Durham students launch their own tea company

We all love a good brew

Who doesn’t have PG Tips in the cupboard, it’s the only thing we know. The boxes are huge, cheap, and it’s a fairly decent tea. Or is it?

Sofia Hurst, Benedict O’ Donovan, and Yasmin Daswani decided to establish their own tea company in the hope of introducing Brits to a greater variety of tea. Naniki, the name of the recently launched tea company, provides customers with different teas from around the world.

Third year Natural Sciences student Sophia told The Tab: “I grew up in Asia, and there you have green tea at a certain time, chamomile tea at a certain time, et cetera. So it’s quite varied, and you build the tea into your life.

“When I came here I realised people in the UK only drink one type of tea. There are shelves with lots of tea at the supermarket, but people only buy one type. So we want to get people interested in a wider variety of tea.”

Never previously a lover of the drink, Benedict added: “When I met Sofia she finally got me to drink tea and I actually enjoyed it. I thought it made an interesting business idea, and so we’ve tried to make something that is affordable.”

Naniki means “free spirited” in Arawak, a Caribbean language, and the founders of the company explain how they love the idea of the international spirit being present in their product. The Naniki teas are slightly rarer teas that you wouldn’t come across in Tesco or Sainsbury’s.

The founders explain how the idea behind the concept of Naniki was to make it like a wine-tasting experience where you discover your liking for new wines you’ve never heard about before. It’s the same with the tea, instead of just buying the same tea from the supermarket over and over again, you can find your favourite tea from different parts of the world.

We asked the entrepreneurs how the business is going so far, “We launched the company on Monday, and since then we’ve started gaining followers on Facebook. We have also started advertising, and by now we’ve got a few dozen orders in.”

With summatives looming at every corner, it seems incomprehensible how anyone could manage to build up a business whilst studying, and Sofia admits that it’s hard. “It’s very difficult right now because of all the deadlines but there are three of us so we can take it in turn to work on the company.”

Benedict adds “Our third founder, Yasmin, is currently playing cricket for Hong Kong, so she can be doing stuff when we’re sleeping, and when Sofia is doing her summatives, I won’t be doing mine, so I can work on Naniki then.”

When asked whether they ever envisioned themselves starting up a tea company, Sofia says “In coffee shops they have these big shelves of tea, I’ve just always wanted to own a wall of tea. Right now it’s more like boxes under my bed, but we’re getting there.”

Currently, the price for a box of Naniki tea costs £20, however, students can get a discount.

You can find out more about Naniki on their facebook page. Order Naniki tea here.