[Persian: Would you like some tea?]
Middle Eastern countries are famous for their hospitality. My Grandfather was a tea merchant from Northern Iran, on the shore of the Caspian Sea. Grandad Haji was a great and generous man who helped everyone who would come to him. And friend or foe, he would always offer you a cup of tea.
There is nothing that cannot be discussed over a cup of tea, it is the drink that brings us together across cultural and social boundaries - chai mikhai?
In the spirit and memory of my Grandad I decided to start Haji Tea.
THE STORY OF HAJI TEA
Haji Reza Ebrahimi (1928 - 2017)
My Grandfather, Haji Reza Ebrahimi Karganrood, was a tea merchant from Northern Iran, on the shore of the Caspian Sea. Grandad Haji was a great and generous man who helped everyone who would come to him.
He came to Britain to look after one of his sons who had fled to Europe during the Iran-Iraq war and was suffering badly from post-traumatic stress obtained in this conflict.
Grandad left all his business interests with relatives who had stayed back. His son turned out to need more help than he initially expected and so Haji settled in London. In the meantime his relatives at home betrayed his trust and appropriated all his business and properties for themselves.
When he died at the age of 89 he had lost everything.
In his spirit and memory I, his granddaughter, decided to start Haji Tea.
Amlash Black Tea grown in Gilan Province, Iran
Our black tea comes from the hillsides of Gilan Province on the shore of the Caspian Sea. It is grown in Amlash County, the homeland of one of the most delicate black tea varieties in the world. The smell of its fine, dried leaves promises extraordinary taste sensations and diversity. Blended with rose petals and spices to Grandad Haji's passed down recipe, an initial delicate floral scent combines with a golden colour and gives way to a refreshing invigorating aroma later. Slightly sweet, without a hint of bitterness, there is a zesty citrus twist and a warm nutty note. Iranian tea is a unique and exclusive choice for those who appreciate deep, oriental flavours.
THE CHARMS OF HAJI TEA
My Grandfather used to hide little presents in the tea he sold, ranging from small tea cups to gold coins. In this spirit some packages of Haji Tea contain a small good luck charm. Since he passed away I still feel my Grandad is looking after me.
When suddenly some unexpected luck comes my way or all the traffic lights turn green - I know Haji is there watching over us. I hope some of this luck will also rub off on you with the traditional charms we put for you in Haji Tea.
My grandad was an observant muslim but the Islam he believed in was an open and tolerant one. Following the pilgrimage to Mecca he obtained the honorary title ‘Haji’ which we used ever since. With reference to this the design of our packaging and branding is intended to evoke the Kaaba in Mecca.
BUY HAJI TEA
Haji Tea is available to buy in our online shop and in selected local shops as we want to work with and support small to medium-size independent traders such as my Grandad Haji was. For every Haji Tea sold a small percentage donation is made to grass roots environmental organisations and projects in Gilan.
CARING FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
Haji Tea Supports Local Action
My grandfather Haji Reza deeply cared about the plants and animals of his native Gilan. He passed on his love and awareness of nature to his children and grandchildren.
Haji would have been shocked by the levels of pollution and environmental damage brought about in recent years by industrial development that now affect his homeland and the Caspian Sea he left behind many decades ago.
Haji Tea has therefore made a pledge to donate part of our profits to local, grass-roots environmental and conservation organisations - which are still in their infancy in Iran. We sponsor local groups such as 'Nature Cleaners' whose mission is to raise awareness of as well as fight and clean up the rampant plastic pollution on the Caspian's beaches.