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Is tea still the new coffee? | An update

Retail

This 'trend' hasn't gone totally global yet, so many opportunities remain. From silk sewn pouches to bubble tea, here are some random updates to keep you in the know and get you going.

It’s been almost two years since we alerted you to a brewing tea revolution! And sure enough, many ‘Teabucks’ chains have expanded around the world, creating Starbucks-like lifestyle services with tea replacing coffee as the beverage of choice, from traditional teas to increasingly popular bubble/boba teas (tea served with chewy tapioca pearls, a craze that started in Taiwan in the early ’80s). At the same time, new tea-infused beverages and premium teas for home use mean big bucks for brands like Tazo (owned by Starbucks), the Republic of Tea, Bigelow, Premier Tea, Mighty Leaf Tea (whose tea comes in silk sewn pouches!), Honest Tea and Adagio. Luckily for you, this ‘trend’ has not gone totally global yet, so many tasty opportunities remain. Here are some random though tealicious updates to keep you in the know and get you going:

Bubble tea chains

In the US, major chains offering pearl milk tea include Tapioca Express and Cha for Tea; the latter being a subsidiary of Ten Ren Tea Company, a Taiwanese tea grower and distributor which has more than 400 Ten Ren tea stores throughout Taiwan, China, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, Canada and the US. The Cha for Tea outlets offer various kinds of tea-based drinks: traditional tea (Oolong, Jasmine, etc.), or cold and hot milk tea, fruit tea, frappe ice, health tea, plum tea and even oil tea.

Tea chains

Tealuxe: Boston based Tealuxe currently runs three outlets in Massachusetts. They are actively looking for franchisees.Teavana: The first Teavana teahouse opened its doors in November of 1997 in Atlanta. Today there are more than twenty stores across the USA (among which 4 in Georgia, 5 in Florida and stores in NY, Washington DC, Boston, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Minneapolis and Palo Alto, CA) and one in Mexico City. Teavana states that it will be operating 26 stores across the country by year-end and aims to open an additional 20 next year.

Tea shops

Le Palais des Thés offers over 200 teas, from around the world. Rare teas, appellation teas, classic blends, scented teas, and more. Le Palais de Thés currently has 12 shops: 4 in Paris, 5 in the rest of France, and one in the US (Beverly Hills), one in Brussels and one in Tokyo.For more US based info, check out Bubble Tea Locator, Bubble Tea Supply and Tea House Locator.

Opportunities

Tea is health, tea is sophistication, tea is bubbles, and tea is not coffee: plenty of reason to explore your options, whether it’s premium, salons or pearls. Learn from the examples above, do your own research and get the kettle boiling!

Website: www.tazo.com/default.asp?hasFlash=1&init=, www.republicoftea.com/, www.bigelowtea.com/

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