ANTONY AKILADE meets Erica Moore and Sarah Chanter from eteaket Tea.

"I used to be a lawyer in London and found my life wasn't as fulfilled as it could have been. But I loved tea with a passion and wanted to learn more about it, so I decided to head off on a tea pilgrimage," recalls Erica Moore owner of speciality leaf tea company eteaket Tea.

Moore spent months travelling the world seeking out tea masters, visiting plantations and learning all she could about tea. When she returned in November 2008 she opened a tearoom in the centre of Edinburgh and launched a companion website. Five years later Moore's company is exporting tea across Europe, and to Japan and has recently secured a deal with Hong Kong's largest online grocery store PARKnSHOP.

eteaket teas are packed and distributed from the company's warehouse in the east of the city.

"Before I step foot into the office," says Sarah Chanter, eteaket general manager, "I can smell the tea wafting out of the warehouse and every day the aroma is different. It's amazing. One day it's rose buds and fruity the next it could be chilli rooibos, which has a sweet and spicy scent."

The traditional British tearoom experience with a twist is a key component of the eteaket product alongside its speciality teas. This experience includes traditional cream teas but also includes tea cocktails and innovations such as a tea infused beer dubbed Smoky Lapsang Porter, which they developed with local brewer Barney's Beer.

The tearoom with a large international clientele has proved to be an excellent vehicle for spreading the word of the company's unique offering around the world.

"We were recommended to the Hankyu department store in Japan as being the best place in Scotland to go for an afternoon tea. Once a year they do a large British fair week in their department stores and they asked us to do pop-up tearooms as part of the fair," says Chanter.

Chanter herself took on the challenge and headed off to Osaka where she found herself in a glass box for a week serving tea and making scones (assisted by a team of Japanese staff).

"It was an amazing experience. The pop-up tearoom could handle 30 covers at a time and people were queueing for three hours for a seat," Chanter recalls.

"We've had lots of support at every turn for developing our domestic market from Scottish Enterprise and from Scottish Development International in establishing our exports abroad with learning journeys and trade missions," Chanter adds.

"We visit stores who retail our products. We look at how our products sit in the store; we do in-store demonstrations, pop-up tearooms and tea masterclasses. These are excellent ways of getting our tea into peoples hands and getting them to try it. The tearoom side of the business is also an excellent way of demonstrating our understanding of the business to wholesale customers," says Chanter.

eteaket also work hard to promote the company through social media. Visitors to the Edinburgh tearoom are encouraged to sign up to the company newsletter. The company's Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook, sites have large and growing followings. These together with regular blog posts on the website offering recipes, information on tea or product innovations are all used to keep customers up-to-date and, crucially, involved in eteaket developments.

"But we don't just use our digital channels to push messages out. Social media is an excellent tool for data capture as well. Using analytical tools we can see what potential customers are looking at. We can see where these customers are based in the world and this knowledge will inform our future business strategy," Chanter says.

The hot product at the moment for eteaket is a chocolate infused tea which is being offered to customers who are suffering chocolate withdrawal symptoms during lent.

"I don't think it's cheating, but it is sinful," Chanter says.

To find out more about expanding into new international markets visit