The London Tea Auction, controlled by the East India Company until 1834, was first held in 1679 and for the last time in 1998. Tea was more and more auctioned by the container-load (sometimes when the ships were still at sea) and the tea-producing countries started their own auctions.

East India House, London, UK 1817
The expanded East India House, Leadenhall Street, London, as rebuilt 1799-1800, by Richard Jupp, architect. This is what it looked like in 1817; it was demolished in 1929.

Today the most important tea auctions are held weekly in Calcutta (India), Mombasa (Kenya), Colombo (Sri Lanka) and Jakarta (Indonesia).

A Lot Of Tea

At a tea auction, tea leaves are sold “by the lot”: teas offered under a single mark or serial number.