This online tea retailer delivers premium quality, garden fresh Indian teas to consumers around the world in less than two weeks
Tea connoisseurs in India know that the best of tea is exported and rarely comes back to Indian shores. If they do, they are available only at select stores and at prohibitively high prices. However, even the tea that is shipped to foreign shores reach after a considerable time, losing its freshness and delectable flavour.
Vahdam Teas, a three-year-old online tea retailer is trying to change that. “We source premium quality teas from plantations in India within hours of harvest. All our teas carry a ‘date of picking / harvest’ along with a ‘date of packaging’ which tells the customer the exact date on which their tea was harvested and the date on which it was packed,” says Bala Sarda, the 23-year-old founder and CEO of Vahdam Teas. Sarda’s family is involved in the bulk tea export business. Vahdam Teas has raised a total of $5 million in funding from venture capital firms with Fireside Ventures being the principal investor.
The tea sourced by Vahdam is sent to a state-of-the-art tea facility in Delhi where it goes through quality checks before being sorted and blended. It is then stored in large vacuum-sealed bags in a temperature controlled warehouse. Upon receiving a consumer’s order, the tea is further packed in vacuum-sealed retail packs which are shipped off to its global distribution facilities.
“Our disruptive supply chain is meant to deliver premium quality, garden fresh Indian teas to the consumer in the least possible time. The tea that reaches the consumer is as fresh as it is in the gardens,” says Sarda. Vahdam ships tea to around 85 countries, partnering with Fedex, DHL and India Post, typically taking 5-10 days to deliver its products. Its major global markets are the USA, the UK, Germany, Spain, Italy amidst others. It has a line of single-estate blends, delectable blends of black teas, green teas including healthy Matcha blends, Oolong teas, rare delicious white tea blends, besides an array of herbal teas, sourced from over 150 renowned plantations and individual tea estates across Darjeeling, Assam, Nilgiris, Kangra and Sikkim. Vahdam’s teas are also available on Amazon.
In its quest for foerign markets, Vahdam has not forgotten the Indian market. The average price range of its products for customers here is Rs 200-2000. While a 15-teabag pack of Darjeeling First FlushBlack Tea comes for Rs 300, a 15-teabag pack of Imperial Himalayan White Tea (one of the more expensive varieties) is priced at Rs 595. For those looking for loose tea, 50 gm of Snowbud Darjeeling White Tea is available for Rs 999 while 100 gms of Emerald Darjeeling Green Tea comes for Rs 1599. Matcha blends are priced at Rs 499 per 50gm pack.
With tea making a great gift, Vahdam has also come out with a range of exclusive gift sets, aptly recognised by US television personality Oprah Winfrey last year as among her ‘favourite things’, says Sarda. It also sells exclusive tea wares to brew a perfect cup of hot, piping tea.
“We have a direct-to-consumer revenue model. The brand generates all of its sales online and has now shipped over 100 million cups worldwide. The brand has grown by more than 1,000% in just the last two years,” says Sarda, adding that the startup plans to utilise a significant portion of the funds raised on its future growth strategies which include developing its infrastructure base in the country and focusing more on the Indian market.