A good tea experience begins with a conversation
Giving tea a single mention or putting it at the bottom corner of a drinks menu is not going to inspire confidence in your offer.
That is the message from Lucy Chappell managing director of the London School of Tea and Beverage Business World columnist.
Creating a menu, or chalk-board, that promotes tea along the same lines as coffee, with three or four styles of tea available and, where possible, descriptions of provenance and flavours, is key. And when it comes to the serve, Chappell recommended training staff to engage with tea drinkers by beginning any conversation with ‘How do you like your tea?’.
Chappell said: “They might just reply they like it strong. But if you serve it how they like it, they will probably come back – and maybe with their friends.”
Customers, she explained, were looking for an altogether better out-of-home tea experience – and it was something they would be willing to pay more for.
From educating staff to talk about the benefits of hand-picked over machine-harvest tea (which included being a better quality of product and kinder on the environment) to being able to recommend different teas, from black to white tea, Matcha, green and herbals, all helped create a better environment for people to enjoy and taste tea.
Nazani Tea co-founder, Arleen Ouzounian, said that serving iced tea, tea mocktails and cocktails and tea pairings with food were all great ways to boost your tea offering.
“Why not create tea flights on your menu, in the way restaurants do with wine, pairing teas with dishes?”
Along with utilising social media to really promote and market their tea offer, suggested Ouzounian.
She pointed to the success of cafes such as Saint Aymes, which promoted itself as a social media friendly coffee shop and where ‘every moment was made beautiful’, and Elan which created products with their snap-ability in mind, for instance, a Golden Glitter Tea, which became a social media favourite with the glitterati.
Elevating the tea offer not only drove sales, but also allowed for higher prices too, said Ouzounian, who identified a restaurant that served an olive leaf tea for £9.50 a pot.
Meanwhile. Andy Byron Teapigs’ tea trainer, said that tea is not just tea any more, and gave advice on the versatility of the ingredients.
His suggestions included:
- Making a concentrate to dilute and serve from a large kilner jar, ideal for any bar or work top. Create a strong brew by taking 10-tea temples of a fruit flavour, add 1-ltr of boiling water, brew for 5-mins and, once cooled, chill in a fridge.
- Tea lattes. To create a tea latte, make a concentrate from chai, rooibos or winter-spiced tea and top up with frothy milk and sprinkle with cinnamon, nutmeg or chocolate.
- Ice lattes served in high sided glasses or jars can look great for social media this summer.
- Ice cubes made from herbal or fruit teas, slowly melting into a drink could be a game changer, he suggested.
- Exploiting the wonderful bright green and health properties of Matcha, by including it in porridge and yogurt blends, and even creating Matcha brownies, pancakes and smoothies.
- One gram of Matcha blended into a shake or latte offered a great opportunity to upsell, with prices of £3.50 or above making it a very cost-effective way to serve tea.
- Lucy Chappell is managing director and head of training at the London School of Tea.'
- Joao Almeida, Founder of Latte Art Bar and Head of Coffee at Elan Group, is a member of European Coffee, Tea & Soft Drinks Expo's Steering Panel.
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