The Chanui Story

Life Before Chanui 

Hi my name is Doug and I started Chanui because I love drinking tea.

Throughout the 90s I worked all over the world from London to New York to Cape Town as an engineer and drinking extreme volumes of tea. 

When I returned to New Zealand, I found that the quality of tea was terrible compared to what was available in the places I’d been.

I had seen all the improvements in other products like coffee, bread, and wine but for some reason tea hadn’t had the same treatment. Ironically it has actually gotten worse! 

The major tea companies had, in the quest for bigger profits, let the quality slip to such an extent that it needed a major overhaul.

I made it my mission and started Chanui. 

Getting Started

Honestly I didn’t know much about tea production so I started by visiting the major tea producing countries. 

Travelling around tasting the best quality tea I could find was one of the formative experiences of my life. I remember the first time I tasted what would become Chanui English Breakfast as if it were yesterday.

I knew that if I could tell it was so much better than the vast majority of tea on the market, other people would too. 

Chanui is born

Cha - Tea. I’ll assume you know what this means if you’ve made it to this part of a website about tea. 

Nui - in Māori, “nui" means "big" or "large." It's often used to describe something of great size or significance. 

I think this captures the quality of the tea we sell and a little piece of our NZ heritage.

Loose Leaf Beginnings

Initially we only sold loose leaf tea as I am a purist at heart. We managed to build a loyal fanbase of like-minded people selling only loose leaf tea. We even thought we could convince everyone else of our way of drinking. However, as we grew we received too many requests for bagged tea to ignore so introduced our range of premium tea to teabags. The will of the people prevailed and, years on, teabags are the biggest part of our business. We eventually launched a range of Chanui biscuits with the same aim of bringing the best possible quality products at every-day prices. They’re currently only available in New Zealand but we’re working on bringing them to the rest of the world.


Supply Chains

We only work with plantations and suppliers who operate best practices for biodiversity.

Recyclable Packaging

All our packaging is 100% recyclable from bag to box.

100% Biodegradable bags

Our teabags are free from microplastics and 100% compostable

Fresher for Longer

Our inner packaging keeps our products fresher for longer than the majority of tea companies out there.

How We Do It

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times - if Chanui isn’t the best tea you’ve ever had, I’ll give you your money back. No questions. 

People often ask how I can be so confident about the quality of our tea and the answer is actually pretty simple - we operate an extremely lean business with no corporate overheads.

We’ve deliberately grown slowly and organically over 20 years so we can focus on better products, consistent quality, always at a reasonable, competitive price. 

We have been approached multiple times by large corporations looking to buy Chanui but have never been interested in selling. For us, Chanui remains the business end of a mission to deliver top quality tea to as many people as we possibly can. 

Tea is second only to water in popularity in global drink choices. It plays an extremely important yet understated role in billions of people’s lives multiple times a day.

Think of it in these terms: if we can slightly improve every tea break of even a relatively small percentage of tea drinkers, the cumulative good is immeasurable.

We don’t want to abuse the trust that customers have given us over the years.

Chanui Today

Chanui is well established as New Zealand’s favourite tea. Now is the time to bring it to the rest of the world. 

In 2023, the first container of Chanui Tea landed in Felixstowe, UK. We are in the process of shouting about it as loud as we can. 

I hope you love it as much as I love bringing it to people. 

Each week I send out a newsletter of my musings from that week. I won’t spam you with constant emails but I will give you a very good discount code with every instalment. Join thousands of fellow tea lovers by signing up below. 



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