Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tea Art

Pyramid Tea Bags

We just added photos of the pyramid tea bags with white tag and string. We were reminded of how elegant these bags are and how they can make such a nice, see-through presentation of loose leaf tea. Quite elegant and convenient. As a reminder, we sell these tea bags in bulk for quick service restaurants and private label packaging for gifts and gift baskets.

Berry Rooibos Pyramid Tea Bag

Monday, September 28, 2009

Six New Premium Teas

Organic Jasmine Pearls - NEW shipment!
Slightly larger, darker leaf than our standard organic jasmine pearls. Steeps with a strong essence of jasmine. Light liquor color. Easily steeped multiple infusions.

Gurance Hand Rolled
Exquisite leaf presentation, very sweet aroma and taste, with lingering fruity notes. High quality. The most outstanding of these six new additions.

Jasmine Needle Guangdong
A jasmine white tea. The jasmine is slightly strong for a white tea, but some may prefer this. Good quality leaves. 

Namring First Flush Darjeeling
Bold first flush with heavy body and texture. Very appealing, well balanced.

Organic Dragonwell Special
Light and dark flat, pan fried leaves. Lighter body in the liquor, but still a classic, distinctive green dragonwell with medium astringent finish.

Imperial Spring Green
Misty green, young leaves, reminiscent of a huang shan mao feng in its woodsy character. Beautiful steeped leaves deliver a wonderfully full aroma.

Best selection of organic loose leaf teas at extremely competitive wholesale prices

Kopius Teas (www.kopiusteas.com) offers a tremendous range of loose leaf teas and tea blending ingredients. Our specialty is in offering organic, fair trade, and sustainable agricultural products for the retail beverage industry. We believe our buying power and overall range of products originating from more than 35 countries puts us in a very special class of vendors. Logical, fair, targeted buying, with respect for our business partners and our clients are our basic principles for long term growth.

Most of our clients purchase in smaller, sub-case quantities, where freshness, selection, value, storage, service and quality are major supplier characteristics. Kopius Teas strives to adopt new technologies wherever feasible to reduce overhead expense and continually improve quality.

You will see most of our interactions, including trouble tickets, are handled electronically. Nevertheless, we are only a telephone call away.

Let us know how we are doing.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Canadian customers

Kopius Teas (www.kopiusteas.com) ships wholesale to Canada. There are a few special points you may wish to keep in mind when placing your order.

1. Your teas will arrive via UPS Standard. The shipping calculator will include all customs and duties to your door. Prior to submitting your order, check the shipping subtotal. You might be better off ordering in larger quantities to offset the total shipping expense. Furthermore, it is better to order a few pounds extra of the blending ingredients, as we stock some of these items in smaller quantities compared to tea.

2. We encourage you to request samples at the time of your order. This makes it easier to include in a single shipment.

3. If you intend to purchase and resell Fair Trade Certified products, please select the Fair Trade option marked for CANADA. This reduced fee is extended because you are expected to submit licensing fees directly to Transfair Canada (www.transfair.ca).

4. You should allow 6-12 business days for transit, as customs may take several days to process your shipment.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Loose Leaf Tea in Corporate Cafeterias, Dining Facilities, and Break Rooms

Several corporate dining facilities directors have approached us with an interest in bringing higher quality loose tea into their on-site campuses - break rooms, dining facilities, and meeting rooms. As I have mentioned previously, tea is an excellent sign of health and hospitality. In a corporate / business setting, it is also an opportunity to discuss a neutral topic prior to getting onto business.

International business travelers will also enjoy the chance to sample something that either is of a quality similar to what they have at home or at the very least something that they typically encounter at an airport coffee shop. What a pleasant way to distinguish yourself and your organization from the crowd. Serving high quality tea is basically a very inexpensive gesture that will likely put your clients in a better mood, too.

On another business application, we know annual performance reviews can be quite challenging and contentious. Start the review by sharing a pot of tea between managers and staff. I'm sure you'll immediately notice a difference in attitude.

In England and elsewhere in the world, afternoon tea is a tradition, even in business settings. We have seen many companies use afternoon tea breaks for impromptu meetings or just bonding between work associates.

In short, there are many corporate settings which simply invite the tradition and graciousness of tea. At Kopius Teas (www.kopiusteas.com) we are prepared to discuss your corporate tea program for your on site food managers, as well as offering tea in your employee break rooms and corporate gift giving.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

CoffeeFest 2009 presentation on analytics

Ronald Eng will be presenting at the CoffeeFest Seattle on Friday, September 25, 2009 at 10am. The presentation will focus on the use of analytical methods, including scorecards and dashboards, to improve menu selection and profitability.

Premise: As a small business owner, how do we make informed business decisions when time and information are at a premium? What performance parameters are important to track and how can this information be summarized for rapid assimilation and management oversight?

Methods: Come to the talk for details!

Conclusions: Point of Sale systems are excellent instruments for data collection. This transactional information, when used in conjunction with financial statements, combine to provide an ongoing, visual monitoring of your business, both its recent history and projected future.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Restaurant Demand for Specialty Wholesale Bulk Tea

When speaking with friends or even business associates, we are frequently asked who our customers are at Kopius Teas. Mostly we explain the retail tea merchants, coffee roasters, coffee shops, restaurants, Internet-based tea distributors, and specialty applications where tea is packaged and used as a branding tool.

The one area I'd like to address today is restaurants. The restaurant use of specialty loose tea or tea bags can be a little bit more challenging than the other sectors listed previously. The main reason for this is because tea is one of many products that are prepared and served in a typical restaurant. While nearly all culinary professionals would agree that loose leaf tea steeped properly results in a beverage far superior to teabag tea, they're certainly an added hurdle of training and logistics required to ensure the proper amount of tea temperature of water and time of steep are optimized for the restaurant patron. Add to this the fact that the turnover rate in restaurants is typically higher, and you can see why many restaurant owners and operators favor teabags to loose tea.

Over the past 10 years the emergence of pure see-through teabags containing larger leaf teas and herbal tisanes has brought greater awareness to the premium nature of a whole leaf product. Mighty Leaf, Revolution, Two Leaves and a Bud, and many other provide viable, quality options for restaurant use. Furthermore, these products are individually wrapped, attractive, and enjoy strong, brand recognition.

On the other hand, if a restaurant is interested in building its own brand, representing natural, unique, novel concepts and dining experiences, then they might consider putting the effort into serving whole loose tea at their establishments. And if restaurant management decides to pursue this leve of quality, I would certainly encourage them to develop their own custom blends and offer them as private label, branded teas. Tea is associated with health, rejevenation, and a soulful meditative state of well being. The products store well and can be packaged to desired specifications. Compared with t-shirts, mugs, and other branded products, I would suggest that specialty tea when brought home or share with others, can help enforce the values of a restaurant's target dining experience.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Kopius Teas at CoffeeFest 2009

We will be attending CoffeeFest 2009 in Seattle, WA. Ron will be giving a talk on the use of analytics in tea menu selection. The talk is scheduled for Friday, September 25, 10am. Please visit www.coffeefest.com for more information.

Kenya Tea Auction featured on NPR's Morning Edition

NPR’s morning edition featured a podcasted interview at the Mombassa Tea Auction by Gwen Thompkins – In Kenya, Tea Auction Steeped In Tradition, Gentility.

This gives you a feel for the traditional method of auctioning teas, which has occurred weekly for many years.
While many teas from Kenya are CTC, they do offer some limited, high quality, whole leaf tea, including oolong and black teas. Kenyan teas are bold and distinct from teas from India and Sri Lanka. In our retail environment, we felt it was beneficial to offer teas from a variety of countries to demonstrate its true international appeal and heritage.

Kopius Teas (www.kopiusteas.com) has brought in some excellent Kenya oolongs and blacks. We think the oolongs are quite rare and would make a good talking point at the point of sale.

Another resource is the Kenya Tea Board.

Searchable Knowledgebase

We are continually improving the content of our Searchable Knowledgebase at www.kopiusteas.com. The searchable knowledgebase can be found on the left navigation panel. In particular, we are constructing a series of FAQ's to address many of the more common questions we encounter among start-up tea programs. These are collected not only from our wholesale experience, but our direct experience as retail store owners. If you have questions of general interest that do not appear, please let us know by commenting on this entry.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Is Tea a Recession Proof Industry?

Tea continues to show all the characteristics for long term, consistent growth. Tea is healthy, naturally unsweetened, minimally processed, portable, delicious, and high in antioxidants. But is this enough to power the industry through a downward global economy?

We'd like to hear your thoughts.

At Kopius Teas (http://www.kopiusteas.com/) our goal is to continue to offer the best selection of organic and fair trade certified teas and blending ingredients at industry leading prices. This is a tall order for us, but we constantly try to keep our costs down by utilizing the web, relying on automation whereever possible, and purchasing quality products when prices fluctuate downwards.

Our marketing is straight-forward. We hope we can add value to your business through informative articles, accurate tasting notes, and, more recently, our comparative tasting blogs. If you haven't done so, we ask that you contact us for a wholesale account so we can demonstrate how we can improve your profit margins across an entire range of premium teas, tisanes, and blending ingredients.

Comparative Tasting: Jasmine Pearls and Organic Jasmine #4 DZS

We often are asked to recommend jasmine scented green tea from Kopius Teas (http://www.kopiusteas.com/) Our first primary recommendation is Jasmine Pearls. These hand rolled green tea leaves are scented with the essential oils from jasmine flowers. The Organic Jasmine #4 DZS is an organic jasmine scented tea in loose leaf form.


Due to their round shape, Jasmine Pearls are a distinctive staple of any tea menu. To a novice tea drinker, the full natured round ball shaped leaves separates them from anything they've seen before - especially when compared with tea in tea bags.

Organic Jasmine #4 DZS is fairly good size, medium dark leaf and, as expected, led to a darker infusion than the Jasmine Pearls.

Infused Leaf:

The aroma of fresh jasmine offers instand appeal. Jasmine historically has been an excellent complement to green tea. We liked the overall softer aroma of the Jasmine Pearls to the Organic Jasmine #4 DZS.

Fans of Jasmine Pearls will note that a little tea goes a long way, as the leaf slowly unfurls in your cup. This allows one to infuse the leaves multiple times, each infusion imparting a gentle loft of fresh jasmine.

Infusion and Taste:

The Jasmine Pearl imparted a bright, relatively light green infusion, whereas the Organic Jasmine #4 DZS yielded a much darker liquor. You have to be more careful to watch the infusion time of the Organic Jasmine #4 DZS, as longer steep times will overpower the jasmine and produce a stronger astringency that will hinder your appreciation of the jasmine.

These a vastly different teas at different price points. We would recommend the Organic Jasmine #4 DZS for coffee shops, bookstores, and special tea merchants looking for a little more color in an iced jasmine tea. Overall, we think the Jasmine Pearls is a better buy which, even at a higher wholesale price, will enjoy greater turnover rates than the Organic Jasmine #4 DZS.

Jasmine Pearls is also available as an Organic Jasmine Pearl. Later we will include comparative notes with this varietal.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Key selection in any tea menu - Jasmine Pearls

Every day we are asked to make recommendations on new and existing tea menus. The single more frequent recommendation we can offer (based upon reordering and direct retail sales figures) is Jasmine Pearls (also known as Dragon Pearls). These hand rolled, green tea leaves are quite captivating to new and experienced tea drinkers alike. The gentle, calming aroma of fresh jasmine entices both female and male shoppers. Furthermore, the leaves represent an excellent introduction to loose leaf teas, as the pearls slowly unfurl in your cup - meaning, you can get several excellent infusions from one set of leaves. Don't have an infuser yet? Not a problem with Jasmine Pearls. you can easily remove them from your cup with a simple tea spoon.

We price our Jasmine Pearls at $20/lb wholesale. You just can't beat that for this quality of product - anywhere.

So whether you're a coffee roaster, coffee retailer, specialty tea retailer, or internet retailer, we hope you'll strongly consider incorporating Jasmine Pearls into your tea menu.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Thinking about a Web Based, Tea Business?

We speak with people every day who want to get into the business of tea. Most are interested in starting a web business. Certainly, we experience the full range of "I need it now" to "I'm just looking", but whether your are well versed in aged pu-erh or the finest high mountain Tie Kwan Yin, to me, the greatest indicator of web success is your ability to translate your passion for tea into an indexed language that the search engines will find and rank highly. Those in the know just refer to this as SEO.

As much a building a knowledge of tea, I strongly encourage nearly all the new web-based, tea entrepreneurs to have a clear strategy for how they intend to build traffic. A pretty website and unique products isn't enough. It's like a small emerging fern in a vast forest of giant redwood trees - you just won't get noticed.

Having said that, I hope those of you who've built a successful web presence will share your ideas. The tea industry has always been very supportive and encouraging, with the exception of one large tea retail franchise beginning with the letter, "T".

Comparative Tasting - White Teas

We tasted three Kopius Teas (www.kopiusteas.com) White Teas side by side in a comparative tasting.

Silver Needle 1st Grade

Silver Needle Extra Special

Organic White Bai Mudan Ex Special


The Silver Needle 1st Grade features a smaller, younger bud than most I've seen. The contrast of the silvery tips and greener leaf is well balanced.
Silver Needle Extra Special is a more traditional, bolder, larger white needle than the 1st grade. 
Organic Bai Mudan Extra Special. We enjoyed it's smaller, more subtle leaf size than other commercial grades.
All white teas above were very uniform in size, with little breakage or dust.
Infused Leaf / Aroma

Silver Needle Extra Special was not the typical bright green infused leaf we have become familiar with. Both reviewers gave higher marks to the Silver Needle Extra Special for both color and aroma.


Neither of the Silver Needles were particularly sweet in terms of white teas, but we did enjoy the Silver Needle Extra Special more than the Silver Needle 1st Grade (goes to show we aren't easily swayed by price or appearance). The Extra Special had a cleaner taste profile than the 1st Grade, which had just a very slight hint of a dusty finish.

The Organic Bai Mudan Extra Special was surprisingly good. Excellent plum notes. We recommend a briefer steep time of only 1.5 - 2 minutes.


Ron - "I was pleasantly surprised with the uniformity of the leaf sizes, with all leafs in the set on the smaller side of the scale. Among the three, I enjoyed the Organic Bai Mudan Extra Special the best. When I taste a Bai Mudan, I'm looking for the plum notes, without the heaviness on the palette or overly dark infusion.

Notes on Product Availability

We are in the process of simplifying our line of loose teas, tisanes, and blending ingredients. Currently, the products shown on the website are those that we currently have in stock, which at last count was over 500 items.

Discontinued items will be shown in a separate navigational category - look for this in the weeks ahead.

Once this is complete, we will move quickly to updating the products with greater descriptions and photographs of our wholesale teas.

In the meantime, we hope you enjoy our vast selection of teas, herbs, spices, flowers and fruit. We could not have envisioned working in such a wonderfully uplifting and fragrant environment.