Tetley Tea History

Tetley Tea maintains a tradition of quality begun over 160 years ago in England. At the beginning of the 19th century, brothers Joseph and Edward Tetley founded Joseph Tetley & Co. in 1837, after successfully selling tea off the back of their pack horse for several years. In 1856, they moved the company to London—then the center of the world's tea trade. They eventually parted, and Joseph unveiled the newly named "Joseph Tetley & Co., Wholesale Tea Dealers."

In 1871, Tetley took his son Joseph "Junior" into partnership. Business flourished and the company extended its services to include blending and packing. By 1888, the company was ready to take its next major step-an agreement with American agents to distribute Tetley's teas throughout the United States.

Tetley & the Tea Bag
Though sales of tea in tea bags accounted for only 5% of Tetley's sales by the 1930s, the company accurately pegged them as the future of tea commerce. War interrupted immediate production plans, but the foundation was laid for the launch of the Tetley Tea Bag in Britain in 1953.

Tetley continued to innovate with the introduction of the round tea bag to the U.S. in 1992, that literally changed the shape of the market. Tetley further revolutionized the industry with the unveiling of the first drawstring tea bag, in 1997. Designed to squeeze every possible drop of flavor into every cup, Tetley drawstring tea bags have become a favorite with lovers of hot tea.