A 23-year-old man who swapped the corporate world for tea is seeing his business go from strength to strength.

Thomas Cheung, of Egremont, started Y-Tea of the Lake District in his bedroom after deciding a graduate training programme with a car rental chain wasn’t for him.

He began selling tea at Keswick market and only a year later, has moved to offices at Stirling Place on Cleator Moor’s High Street as his business has expanded.

He now supplies premium tea not only to the general public but also to hotels, cafes, retailers and restaurants and hopes this year will see further expansion for his firm.

Thomas said: “We moved to Cumbria when I was 10 and when I finished university, I wanted to return as I’d fallen in love with the area.

“I went down the normal path of a graduate training scheme, but it wasn’t for me. I’d always loved tea and decided to set up as a tea supplier.

“I researched everything and when I started, I was even designing my own packaging. With the move to the suite of offices, the business has changed and I now outsource the packaging.

“We have a workshop now and pack the tea for our customers here and we create our own blends in-house.”

He said the firm was called Y-Tea because he wanted people to ask ‘Why tea?’.

He added: “It’s almost taken for granted as a traditional drink and I wanted to show people there are many different sides to it, especially in the premier tea market.

Thomas said he has always had an entrepreneurial streak.

While at university in Newcastle, he started out as a student promoter and eventually set up an event management company, so he decided that starting his own business on his return to Cumbria would be a good idea.

He added: “I’m passionate about tea and I want to put Cumbria on the national stage. What I’ve achieved in 12 months – going from a market stall to offices – shows this business has the basis to expand.

“We’re going to concentrate on building our business in Cumbria in the short term and then look to grow the business. I am very proud of what Y-Tea of the Lake District has achieved to date.”