By Rafiq Vayani
DUBAI: Something is brewing. Lipton, the world’s leading tea brand, is partnering with UAE-based café concept Project Chaiwala to provide exclusive, tailor-made blends from the best tea plantations on the planet. The move is the first in a series of collaborations aimed at supporting Lipton’s regional market dominance through the support and uplift of homegrown UAE businesses.
Founded more than 130 years ago, Lipton first arrived in the Middle East in the 1980s, growing into the most popular tea brand in the region and enjoying market leadership in the Emirates. Its partnership with Project Chaiwala, a homegrown tea concept founded in 2017 and known for its nostalgic charm and traditional offerings such as karak, sees the Lipton’s tea-masters collaborate with Project Chaiwala to understand the unique needs and taste preferences of the teashop and café’s clients.
Lipton is now providing Project Chaiwala with three dedicated blends and a tea supply solution, eliminating concerns related to product sourcing, raw material availability, and tracking. The bespoke blends not only provide customers with unparalleled tastes, but also underwent a seven-step iterative process developed by experts who used different grades, original combinations, and sourced quality products from the finest tea gardens globally.
Participants ranging from Lipton’s in-house experts to café staff and customers were invited to taste-test the various blends, following which Lipton implemented feedback to create consistent taste, flavour, and aroma to craft it accordingly. Such partnerships with local brands pay homage to the history of Lipton within the region and showcase the agility of Lipton through curating tailored made blends for start-up businesses, says Abhiroop Chuckarbutty, President- Africa, Middle East, and Turkey at LIPTON Teas and Infusions.
“We are very excited by this partnership with Project Chaiwala,” said Chuckarbutty. “Our vision focuses on reinforcing Lipton’s position within the regional market, and supporting local businesses and street side cafes is a key part of the objective. Both brands share similar values in that we are both passionate about tea, have strong links to the region, and put our consumers’ needs first. The bespoke blends we curated specifically for Project Chaiwala are only available for consumers at Project Chaiwala café. I believe this collaboration to be the beginning of a long-standing partnership.”
Lipton’s collaboration with Project Chaiwala is the first of several, with further agreements in the pipeline for later this year, Chuckarbutty added. Supplying local businesses with tailor-made tea blends is a continuation of Lipton’s ambitious growth vision, which also intends to emphasise the importance of its Dubai factory, located in Jebel Ali Free Zone, as the largest in its global network and one of the largest tea factories in the world.
Ahmed Kazim, Founder of Project Chaiwala, added: “As a UAE national who grew up here, this partnership with Lipton is a huge deal for me personally. We only started Project Chaiwala six years ago, so partnering with such a renowned name is hard to believe. This year represents major growth for the business as we aim to become a global company representing the multicultural heritage of the UAE through karak. We have plans to launch up to three flagship locations across the country this year, each with a new look yet retaining the traditional ‘Chaiwala experience’. Lipton’s innovation and excellence can equip and strengthen us on this journey.”