Your basket is empty. Start shopping.

A brief history of Brodie, Melrose, Drysdale & Co Ltd

Trace the story of Brodie, Melrose, Drysdale & Co from the very beginning in 1867, when three enterprising Scottish tea merchants formed a new company, to the present day, when you can meet the latest additions to our coffee family.

In 2007 Brodies became part of the Massimo Zanetti Beverage Group. Massimo Zanetti was born in Italy into a family of coffee merchants, coffee was his passion from a very young age and his mission, to produce and supply great coffee around the world. Brodies Teas are now sold through the group to over 40 countries.

  • 1867

    1867

    Brodies began.

  • 1892

    1892

     

    Robert Drysdale is credited to be the first tea manufacturer in the UK to produce breakfast tea.
    It is said that Queen Victoria during a stay at Balmoral enjoyed the blend so much, she subsequently took a supply with her when she returned to England, where upon it was renamed to became known as "English Breakfast Tea".

  • 1928

    1928

    Brodies created “Famous edinburgh”, which has stood the test of time for over 85 years, remaining one of our most popular blends and closely guarded secrets.

  • 1930s

    1930s

    Brodies started making coffee essence, which was added to milk, ice cream and used in baking, a very popular product in its day. We also produced a variety that was flavoured with rum but after the war in the 1940s essence was replaced with instant coffee. 

  • 1950s

    1950s

    Saw the introduction of tea bags to the Brodies range. Although invented by an American in 1908, tea bags did not take off in Britain until the 50s.

  • 1960s

    1960s

    Always pioneering the latest fashion, Brodies introduce Vienesse Coffee, a cream based coffee using two shots of strong expresso, infusing the coffee with whipped cream, topped off with chocolate sprinkles.

  • 1970s

    1970s

    In the 1970s when frosts in Brazil resulted in massive price increases, Brodies responded with new origins and new blends.

  • 1972

    1972

    Brodies installed a probat roaster. We were one of the first roasting houses to have one and it is the brand we still roast on today.

  • 1979

    1979

    Brodies became a member of the tea council.

  • 1980s

    1980s

    In the 1980s Brodies launched a range of best quality single origin pure Arabica coffees. These varied from finest Kenya’s to Java and were supplied as filter options with machines to make the coffee.

  • 1993

    1993

    Saw the addition of our award winning handmade chocolates. Brodies became one of the first chocolatiers to use freeze dried fruit in our centres, intensifying the flavour.

  • 1998

    1998

    Whilst Brodies had always offered a specialist espresso blend, predominantly sold to the Italian community in the 1990s, the range was expanded as the first inklings of the espresso evolution began. Bear in mind that Starbucks only appeared in the UK in 1998. 

    Brodies were one of the first companies to become Fairtrade licensees and we roasted Fairtrade Costa Rican coffees for food service. It was not an immediate success as no one knew much about the Fairtrade concept; each year it developed and now it accounts for one third of our sales.

  • 1999

    1999

    We continued the development of our Espresso range in 1999 with the launch of the Dynamic Volcanic range of 5 coffees. Most coffee is grown in the tropics in rich volcanic soils and the range was named after Volcanoes featuring coffees from that area. For example, Cotopaxi includes coffees from Central America and Krakatoa includes rich, earthy chocolatey coffee from Indonesia.

  • 2002

    2002

    Brodies open a purpose built unit in Musselburgh.

  • 2007

    Brodies became part of the Massimo Zanetti Beverage Group. Massimo Zanetti was born in Italy into a family of coffee merchants, coffee was his passion from a very young age and his mission, to produce and supply great coffee around the world. Brodies Teas are now sold through the group to over 40 countries.

  • 2013

    In 2013 we offered single estate Kenyan and Brazilian pulped natural as specialist filter options with the latest filter brewing technology.