Toronto Buffalo London Sydney
Toronto Buffalo London Sydney

Metro History

From a single cutting - a great tea bush grows.

Metropolitan Tea grew from a single vision: to provide an unparalleled tea experience. World-renowned Tea Master Gerry Vandergrift, founded our company in the basement of his Toronto home after learning the trade from one of Canada’s then premier tea companies. The rest, as they say, is history.


Click on each year below to see our story unfold.

Our founder, president and Tea Master Level 5, Gerry Vandergrift enters the tea business at Hayter & Scandrett.

John Hales, Tea Master Level 5 and Master Blender starts in tea in the UK.

The Metropolitan Tea Company is founded in Toronto, Canada. The company expands the luxury tea market by importing finished products from Sri Lanka and brokering container loads of bulk loose tea.

Shipments to wholesale customers in the USA and Canada begin.

Shipments to Oceania begin. The company begins extensively servicing the Australian and New Zealand markets, helping grow the luxury market in both countries.

We begin servicing our first UK customers. (Becoming the only “colonial” tea company to sell finished tea back to the British.)

We begin offering full service to customers in the Middle East.
Shipments to customers in Central and South America begin.

The company prints its final paper catalogue. In an effort to reduce environmental impact and respond to the demands of our customers, the last of hundreds of thousands of catalogues is printed.

Metropolitan Tea becomes the first Canadian company to offer onsite Matcha grinding, opening up yet another facet of the luxury business.

The company achieves Carbon Neutrality with the launch of Our Environment Action Plan. This includes:

  • Acquiring an abandoned 200 acre farm and turning it into a nature reserve
  • 15,000 trees, in 7 different species are planted
  • The preservation of 80 acres of old growth forest

Metropolitan Tea builds Ontario’s then largest privately owned solar array on the factory roof.

Our solar initiative helps us earn a Sustainability Award from the Toronto Board of Trade.

As part of a new digital strategy, Metro Tea launches a robust online ordering platform. The system helps solidify our 98% fulfillment rate.

Fully automated pyramid tea bagging equipment exclusively using plastic free compostable tea bag material – a luxury tea industry first.

The luxury hospitality brand METZ was launched.

Luxurious whole leaf loose tea, over-wrap pyramid tea bags, iced tea, and accessories. With every sip, your customers can expect only the freshest, safest teas and herbs available. Perfect for cafes, restaurants & hotels.

 A new standard in luxury food service, METZ offers 100% trackable teas and tisanes sourced directly from the world’s finest growers, farmers and manufacturers. A true, crop-to-cup experience.

Launched the M21 line of tourist products: plastic-free packaging, and 100% plant-based pyramid teabags with string & tag.

We fully converted our pouching film material into recyclable and compostable options. Metropolitan Tea is committed to offering more sustainable packaging, and we will continue to expand our eco-friendly packaging selections.

Metropolitan continues our mission to provide luxury teas to our global customer base, to stand up for social justice in the regions we visit, and to promote ethical environmental practices on the farms we buy from.