At Ahmad Tea, we’re lucky that many of our staff have worked with us for a long time. As a family business, we like to think that we offer, not only a job but the opportunity to feel part of our family. Helen Hockey began working for us as soon as she finished university and has now been working for us for 23 years, and definitely feels part of the family. Over to you, Helen:

Please tell us about your job

I’m Head of Operations at Ahmad Tea and am responsible for Production, Procurement, and Logistics. We have production operations in the Emirates, China, Sri Lanka, Poland and UK so my job is to ensure that every facility has all the component products it needs and that if there are any problems, it’s my job to try and create a solution. My biggest challenge is managing the stock levels within the company. When I first started my job there was a seasonality with drinking tea, for example our customers drank more tea in the colder months. However, now there is a much bigger variety of tea available, and customers drink all different varieties of tea all year round. Tea growing is still seasonal, so we need to marry up the availability of the best raw product and the constant demand of our tea loving customers.

What’s your favourite part of the job?

I love launching new products and creating a list of everything we need to create the product and all the different departments I need to work with to make happen. I have a neurodivergent brain, so I love creating order in my work and compartmentalizing all the different tasks.

What trends are you seeing in the industry?

Sustainability continues to be a hot topic and we’re also seeing changing tea drinking habits. Many of our Eastern European customers were traditionally loose-leaf tea drinkers and we’re seeing lots of our customers in that territory move over to teabags. Conversely, we’re seeing the sales of loose-leaf tea in America increase.

At Ahmad Tea we’re doing lot of work to show the value of drinking high quality tea and to share that the more people spend on their tea, the more money there is to give to people within the supply chain to ensure that everyone within the tea industry benefits.

What do you love about your job?

I feel part of the Ahmad Tea family and that makes its much more than just a job. I also love all the charity work that they do, and I was lucky enough to visit the Razavi Cancer Hospital which Ahmad Tea built in Sri Lanka. It was wonderful to see its impact.

Favourite cup of tea:

I love a strong English Breakfast tea with milk.

How do you relax outside of work:

I’m a passionate about patch work and I also make my own clothes. My job is very process driven and so when I’m at home I enjoy being creative and also having a hobby which has a definite start and end. Lots of my projects at work are developed over months, if not years and therefore it’s good for me to do a creative project which I can do over the weekend. I give away my patch work quilts to care leavers (children who leave the care system) and my patch work quilts are called hugs so that the people who receive them have something special to give them comfort if they are having a tough day. My patch work quilts are given to the care leavers via a charity called The Christmas Dinner which brings care leavers together from the ages between 18-25 together to create a magical Christmas day.

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