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Do you serve iced tea?

Would you ever change the way you make/offer iced teas to a model based on this post?

  • Yes, that sounds awesome

    Votes: 1 100.0%
  • No, that's too much work

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Maybe, if it was really good tea

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • tl;dr

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    1

Zoomdweebie

New member
Oct 11, 2013
12
0
Wichita, KS
Sorry this is long... I promise it's worth it...

I don't drink coffee. I'm sorry, but it just tastes like muddy, burnt yuck to me. But I love iced tea. As someone who has been dragged along to coffeehouses by friends, I have to say that I'm always a little surprised by the way coffeehouses put so much thought and care into their selection of coffees and so very little into their iced tea offerings.

I've had iced teas that were clearly run through a coffee pot brewer (and tasted like it! Yuck!), and iced teas that were made with commercial iced tea brewers that met one or more of the following distasteful qualities: they were made with the cheapest tea available; they were over-steeped or under-steeped; they were not made with enough actual tea and tasted mostly like water; they had been sitting in a tea urn since the beginning of time; and/or they are rarely offered with lemon and sometimes offered with lemon, but no teaspoon (a pet peeve, and perhaps nitpicking a little, but still...).

The point is, I wonder how many potential customers you are giving up if you don't care as much about your iced tea as you do about your coffee. I'm just saying that I personally will never suggest to anyone that we meet at a coffeehouse. But if I knew of one that made great iced teas, that would change in an instant. And I am sure there are more people like me out there.

So, I kind of have an ulterior motive in writing this today, because I've created a business that manufactures specialty organic flavored iced teas in almost 100 different flavors of organic black tea, green tea, white tea, and even caffeine-free African honeybush. I'm not trying to spam your forums or anything, and this is not a sales pitch. Really, I'm just doing a little market research, though if any of you want to buy some tea from me, I certainly wouldn't mind. But what I really want to know from you coffeehouse owners is this: I know everyone is used to working with tea in the way that they are working with it now, but if I could show you a better way, that maybe took just a little extra time, would you consider changing the way you do things?

What I'm getting at is this: we package our teas individually in oversized teabags that yield 2-quarts of premium iced tea at a time. We package them that way to keep them at optimal freshness (teas are very susceptible to absorbing other flavors and aromas around them (particularly in a coffeehouse, I might add)). So our teas are packaged individually in foil bags for resale individually. They retail for $2.99 or 4 for $10 or 10 for $20, and if you buy from us wholesale, you could make 37.5%-58% margin just selling the packaged teas, but if you served them and charged your customers by the pitcher for them, you could make considerably more, and all it would take is ripping open a foil pouch, dropping the teabag into a pitcher or carafe, pulling some hot water from your coffee machine spigot and steeping the bag for 2 minutes or less before filling up the rest of the pitcher with ice and water.

My question is simply this: Is this something that you think coffeehouses would ever be willing to do? Or am I wasting my time because no one wants to take the time to properly prepare iced tea by the pitcher? The only tricky part here is that to steep the tea properly, you really need to be attentive. If you leave tea in water that is too hot for too long, the water begins to break down the woody tissues in the plant and it releases tannins into the tea, which makes it bitter. Nobody wants bitter, over-steeped iced tea. With green teas and white teas, you might need a special temperature-controlled electric water kettle ($50-60?), because boiling water will destroy green and white teas.

So, am I asking too much of coffeehouses, or is this something you think some of the finer establishments might be interested in? Thanks for taking the time to read this. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.
 
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Zoomdweebie

New member
Oct 11, 2013
12
0
Wichita, KS
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  • #3
You are trolling for customers with no real contribution to the forum.

Go away.

I am so sorry you feel this way.

As for providing "no real contribution to the forum", I thought I was asking coffeehouse owners to consider alternatives to the way they currently offer iced tea, whether it be with my iced teas or someone else's. I believe the post asked some valid questions and raised some concerns from a would-be coffeehouse customer. Yes, I mentioned that I make amazing iced teas, and no I wouldn't mind selling my teas to someone here, but I'm asking about a larger issue, which your response reduces to something to dismiss with disdain. If you don't want to comment on how Caffe D'bolla serves iced tea, by all means, ignore this post. But don't ruin it for everyone else. We're both business owners here, can't we have a discussion like adults? I'm not here screaming, "Buy my tea". I'm asking you as a coffeehouse owner if you think the industry could be made to change the way it thinks about serving iced teas.
 

ensoluna

Banned
Apr 29, 2014
2,823
1
Quetzaltenango, Guatemala
I'm asking you as a coffeehouse owner if you think the industry could be made to change the way it thinks about serving iced teas.

definitely it could and it is happening.
More and more, a lot of coffee importers are expanding their product line up into tea selections.
I believe as there are more and more competition in coffee business, distribution of green/roasted coffee & at the retail side of business, store owners are trying to capture extra business by offering several selections of teas, hot and cold.

In USA, I do think that it would be very tough to have just "tea" retail shop for consumers (not enough customers), but if you combine coffee sales and tea sales, definitely, it could be additional business.

and regards to Ice tea, yes, I can give "Plus" for this suggestion. Specially, in Summer time, as Ice coffee and chilled coffee products are popular, I am certain that Ice Tea can be also very popular and profitable, as long as it is done very correctly.

However, I hate to see the "line extensions". I like simple yet strong menu line up. Rather than carrying hundreds of different type of coffee, several sweet & sour fu fu drinks, hundred different selections of tea products, ....etc, I rather see something very classy and simple AND DONE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT for the coffee & tea drinks (everything less than 20 drinks with slight variations).

But if some other forum newbie brings up another subject matter of adding tens of different boba drinks..... No thank you. that is totally different type of business, in my opinion, even though I have seen MANY MANY shops (coffee + tea + boba and a lot of snack foods...etc) nearby my areas, Cerritos & Artisia, CA where so many Asian ethnic people lives and does business.
 

PinkRose

Super Moderator
Staff member
Feb 28, 2008
5,225
11
Near Philadelphia, PA
My question is simply this: Is this something that you think coffeehouses would ever be willing to do? Or am I wasting my time because no one wants to take the time to properly prepare iced tea by the pitcher? The only tricky part here is that to steep the tea properly, you really need to be attentive. If you leave tea in water that is too hot for too long, the water begins to break down the woody tissues in the plant and it releases tannins into the tea, which makes it bitter. Nobody wants bitter, over-steeped iced tea. With green teas and white teas, you might need a special temperature-controlled electric water kettle ($50-60?), because boiling water will destroy green and white teas.

So, am I asking too much of coffeehouses, or is this something you think some of the finer establishments might be interested in? Thanks for taking the time to read this. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

I can't imagine anyone in a cafe, coffeehouse, restaurant, etc. wanting to take the time and effort to brew iced tea by the pitcher, especially when many places use an iced tea brewer that brews 3 gallons at a time. Perhaps a small, upscale restaurant would be interested in it, but I have my doubts.
 
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Zoomdweebie

New member
Oct 11, 2013
12
0
Wichita, KS
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  • #6
...I hate to see the "line extensions". I like simple yet strong menu line up. Rather than carrying hundreds of different type of coffee, several sweet & sour fu fu drinks, hundred different selections of tea products, ....etc, I rather see something very classy and simple AND DONE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT for the coffee & tea drinks (everything less than 20 drinks with slight variations).

But if some other forum newbie brings up another subject matter of adding tens of different boba drinks..... No thank you. that is totally different type of business, in my opinion, even though I have seen MANY MANY shops (coffee + tea + boba and a lot of snack foods...etc) nearby my areas, Cerritos & Artisia, CA where so many Asian ethnic people lives and does business.

Thanks for the feedback.

Yes, I totally get not wanting to overwhelm consumers with too many choices. When I had my tea bar, I offered 115 varieties of tea and a lot of customers were just overwhelmed. I've learned a lot since then, though I believe it is different being an online seller of teas. We're a long tail company, which is hard to do in a brick and mortar setting, but online, where people can sort/filter/search for the teas that appeal to them, it's a different thing. Amazon doesn't just offer the most popular books/music/etc, they offer everything. I would never recommend that a coffeehouse carry a huge variety of teas, but a few 'staple' teas and perhaps a rotating flavor of the month or two would keep your iced tea drinkers very happy.

I'm still curious though, about the feasibility of what I'd like to offer in particular. My concerns are:

A) Would coffeehouses be willing to take the extra time and care it takes to make iced tea by the pitcher, and to properly train their staff in its proper preparation?

B) Would it make sense financially to offer consumers this option? Our teas wholesale for $1.25/unit in cases of 12. I would be curious what some coffeehouse owners think they would need to charge for a 2-quart pitcher of iced tea given that cost and preparation time. As a consumer of iced tea myself, I can see myself happily paying $4.99 for a pitcher of iced tea, and possibly more, particularly if I was permitted to share it with some friends. (Bearing in mind that I'm personally a cheapskate who has never spent $4 for a cup of coffee -- so MY opinion may not be reflective of the potential market, particularly in places that are not Wichita, Kansas (where I live).)

C) How WOULD coffeehouses market a pitcher of iced tea? Is it something you would try to sell to individuals or groups or both? I know if I was hanging out at a coffeehouse with some friends, I could drink a full 2-quart pitcher of iced tea by myself and might even order another one if we were there long enough, but I drink a lot of iced tea. As a group, the 2-quarts would disappear a lot quicker and probably prompt a re-order sooner. I guess I'm just trying to see a potential downside to selling iced tea by the pitcher--I need to know any pitfalls to this idea before I start really pitching it to coffeehouses. I remember when I had a tea bar, how frustrating it was to see people come in and buy one cup of tea and sit there FOREVER, taking up valuable space, but I suppose that is just a problem that will exist whether you sell by the pitcher or by the cup--compounded if you offer free refills on iced tea, which the pitcher concept would solve.

D) Are there any other downsides to offering iced tea by the pitcher that I haven't considered?
 
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Zoomdweebie

New member
Oct 11, 2013
12
0
Wichita, KS
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I can't imagine anyone in a cafe, coffeehouse, restaurant, etc. wanting to take the time and effort to brew iced tea by the pitcher, especially when many places use an iced tea brewer that brews 3 gallons at a time. Perhaps a small, upscale restaurant would be interested in it, but I have my doubts.

Thanks. This is kind of what I fear, and it's a shame. The 2015 National Coffee Drinking Trends put out by the National Coffee Association says that the percentage of Americans aged 18+ who drink coffee on any given day is 59%. That's 41% of us who don't drink coffee on any given day. Though I'm not sure what percentage of that 41% are just flat out not interested in drinking coffee (I would love to know, but can't afford the report). More than that, they say that "Overall coffee consumption tends to skew older, with 60% of 18-24 year olds drinking coffee past-week, versus 72-75% of consumers aged 25+" and if I'm not mistaken, young people are kind of the beating heart of coffeehouses. I know our tea bar was probably 95% 18-24 year olds. That seems like an awful lot of money left on the table.

I wonder what it would take to convince coffeehouses to try something different.
 

ensoluna

Banned
Apr 29, 2014
2,823
1
Quetzaltenango, Guatemala
A) Would coffeehouses be willing to take the extra time and care it takes to make iced tea by the pitcher, and to properly train their staff in its proper preparation?

### yes, if there are market for it. at least 20% to 30% of income by tea ###

B) Would it make sense financially to offer consumers this option? Our teas wholesale for $1.25/unit in cases of 12. I would be curious what some coffeehouse owners think they would need to charge for a 2-quart pitcher of iced tea given that cost and preparation time. As a consumer of iced tea myself, I can see myself happily paying $4.99 for a pitcher of iced tea, and possibly more, particularly if I was permitted to share it with some friends. (Bearing in mind that I'm personally a cheapskate who has never spent $4 for a cup of coffee -- so MY opinion may not be reflective of the potential market, particularly in places that are not Wichita, Kansas (where I live).)

### unless i know more about your tea (quality wise), I can not really comment. I go to China a lot for business and most of my chinese partners give me "tea" (dried leaves in a block or just vacuum packed dried tea leaves), and they are incredibly great and expensive. I am talking about in the range of Luwak coffee pricing. but 12 for $1.25? what kind of teas you are talking about? #####


C) How WOULD coffeehouses market a pitcher of iced tea? Is it something you would try to sell to individuals or groups or both? I know if I was hanging out at a coffeehouse with some friends, I could drink a full 2-quart pitcher of iced tea by myself and might even order another one if we were there long enough, but I drink a lot of iced tea. As a group, the 2-quarts would disappear a lot quicker and probably prompt a re-order sooner. I guess I'm just trying to see a potential downside to selling iced tea by the pitcher--I need to know any pitfalls to this idea before I start really pitching it to coffeehouses. I remember when I had a tea bar, how frustrating it was to see people come in and buy one cup of tea and sit there FOREVER, taking up valuable space, but I suppose that is just a problem that will exist whether you sell by the pitcher or by the cup--compounded if you offer free refills on iced tea, which the pitcher concept would solve.

## selling tea by pitcher? is it like drink Orange Shasta out of it's bottle? like my son? Personally, No thanks for this ###

D) Are there any other downsides to offering iced tea by the pitcher that I haven't considered?

### everything is possible. it all comes down to your customer's taste and where you live and how you market your own shop. As I said before, there are tons of coffee/tea/boba/snack shops all around my area and actually they are doing very well. So basically, most of shops in our area cater to ethnic taste and their cultures..etc ###
 
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Zoomdweebie

New member
Oct 11, 2013
12
0
Wichita, KS
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  • #9

### unless i know more about your tea (quality wise), I can not really comment. I go to China a lot for business and most of my chinese partners give me "tea" (dried leaves in a block or just vacuum packed dried tea leaves), and they are incredibly great and expensive. I am talking about in the range of Luwak coffee pricing. but 12 for $1.25? what kind of teas you are talking about? #####

Without turning this into a blatant advertisement for my teas, I would just say that these are very high quality organic teas from the best growing regions on earth. And they wholesale for $1.25 per unit with 12 units per case. A case costs $15 and would make twelve 2-quart pitchers.


## selling tea by pitcher? is it like drink Orange Shasta out of it's bottle? like my son? Personally, No thanks for this ###

I'm not getting the comparison here between a ready-to-drink bottle of soda and fresh-brewed iced tea served in a pitcher or carafe with a glass of ice.
 
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Zoomdweebie

New member
Oct 11, 2013
12
0
Wichita, KS
  • Thread Starter
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  • #10
### unless i know more about your tea (quality wise), I can not really comment. I go to China a lot for business and most of my chinese partners give me "tea" (dried leaves in a block or just vacuum packed dried tea leaves), and they are incredibly great and expensive. I am talking about in the range of Luwak coffee pricing. but 12 for $1.25? what kind of teas you are talking about? #####

Incidentally, I have to say it is my experience that the best teas for iced tea come from India, not China. Our black iced teas are sourced from a few excellent growing regions in India, though our green and white teas are from China and Japan.
 
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