Isle of Man Examiner Nov 2019

Irish eyes are smiling over Helen’s winning tea business – Isle of Man Examiner 29th October 2019

Helen McEntee’s family tea business has scooped a triple win at the Irish food awards.

McEntee’s Fine Teas is run by married couple, Donal and Helen McEntee in County Louth.

Helen grew up in Douglas and went to school in Castletown.

Her grandparents Mr and Mrs Jack Keggin owned The Towers Hotel in Port Erin for decades, bringing their loose tea to the Isle of Man from Liverpool in tea chests.

Helen said: ’The Towers Hotel owned by my grandparents was knocked down and rebuilt as a guest house now called Rowany Cottier, owned by my uncle John Keggin and his wife Heather.’

Helen worked as a waitress and chambermaid in the hotel during her teenage years and still remembers the chests of tea and the heavy silver tea server sets that the tea was served to the hotel guests in during afternoon tea in the great dining hall of the hotel, all those years ago.

Helen worked for the Isle of Man Creamery before moving to Ireland after marrying an Irishman Donal and setting up the tea business McEntee’s Tea in 2018.

With a mix of experience and backgrounds Donal and Helen, both passionate tea drinkers, brought together the idea of McEntee’s Tea from their office on the family farm in Charlestown, County Louth. They have a family of three active young boys all excited about the family’s venture into tea.

Helen said: ’Everyone at McEntee’s Tea is delighted with our three awards from Blas National Food Awards in Dingle. We received a Gold for our Irish Mint and Nettle Infusion, Silver for the Gold Blend and Bronze for the Irish Breakfast Blend.

’McEntee’s Tea, having only recently launched our range of quality loose teas in 2018, managed to dominate the Tea category in our first year participating in the event. We feel it gives our range of loose teas, including our afternoon blend and organic sencha green tea, the national recognition that you can only get from Blas.

’We are aware that Blas na hEireann National Awards give consumers that guarantee that they are getting a top quality Irish product.

’Maybe a Manx Breakfast Tea will follow in the future?!’

McEntee’s Tea are aware of the growing desire for a better quality cup of tea and believe that the increasing numbers returning to loose leaf tea is a sign of this trend in tea drinking.

People are also increasingly conscious of the environmental benefits of not using tea bags, another factor that has added to the growth in loose leaf tea. Helen said there are people in the island who already order tea from her.