It all started in 1973, when Tien van Tienen from Brabant started selling vending machines for tea and coffee. His company grew rapidly and Van Tienen is now one of the largest suppliers of coffee machines, cups, sugar, milk, soft drinks, cleaning supplies and other products used in corporate canteens and kitchens. This year, the family business celebrates its 50th anniversary, which is why the new 1973 tea concept was developed: 100% organic fair trade tea of high quality. It was up to us to design and produce a stylish tea chest for them. We spoke to account manager Bart van Tienen about this special collaboration.

Theekist Jubileumthee 1973 vantienen 1

‘What I like so much about the collaboration with Krepel is that the lines of communication are so short. Two years ago, when we wanted to have a tea chest made for our own Tientime tea brand, I came across Antoon Pelgrim van Krepel through the grapevine. He came by and everything just fell into place instantly: beautiful products, a good price and personal contact. So there was no need to look any further’, says Bart. ‘So when we needed a chest for our newest product, anniversary tea 1973, it made sense for us to work with Krepel again’.

Family business

Bart is part of the third generation within the family business and grew up in the business. ‘The nice thing about working with your family is that you know exactly what you have in common. That has both advantages and disadvantages, but above all it’s a lot of fun. For me, the business has always been part of my life’, he explains. ‘Granddad started working for Simon Lévelt in 1963 and after ten years wanted to start his own business selling vending machines for coffee and tea. He agreed with Hans Lévelt that he could bring all his own customers with him, but on the condition that he would always continue to sell Simon Lévelt with the vending machines. Now, fifty years later, this collaboration is still very strong and Simon Lévelt is our largest coffee and tea supplier. In 2000, granddad passed on the baton to the second generation and our range continued to expand. We are now a total supplier for everything you need in corporate canteens and kitchens. From vending machines to biscuits and cleaning supplies. We also have a number of private labels of tea and coffee, of which anniversary tea 1973 is the newest.’

Of course, Van Tienen will not let the fiftieth anniversary pass unnoticed. Among other things, an anniversary magazine was printed, a festive kick-off of the anniversary year was celebrated and a number of open days are scheduled. Bart: ‘Our new private label 1973 appeared at the end of 2022, which coincided very nicely with our anniversary year. We noticed that many customers were ready for something new instead of the standard Pickwick tea and we want to respond to that with this tea line. It is one hundred percent organic fair trade tea in unbleached paper filter bags. We try to keep the product as sustainable as possible. With 1973 we’re aiming for the SME segment and so far, the tea has been very well received’.

Theekist Jubileumthee 1973 vantienen 2

Simple and stylish

To be able to present the new tea in a stylish way in your company, Van Tienen called in Krepel again for the design and production of a tea chest. ‘Everything went smoothly with Antoon, as usual. We were looking for a serene and sleek chest that would fit into all kinds of businesses. Simple, yet stylish. And of course our bags had to fit exactly’. The result was an 8-compartment chest with the 1973 logo on it and inside a brief text about how the company was founded in 1973. ‘We supplied our logo and the text for the inside and the rest of the design was handled very well by Krepel. Antoon personally brought the first sample. It was very nice to be able to see and talk to each other again’.

The 1973 anniversary tea chest is now available via the Van Tienen webshop.