Thomas Twining, creator of the ubiquitous Twinings tea company originally started out as an apprentice weaver in London in the early 1700s. Shortly after he changed careers and became a merchant and importer, working with the East India Trading Company.
In 1706 he purchased Tom's Coffee House in London from his employer, Thomas D'Aeth. Thomas soon learned that the coffeehouse competition was stiff, so with his prior experience with the East India Trading Company, soon began offering tea as well as coffee. After quickly gaining a reputation for having some of the best teas and blends in London, Thomas began to offer dry tea, as well as the brewed cups he was selling and even sold the tea to competing coffeeshops.
After gaining in popularity, Twining expanded his store in 1717 to three houses adjacent to the coffeehouse. By 1734, Twining had given up coffee in favour of tea and quickly created his empire which is still run by the Twinings family to this day.