Bell Tea Company - New Zealand's No. 1 Tea Company

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About Us

No. 1 Tea Company

The Bell Tea CompanyThe Bell Tea Company is New Zealand's oldest and all time favourite tea company. It is 100% New Zealand owned, with two manufacturing sites in Auckland and Dunedin.

Tea manufacture accounts for the largest volume of business for the company. The Bell Tea Company also has a foods division, developing and manufacturing soup, jellies, instant desserts, powdered beverages, filter coffee, gravies, sauces and other meal solutions.
 

Tea Quality Standards

The Bell Tea Company guarantees freshness of our teas through ensuring product reaches stores and food outlets in the finest condition, and they meet our quality standards. While our packaging is consumer and environmentally friendly, it's of paramount importance the tea inside is looked after. Both Bell and Twinings have a barrier proofing in their packaging to keep the air out. All our unprocessed tea is packed in foil lined sacks to provide a moisture barrier and keep the tea dry.

Correctly stored, tea can stay fresh up to three years. It's much better though to keep your tea turning over so we recommend buying small quantities often.

Correctly stored, tea can stay fresh up to three years. It's much better though to keep your tea turning over so we recommend buying small quantities often.

We aim to be environmentally friendly in all areas of tea production. Bell and Twinings brands use recyclable packaging and we use chlorine free paper in all our tea bag products.
Bell Tea Company and TwiningsSince 1989, the Bell Tea Company has manufactured and marketed Twinings in New Zealand under licence from Associated British Food and Beverages. Our strong history as a superior New Zealand manufacturer has earned us the position of clear market leader. This is endorsed through our expertise - we are the only tea company in New Zealand which invests in a full-time expert master tea taster and blender.
 

Tea Innovation

We aim to promote a culture of driving innovation in the tea category, bringing new products to New Zealanders from around the world. We're committed to sharing new tea experiences with our customers and more tea drinking across our extensive range.
 

Our Commitment

We are excited about the increasing importance of tea as people are more health aware and the benefits of tea are becoming more well known. The Bell Tea Company is committed to providing New Zealanders with a superb range of teas, chosen and blended to suit their ever changing and developing tastes.
 
 

Our Brands

Bell Classic

Bell ClassicA New Zealand Tea drinking tradition since 1898 Bell Classic is our original tea created in 1898 and New Zealand’s all time favourite tea.

Tea for both Classic teabags and loose leaf tea blends is sourced from some of the world’s most renowned tea producing countries. The art of constantly producing New Zealand’s “feel alive” flavour is the job of our expert master tea blender.
 

Bell Pure Ceylon

A full bodied tea, carefully selected for its rich golden appearance and smooth, distinctive flavour.

Sri Lanka’s tea growing heritage dates back to the 1860s when it was known as Ceylon and tea was rolled by hand on bungalow verandah floors and fired over hot charcoal. Then, as now, the tea produced in the country’s tropical highlands was admired for its strength and refinement.

When the Bell Tea Company's master tea taster visited Sri Lanka, he was impressed with the unique qualities of the tea produced by the Watawala Plantations' high elevation estates. The quality of the tea is not only in the growing, but in the skill and care of the plantation workers. Now you can 'let us take you there' as you escape and rejuvenate with the distinctive taste of Bell Pure Ceylon Tea.
 

Twinings

TwiningsTea was officially introduced to England in the late 1600s by the wife of Charles II. She served tea to her aristocratic friends and it soon became the fashionable drink of society.

No tea was more fashionable than that of Thomas Twining, owner of Tom's Coffee House in The Strand.

Twinings was founded 300 years agoSince that time it has never been surpassed for the quality of its tea or for its reputation among the discerning.Tea for the Monarchy

Queen Victoria appointed Twinings as suppliers of tea to her household im 1837. Twinings has had the honour of supplying every British monarchy since. (It was around this time Twinings created its famous Earl Grey for England's Prime Minister, Charles Earl Grey.)
 

Twinings now sold in over 115 countries

Today Twinings teas encompass traditional black teas like Earl Grey and English Breakfast, green teas, herbal and fruit infusions - all giving unequal pleasure and satisfaction for which Twinings has been famous since 1706.

In NZ from August - 1706 Tea Limited Edition!
History lessons needn't be dry and boring affairs, especially with Twinings 1706, a special blend of tea created to celebrate Twinings 300 years of brewing fine teas.Named after the year Thomas Twining opened his first shop in the heart of London, this special blend is available only in England and New Zealand for a limited time.The full-flavoured taste of 1706 is a blend of African, Indian and Ceylon teas and will particularly appeal to New Zealanders who enjoy a stronger flavored tea. The African tea delivers colour with a brisk, strong flavour, while the Indian tea adds richness with a malty, full bodied flavour. The Ceylon tea gives a fresh zesty finish with citrus top notes.
Twinings 1706 will be available in supermarkets throughout New Zealand from August to December 2006.

Try Twinings Latest Fashion Teas
Try Twinings new Green teas for a mellow tea with distinctive citrus flavours. Both are a natural source of antioxidants and ideal for maintaining hydration and general wellbeing.Try Twinings new Infusions for a fresh zingly blend of herbs and fruit. Naturally caffeine free and low in calories.
 

Other Brands

Rosemount - A select blend of teas sourced from around the world, Rosemount is full bodied and refreshing.

Edglets - Since 1905 Edglets has been one of NZ's favourite teas. Produced in a string and tag teabag and loose leaf tea, it continues to provide a full bodied robust brew with a refreshing taste.

Amber Tips - Amber Tips tea has produced a popular brew for almost 100 years. Available in teabags and loose leaf tea, this tea has a refreshing taste with the antioxidant benefits of a black tea.

Tiger - Kick start your day with Tiger tea. Since 1890 Tiger has been a favourite of the southern part of NZ. A blend from several countries has produced a robust full bodied tea to give you a boost when you need it.
 
 

History

History of the Bell Tea CompanyThe Bell Tea Company has remained a New Zealand owned and operated business through the turbulent years of two World Wars and the Great Depression, each having a profound effect on its fortunes.Norman Harper Bell was the founder of The Bell Tea Company. He was born in Melbourne and gained his expertise in the tea industry with the Robus Tea Company. In those days Dunedin had strong links with Melbourne which was considered the sister city particularly in commerce. Norman Harper Bell recognised the opportunities for business in New Zealand, and in 1894 arrived in Dunedin and joined R Wilson & Company. In 1898 the trademark Bell Tea was registered.

Bell gave the brand a huge amount of effort. He travelled New Zealand appointing agents and introduced a new form of coupon collection competitions to market the product. Sales increased and in 1902 the business moved to bigger premises to meet the increasing demand. In 1905, having dissolved the partnership with R Wilson & Company, and bought Bell Tea and other trademarks, Norman Harper Bell and two new partners commenced trading as The Bell Tea Company.Norman Harper Bell was considered a man of standing. He enjoyed personal presence, was well built and considered a handsome man. He was not flamboyant or pretentious, although his station-floral buttonholes and top hats were always in evidence.

Norman Harper Bell’s driving passion was work. Not only an excellent tea blender, he was also an astute businessman, understanding the many essentials of marketing a first class product, good distribution, customer retention and public relations. In 1912 at the age of 47, Norman Harper Bell died of diabetes and his son Norman Harper Bell Junior was appointed manager of the company until he relocated to USA.

Changes ahead with World War IWWI brought turbulent times with pressure on supply of tea and overall pricing. The wartime government of William Massey announced a special postage concession rate for food and comfort parcels addressed to NZ troops serving abroad. The parcels were required to be of certain measurements to get the concession. Coincidentally, those measurements exactly matched the “Bell” one pound tea tin. A windfall to the company, sales boomed to the point of becoming out of control. It was later claimed that front line security were created with so many Bell tea tins lying around and identifying the presence of the NZ Division.

Bell introduces gift coupons to NZ By 1920, half yearly competitions involving the collection of gift coupons had been a major promotion for Bell tea. Entries had increased to the point that it was decided to hold a competition annually and double the prize value. In 1924, the Master Grocers Association began protesting against the system of coupons and prizes which were then widespread through the country. Lobbying began with the Government to legislate against their use and the Coupons Trading Act was passed in 1932.

World War II and subsidies on teaFollowing the invasion of Poland by Germany, NZ declared war on Germany on 3rd September 1939. The Bell Tea Company was soon advised that tea controls and rationing were about to begin again. Rationing of tea was in place along with meat, butter and sugar, and coupon books were issued.
1948 was a difficult period in the tea trade on account of government controls and labour shortages. As a bread and butter line of the day, tea was heavily subsidised to keep costs down to consumers. In 1948 the government lifted rationing of tea to the trade. By 1950 consumer subsidies were removed and controls on tea buying were lifted.The 1970s decade

Bell Tea’s Auckland factory was built and production commenced, along with the introduction of teabags into the business. Business acquisitions were undertaken seeing the purchase of Amber Tips, Tiger and Edglets brands. A new look Bell pack emerged in the 1980s featuring the NZ flag. Attracting the attention of the Department of Internal Affairs, there was a brief investigation on its use and eventually Bell was wished success in the new pack design.

Leading the tea market The Bell Tea Company has led New Zealand’s tea trade in a number of changes. It was the first to introduce 30lb outer cartons and spread warehouse depots throughout the country. It was also the first packing company to abandon the traditional tea buying system under which 80% of the country’s tea was bought. And the company was the first to introduce packs of 100 teabags into New Zealand.

Today the Bell Tea Company is committed to bringing New Zealand new tastes in tea with the recent introduction of Bell Pure Ceylon to the stable, and new exciting flavours in Twinings Green Tea and Infusions. Drinking tea has been part of New Zealand culture for so long and The Bell Tea Company is proud to continue to provide a range of refreshing great tasting teas for every occasion.
 
 

Contact

Auckland Office

305 East Tamaki Road
East Tamaki
PO Box 58007
Greenmount

Ph: +64 9 274 7018
Fax: +64 9 274 8292

Email:
talktous@belltea.co.nz

Dunedin Office
15 Hope Street
PO Box 463
Dunedin

 
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