Introduction

Introduction

Pursuing his passion to import and trade high quality tea and coffee, Walter Whittard opened his first shop in London in 1886. Selling tea, coffee and cocoa, he started creating special blends for his customers, building and nurturing the reputation Whittard has today.

From that one little shop on Fleet Street we continue to grow, sharing our innovative range and specialist knowledge across our UK stores, overseas and online. We’re still the blending and tasting experts, offering you something truly unique, with a wide range of loose tea, coffee beans and luxurious hot chocolates.

The Early Days

The Early Days

Walter Whittard was born in London in 1861 into a family of wealthy leather merchants. But fired by his passion for tea, he chose to pursue his own dream. In 1886, aged only 25, he opened his first shop on Fleet Street, below the famous Anderton’s Hotel. 

Always listening to his customers, Walter soon added coffee and cocoa to his range of expertly blended teas, creating premium products for both the newcomer and connoisseur. 

By 1890, business was thriving, and Walter took premises at the hub of the tea trade, at 21 Mincing Lane, the ‘Street of Tea’ and home to the tea auctions of the London Commercial Salerooms.

Master Blenders

Master Blenders

What made Walter unique was his desire to buy the best and tailor his products specifically for his customers – something Whittard continues to do today.

Barrister’s Refresher was Walter’s first tea blend, created to tempt the be-wigged workers of the Inns of Court into his newly-opened shop.

Always incredibly intuitive, he launched his Opportunity Blend in the 1930s, enticing customers with the promise of hope in difficult times. It was such a success that an entire floor of the warehouse had to be dedicated to the tea to cope with demand. Later, he developed his Russian Caravan and Whittard Original blends, still popular with our customers to this day.

British Spirit

British Spirit

By the time Walter died in 1935 his sons Hugh and Dick were running the business. It survived the beginning of the war, even with both brothers enlisted in the army, but the warehouses suffered devastating attacks in 1940.

Undeterred, Hugh and Dick found new premises in Fulham Road, Chelsea, continuing to sell innovative blends and unique roasts to their loyal customers.

In the late 1960s Hugh was tragically killed in a train crash. Wanting to preserve the Whittard drive and enthusiasm, Dick took on an apprentice, who successfully continued the family legacy after the business was sold in the 1970s. 

Our Products

Our Products

Inspired by Walter Whittard’s founding passion, our buyers still buy the best, drawing on their expert knowledge to bring customers an exceptional range of tea, coffee and hot chocolate. 

Always striving to improve quality, they work closely with suppliers, nurturing close relationships to select products and to create bespoke blends of tea and specific roasts of coffee that make Whittard so unique. We are committed to responsibly sourcing products that meet strict environmental and ethical requirements.

Whittard Today

Whittard Today

Whittard is a thriving business today, offering a unique and very special multi-channel shopping experience for our customers.

We have 55 UK stores, an e-commerce business and franchise and wholesale businesses in 30 markets across the world.

Just as in the beginning, our priority is to buy the best, listen to our customers and provide them with an exceptional range of products. Highly knowledgeable and always approachable, we want to share our love and enthusiasm for tea, coffee and hot chocolate, whether you are a connoisseur or newcomer, buying online or in-store.