Strange but true - from the day we started until the 1950s, we were all about tea. We've come a long way since. But we're still right here in Glasgow, where the story began.


The tea leaf years: 1864-1950

Our founder was born in Greenock, a major port for goods entering and leaving the industrial powerhouse of Glasgow.

Matthew was a grocer; he sold tea that arrived on the famous Clyde Clippers. In 1864 he decided to specialise: he set up his own tea blending and wholesale business. Matthew's customers were the thousands of retailers in the Glasgow area.

Maybe it was something in the leaves: Matthew lived to the ripe old age of 92.


Coffee: 1950-1994

This is the big one: post-war Glasgow started to develop a taste for coffee. So we offered that too - as well as tea bags and vending services.

People referred to us as "Algie's": it's a name that still sticks for a certain generation of Glaswegians.

Then, in 1974, we began selling coffee machines to offices, restaurants and hotels. This was revolutionary stuff. We worked to move people's taste buds away from instant, and towards quality, freshly-ground coffee.

It was a pretty smart move: in 1983 we started selling right across the UK. We also added bulk brew for the catering sector: it was all about filter coffee.

That started to change ever so slightly. We introduced our first ever espresso machine in 1989.


Espresso and beyond: 1995-today

Portland, Oregon: it was here that Matthew Algie's Managing Director saw the light. After his visit, he was going to start an espresso revolution in the UK.

David Williamson was a direct descendant of Matthew Algie, so maybe it was in his blood to see an opportunity and wrestle it to the ground. Just two years later, we were well on our way: we'd also just created Espresso Warehouse. The idea was pretty simple - sell "everything but the coffee" to a growing number of independent coffee bars.

Oh, and in 1997 we also introduced the UK's first ever Fairtrade espresso bean.

Taste hadn't passed us by either: in 2003 we launched our Roasted to Order range.

Then, in 2004, another UK-first: our triple certified espresso that's Fairtrade, organic and Rainforest Alliance Certified. In fact, the Fairtrade revolution we began in 1997 saw more than 90% of Matthew Algie coffee sales carrying the Fairtrade logo by the start of 2013.