Hello and thanks for stopping by. I’m Duncan, the face behind Tip Top Tea. Whether you are already a loyal Tip Top Tea drinker or potential convert, I thought it was time you could put a face to our brand! So without further ado here I am…
The origins of the business date back to 2002 when I lived in the south west of China, in the capital of Sichuan province, Chengdu. The picture below is of the outdoor teahouse in the Peoples Park, one of the very tea houses where I was first introduced to Chinese tea. These experiences of quality Chinese loose leaf tea left me both quite shocked and elated. Thinking I came from a proud nation of tea drinkers my mostly teabag experiences in the UK were a second rate comparison. But much enthused and intrigued by the variety and quality available in China, my initial journey in tea began!
After a brief three year career working as an Environmental Consultant, I decided that my real passion lay in tea. I quit my job, bought some tea and launched Tip Top Tea on the markets of Bristol in 2007. Its hard to believe we are fast approaching a decade of selling tea! We are a small company with a big heart, simply driven by the desire to find the worlds best teas and bring them to you. As the years have progressed and my tea knowledge, experience and tastebuds develop, my love of quality single estate tea keeps growing. Real tea, as I call it, can come up with delicious natural flavour profiles of almost infinite complexity and variation. From the light, sweet and delicate herbaceous white tea profiles to rich savoury charcoal roasted oolongs or thick dark fruity pu-erh teas. The variety is almost endless and it is this wide spectrum in taste that our carefully curated selection of teas hope to capture.
I truly hope we bring you some of the same surprise and delight I first felt when I discovered real tea, and still feel when I make a new discovery. I’ve now sampled thousands of different teas and each year drink countless samples from established trading partners and new sources, in order to buy that seasons best and freshest tea. My choices of tea have little prejudice or preconceptions other than a desire to find and offer the tastiest teas available at an affordable price. Every tea we that we sell has received my personal seal of approval, to bring you only the very best!
Now in 2016 I live with my wife Florrie in Brighton, England, where the business is based. I work from a shared office in central Brighton, with views over the city towards the sea captured in the picture above. I am to be found here most days, cup of tea in hand, trying to convert my fellow office colleagues to the way of tea or planning strategy for world tea domination! Usually I’m sipping some shu (ripe) pu-erh tea to start the day, often blending together a few of our different origins. Afternoons tend to be a Japanese green tea or Taiwanese type light roast oolong tea in hot weather (sometimes cold brewed and iced). Colder weather or more needing a pick me up I will revert to a strong black tea (often Yunnan or Nilgiri) or dark roast oolong (Wuyi Tie Luo han my current favourite). As you can see I like all types of tea.
Perhaps you already know what teas you like, and are just looking for a reliable supplier who delivers consistently great tea at a fair price. Or maybe you are new to loose leaf tea and find the sheer variety of teas, origins and suppliers daunting. In either case we are here to make life simpler, to get you drinking the best teas you have ever drunk with as little hassle and fuss as possible!
Tip Top Tea offers tea to suit all tastes, prices to suit all pockets, and quantities from small to large – so rest assured we have what you are looking for! I am always just an email away to personally talk tea with any aspiring loose leaf tea drinker and am happy to make recommendations or answer questions about our products. Embark with us on a journey of adventure, and let us be your guide to some of the worlds best teas.
Happy tea travels,