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.

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