Toronto Buffalo London Sydney
Toronto Buffalo London Sydney

Meet Our Tea Masters

Gerry Vandergrift  Tea Master Level 5

Gerry got his start in tea by answering a job ad that read, “Do you have an MBA and a thirst for adventure?” After striking out on his own, this thirst has grown Metropolitan into one of the world’s premier wholesalers of luxury teas and accessories.

                                         Gerry recommends: Irish Breakfast — Black Tea


John Hales  Tea Master Level 5

John started in tea at age 19 in London, England. He worked at one of the UK’s most respected trading houses, broadened his experience in Germany, and served as CEO of a buying, blending and exporting company in Kenya. John has been with Metro since 2005.

                                          John recommends: Castleton — Darjeeling Estate


John Chaffey  Tea Master Level 4

Sales Manager and Tea Master, John began his tea career in 1985, joining Metropolitan in 1992. Empathetic to the needs of our many customers, he frequently travels the world to develop and expand the market for luxury grade teas.

John recommends: Soom 1st Flush — Darjeeling Estate


Candace Santangelo  Tea Master Level 4

Metropolitan Tea’s first official employee, Candace has been with our company since 1991. Her travels to visit with suppliers, countless tea tastings in our Tea Lab, and her involvement with the production/blending processes, combined with numerous TEA TALKS with clients give her a unique perspective on all facets of the                                                         business of tea.

                                         Candace recommends: Blue Nile Camomile — Functional Tea


Kathryn Duncan  Tea Master Level 3

A key member of our team since 1992, Kathryn’s voyages have infused her with a deep knowledge of the tea trade. Blending-expert, Master Taster and tea aficionado, Kathryn is a trusted customer resource with a wide-ranging global outlook.

Kathryn recommends: Pai Mu Tan — White Tea


Hannah Vandergrift – Tea Master Level 2 & Flavorist

Growing up in the tea industry gives Hannah a global perspective on the international nature of our business. After completing a degree in education, she joined the company full-time in 2014. Her creative input on customer needs has proven invaluable time and time again.

Hannah recommends: Ayurvedic Total Body — Wellness Tea


Ruby Sondhi – Tea Master Level 2

Joining the team in 2008, Ruby started in Order Entry/Outbound Logistics. During this time, she developed a true appreciation for our global environment and ultra-high antioxidant teas. Now a member of our of sales department, Ruby loves speaking with customers to better understand their business as well as offering ideas to help                                                  their business grow.

                                          Ruby recommends: Quangzhou Milk Oolong


Chris Clark – Tea Master Level 2

Our customers have a lot of questions — Chris has a lot of answers. His first-hand experience visiting our suppliers and growers, coupled with a background in marketing, give him a unique insight into the marketing of tea.

Chris recommends: Elephant Ivory Kenya White — Matcha


Claudia Sanchez – Tea Master Level 1

Joining the company in 2007, Claudia worked in the production facilities and the tea lab before moving over to the sales department. Fluent in both English and Spanish – Claudia can answer all your tea related questions.

Claudia recommends: Jetlag Awake Strawberry – Wellness Tea


Noah van der Laan  Tea Master Level 1

Noah was trained in all things tea during his tenure at one of the industry’s foremost trading companies, where he learned the ropes from long-established tea professionals and developed relationships with producers, clients and colleagues from around the globe. These days, you can find Noah in the lab crafting innovative new blends for                                           private label customers, or on a plane in search of premium luxury                                               ingredients.

                                         Noah recommends: Merlot Domaine Chantelle — Specialty Tea


Chakib Izem MohamedTea Consultant

The newest member of our tea master team, Chakib has a background in business administration and restaurant hospitality. Fluent in English, French and Arabic, he is ready to offer tailored customer service. He’s also a big maple lover, making his favorite tea the Flavored Black Maple. Chakib always accompanies his tea with a splash of milk and a                                              little maple flake for more flavor. 

                                          Chakib recommends: Maple — Flavored Black 


Meet the others who help put the “Tea” in Team.

Accounts Receivable

Payments can be made in CAD, USD, or GBP. For more information contact:


Kathleen – Accounts Receivable

An indispensable member of our AR team, Kathleen joined Metropolitan in 2003. Her passion for business is matched only by her passion for luxury tea, baking, and baking with luxury tea. Yum.

Kathleen recommends: Cochin Masala Chai


Renee – Accounts Receivable

Starting with Metro Tea as a temp, Renee joined our staff full-time in 2015. With her extensive experience in banking, administration, accounts management and customer service, she is a true luxury tea resource.

Renee recommends: Japan Sencha


Outbound Logistics

More than tea masters, we’re also experts at international shipping and logistics. We ship by ground, sea and air.

Zamina – Outbound Logistics

With a solid background in the coffee and tea trade, Zamina handles logistics and documentation for our many international clients. After joining the company in 2000, she has truly become a “global gatekeeper to luxury teas”.

Zamina recommends: Bourbon Street Vanilla Rooibos


Jordanne – Outbound Logistics

With her extensive background in administration, accounting and customer service, Jordanne handles order entry, international orders processing, logistics and documentation for our many international clients. Loving all things Fall, her favourite tea is our Pumpkin Pie blend. 

                                        Jordanne recommends: Pumpkin Pie – Wholesome + Good