Operators could be ‘left behind’ if they fail to respond to demands for premium tea

21/11/2018
Operators could be ‘left behind’ if they fail to respond to demands for premium tea

Operators have been warned they could be “left behind” if they fail to capitalise on the premium tea trend.

Speaking during the National Tea Day Exper-Teas event held at the Shangri-La at The Shard in London last week, Joyce Maina (pictured), the senior global beverages lead at Unilever, warned that venues risk being “relegated” and “totally left behind.”

“The market is moving forward, and moving forward very very fast,” she said.

“There are a lot of millennials that want excitement. They want different things. If you are still just serving breakfast tea you are going to be left behind. That is not what people are looking for. People want experiences, exciting things, beautiful things and things that taste different and look different.”

Tea futurist at National Tea Day Diaz Ayub warned about the challenge faced by the industry to deliver the perfect serve.

“The amount of times I have had to request that my leaves come separate to the water. They are not paying any attention and the green tea is being brewed at 100 degrees and steeping in the pot for five or six minutes. It completely ruins the taste,” he said.

“If you want consumers to come back and buy into a premium tea experience you have to deliver that tea experience every time.”

Maina agreed: “Delivery is absolutely key. If you have everything else perfect but the product does not taste right they will not come back.”

Working closely with tea suppliers to make the tea experience “enjoyable” and “memorable” for the consumer is crucial, she added. 

Meanwhile, Jessica Worden, hot beverages manager at 45-strong Gail’s Bakery, said that their customers visit for the pastries with tea as part of the experience.

“What is really important and drives people to consume tea is they want something that compliments the experience,” she said.

“The trends that you see typically with Gail’s are people that enjoy something that tastes great but are less engaged with the ins and outs of speciality tea. They may not know why they like it but they know that they like it.”

Ayub also highlighted the importance of provenance to the consumer.

“It is the age of awareness and consumers are so much more motivated in terms of purchasing by the provenance of the product,” he said.

He also highlighted the importance of tea as a drink that can be served 17-hours a day.

“You can serve it from breakfast to brunch to lunch to afternoon tea to dinner and right thought to bedtime service. Why are we not seeing more teas on menus?”

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