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Case study: Brewbabu

Company - Brewbabu

Owners – Dyna Graham

Phone – 01832 273909

Above: Dyna standing in her tea emporium.


Having worked for many years in retail finance and customer management, Dyna Graham’s knowledge of tea stretched as far as dunking a bag in a mug so when her daughter returned from travels around India with exotic and delicate tea leaves that left the taste buds reeling, Dyna knew her tea-drinking habits had changed forever.

This got Dyna to thinking about how many other people were missing out on really good tea and coffee. So she met with a company called Liquid Culture whose philosophy is ‘understanding, facilitating and loving the process cup by cup, whilst providing excellent service to your customers’. They provide a support package for those looking to open up a tea or coffee shop but don’t know where to start. From design of the shop to providing bespoke products, Liquid Culture supported Dyna every step of the way helping her with branding, furnishing the shop and generally getting a head start in a flourishing market. 

A month before opening, Dyna’s biggest supporter and fan, her daughter, summed up what she thinks of her mum’s potential: “For sure Brewbabu is going to turn into a great tea shop for locals and tourists all over the world, with someone as special as my mum running the place, it's not just any tea shop! Each customer will get their own special treatment!”

Local regulatory support

Dyna and the Liquid Culture support team first came into contact with the planning team at East Northamptonshire Council when they submitted the application for 6 West Street to become a tea and brew bar. Carolyn Tait talked them through the process as well as   advising them on ensuring the application clearly explained the purpose of their venture including being a retail outlet as well as refreshment provider.

The Environmental Protection team also paid a visit to ensure that there would be no noise issues for the people living above the shop and heritage organisations were invited in to ensure that no work to property was going to damage it as a listed building. Thanks to meaningful conversations with all the relevant bodies, any issues were soon resolved and work was able to start on making the Brewbabu dream a reality.

As well as first class liquid refreshment, Dyna was keen to serve excellent cakes and sandwiches and so she contacted Amy White, Environmental health Officer who advised her on food safety requirements and health and hygiene obligations. As a complete newcomer to serving food and all that it involves, Dyna found Amy supportive and reassuring with a wealth of knowledge and advice that put her at ease.

Dyna also spoke with Rita Groves, Licensing Enforcement Officer about applying for a liquor license so that she could service alcohol at special events. This discussion led onto the subject of an entertainment license which Rita also advised on and now Dyna is covered for all manner of events and occasions.

To help with financing the new venture, Dyna gave a presentation to the Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership small grants board who were so impressed with her plans and preparation work that they were only too happy to give £1,000 towards start-up costs. Dyna also took the opportunity to explain how she wanted to help with employment in the town and had set up an apprenticeship scheme for a local person to learn all about tea, coffee and hospitality. She has since employed a 17 year old apprentice from Oundle who works in all areas of the business, learning on the job.

What’s next?

As the shop only opened 1 September 2014, Dyna and her staff have been busy getting to know their customers, tweaking things in the shop to ensure the best possible experience and working on their menus. With their own tea master, every loose leaf tea has been specially blended for Brewbabu and with their coffee range roasted locally along with staff fully trained in how to serve the teas and coffees so customers are guaranteed a special experience.

Dyna’s plans for the next chapter of the Brewbabu story involve developing the retail side of the business. She already sells teapots, cups and brewing apparatus but is always looking for new products which will interest customers and excite them about the whole tea-making process.

Dyna is also keen to put the business forward for some awards. She has her eye on several local food and drink awards and competitions so listen out for the Brewbabu name in and beyond Oundle.

Business benefits

  • Expertise and excellent customer service by council staff helped overcome planning obstacles that had the potential to affect economic prosperity
  • Tailored and assured food safety support
  • Excellent standards of food hygiene
  • Helping the business achieve its local potential
  • Higher levels of customer satisfaction