Ask for a cup of specialty tea by brand at any caf? and you will get a bewildered look in return. To the masses, tea comes in tea bags. Any brand will do. With many tea stores now specializing in fine teas online, anyone can now enjoy a fragrant cup of delightful tea with a few clicks of the mouse.
The majority of tea drinkers do not know that there are teas beyond what is found in supermarkets or cafes. These so called gourmet or specialty teas are usually products of passion and perfection by tea connoisseurs from small tea estates that do not have large advertising and promotional budgets.
“What you get in caf?s and supermarkets are usually cheap tea bags that contain small broken tea leaves or tea dust left over when tea leaves are harvested. The result is poor tasting tea with low nutritional value compared to whole leaf teas”, says Kim Yong, CEO of Your Tea Place, the online sales and distributor for specialty tea brand Mlesna (Ceylon) Tea of Sri Lanka.
“No caf? or supermarket is willing to carry high grade teas due to its costs. For example, top grade Ceylon Silver Tip teas, which are tea buds from the top of the tea plant Camellia Sinensis, cost around $600 to $700 a kilo at wholesale. To make economic sense to an F&B outlet, they will have to price it at $15 per cup. That’s not what the average tea drinker is prepared to pay. That is why mediocre supermarket tea is the norm at regular F&B outlets”, Kim continued.
With current efficiencies in international trade and shipping, these high grade teas are now available to all consumers by shopping online. Just perform a search by brand or type of tea and you will be presented with many fine online tea stores that will ship your choice of premium gourmet teas directly to the comfort of your home.
With internet users buying online expected to increase from 35% in 2004 to 80% in 2008 according to Jupiter Research, the end of mediocre supermarket tea is near!