The Tea History Collection is based in Banbury UK and was opened on International Tea Day, 21st May 2021. Denys C. Shortt, OBE, is the founder and owner of DCS Group which has provided this facility to preserve important historical items associated with Tea.
Denys and his son Charles have been members of the London Tea History Association (LTHA) for many years. The LTHA was founded to record and commemorate over 335 years of the World’s tea trade in London.
The Tea History Collection was created following a request by Brian Writer, a member of the LTHA and founder of Windmill Tea Company, to look after a large number of tea items after his retirement. Brian donated so many items they filled an entire van.
Denys' father, Peter, was involved with tea for 30 years - managing tea estates at Langharjan and Rangagora in Assam (Jorehaut Tea Company), Mbale Uganda, and Ikumbi Kenya (Brooke Bond). Returning to the UK in 1975 his parents Peter & Rosemary Shortt founded The Shakespeare Tea & Coffee Company in Henley-in-Arden.
My family were in tea for over 35 years and it was a major part of my life. As people in the industry get older my aim is to 'preserve the history of tea' with this collection. A large investment has been made to create a temperature-controlled display room with a meeting area & storage cabinets for archiving. With my son Charles involved, this will keep the collection safe for many years to come.
Denys C. Shortt
Mike Bunston OBE has agreed to be Chairman of the Tea History Collection. Mike regularly hosts visitors to the Collection and gives a tea tasting session. He has also kindly donated many items to the museum. Mike also has featured in many videos for our Youtube channel. His work and support is greatly appreciated.
Doyen of the tea industry who started his innings in Feb 1959.
Managing Director of Wilson Smithett & Co., a leading tea broker. Conducted the last tea auction on the 30th of June 1998.
Former Tea Adviser and Hon. Tea Ambassador of the Sri Lanka Tea Board in UK.
Hon. chairman of International Tea Committee 1993 to 2013.
Aurora is American and has been working with the Tea History Collection since its founding. She found her passion for tea early on and is dedicated to the preservation of tea history globally.
She completed her BA in Anthropology and Environmental Studies from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 2013 where her research and subsequent publication examined local food culture, health, and the environment. Following graduation she spent five years at Rishi Tea & Botanicals starting out as a tea blender on the factory floor. She then moved on to their warehouse and fulfillment, customer service, sales (wholesale), and marketing departments, all before finishing as an educator and tea taster focusing on East Asian teas.
In 2019 she completed her MSc in Ethnobotany at the University of Kent and the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew in the United Kingdom. Taking a break from tea, her research took her to the country of Georgia where she spent three and a half months researching the biocultural relationship between Georgians, their landscape, and the grapevine.
Aurora has been researching the tea and teaware objects in the Economic Botany Collection at Kew Gardens since December 2019 where she met Denys Shortt and fellow members of the Tea History Association. Since 2021 Aurora has been working as a consultant for the Missouri Botanical Garden on their Ethnobotany Collections and Data. The summer of 2022 saw the completion of a research project, interrupted by Covid, at Kew Gardens and the Tea History Collection, with the gracious sponsorship of Denys Shortt OBE.
Currently, Aurora is working on her doctorate at Royal Holloway, University of London and Kew Gardens focusing on the biocultural diaspora of tea.