A family story which started three decades ago at one of Perthshire and Britain’s most remote moorland wildernesses has begun a fresh chapter in the town of Pitlochry.

Clare Pinchbeck and her five brothers and sisters first learned the secret of Scots’ appreciation of tea when mother Eunice McLellan brokered a deal with railway factors in Glasgow in 1988 to open the first tearoom on the platform of Rannoch Railway station.

The Victorian-built station was constructed on the edge of the bleak and beautiful Rannoch Moor and Clare’s father Donnie was stationmaster there for 35 years; the kids growing up in the area.

Since that successful venture, Clare has returned to the family passion and now retails Scottish loose leaf teas to 32 American States from her own premises in Pitlochry, Hettie’s Tearoom: a business she named after her own 13 year old daughter.

This week, 30 years after seeing her parents begin making brews for walkers and travellers on the West Highland Line between Glasgow and Mallaig, the woman who has literally sold tea to China is about to turn over a new leaf.

On June 8th, in a subtle adaptation to family lore, she will branch into coffee roasting and retailing, selling Highland Perthshire coffee at home and abroad.

Lovingly, she has named the company’s state-of-the-art equipment, shipped from Italy, ‘Donnie Number 1’, in memory of stationmaster dad, one half of the duo who started it all off three decades ago at one of the UK’s most remote outposts.

“I can remember the meeting where my mother negotiated with the railway company to open the tea room at the station for a rent of £100 a year, on an agreement that she would tend the gardens and station facilities as part of the deal,” said Clare, one of the family’s 6 children, who all took the train every day from Rannoch to Roy Bridge to attend the nearest school.

“I suppose that was the start of the family’s passion for tea and, after working in hotel management for 20 years, it was always in my mind to open a traditional tea shop like my parents.

“The idea, at the outset, was just to have a little tearoom and make a nice living. You could say things have moved on a bit from that,” smiles Clare.

Today, Clare employs 14 full-time equivalent staff and retails her own teas to five continents. Since opening in July 2010, 80 000 people per year have passed through the tea room in Pitlochry, which has remained faithful to the family values.

Branching into coffee roasting and retailing from raw beans is a plot twist in the narrative but one she is looking forward to embarking upon.

“I floated the idea past some networking groups who undertook surveys for me in the States. Americans love to know the history and the story behind where things comes from and they like the idea of getting a coffee fresh from the Highlands. Our shop customers in Pitlochry will be able to taste it every day because it will be roasted every morning on-site.”