Operators ‘miss a trick’ with tea
Serving a ‘cheap paper tea bag’ is akin to serving your coffee customers instant, says world renowned tea specialist Jane Pettigrew BEM, who predicts nitro tea is set to come to the UK.
Having a good quality tea offer has never been more important, explained Pettigrew, as customers were becoming more knowledgeable about tea and operators were missing out on higher profits by not improving their offer. Customers, she added, were “not prepared to settle” for less.
And like coffee, she predicted it wouldn’t be long before Brits were following the current trends in the US and Berlin and “drinking nitro tea as they are drinking nitro coffee”.
Pettigrew was speaking at Tea Workshop Theatre, organised in association with UK Tea Academy and sponsored by Brita, at European Coffee Expo last week. She said having a great tea offer would win coffee shops recognition. “With social media, people are on Instagram and [posting] about places that they go to find a really good cup of tea.”
Teapigs tea trainer Andy Byron, also presenting at the Tea Workshop Theatre, spoke about the importance of choosing a tea that was both ethical and sustainable - as well as training baristas to have tea knowledge.
“What happened to coffee 10-15 years ago is happening to tea – tea is not just tea anymore,” said Byron, adding while the ‘every day’ brew remained top, green teas and herbal infusions were growing.
He continued that operators should be more creative with their range by establishing a seasonal offer; adding some vibrant teas for the summer and spiced tea, or winter tea lattes, in the winter.
“Baristas should be talking to customers about tea and getting creative and passionate about tea. More and more people are actively looking for a better quality, premium product and are happy to pay for it.”
Pettigrew also highlighted research that suggested that 50% of customers that drink tea out- of-home would actually drink more if they felt it was better value. She reinforced the message that not only sales were rising, but customers wanted more varieties, including green tea, white tea, Oolong tea, Cold Brew tea and even iced tea.