A St Andrews-based artist and tea blender has founded a multi-faceted business which aims to celebrate the local area, promote and sell fine tea, and at the same time raise money for charity.

Gillian Gamble’s St Andrews Tea Company – part of a larger social enterprise called ‘Tea People’ –  will soon be attracting attention around the world thanks to work carried out with the University of St Andrews.

This includes the creation of a custom tea, and specially commissioned artwork, for the university’s 600th anniversary celebrations.

The company’s range features premium loose leaf teas and pyramid tea bags from around the world. There are custom blends and flavours for special events or business customers, and blending ingredients sourced as locally as possible.

Gillian’s custom labelling is designed to celebrate St Andrews and the local area. Teas and blends are inspired by and named after local locations or historical figures, or made for special local businesses to act as great souvenirs.

For example bed and breakfasts can have their own name on their breakfast tea blend and use it as a promotional item or a souvenir for their guests.

Another creation is the Tea Map of St Andrews, a unique illustrated map guide that evokes the charm that people who love St Andrews often fall in love with.

The map points out several beautiful attractions in the local area – some of them quite hidden – so it’s very much like an insider guide to all the nooks and crannies of the town.

It is illustrated by Gillian, who is already a published illustrator in children’s books and was the artist commissioned to create a series of 14 prints for the University of St Andrews 600th Anniversary.

Also offered are tea-training and tea-tasting events for both businesses and customers.

“We aim to encourage all local businesses using tea to go for the finest grade they can manage and improve the general standard of tea being made and consumed” said Gillian.

She said that the custom tea created to commemorate the University of St Andrews 600th Anniversary uses a very fine single estate first flush Darjeeling tea, with packaging based on the illustrations commissioned by the University for their 600th Calendar.

“We are able to create the entire product in-house, everything from blending to packaging and also printed promotional materials.

“I have been involved in tea trading for around five years already, with access to direct trade with tea plantations” said Gillian.

The range of ‘St Andrews Tea Company’ teas is owned by ‘Our Story Cafe’, a social enterprise business owned by Gillian and her husband Stephen. The café is a creative venue in St Andrews which gives profits to local charities and also aims to offer a great food and drink environment.

Gillian’s achievements to date include being named as a BBC Rotary Young Citizen of the Year, and Realworld Entrepreneur of the Year. She is also a Winston Churchill Fellow, and art director of Invite magazine.

Full website to come very soon at www.standrewsteacompany.co.uk

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