The original tea trading and blending business 'Horniman's Tea Company' was founded in 1826 in Newport, Isle of Wight, by trader John Horniman. In 1852 he moved the company to London to be closer to the bonded warehouses of London Docks, then the biggest tea trading port in the world. Until 1826, only loose leaf teas had been sold, allowing unscrupulous traders to increase profits by adding other items such as hedge clippings or dust. Horniman revolutionised the tea trade by using mechanical devices to speed the process of filling pre-sealed packages, thereby reducing his cost of production and hence improving the quality for the end customer. This caused some consternation amongst his competitors, but by 1891 Horniman's was the largest tea trading business in the world.
In the 1870s, the business was taken over by his son Frederick John Horniman (1835-1906).
Post World War I, in 1918 Frederick's son Emslie Horniman sold the business to J. Lyons & Co., who moved production to their new factory in Greenford, Middlesex, in July 1921. United States distribution ended in 1993. However, Horniman's Tea remains a popular brand of tea and infusions in Spain.
Currently owned by Douwe Egberts.
Tea trading business since 1826.