by Emeric Harney July 24, 2018 3 min read 11 Comments
Have you ever wondered how your favorite Harney tea gets made? Wonder no more! We’re taking you inside our 90,000 square foot factory located in Millerton, New York to give you a unique view of our process through the eyes of an artist. Follow along as we take you from tasting table to tea time.
We’ll kick off our Tour de Harney at one of our many shelving units. This is where everything begins. For scale, the height of the first shelf is about 5 feet and each bag holds up to 90 pounds of raw product. Our factory is over 90,000 square feet and filled with rows and rows of shelves just like this.
We’ll continue our journey through the factory in the Tasting Room. This is one of the most important, if not the most important, room in the building. This is where Mike, our Vice President, and Elvira, our tea purchaser, taste all of the offer samples, new arrival samples, and daily production to ensure we are always producing and selling the finest tea. We taste each product 3 times - when it arrives, when it’s blended, and even after it’s packaged for quality assurance.
One of the largest areas in our factory houses our 7 FUSO machines which produce our silken sachets. The machine on the left actually makes the sachets and places them on the conveyor belts. These conveyor belts then travel the sachets to our automated packing machine on the right which counts out the appropriate number of sachets per tin.
Trust us when we say there is order to this chaos. We try to be as green as possible when we produce and sell our teas, so this portion of our factory is typically filled with empty boxes that our tins are shipped in. After we fill the tins with our tea, we place them back into these boxes to avoid creating more waste.
This is our packing room where our employees draw tea from the large, blue barrels, weigh it by hand, and then put into tins, samples, and 1-pound bags. After the tea has been weighed, our employees apply the appropriate labels.
Welcome to our blending room, this is where the magic happens. The machine in the middle is our largest unit which blends 800 pounds of tea. The one on the left is our middle child, which blends 400 pounds. On the right, is our 50-pound blender. We use this little guy to create our specialty blends. To make the perfect cuppa, we add different types of tea, herbs, fruit, and flavors to each machine to create one unforgettable blend.
This is where we make our iced tea. The tea gets placed into the black square on right. From there, it travels up and then over to the left half of the machine where it is split into two cones. Each cone is then packed into a tea bag then placed into a box. If you are familiar with our iced teas, you know these tea bags are much larger than normal, as our iced teas are made by the pitcher. At the very front of the machine is a black conveyor belt where the filled boxes will travel down the line to get sealed and stocked onto our shelves.
Our final stop in our journey is our Japanese IMA machine. Big Blue makes up to 300 foil-wrapped and premium tea bags per minute. The rolls on the left are twine, tea bag envelope material, and the paper tea bag material itself. The foil-wrapped tea bags come together inside the glass casing, are placed in our cardboard tea bag packaging, then assembled by hand into case packs.
Want to learn more about our teas and processes? Check out some of our favorite reads:
December 14, 2021
I was interested in a tour of your facility, could you please advise if they are available. The days and times would help as well. Thank you.
December 14, 2021
Today December 10th is the THIRD DAY I have drank your teas. They were given to me as a gift by a friend that has said, “It’s the BEST TEA around.” I had mentioned I only drink tea when I am sick. Well, I wasn’t sick, but just wanted to say I tried the tea even if it was just one of them. I guess I am learning to say, ’ NEVER unless I am sick." The English Breakfast BLEW ME AWAY! This morning I ventured to PARIS, just as enjoyable with a nice scent to be enjoyed even more so.
What a gift you and your family have to have produced such exceptional teas. The quality, presentation all beautifully done. FIT for Royalty. My Name is Maria Teresa the Puerto Rican PRINCESS from the (You Guessed it!) BRONX!!!!! LOL So, this has truly been just what the Princess needed.
Thank You! for your talented gift of THE FINEST TEAS. A Sold Tea drinker.
June 21, 2021
I love your organic green – soothing green tea !! It has the perfect amount of sweetness! Would love to come for a tour.
August 18, 2018
My salon and myself have been to the Factory twice for the tour. The tours are available Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. The tour is a combination of Mr. Rogers showing how crayons are made and the film Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Awesome experience!!! The podcast “As The Tea Steeps” is an awesome behind the scenes look about the Harney Family. Very enjoyable. Perfect for the ride to the Harney and Sons factory. A mile down the road is the store with a cafe. The cafe serves great lunch and of course all types of tea. We’ve had a 1pm tour, and been able to get to the cafe for a lunch.
August 18, 2018
I have done your factory tour many times in person. I found it fascinating and learned a lot from your professional and courteous staff. Each time it was during Harney Fest. It was a great opportunity to taste and then purchase great teas, to meet the people who produce my favorites and to stock my pantry. Please bring back Harney Fest!
July 26, 2018
I love when my tea order comes and I open the box and open the tins and pound bags of tea to smell their fragrances. I put my new tea on the shelf or in my tea drawers and leave the box in my kitchen for a couple of days for it smells of the wonderful fragrance of tea. I take in that lovely smell and dream of being right there at Harney and Sons tasting room in Millerton, NY where I have visited many times. I even met Mr. Harney himself there one time. I was thrilled, it was like meeting a rock star and I was star struck. All of this just from the fragrance of the tea shipping box.
July 26, 2018
Is your factory open for tours?
July 26, 2018
It was fun to take this tour, thank you. I am a dedicated first flush Darjeeling drinker every day. Your teas come with me everywhere I travel. Keep up the great work and thanks again.
July 26, 2018
Thanks so much for giving us all a peek behind the scenes! I’ve had the pleasure of visiting your Millerton site and tasting several different teas there, so it was especially nice to learn about all that goes on in your facility.
July 24, 2018
Thank you for providing this insight into the Harney and Sons process. I take so much for granted when I consume my morning Sencha, afternoon Early Gray, evening Organic Green or other treats during the day. It is adds a bit more pleasure knowing how this delectable product reaches my home.
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May 13, 2022
I was interested in returning to Harney Fest and to visit your facilities once again, this time bringing my friend with me and making a weekend of it. The one and only time I was able to come was with my mother-in-law years ago. She has since passed but gave me good memories of our trip to your plant. If you haven’t been doing the festival, please consider bringing it back.
Thank you, A Harney Loyalist