History

Discover 170 years of passions and desires.

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Par 'Tea !

1848

Founded by the Meric family in Paris, Compagnie Coloniale is France’s oldest tea brand.

The company set up shop at 19 Avenue de l’Opéra, which would remain the brand’s emblematic store for many years.

1850

The first factory opens on Rue Lesueur, between the Bois de Boulogne and the Arc de Triomphe.

At the time it employed 150 men and 300 women. At that time, the company made a name for itself for the quality of its chocolate, and makes 2,400 tonnes of chocolate a year.

1860

Compagnie Coloniale takes advantage of its contacts with trading posts in the Far East to take an interest in another trade: tea.

The beverage is becoming more and more popular across Europe, Compagnie Coloniale devotes all its time and energy to tracking down and selecting the very best varieties from China.
Thanks to its expertise in selecting nothing but the best teas and creating unique blends, it wasn’t long before Compagnie Coloniale became a reference in the world of luxury French teas.

1937

Compagnie Coloniale creates a new tea blend Chine Extra, for the Paris World Exhibition

It is originally named Thé de Chine.
The famous poster by D’Ezy immortalises this launch. The blend changes its name into Chine Extra during the 70’s, and will be packed in tin with golden & red stripes.
In 2017, to celebrate the 80 anniversary of this emblematic blend, Compagnie Coloniale restyles the tin, drawing its inspiration from the genuine tin.

1950

Range widening & innovation

Up until the First World War the company only imported tea from China, however by the 1950s the Chinese plantations could no longer satisfy the booming world demand. The company therefore began to gradually establish direct links with plantation owners in India and Ceylon. Henceforth it could import directly from these two countries and broaden its range of teas.

And yet Compagnie Coloniale begins trying to find the best way to package its products of exceptional quality. Tea dealers would typically open the chests and remove the tea as needed, which eventually spoilt the taste of the tea leaves. The brand decided to package its tea in 75 g, 150 g and 300 g tins once the chests had been opened. These metal containers decorated with coloured stripes and bearing the company’s name and anchor logo came to be identified with the brand.

From 1950
up to now

Brand development through our tins

During the 60’s other in House innovation comes about: a foil seal is added to ensure the 150 g tins were completely airtight. The brand also developes muslin tea sachets, which are a way of combining the practical side of the teabag with the brew quality expected from a real loose-leaf tea. Today these sachets are called the “berlingo® sachets” and are designed to allow the leaves plenty of space to express their wealth of flavours. The company has always stayed true to the genuine tin design, using the stripes and the clipper anchor, while renewing its brand image.

Over the years, numerous talented advertisers came up with images to represent the brand. Today these posters, of which the company is very proud, bear witness to a story that goes back nearly two centuries and provide the proof that Compagnie Coloniale has always been in touch with the spirit of its times.

1985

Creation of Thé de Noël® (Christmas tea)
The company blend of legend

Inspired by the taste of almond & cherry Christmas pudding, the blend, which has remained unchanged, is now a must for the tea lovers.

1995

The company establishes its workshops in Dissay

And today, the company is still committed to excellence: the entire production process, from selecting the teas to their commercialisation, takes place in house in the company’s French workshops.
The House is now famous for the quality of its genuine blends, and particularly for the aspect of the flavoured black teas due to the unique know-how of the flavouring steaming process.

2018

Compagnie Coloniale celebrates its 170th anniversary

Since it was founded, in addition to developing new and innovative designs for its tea caddies, Compagnie Coloniale has always endeavoured to select the rarest teas with the subtlest aromas to create its original blends.

In 2018, Compagnie Coloniale was awarded the Producteur-Artisan de Qualité (Quality Artisanal Producer) label by the Collège Culinaire de France, which was also a way of paying tribute to the tradition of excellence for which the brand has always been famous.

This year, in order to celebrate its long history and 170 years of passion, Compagnie Coloniale has developed a unique blend of tea: “170”.
Combining green and white teas and tasting of summer fruit, with notes of almond and honey, this anniversary tea evokes both the pleasures of fine eating and the signature flavours of a birthday cake. The “170” tea caddy, created especially for the occasion, features the stripes and anchor logo that have long been associated with the brand and which are such an essential part of its identity.

Today more than ever Compagnie Coloniale remains faithful to its motto:

" Creating a tea blend is an art, tasting it is all pleasure. " 

A story that has just begun!