Built upon the mesmerising art of aromatic beverage, Inthikab Naufal, CEO of Expoteas, elaborates on the extensive processes of the tea export trade.
Initiating his career back as a tea taster at Bartleet & Company, Inthikab dedicated a considerable period of time at the tea broking firm. Being young in experience, he considered all opportunities to multiply his experience within the trade. Gradually solidifying in the matter, Inthikab joined Unitrades (Pvt) Ltd. as a junior tea taster/buyer, later transferring to K. Paul Associates Ltd. and T. Suby (Pvt). Ltd., the tea exporters at his time of work. Developing himself on each step, Inthikab joined hands with a start-up company Expolanka Teas (Pvt) Ltd, now called Expoteas Ceylon (Pvt) Ltd. “I joined during the year 1991, as a tea taster/buyer. Time went by and I grew with the company, initially getting promoted as the head of the tea department and then as the General Manager overlooking the entire operation”, Inthikab states. He further continues, “I reached my next milestone in 2015 when I took the responsibility as CEO/Director of the organisation”.
Reflecting on his academic years at Trinity College, Inthikab shared a deep passion for being a tea planter. Retrospectively, he elaborates, “I would eagerly wait for the holidays to visit tea estates with my friends whose parents were tea planters. There I would like to observe the entire process from tea plucking to manufacture; taste a good cup of tea and imagine enjoying the cool carefree life as a tea planter one day”. Fast forwarding 37 years ahead, Inthikab is a successful tea taster and blender, allowing him to enjoy a mesmerising cup of tea, without his hands tied!
In partnering with Accolade General Trading Dubai our vision is to serve a quality cup of tea for tea connoisseurs sourced from various tea gardens across the globe. “We are confident in our capabilities as we have made product quality our core competency”, Inthikab says humbly, emphasising on their demanding products and services. Being a well-known and well-reputed private label packer, he ensures Expoteas products and services to be of par excellence, “from tasting, grading & blending tea to designing, packaging, storing, and selling of our tea products”.
Inthikab expands further on how Expoteas stands out from the others, “Our manufacturing process is ISO 22000:2018 complaint for production and our management system is ISO 9001:2015 complaint”. Furthermore, he also goes on to state that Expoteas has acquired the organics certification, HALAL certification and is in the process of obtaining the FSSC 22000 and Rainforest Alliance in the foreseeable future.
Assuring their customers of an un-deviated commitment, Inthikab says, “We always give what we promise & we never promise, what we cannot deliver! Following this code has served us well as we provide our international and local clients on or before our deadlines unless there are unforeseeable circumstances which are beyond anyone’s control”. He believes a client’s orders and requests must be given a holistic assurance until the product is delivered to its final destination. At Expoteas, Inthikab believes that time is of the essence, and must be considered vitally. Believer in the process of tea tasting, Inthikab states, “The pleasure of a good cuppa of tea is something everyone must have access to. Our mission is to take tea blends of quality to the world and ‘share the joy!’” he elaborates “a cup of tea without sugar, is one of the healthiest beverages you can find!”
Elaborating on the variations and brands of tea at Expoteas, Inthikab words his thoughts, “At Expoteas our creativity with tea is only limited by our client’s imagination and requirement”. Mastering the tea trade, Expoteas brings blended Black Teas, Green Teas, flavoured teas and Herbal teas, onto the table. Further expanding their catering range, Expoteas stands as a Private Label service provider by aiding their clients in the process of creating “the ideal tea to match the taste palettes of their global customer using our vast experience in the industry”.
Expoteas possesses a skilful team of tea tasters who can customise their products to adhere to their client’s trendy demands. “Our team of tea tasters can provide unique flavours which can be taken as cold Iced teas or soothing hot beverages which are suited for modern upcoming markets”, adds Inthikab. Further adding to their irresistible combination, he takes pleasure in explaining the possibility of advancing towards their customers’ dream brand with their secure and sustainable methods of packaging. “Our own flagship brand t-sips carries the best our company has to offer, incorporating a wide variety of tea products. Our inhouse team provides a total solution from the leaf to the cup. To further elaborate, Expoteas is a one stop shop for all your tea needs from creating blends to designing various forms of packaging”.
WhileExpoteas stands out as a leading tea exporter in Sri Lanka, it has also maintained a prominent reputation as a top private label packer within the international market, taking care of the back-end operations while brand owners can take care of the front-end activities such brand building & sales. Expoteas currently serves the Middle Eastern markets. However, coping up with the global tea trade Inthikab believes that Expoteas will continue to grow towards the European, African and Chinese markets in the near future!
Having a great deal of experience in the corporate and export arena, Inthikab concludes, “My philosophy in life and career is that there are no shortcuts for success. If you want to achieve something, it takes mere dedication, perseverance and focus, towards your goal. When faced with obstacles, there are always ways to work around them to achieve your objectives. Just keep looking for them, and you will find it!”