A guide to Tea in 2020 by Lucy Chappell, London School of Tea

A guide to Tea in 2020 by Lucy Chappell, London School of Tea

2020 will see a rise in the quality of tea sold ‘Out of Home’ according to Lucy Chappell, London School of Tea, who be curating the Tea Workshop Theatre at European Coffee, Tea & Soft Drinks Expo at London’s Olympia in May.

Driving this will be whole leaf tea in pyramid bags and the increased use of loose-leaf tea. Both should be fairly priced as the average customer doesn’t yet understand the difference in value and quality between tea bag and whole leaf, and as yet are not prepared to spend more than £2.50 per cup. The consumers general perception is that tea OOH is poorly made, and that they can make it better and cheaper at home. To overcome this, education and training are essential, but dedicating more space on the menu, pairing tea with food and the use of better equipment is also integral.

The key trends for 2020 are wellness and functionality. The consumer will ask ‘what can they do for me, and how does it fit in with my lifestyle?’ Roots like Ashwagandha, and herbs like Gingko will be used more often as will clean natural flavours such as rhubarb & elderflower. Black tea will still be king so don’t forget to always have a high quality, rich English Breakfast and Earl Grey.

Also key, is the creation of a great tea experience. Tea is seen as a relaxing drink that’s emotive so play on this, create that moment, bring a little theatre and leave the customer feeling satisfied so that they come back for more. Use the right crockery, something easy to use but beautiful, show off the quality of the teas, making it the star of the show. The use of strong glass is both appealing and functional, let’s leave those white cups and teapots in the last decade.

Finally, we will see consumers demand sustainable and ethical tea. Tea managed well is a carbon sink as the Camellia Sinensis plant can live for hundreds of years. Make sure that you are sourcing from well-established plantations that minimise their use of chemicals and hand pick their tea. Machine harvesting will cut the trees life cycle down to a maximum of 40-60 years. The cheaper your tea, the more likely it is to have been machined harvested! Consumers are also aware of the environmental impact of plastics in tea bags, so make sure they are compostable, not bio-degradable and correctly labelled, or better still use loose leaf tea.

Remember: We drink much more tea in the UK than coffee but most of that is in home, so there is a huge opportunity to entice those people to drink OOH. Let’s make the 20’s the decade of tea.

You can register for European Coffee, Tea & Soft Drinks Expo, May 19th & 20th 2020, Olympia, London for FREE


For more information on stands and sponsorship at European Coffee, Tea & Soft Drink Expo 2020, which will take place at London’s Olympia on 19 and 20 May, contact John Blackley on +44 (0) 203 668 9809 or email johnblackley@europeancoffeeexpo.com

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