Welcome to Blends for Friends, the place where it is all about tea.
Alex Probyn started Blends for Friends with the purpose of using his experience as a Master Tea Taster to create bespoke blends for people, initially friends and family. Today he still supplies and makes blends for customers but also to businesses around the world in much larger volumes. His solid career and experience in the tea industry as well as his love for tea are surely part of his business’ success.
I met him in 2012 at a Masterclass at the Langham Hotel in London. After the class I approached him and expressed my interest to learn more about tea. Unfortunately he wasn’t giving any other training at the moment but he said that if I was interested, I could go to Blends for Friends to help out with his business in exchange for tea training. It was a deal!
So I went there in February of last year for the first time and spent two weeks breathing, smelling, touching, blending and tasting tea, just what I was looking for. It was a great opportunity for me to explore, learn and have a hands-on experience working with tea.
I tasted more than three hundred teas and herbs during those weeks and I even remember getting dizzy because of how much air and mix of herbs and teas I tried. It was also my first time blending samples for customers as well as working on my own blends. Another valuable experience I cherish was the tasting session as part of a consultancy for an important tea brand: the preparation of the tasting and the evaluation of the tea samples were exhaustive and systematic, according to the highest standards.
One of the things I also liked about BFF was that almost every member of the staff knows a lot about tea, probably because there are ongoing tasting sessions open to all staff so you can always have a break and try new blends, herbs, spices and teas. Another great thing is that there are plenty of teapots and cups that you can use to make yourself and others a cup of tea and you are encouraged to do so. You can be as creative as you want, making your own blend or choosing any tea you particularly fancy, at any time, as many times you want. Did I say unlimited tea?
I went back in November again and I was amazed (but not surprised) by how much Blends for Friends had grown in size, in staff, in numbers and every aspect of the business since I went the first time. They now have two working sites with new blending, packaging and stock areas, new machines and of course, new temporary and permanent staff.
Alex is one of the most generous persons I have met in the industry, he is not only passionate about what he does but he is also the kind of person that will give you the confidence and the tools for you to try and do the things you really want. I truly appreciate his generosity and kindness and I am very fortunate to have him as a guide in my present and future endeavors.
While I write this post I am sipping a milk oolong, one of the “top five staff favourites” teas at Blends for Friends. Definitely one of the best choices if you want almost everyone to say “yes please” after you have brewed a pot of tea to share.
Last but not least, I wholeheartedly want to thank everybody at Blends for Friends for their warm welcome and for making me feel part of your team. Special thanks to Sara for taking care of me and for being so wonderful. It was great to see you all again and I look forward to joining you later on this year!