agent at a tea company in London, founded Taylors of Harrogate in 1886. A regional wholesaler of tea and coffee to the Yorkshire area, Taylors remains a family-owned business to this day. From his experience as a tea agent, Charles Taylor realized that differences in water could affect the quality and taste of brewed tea or coffee. With tea the compounds in the tea interact with the calcium carbonate in hard water to create a kind of scum. It was Charles’ mission to supply coffee and tea drinkers in all the areas of Yorkshire with suitable blends.

Soon Taylors opened a chain of very successful coffee houses. Before the onset of World War II, the company opened Café Imperial, a four story café that served a variety of exotic teas in Harrogate. The café also featured a string quartet for live entertainment. By the 1960s it was difficult for merchants to keep the larger cafés open, and Taylors of Harrogate merged with its competitor, Bettys Café Tea Rooms. Bettys had a lot of experience in running cafés, which made them an ideal partner. As Bettys & Taylors expanded, they kept close relationships with their growers, visited estates and purchased only the highest quality beans and leaves for their teas and coffees.

In the 1970s the newly formed company moved their business to Harrogate and created Yorkshire Tea, which would become one of its most famous products. Today more than 10 million cups of Yorkshire Tea are consumed every day in the UK. Taylors has specially trained master tea buyers who travel the world to find perfect teas for the Yorkshire blends. They taste hundreds of different teas each day searching for the perfect flavor, character, balance and color. It takes about five years of tasting experience to become a fully trained tea tester.

Yorkshire offers a variety of teas including its original blend, Yorkshire Gold, which is a luxury tea, and Yorkshire Decaffeinated. Yorkshire tea is formulated for soft to medium-hard water, but Yorkshire’s specialty Tea for Hard Water will counteract the effects of hard water on tea for a perfect cup every time.

The Yorkshire line has recently expanded to include a variety of traditionally British foods like cakes, biscuits and tea loaves. All of the teas and foods in the Yorkshire line were developed with the same attention to detail as all the Taylors products. Taylors is a company that supports the environment and believes in the ethical treatment of workers.

Today Taylors is one of the largest family-owned tea and coffee merchants in the UK. It offers blends of the best carefully chosen teas from India, Africa, Sri Lanka, China and the Himalayas. Taylors was a founding member of the Ethical Tea Partnership, which monitors the conditions of workers, estates and tea production. In July of 2007, Taylors was awarded a very prestigious Business in the Community’s national award for ethical coffee buying. The award was presented by HRH, the Prince of Wales and former Vice President Al Gore. Taylors has received a multitude of other awards through the years and was included in the Best 100 Companies to Work For seven times.

Bettys and Taylors of Harrogate paired with Oxfam to start the Trees for Life program in 1990. By saving tokens from Yorkshire Tea packs, customers can support the campaign. From its beginning in 1990 to now, the organization has provided the funding to plant nearly three million trees on four continents. The program also focused on Third World community needs like education and agriculture. Although often taken for granted, trees support life and are one of the world’s most valuable resources.

In May of 2005, Yorkshire Tea teamed up with the Rotary Club of Harrogate, a long standing humanitarian and environmental organization, to buy wheelchairs for the handicapped. For every 500 Yorkshire Tea tokens collected, one wheelchair is donated. Bettys & Taylors will continue to make an impact on the world by participating in a variety of charities and providing superb quality teas, coffees and desserts for years to come.

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