August 2009 Issue
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Tea vs. Teatime

by Cynthia Fazekas

Giving tea its "props."

Recently it seems more and more people are going to tearooms for the first time. This is a very good thing, and generally they enjoy it immensely, however the comment frequently heard is lack of a strong tea presence. They expected more tea selection and to learn more about this previous brew. How can this be in such an enlightened age?

Tearooms have a tendency for tradition - focusing more on tea as a meal and perhaps overlooking the wonderful beverage it originally centered around. High tea is really sort of a pimped up snack time - if you'll excuse the expression. What started as a pot of fine loose leaf tea with cookies and light sandwiches to stave off a lady's hunger until dinner has really evolved into a fourth meal phenomenon. There is of course, absolutely nothing wrong with that, but in today's warm cultural embrace of all things tea, it might be high time to pay homage to the leaf and thereby enhancing customer experience. Additionally if one has a great food experience, it follows suit that it be accompanied by an equally great tea experience.

For those of us in the tea trade, we know we have come a long way with tea awareness. People are very open to experiencing and learning more about it. Upgrading your tea menu to reflect the wonderful array of tea varieties is a must. Adding a tea bit of tea education is also something people might be looking to you for when they visit. The word TEA in tearoom is going to make you an unwitting information source - be prepared.

Tea knowledge is easy to acquire, with new tea books being written all the time and online sources such as TeaClass you can quickly gather the information you need.

Compile a great grouping of teas, at least one each of black, green, oolong and white. Always offer something caffeine-free like a refreshing fruit tisane, or a nutty honeybush and offer info about each one. Little tidbits of info will really enhance the wonderful experience you are creating. You can visit our wholesale website or find any of a number of fine tea purveyors for help with selections, tea wares and information. We are all happy to help!