Our Tradition

30 years ago in Salisbury, Connecticut, proprietor of the historic White Hart Inn, John Harney, developed a passion for fine teas. John was introduced to the world of tea by Stanley Mason, who turned to creating his own craft tea blends after years in the corporate world of tea. Over time, Mason taught John both the art and business of the craft.

Starting production out of his basement in 1983, John began his own journey in mastering the craftof tea blending. Serving his distinctive blends with inn guests, he soon found they were coming backfor more. Never did John Harney imagine that his small home-run business in Salisbury, Connecticutwould turn into a global operation, now headquartered in Millerton, New York filling 90,000 squarefeet of warehouse space, and employing over 155 people, making it one of the largest employersin the Hudson Valley. The company, which sources, blends, and packages their own product fromstart to finish, has grown from their original six teas, to more than three hundred. Their story trulycaptures the essence of American Business Ingenuity.

Harney & Sons was founded on a commitment to deliver customers the finest quality tea possible. This promise, made 30 years ago, serves as the company's guiding principle. Today, Harney & Sons Tea remains family owned and managed, with three generations of Harney's preserving John's tradition of fine tea and traveling the world in search of the finest ingredients.

It is not only the Harney mission to deliver quality tea products to their customers, but also to educate the world of tea history and taste. Whether through their dedicated customer service team, their published guides to tea drinking, or their two tea tasting shops, the Harney & Sons team works to pass on their passion of tea to a wide audience. From lugging heavy tea filled chests down their basement stairs, to stocking shelves at Targets nationwide, Harney & Sons remains committed to delivering their customers a superior tea drinking experience.

The Story from John Harney Himself

Who would have thought this is possible? All those years ago, when we had tea chests (when they stillused those bulky wooden boxes) down in our basement, I surely did not. Our youngest, Paul, was stillin school, so he would have to lug them down the narrow stairs. I would take the light boxes back upto be shipped out to those few people that bought from us in 1983. It seemed busy at the time (littledid I know). I remember the phone call from this guy who said his name was Chuck Williams, and hesaid he had some cook shops and wanted to carry my teas. Williams-Sonoma still is a valued customer.

After a few years, I convinced my son Michael to join me. Now there were two full-time employees!We moved to a new house with old sheds, and we grew. And we grew. My only daughter, Lyse, didsales calls in New York one college vacation. She walked into the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York. She told the manager that they had to use Harney & Sons. And they still do.

Baby Paul got bigger, but he never lost his love of machines. When he joined the company (afterbeing a USMC officer) he brought us into a new world: one of tea packing machines. I still do notknow how to turn one on, but they are efficient and help the company grow. They allow us to offerthe best tasting teas in convenient ways. Michael travels the globe in search of the best tasting teas.Now the next generation is coming on board. Alex manages the restaurant at our Tasting Room, and Emeric manages the Tasting Room in SoHo.

My wife Elyse and I travel when I am not here at the tea company. As we travel, it is humbling to bewelcomed at great hotels and restaurants. Such a change, traveling so much. When I started in thebusiness, I considered Boston a trip!

For someone who devoted himself to tea at 53 years of age, it is a dream come true. My mentor,Stanley Mason, taught me so much. I loved learning about British Legacy teas from a Brit. He taughtme how to make the best Earl Grey. Stanley started me down this long road, but now we sell teaswhich he never even considered. The world of tea has expanded considerably in the last 25 years.I stay committed to offering the finest teas. My love of tea has spread to my family and our customersworldwide. I know that we have a tradition of tea that will endure.

We make our teas for your enjoyment, so if you have any questions or problems, please call us at(800) TEA-TIME or e-mail us at HT@Harney.com. We always love to discuss our favorite subject!

I drink to your health.