Meet Our Tea Masters

Gerry Vandergrift

Tea Master Level 5

Gerry got his start in tea by answering a job ad that read, “Do you have an MBA and a thirst for adventure?” After striking out on his own, this thirst has grown Metropolitan into one of the world’s premier wholesalers of luxury teas and accessories.

Gerry recommends: Irish Breakfast

Kathryn Duncan

Tea Master Level 3

A key member of our team since 1992, Kathryn’s voyages have infused her with a deep knowledge of the tea trade. Blending-expert, Master Taster and tea aficionado, Kathryn is a trusted customer resource with a wide-ranging global outlook.

Kathryn recommends: Pai Mu Tan

John Hales

Tea Master Level 4

A true Tea Master of the old school, John started in tea at age 19 in London, England. He worked at one of the UK’s most respected trading houses, broadened his experience in Germany, and served as CEO of a blending company in Kenya. John has been with Metro since 2005.

John recommends: Castleton

John Chaffey

Tea Master Level 4

Sales Manager and Tea Master, John began his tea career in 1985, joining Metropolitan in 1992. Empathetic to the needs of our many customers, he frequently travels the world to develop and expand the market for luxury grade teas.

John recommends: Margaret's Hope Darjeeling

Candace Santangelo

Tea Master Level 3

Metropolitan Tea’s first official employee, Candace has been with our company since 1991. Her travels to visit with suppliers, and countless trade shows to meet with customers, give her a unique perspective on all facets of the business of tea.

Candace recommends: Canadian Breakfast Tea

Al Cardenas

Tea Master Level 2

Tri-lingual (English, Spanish, and French) and with decades of experience in hospitality and tea, Al’s attention to detail is exemplary. He brings high energy and enthusiasm to client services at home and abroad, helping service our South American clientele.

Al recommends: Ying Ming Yunnan

Hannah Vandergrift

Tea Master Level 1

Growing up in the tea industry gives Hannah a global perspective on the international nature of our business. After completing a degree in education, she joined the company full-time in 2014. Her creative input on customer needs has proven invaluable time and time again.

Hannah recommends: On The Waterfront

Chris Clark

Tea Master Level 2

Our customers have a lot of questions — Chris has a lot of answers. His first-hand experience visiting our suppliers and growers, coupled with a background in marketing, give him a unique insight into the marketing of tea.

Chris recommends: Elephant Ivory Kenya White Matcha

Christina Tsiktsiris

Tea Master Level 2

With a background in customer service, interior design, and tea, Christina understands the value of well-planned retail environments in the luxury market. An expert in helping clients achieve goals, Christina is a valuable member of the Metropolitan team.

Christina recommends: Vanilla Chai blended with Yorkshire Harrogate

Sarita Bhinda

Tea Master Level 2

Coming to Metropolitan Tea by way of Mauritius, Sarita joined the company in 2007. With a wealth of experience in commodities training, she brings a high level of knowledge and patience to the Metro sales floor. Sarita est aussi bilingue.

Sarita recommends: Sencha Kyoto Cherry Rose

Meet the others who help put the “Tea” in Team.

Accounts Receivable

Metropolitan Tea accepts:

  • Credit Card payments online
  • Money Transfers / Bank Drafts
  • EFT / TT (Electronic Funds Transfer / Telegraphic Transfer
Payments can be made in CAD, USD, or GBP. For more information contact:



Accounts Receivable

An indispensable member of our AR team, Kathleen joined Metropolitan in 2003. Her passion for business is matched only by her passion for luxury tea, baking, and baking with luxury tea. Yum.

Kathleen recommends: Cochin Masala Chai


Accounts Receivable

Starting with Metro Tea as a temp, Renee joined our staff full-time in 2015. With her extensive experience in banking, administration, accounts management and customer service, she is a true luxury tea resource.

Renee recommends: Bella Coola

Outbound Logistics

More than tea masters, we’re also experts at international shipping and logistics. We ship by ground, sea and air.
Metropolitan Tea customers can:

  • Track Orders
  • View Pending orders online



Outbound Logistics

Resident expert in order entry, international orders processing and traffic control, Ruby joined our team in 2008. Since then, she’s developed a true appreciation for our global environment and ultra-high antioxidant teas.

Ruby recommends: Quangzhou Milk Oolong


Outbound Logistics

With a solid background in the coffee and tea trade, Zamina handles logistics and documentation for our many international clients. After joining the company in 2000, she has truly become a “global gatekeeper to luxury teas”.

Zamina recommends: Bourbon Street Vanilla Rooibos