Dubai, UAE: – A landmark partnership is stirring the UAE’s tea landscape. Apparel Group’s strategic partner, Project Chaiwala, an iconic UAE-based café concept, partners with Lipton, the globally renowned tea titan, to co-create exclusive blends, with both entities cementing their commitment to premium quality and innovative offerings.
Founded more than 130 years ago, Lipton first arrived in the Middle East in the 1980s, growing into the most popular tea brand in the region and enjoying market leadership in the Emirates. Its partnership with Project Chaiwala, a homegrown tea concept founded in 2017 and known for its nostalgic charm and traditional offerings such as karak, sees the Lipton’s tea-masters collaborate with Project Chaiwala to understand the unique needs and taste preferences of the teashop and café’s clients.
Lipton is now providing Project Chaiwala with three dedicated blends and a tea supply solution, eliminating concerns related to product sourcing, raw material availability, and tracking. The bespoke blends not only provide customers with unparalleled tastes, but also underwent a seven-step iterative process developed by experts who used different grades, original combinations, and sourced quality products from the finest tea gardens globally.
Participants ranging from Lipton’s in-house experts to café staff and customers were invited to taste-test the various blends, following which Lipton implemented feedback to create consistent taste, flavour, and aroma to craft it accordingly. Such partnerships with local brands pay homage to the history of Lipton within the region and showcase the agility of Lipton through curating tailored made blends for start-up businesses, says Abhiroop Chuckarbutty, President- Africa, Middle East, and Turkey at LIPTON Teas and Infusions.
“We are very excited by this partnership with Project Chaiwala,” said Chuckarbutty. “Our vision focuses on reinforcing Lipton’s position within the regional market, and supporting local businesses and street side cafes is a key part of the objective. Both brands share similar values in that we are both passionate about tea, have strong links to the region, and put our consumers’ needs first. The bespoke blends we curated specifically for Project Chaiwala are only available for consumers at Project Chaiwala café. I believe this collaboration to be the beginning of a long-standing partnership.”
Lipton’s collaboration with Project Chaiwala is the first of several, with further agreements in the pipeline for later this year, Chuckarbutty added. Supplying local businesses with tailor-made tea blends is a continuation of Lipton’s ambitious growth vision, which also intends to emphasise the importance of its Dubai factory, located in Jebel Ali Free Zone, as the largest in its global network and one of the largest tea factories in the world.
Ahmed Kazim, Founder of Project Chaiwala, added: “As a UAE national who grew up here, this partnership with Lipton is a huge deal for me personally. We only started Project Chaiwala six years ago, so partnering with such a renowned name is hard to believe. This year represents major growth for the business as we aim to become a global company representing the multicultural heritage of the UAE through karak. We have plans to launch up to three flagship locations across the country this year, each with a new look yet retaining the traditional ‘Chaiwala experience’. Lipton’s innovation and excellence can equip and strengthen us on this journey.”
Neeraj Teckchandani, CEO of Apparel Group said, “In the heart of Apparel Group's strategy is a passion for meaningful alliances. The partnership between Project Chaiwala and Lipton perfectly epitomizes this, blending local authenticity with global excellence. By leveraging Project Chaiwala’s deep roots in the UAE with Lipton’s global prowess, we're not only curating a unique blend but also charting a new course for innovation and quality in the region."
For more information about Lipton Arabia, please visit: https://www.lipton.com/arabia/en/
Founded by Sir Thomas Lipton at the end of the 19th century, today Lipton is the world's largest tea brand and is available in more than 110 countries. It has an inspiring past and can count on a lot of love and fame.
When Sir Thomas Lipton bought his first tea garden in Ceylon (present-day Sri Lanka) around 1890, tea was expensive. But he found ways to make production and distribution more efficient so that people from all walks of life could enjoy a delicious cup of tea. Sir Thomas Lipton was the first to directly sell loose tea, as well as tea bags, to all who became enthralled with the beverage, regardless of their background.
Lipton has retained Sir Thomas' love of innovation and excellence. Today, Lipton offers a wide range of infusion-based teas and beverages, such as green and black teas, loose tea and tea bags, non-calorie infusions, organic blends and even beautiful giftable tea packs. A modern brand far removed from the traditional codes of "tea-time", Lipton has based its success on the development of a "tasting experience" during which consumption can create moments of shared pleasure, discovery, and personal moments of wellbeing. Lipton is committed to improving the well-being of tea drinkers and the people who produce the tea, but also takes care of the planet.
In 2007, Lipton was the first major tea brand to use sustainably grown tea on a large scale, thanks to the certification of the plantation in Kenya by Rainforest Alliance. Since 2015, most tea bags have been Rainforest Alliance Certified™. All Lipton tea bags in GCC region are completely plant-based and we are working to eliminate all plastic from the packaging
About Project Chaiwala
Project Chaiwala is a homegrown tea concept started in 2017. Project Chaiwala serves handcrafted blends of freshly brewed tea made using authentic recipes by their specialist “Chaiwalas’ reminiscent of the streets of India while also celebrating Middle Eastern tea drinking culture. It specializes in serving authentic Chai better known as “Karak”, varieties of tea and Indian inspired street food in an urban setting. What started as a pop-up concept, Project Chaiwala has since evolved into a multi chain cafe with 5 outlets in the U.A.E.
Started by two ex-finance professionals, Emarati Ahmed Kazim and Indian origin Justin Joseph, the two aspiring entrepreneurs noticed an opportunity to create a brand for the UAE’s most loved beverage - Karak. Born out of the community, Project Chaiwala represents the multinational youth culture of the UAE and seeks to expand the concept regionally and globally. Project Chaiwala has since partnered with regional conglomerate Apparel. Group to expand its retail footprint across the GCC while also introducing new product offerings of packaged teas and B2B solutions to become the first omni channel tea brand, homegrown in the UAE.
About Apparel Group
Apparel Group is a global fashion and lifestyle retail conglomerate residing at the crossroads of the modern economy – Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Today, Apparel Group caters to thousands of eager shoppers through its 2025+ retail stores and 80+ brands on all platforms while employing over 20,000+ multicultural staff.
Apparel Group has carved its strong presence in the GCC and expanded thriving gateways to market in India, South Africa, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Pakistan, and Egypt. Additionally, clear strategies are in place to enter emerging markets such as Hungary and Philippines.
Apparel Group has created an omni-channel experience, operating brands originating from the USA, Canada, Europe, Australia, and Asia. The brands include leading names in fashion, footwear, and lifestyles such as Tommy Hilfiger, Charles & Keith, Skechers, Aldo, Nine West, Aeropostale, Jamie’s Italian, Tim Hortons, Cold Stone Creamery, Inglot, and Rituals.
Apparel Group owes its amazing growth to the vision and guidance of its dynamic Founder and Chairwoman, Mrs. Sima Ganwani Ved, who has taken the company from strength to strength since its inception in the last two decades.