Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Punjana, the perfect cuppa!

The best cup of tea in the world? Quite possibly as many people who start their day with a cup of Punjana well know. Punjana Tea has broken into the US tea market with Tree of Life supermarket chain, a nationwide distributor with a turnover in excess of $430 million, and with Boston-based Stop and Shop, a major retailer on the eastern seaboard with 300 stores. Punjana tea is the masterpiece of the Thompson family, of Belfast. The Thompson family have been importing and blending tea for over 100 years now and know more than a little about tea.

Punjana Limited, the tea importer and blender, had its start near the docklands in Belfast. It was founded by McArthur and Willis and the now famous Thompson family made their mark in 1896 when Robert Samuel Thompson became a partner. Robert Samuel Thompson originally entered the tea trade in 1887, and studied the art of tea tasting. He became known for his uncompromising devotion to quality and led the company for 51 years.

Robert Thompson

When the Thompson family began back in 1896, Belfast had 25 tea blending companies. Now though Punjana is the last mainstream tea company in the city.

As the 20th Century progressed, the connection with the Thompson family was strengthened and in post-war years, James and Tony Thompson became partners in the company. They were responsible for the birth of the Punjana brand and developed it until they retired in the late 1980´s.

James Thompson, when passing the Gillespie statue in Comber Square, Comber, Co. Down, Northern Ireland noticed an inscription relating to the 'Punjab'. He wanted to use Punjab in the name of his primer tea bend, but it was his wife that toyed with the word and came up with then now famous brand name of Punjana.

Mrs Thompson came up with the brand name Punjana

Ross and David Thompson are joint managing directors of Punjana Limited. They carry on the traditional job of tea tasting and selecting the company´s teas, in much the same way as has been done since the company was founded in 1896.

Punjana is available throughout the UK and Ireland and in better shops in Canada and the USA.

1 comment:

Barbara Haighton said...

Punjana has been my favourite tea for a long time and I often recommend it to others. However I was very disappointed with my last packet bought at Tesco in Rugby, Every bag leaves a mouth full of very tiny tea leaves and I will need to go back to using a strainer. Perhaps a different type of bag is in use now,or maybe I just got a bad batch.