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Masterful Buyers & Blenders

We are the Commodities Team and we work with our partners around the world to expertly source the great tasting, sustainable teas and botanicals that you love.

Jeremy Sturges

Job Title: Master Buyer/Blender

Tell us about your role at Twinings and what you do.
I am part of a team of buyers and blenders responsible for sourcing, buying and blending the tea and herbs for the whole of the Twinings portfolio of products. We are tea and herb tasters with a commercial buying role and liaise and support many different functions in the business.

How long have you worked at Twinings?
I joined in 1990 as a graduate trainee.

Tell us a typical day in the life of your role.
A typical day will involve a lot of tasting of different raw materials, that we are looking to use in the current business or considering new items that we could use in the development of new blends and products. We have to maintain quality and continuity of supply, so we have calls with producers, suppliers and agents, to assess the markets and potential risks in terms of availability, seasonal variation or market price and take mitigating action in conjunction with the management team. We work closely with the Social Impact team on checking raw material supply chains for traceability and transparency of supply. It is afterall agricultural crops we are dealing with and no season is ever the same as the last, which remains our constant challenge to deliver consistent product quality time after time.

What do you love about your job?
What I love most is meeting growers and producers who are passionate and energised about the crops they grow and coming across a new raw material that ends up featuring in one of our products that consumers will love drinking. It’s the development of the end to end supply chain from field to cup and the turning of ideas into great tasting products.

What made you choose your career?
I'd thought about a career in Commodities after meeting a tobacco trader many years ago. Tobacco lead to coffee and coffee lead to tea and that’s where I ended up!

What do you think are the best skills that you bring to your job?
You need to be interested in how things taste and the provinence of ingredients and have an aptitude to taste which can be developed into a skill. An interest in world affairs and have a cultural awareness are all important.

Name three words that you describe you.
Conscentious, positive, motivated.

How do you think your colleagues would describe you?
Integrity, enthusiastic, coaching.

What’s your favourite country you’ve visited?
South Africa for Rooibos and the diverse land and seascape. India for Darjeeling tea, colour and cultural.

What’s your favourite tea?
Rich malty, tippy 'orthodox' Assam leaf tea.

What’s your favourite herb?
Peppermint with its heady fresh menthol richness.

William Griffin

Job Title: Buyer & Blender

Tell us about your role at Twinings and what you do.
I work for Twinings as an Indian tea buyer currently based in Kolkata helping to buy tea from Assam, Darjeeling and South India.

Tell us a typical day in the life of your role.
After bustling through the hectic Kolkata traffic, I settle down with a cup of tea and ring suppliers to understand the latest on the tea gardens in India. I am particularly interested to find out about the agro-climatic conditions in the field and how this will affect the quality of the tea being grown. After that I will taste through the latest tea samples that have arrived in the office to assess whether they are suitable for Twinings to buy. The afternoon will be spent working with the team to monitor shipments and devise a buying strategy to ensure that our customers always have the Twinings product that they love. The last thing I do in the day will be planning my next trip to the beautiful tea gardens of India.

What do you love about your job?
I love the fact that I learn so much everyday. The team at Twinings is very experienced with some members of the team working in the trade for over 30 years. They are willing to share their immense knowledge with relative newbies like myself.

What made you choose your career?
I have always wanted to have a job which involved working with farmers all around the world to buy great tasting products. I didn't know that it would be tea and in fact I never used to like tea but from being immersed in the Twinings world, I now have a great passion for all things tea.

What do you think are the best skills that you bring to your job?
I think the most important skill is to relationship building with suppliers. They are the ones who help us to secure the best quality tea. Without a close, long-term relationship with the suppliers, we may struggle to get tea to our customers during extreme weather events.

Name three words that you describe you.
Curious, passionate and fun.

How do you think your colleagues would describe you?
I think my colleagues would describe me as an inquisitive member of the team always looking to learn something new about the world of tea.

What’s your favourite country you’ve visited?
I was lucky enough to work in China for two years with Twinings; visiting the gardens high up in the hills of Yunnan was a special experience.

What’s your favourite tea?
My favourite tea varies on an almost weekly basis. At the moment, I'm really enjoying the Keemun Mao Feng - a sweet, nutty tea from Anhui Province in China.

What’s your favourite herb?
I love the cool, refreshing taste of the Twinings Cold Infuse Rose Lemonade. Perfect for a hot summer's day.

Vitor da Silva

Job Title: Senior Tea Buyer & Blender

Tell us about your role at Twinings and what you do.
I am part of the Tea & Herb buying team and I currently buy teas from China as well as our decaffeinated teas range.

Tell us a typical day in the life of your role.
As a buyer, there's no getting away from the commercial world - which of course, is actually quite enjoyable. We have very well established relationships with producers, so are often on the phone or on a video call to understand how things are going for them. Blending the teas I buy is a critical part of what I do and so is quality control - I'm often in our tasting room slurping away at copious amounts of different teas sourced from across the world. This is by far the real perk of the job.

What do you love about your job?
Tea - We regularly get to taste some real treats of the tea world, which is making my mouth water as I type. Relationships - they say everyone knows everyone in the tea world, which is very true. We travel to tea plantations relatively frequently and so are very lucky to get to meet fantastic people along the way and indeed experience fascinating cultures. 

What made you choose your career?
The product - tea. Having previously worked with chocolate, I knew I had to work with something I could be passionate about. 

What do you think are the best skills that you bring to your job?
Again, having passion for the product helps me to have the drive to always aim for perfection. As Buyers/Blenders, we are purveyors of quality and so we take that very very seriously.

Name three words that you describe you.
Passion, drive and commerciality.

How do you think your colleagues would describe you?
Logical, helpful and often mindful of the bigger picture.

What’s your favourite country you’ve visited?
Malawi - stunningly beautiful country full of inspiring and humbling people. My first trip to Malawi changed the way I look at life.

What’s your favourite tea?
Twinings Strong Breakfast in vast quantities during the day and in the evening, I have recently developed an addiction for a pot of First Flush Darjeeling - all to myself.

What’s your favourite herb?
I usually have Fennel, Peppermint or Turmeric infusions - in between cups of Strong Breakfast Tea. Although my favourites do change from time to time. That is the beauty of tea and herbal infusions, there is so much to choose from and enjoy.

Andrew Whittingham

Job Title: Master Tea Buyer & Blender

Tell us about your role at Twinings and what you do.
I am part of a team that source & blend teas and botanicals for Twinings.  We are constantly reviewing the world tea markets, speaking to our suppliers and laising with our factories to ensure the best quality tea is delivered on time to our customers across the world.

Tell us a typical day in the life of your role.
You are constantly reviewing the latest tea market data, assessing the growing conditions, tasting the latest tea quality and speaking with the producers - all so you can make a commercial and sustainable decision over when and who to buy the best quality teas from.

What do you love about your job?
I love the people, the product and having the opportunity to taste some wonderful teas across a wide spectrum of the tea growing districts of the world.

What made you choose your career?
Being able to work with a great product, develop a unique skill and become expert at what I do.

What do you think are the best skills that you bring to your job?
Passion for the product, commercial mindset and the ability to bring our stakeholders together through collaboration.

Name three words that you describe you.
Collaborative, commercial & passionate.

How do you think your colleagues would describe you?
Organised and gets things done.

What’s your favourite country you’ve visited?
Difficult to name only one - each has different memories and experiences - Sri Lanka/Kenya/Malawi/South of France/Argentina - it gives you a completely different view on life and you get to meet some wonderful people.

What’s your favourite tea?
An East of Rift high grown Kenyan tea or a beuatiful Sri Lankan tea grown in the Dimbula region - Mix these together with some July Assam tea and you have Twinings Strong English Breakfast.

What’s your favourite herb?
A refreshing peppermint infusion.

Rishi Deb

Job Title: NPD Manager - Tea

Tell us about your role at Twinings and what you do.
I  am one of Master Blenders and work in our global Design & Development team with our NPD function, leading on tea and other innovation projects. 

Tell us a typical day in the life of your role.
Dynamic with market calls, innovation ideation, product design and development, analysing competition, creative exploration to find our next generation of tea and botanicals.

What do you love about your job?
Its exciting to be working with such a wonderful set of team mates all around the world and on such an rich innovation pipeline to create products that delight our consumers around the world.

What made you choose your career?
Passion for tea and the wonderful places where it grows on the planet.

What do you think are the best skills that you bring to your job?
Ability to explore, connect with people  and passion for tea and botanicals.

Name three words that you describe you.
Energetic, explorer and passionate.

How do you think your colleagues would describe you?
Friendly, approachable and a bit... over enthusiastic.

What’s your favourite country you’ve visited?
Australia.

What’s your favourite tea?
Darjeeling First Flush.

What’s your favourite herb?
Rooibos.

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