About Silver Tips

The Silver Tips Story

Silver Tips Tea is an online-only business selling over a hundred varieties of organic, fair-trade, and unique loose-leaf teas. Our team has had a remarkable journey to get where we are today, and we’d love to share it with you.

Silver Tips Tea is the retail arm of Eco-Prima Tea, a wholesale tea import and distribution company that has been in business since 1995.

Silver Tips Tea Room opened in New York in November 1999 as a small, independent Tea Room. We served almost 100 varieties of tea, homemade soups and salads, creative toasted tea sandwiches, and our wildly popular “Afternoon Tea,” complete with sandwiches, cakes, scones, preserves, and cream. After 18 years, on March 25, 2018, the Tea Room closed to focus on the thriving wholesale and online business.

"We are grateful to our countless patrons and friends for their visits to the Tea Room over the years, and we look forward to serving their tea needs through our website."
- Silver Tips Tea Room

This is our story, and how we came to share our love of tea with the world.

International Roots in Tea: Anupa’s Story

My roots in tea go back to my childhood in Darjeeling, India, one of the tea capitals of the world and home of the “Champagne of Teas.” My sister and I attended boarding school at the foothills of the Himalayas, surrounded by lush tea plantations. After graduating college, I went to New York to work for the United Nations and later became an executive for a large communications company. My sister married Rajah Banerjee, whose family owned the vast and beautiful Makaibari tea plantation. Thus began my journey back to the path of tea! Tea was now firmly rooted in my family’s past, present and future.

Over the years, I visited Makaibari many times. Each time, I learned a little more about the flavorful beverage I had taken for granted during my childhood. I discovered how tea bushes were pruned to a certain height for optimal picking, how the women plucked the top two leaves and a bud, how the leaves were weighed, how the fresh green leaves miraculously became black tea, and how the teas were sorted and graded. I learned that no detail is too small to escape attention, even down to the meticulous hand-crafting of tea chests on the estate.

Transforming the Tea Industry With Biodynamic Farming

Decades ago, the Makaibari tea plantation became a pioneer in the tea industry. Ahead of their time, my sister and brother-in-law turned to organic and biodynamic farming. They returned two-thirds of their land to subtropical forest, which improved the health of their soil, brought back teeming wildlife, and improved the lives of the people who shared this ecological system with them.

Their tea has broken many world records, and other farmers both local and international have started to emulate their methods. Eager to share their knowledge, the Banerjees have lectured on biodynamic farming around the world.

Silver Tips Tea founder standing in front of a tea plantation.

Impressed by what I had seen and learned at Makaibari, I decided to market my family’s biodynamic tea in 1995. Soon, this venture grew to include varieties of teas from all over the world! I began to realize that this new work was a continuation of my desire to make the world a better place. It was an extension of my UN and corporate work, but on a gentler plane and at a more relaxed pace. I could now help struggling farmers sell their tea and help expand the markets for tea in the US and internationally. I could offer fair-trade teas whose surcharges went directly to the farmers who grew the crops.

The Next Steps: A Tea Room and an Online Loose Leaf Experience

As my wholesale business flourished, I wanted to see some of the direct results of my work by opening a local tea room.

With over 150 varieties of tea, I could introduce non-tea drinkers to a whole new world of flavorful and fragrant beverages. Not only could they develop their tea palate, but they could reap the varied health benefits while enjoying their brew. Tea aficionados would finally have a place where they would find expert advice on tea selection, discover new and exotic taste sensations, and learn the optimal preparation for each tea variety. 

These were my hopes when I opened my Tea Room in 1999 and then, a few years later, launched a website. But I had no idea that my vision would be realized so fully and that I would have so much fun getting to meet, advise, and chat with my customers about tea.

Even though the Tea Room is now no more, we continue our advocacy of tea through our website, newsletters, postcards, flyers—all the while committed to sharing our knowledge and love of tea with you.

Discover What Makes Silver Tips Tea Unique:

  • Firstly, we have a team of people who are enthusiastic, knowledgeable and care about our customers. Our team customizes samples and provides individual service and care.
  • Secondly, the tea itself is fresh, seasonal, personally selected, and directly sourced from all corners of the world. We know the origins, can authenticate the source, and deliver what we promise. If it is out of stock, we will tell you. If it is from a previous season, we will let you know.
  • Thirdly, Makaibari, one of the world's great tea estates, is behind us. We share their story of biodynamic, earth-friendly tea with you through photos, anecdotes, and ethical practices.

Welcome to the online Tea Room. Share our love of tea and discover a new favorite! Need help choosing where to start? Try our Tea of the Month or contact us today!

Visit us and see for yourself!

Anupa Mueller & Your Friends at Silver Tips Tea