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Are you seeing a rise in popularity of speciality teas?
“Suppliers are producing teas with health and vitality in mind, with a tea on the market for almost every concern. Now, more than ever, consumers are researching healthy alternatives in many aspects of food and drink in a bid to improve their way of life. For example, green tea contains antioxidants, claims to help metabolic rates and has a compound that keeps mouth bacteria at bay, promoting healthy teeth and fresh breath. It even includes theanine and amino acids that encourages relaxation and reduces anxiety.
Pure green tea is not everyone’s ‘cup of tea’ but we’re seeing more producers blending it with the likes of mint, lemon and peach to name a few, giving it a more approachable palate. Fruit tea blends are calorie-free but have a ‘sweet nose’ when they are brewed, which works for consumers as an alternative to a sugary juice, particularly as they can be enjoyed over ice as well as hot.
Customers are also concerned about the biodegradability of the tea bags and prisms sold, and we find that this impacts sales.”
What range of tea products do you stock?
“Within Delifonseca, we stock a huge variety of teas, from single estate traditional teas, green, white to herbal and fruit based. Some contain natural additives such as valerian to encourage relaxation or boost metabolism with guarana.
Many of the ranges that we’ve sold over the years followed the trend and converted to the pyramid bags. Whilst many of these are delicious, they are at a higher price point and feel more of a ‘treat’ drink when in reality, a dedicated tea-lover would be drinking numerous cups throughout the day.
We’ve been using Birchall as our restaurant’s ‘house’ range for over five years now. Their teas have fantastic clarity when it comes to taste and it all becomes clear when you look into their approach. They produce fantastic black teas from East Africa that use 100% main grade.
Clipper Tea is another great ethical company with a wide range of good organic and fair-trade options. The use of unbleached teabags as opposed to tea pyramids make these more affordable and they are leaders within the field when it comes to stating the properties of the drink on the packaging, whether that’s ‘calming’, ‘refreshing’ or ‘detoxing’.
When it comes to local, North West based brands, Brew Tea is wholly committed to using top quality leaf in its blends and you can taste their commitment. Although now based in Manchester they started out in Liverpool and even used to have a ‘Scouse Breakfast’ tea.
We’ve been stocking Taylors of Harrogate’s loose-leaf classic blends for over a decade including Afternoon Darjeeling, Pure Assam, Imperial Gunpowder, Special Rare Ceylon and so on. At Christmas, their loose-leaf tea caddies usually do brisk business for us. Talking of caddies, we simply love the Elephant tea caddy range by Williamson Tea.
Yogi Organic Tea is a brand that attracts a loyal customer following. We had specific requests for this tea and it has proved to be a steady seller although we only sell a few lines from its extensive Ayurveda range.
Dr Stuart’s range offers quirky packaging aimed squarely at the wellness market. It has more specialist targeted teas such as Liver Detox, Lax Plus, Throat Relief and Triple Ginseng, each with a health remedy on offer.
One of our newest discoveries is a company called Higher Living. Having been on the scene for 45 years, the whole range is organic and again the packaging and the flavours appeal to those looking for more than just great taste from their teas.
Last but not least, we also stock English Tea Shop – their organic teas come from and are processed in their own factory in Sri Lanka, offering a very affordable organic range with a wide choice of flavours and types of tea. It’s particularly good for gifting, with its range containing advent calendars to lovely tea stars that can be hung on the Christmas tea, all selling well for the festive period.
Our bestselling product list is surprisingly topped with the classics, bearing in mind that we serve Birchall in our restaurant. Our customers recognise a good cuppa when they have one!
Birchall’s Great Rift is a great, deliciously strong English breakfast blend with lovely brightness and flavour. Although we do sell it in prisms too (and that’s how we serve it in the restaurant) the value presented in the larger box of tea bags is not lost on true tea drinkers. Birchall’s Green Tea also does well and we find that customers that enjoy it in the restaurant often go on to buy it from our food hall.
Other popular items include the Brew Tea English Breakfast pyramids and the Yogi Good Night Tea. This one is our bestseller out of the more ‘prescriptive’ brands, however we do have a large range of producers and products available so that will dilute sales across brands.”
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