Logo des 200 Jahre Jubiläum von Ronnefeldt

We’ll give you 200 years of ours.

Ronnefeldt celebrates its 200th anniversary

An excellent reason to thank you for your loyalty. We are giving away an exclusive journey into the origins of tea with the Ronnefeldt Tea Academy®.

Get ready to join us on the historical journey of a family-run tea trading company – from its foundation by Johann Tobias Ronnefeldt in 1823 to the present day and into the next 200 years. 


Long-term thinking, future-oriented decisions and personal relationships with partners and customers – these are the traits of a family-run business. Friederike Ronnefeldt knew this when she took over the tea trade from her late husband in 1845. And so did her sons and all their successors – up to the present day.  

Photo: Friederike Ronnefeldt with her children ca. 1847
Loser Tee in Form eines Herzen mit einer Bio-Flagge


Herwarth Westphal, the grandson of Carl Rudolf and Emma Ronnefeldt, was born in Shanghai in 1922. His father’s family had already been represented in China with their tea trading company for five generations. Herwarth’s parents worked in a joint venture with the firm King & Ramsay. Historical photographs of this partnership show what tea rooms looked like at the time. In this picture, you can see Mr King alongside the oldest ‘teaman’ of Hankou, one of the most important tea trading centres during that time.

Photo: Mr King with the oldest ‘teaman’ of Hankou


Since time immemorial, tea has been transported to Europe across the sea by merchant ships. In recent times, however, there has been an exception; the first Darjeeling harvest, which is aroma-sensitive, is usually transported by air. Since 2021, we no longer transport tea by air. This is an example of the future-oriented decisions that play an important role when it comes to fighting climate change and preserving nature.
Loser Tee in Form eines Herzen mit einer Bio-Flagge


Friederike Ronnefeldt, the wife of founder Johann Tobias Ronnefeldt, had five children, took care of their education and the household and became a widow at an early age. After the death of her husband, she led the then-still-young Ronnefeldt company to a successful future, as can be seen today, 200 years later. Friederike Ronnefeldt was thus one of the first female CEOs in history.

Photo: Friederike Ronnefeldt ca. 1890


Passion and visions of tea

The question of the recipe for success of a 200-year-old family business may be easier to answer than one might think. I am convinced that it is our passion for tea that has driven us tirelessly over generations.

When Johann Tobias Ronnefeldt set out in search of the finest teas from distant lands in the early days of the 19th century, he chose a challenging path. For me, this makes the task of continuing this traditional company with vision and pride all the more a matter of honour.
The ability to enjoy a cup of Ronnefeldt tea after two centuries is thanks to you as loyal partners and great customers. Together with you and our passionate employees, we have managed to become one of the world’s leading tea brands in the upscale hotel and catering industry. We are so proud. 

Thank you for our enriching partnership and the trust you have placed in us over the years. I look forward to continuously inspiring you with gourmet tea of the highest quality and to writing further chapters in the history of tea together.

Looking to the future with great anticipation: The Next 200 Years Of Tea Excellence

Jan-Berend Holzapfel

and makes us grateful

Tea allows us to spend time together with the people that are closest to us. Devoting time to tea means reconnecting with oneself. Serving high-quality tea also means treating your guests to something special. 

We look back on two centuries of exciting tea history with formative partnerships: from the highest levels of the hotel and catering industry to the national tea trade and our international authorized dealers.

We highly value your feedback and always welcome the opportunity to exchange ideas. This is the only way we can continue to grow.

to toast 200 years of tea history

To mark Ronnefeldt's 200th anniversary, our tea tasters have selected a particularly delicious anniversary tea: The 1823 Anniversary Edition Royal White Tea & Cassis.
Ronnefeldt 1823 Anniversary Edition


In honour of Ronnefeldt’s 200-year anniversary, our tea tasters have selected an especially delicious anniversary tea: The 1823 Anniversary Edition Royal White Tea & Cassis.

The 1823 Anniversary Edition Royal White Tea & Cassis is a noble flavored white tea that has been refined with a fruity-mild cassis aroma. In addition to its light yellow cup color, it seduces with a particularly fine taste, with a mild-sweet character and a pleasantly fresh note. It is available both as loose tea and pre-portioned in the Ronnefeldt LeafCup® for business customers.

It comes from the traditional tea-growing area of Yunnan in China, a special place that is considered the birthplace of Chinese tea culture. The excellent white tea Royal White Tea & Cassis underscores the long history and expertise of our company. White tea is celebrated worldwide as one of the most exclusive types of tea – it was once reserved only for the Chinese emperor and his court.

The leaves for the refined Royal White Tea & Cassis originate from the Bai Hao cultivar. The tea garden in which it thrives is located at an elevation of 1,200 metres in the mountainous region of Pu-Erh. Only the first tender tea leaf and the still-unopened leaf bud with its silvery hairs are gently harvested by hand and processed with the greatest care.

A journey through time

Legendary stories begin as fairy tales
Tea has accompanied mankind for centuries. Wherever this amazing plant conquered new continents, it led people to cultivate its enjoyment. Owing to his fascination for tea, Johann Tobias Ronnefeldt founded Teehaus Ronnefeldt 200 years ago. And thus began the history of Teehaus Ronnefeldt.

So take a little break, enjoy a cup of tea and immerse yourself in the history of Ronnefeldt.
After completing his apprenticeship and expanding his knowledge of the import and export business, Johann Tobias Ronnefeldt set up shop as an independent importer in his hometown of Frankfurt in 1823.
Friederike Ronnefeldt takes over the business
Johann Tobias Ronnefeldt died on 14 August 1845, leaving his wife with five underage children and a business that had since grown to a considerable size.
The next generation
Carl Adolf and Philipp Wilhelm, the sons of Friederike and Johann Tobias Ronnefeldt, took over management of the tea trading company. Carl Adolf continued to take an active role in the business until he was 87 years old. His son Rudolf took over management at the end of the 19th century. 

Photo: Friederike Ronnefeldt with her children ca. 1847
Move to Frankfurt’s Zeil shopping street
Carl Adolf Ronnefeldt acquired the large building on the Zeil, formerly the home of an important chronicler of the old imperial city from the von Lersner family. Ronnefeldt had in the meantime become a well-known tea brand.

Photo: Rudolph Ronnefeldt with grandson Herwarth Westphal ca. 1926
Relocation to Mother Goethe’s house
When the new Wronker department store was built on the Zeil, Ronnefeldt relocated to Rossmarkt 8, the building where Catharina Elisabeth Goethe, mother of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, lived until the end of her days, the legendary ‘Golden Fountain’.
The dragon poster created by Hans Christiansen
In the same year, Hans Christiansen, one of the Art Nouveau artists from the Mathildenhöhe Darmstadt Artists’ Colony, designed an advertising poster for the tea house with a dragon’s head as a symbol for tea from China. 

Photo: Wolfgang Fuhrmannek, Hessisches Landesmuseum Darmstadt, CC BY-SA 4.0
Tea business in the hands of the third generation
Herwarth Westphal, the grandson of Carl Rudolf and great-grandson of Friederike and Johann Tobias Ronnefeldt, became co-owner of Ronnefeldt.

Photo: Herwarth Westphal
Handover to Frank Holzapfel
At Herwarth Westphal’s request, Frank Holzapfel took over Teehaus Ronnefeldt as sole partner in 1984, at the age of 45. He changed the company’s strategy and repositioned the Ronnefeldt brand back to its origins as a gourmet and luxury product for the four- and five-star hotel industry. 

In recognition of and appreciation for his life’s work, he was posthumously awarded the Brillat Savarin Plaque in 2019, one of the highest honours in the hospitality industry.

Photo: Centre left: Herwarth Westphal; centre right: Frank Holzapfel
Second generation of the Holzapfel family
Jan-Berend Holzapfel, Frank Holzapfel’s son, became Managing Director and Co-Owner of Ronnefeldt. He focused on the strategic expansion of core markets and new international markets.  
200th anniversary
Ronnefeldt celebrates its 200th anniversary and continues to focus on excellent gourmet tea from the best tea gardens in the world.

The Next 200 Years of Tea Excellence.

The NEXT 200 Years

Family business with tradition and a future

Tea brings with it centuries of tradition, diverse cultures and a promising future. What was initially celebrated in style in European tea gardens and tea houses is today enjoyed by connoisseurs in both private settings and upscale international dining establishments. Instead of the sommelier, the tea master comes to the table; instead of the wine list, an exquisite tea menu is presented.

We, too, have gained a great deal of experience over the past 200 years. As a family-run business, we have been able to pass this knowledge on from generation to generation. 

And we will take this knowledge with us into the next 200 years.

As a dynamic company, it is important to us to move with the times and anticipate current challenges – sustainably and responsibly. Our focus is always on the enjoyment of a special beverage in harmony with nature and our values.
Bernhard-Maria Lotz, Leiter der Ronnefeldt TeaAcademy

for excellent service and advice

High-quality tea means commitment.  

 A clear commitment to quality, taste and hospitality at the highest level. 

I have been part of Ronnefeldt since 1992, and am full of conviction and passion for this wonderful product of nature. At the Ronnefeldt TeaAcademy®, I have met so many tea enthusiasts who share this passion. 

Even though tea is one of the oldest beverages in the world, it still requires good advice. This shows how diverse and multifaceted this unique product is. Not all teas are the same.

Alongside coffee, wine and the like, it still plays a secondary role on many menus. This makes the decision to offer high-quality tea in the hotel and catering industry a clear commitment and a trait that sets us apart. The quality of the tea is a sign of a true host – both in restaurants and at home.

Once you have introduced people to the world of tea, it quickly kindles a special kind of enthusiasm – one that can last a lifetime.

Talking about tea, tasting it in its diversity and bringing people closer to the product is truly enriching. It makes me proud to see the perfected expertise with which the graduates of the Ronnefeldt TeaAcademy® carry on the tradition of tea’s distinctive character.

You are our tea ambassadors to shops, to guests and among your family and friends.

Together, let us carry this wonderful tea culture and expertise out into the world.

Bernhard-Maria Lotz

A family business with a love of tea
Tea is both a tradition and a companion of modern life. That is why it can develop so wonderfully as part of a family business. Herwarth Westphal, great-great-grandson of Friederike Ronnefeldt, handed over management to Frank Holzapfel, who passed it on to his son Jan-Berend. For a successful future with tradition. 
Tea is trendy
Afternoon tea has long since ceased to be a solely British phenomenon. In recent years, it has become increasingly popular in many countries around the world. And it knows no culinary limits. Tea can be enjoyed with any type of food – be it sweet like chocolate or salty like cheese, filling like a sandwich or small and delicate like a macaron. The wide array of tea specialities can be served in different ways: chilled, mixed, flavoured and above all, never boring. Tea complements our colourful, modern lives.
For the pleasures of tea
Our heart belongs to tea. That is why we make no compromises in the production of our high-quality varieties and compositions. From careful harvesting in the best tea gardens to refinement for the highest level of enjoyment. 
Relocating the company headquarters
This year we are not only celebrating our anniversary, but also opening a new chapter in the company’s history: Ronnefeldt’s company headquarters is moving. The new office is located in Frankfurt’s Westhafen with a wonderful view of the River Main. With this move, we are once again taking up our historical roots. Until 1990, Ronnefeldt had a bonded warehouse in Westhafen.

With the new location, we have been able to achieve our desire for flexible, modern, sustainable and communicative office space to create a liveable working culture. Having been founded in Frankfurt, it is also important to us to remain loyal to our tea trading company’s birthplace. 
Environmental responsibility
For us, as traders of a natural product, the pursuit of excellence goes hand in hand with sustainable business practices. In order to ensure an intact ecological system for future generations and the next 200 years of tea history, it is a matter of course for us to define environmental and social sustainability as a central quality criterion of our work. For this reason, the owner of our company, Ronnefeldt, Jan-Berend Holzapfel, personally oversees all sustainability projects.

The selection of our tea gardens is also based on sustainability criteria: Rwanda, for example, is a country where tea cultivation isn’t the only surprise. Its measures when it comes to environmental protection, biodiversity protection and successful land use make Rwanda an ecological pioneer in Africa. 
„Two leaves and one bud“
There is no substitute for expert hand-picking when it comes to high-quality tea. This is the only way to harvest according to the principle of ‘two leaves and one bud’: only the end bud and the two uppermost tender leaves find their way into our teas.
Social projects at the source
For Ronnefeldt, social responsibility is a matter dear to our hearts and is an important quality criteria. We therefore place great value on tea-specific and regional funding initiatives, as this is where the greatest potential to provide effective support lies – in the tea-growing regions and for the people that work and live there.

To achieve this, we work closely with two organisations that are committed to socially and environmentally sustainable business practices in the countries of origin. Ronnefeldt has been a member of the non-profit organisation Ethical Tea Partnership (ETP) since 2013 and has been a partner and supporter of the Childaid Network for over 10 years.
Become part of the Ronnefeldt CommuniTEA.
Stay informed, see what we are up to every day and find out what make our tea delicious. Be inspired by the exciting stories about Ronnefeldt in our Instagram feed.

Ronnefeldt on Instagram

We’re celebrating – join us.

Musical accompaniment is part of every successful birthday! We’ve put together the right songs in a Spotify playlist to get you in the mood for the anniversary – to dance, celebrate or simply enjoy.