A perfect cup of tea is comforting and relaxing. Tea is also growing in popularity, especially in the UK. According to this article, 27% of British people are consuming more of the drink. Specialty tea e-commerce sales also increase during the pandemic.
Traditional teas remain popular, and in the past few years, we have seen new flavors, ingredients, herbs, and methods grow in popularity beyond the basics.
Above all, there are three crucial factors in brewing an excellent cup of tea: time, temperature, and quality of the water. Each element is essential in locking the best flavor and mouthfeel for the individual tea.
As consumer knowledge around tea is growing, foodservice catering or specialty businesses need to understand how important it is to brew the perfect cup. Indeed, being aware of the variety and new ways of drinking tea makes your menu more attractive to customers.
The first step in improving your beverage menu and making it unique is to ensure you are providing the best quality water for a perfect cup of tea.
We spoke with Tracey Jackson, a tea expert on our Marco Beverage Systems team, to learn more.
What Type of Water is Best for Tea?
Water quality has a significant impact on the taste, aroma, and appearance of a cup of tea. According to the UK Tea Academy, it is 99% of the perfect cup of tea.
The best flavor is provided by clean and pure water. But how to ensure that you are using the best-quality water?
“You need to filter. And there are two ways to do this. You can do it at home with a filter, but if you are in a commercial environment, you can have a filter connected to the water that goes into the boiler water,” explains Tracey.
Once the water is filtered, temperature control is the next decisive factor, and finding the right equipment is crucial to ensure the best quality of tea.
How to Choose the Right Equipment for Your Tea?
To achieve the best results in terms of volume and temperature accuracy, we recommend MIX. Tracey explains why: MIX can provide three temperatures and three volumes from a single boiler. It is also 70% more energy-efficient than leading competitors.
As Tracey comments, “Marco MIX can easily change and find the perfect temperatures for a perfect cup of tea.”
When it comes to three instant temperatures, it is possible to go between 70 ° C to 74 ° C for green tea; 80 ° C for white tea, and about 90 ° C for the other drink.
“You can make green tea and everyone else’s tea. I have to say that MIX is the machine with three temperature buttons”, explains Tracey. See here more about why you should choose the Marco MIX.
Credits: UK Tea Academy
Growing Consumer Interest in Tea
Tracey mentions that there has been a considerable increase in the past five years. The reason is the massive expansion of people’s knowledge, which makes desire further amplified.
She explains that we have moved from green tea and tea bags to options such as loose-leaf tea that are easy to be found in any supermarket.
Consequently, we can see space for other types of tea that are reflected in coffee shops and going up to traditional black, white, and morning teas.
“In tea houses and outside the industry where the public goes out to drink tea and coffee, there has been an increase, probably in the last three years,” says Tracey.
Understanding the Different Types of Tea
Tracey outlines that the British market prefers tea with milk traditionally and is also a popular ingredient in tea from different cultures, such as Chai Tea.
“The one that grows and is most popular is Chai because it comes with milk and spices, and it is easy to drink very hot. When introducing someone to a new type of tea, I suggest Chinese-style teas with vegetable flavors, like Oolong tea,” says Tracey.
Tracy believes that Japanese and Chinese teas are gaining attention on the menu and have the potential to grow even more.
“You have some varied flavor profiles. So, you have the Japanese side, which is a kind of seafood. It’s very fresh. And then you have Chinese, which is like vegetables.”
In Japan, Green tea is the most consumed beverage and has become known worldwide. For Tracey, there is a reason for this: people want something a little unique and different.
She believes that having a good cup of tea or coffee “is a unique destination, instead of just going, and having a quick meal.”
In Japan, tea is valued for its therapeutic and health properties, and most meals are served with freshly brewed green tea.
It is part of hospitality, and a lifestyle in Japan, a tradition around health and well-being that we can see growing in the Western cultures as customers are looking for healthier drinks.
How About the Tea Preferences?
When it comes to preferences, a cup of tea can be unique to each person; The British, for example, are drinking more loose-leaf tea at home.
Tracey says her favorite is white tea. “it just dries naturally and tastes very delicate. There are food antioxidants and what they call natural ethylene, a natural relaxant.”
How to Promote Speciality Tea
Although tea consumption increases, coffee shops still miss opportunities by not giving more attention to their tea offering.
By understanding how to take advantage of this in your menu and training your staff to understand and recommend new and exciting teas, it is possible to meet the demands of a growing number of customers while introducing existing customers to a new beverage option.
Tracey believes that one way to boost tea sales is through promotion. For this, it is essential to ask and expand the menu of customers with new options of teas and perhaps serve with a dessert, creating a perfect gastronomic experience.
By providing customers variety, coffee shops can cater to a broader range of consumer preferences, increase profitability and give customers new reasons to come back.
You can be creative at the menu with iced teas, different tastes, and food pairings.
Ultimately, tea offers a new way for baristas and customers to experience different cultures and tastes in the same place: a coffee shop.
By Andressa Lara