Genome in Tea Responsible For Tea Taste

A recent article published on cell.com reveals that a certain genome in tea is responsible for its taste and health benefits.

The scientists present a genome sequence for cultivated tea plants. This sequence provides a foundation for uncovering the genetic basis of important traits that affect the appearance, medicinal value, nutritional properties and taste of tea.

The article itself is written in highly scientific language, but here it is:

http://www.cell.com/molecular-plant/pdf/S1674-2052(17)30103-X.pdf

This Massive Pu Erh Tea Needs a Sawing Machine To Slice

In the past transporting tea from Yunnan to neighbouring regions was a difficult task. Pu erh tea used to be compressed tightly in massive sizes for easy transportation. We discovered this cylinder shaped pu erh during a tea expo, and the merchant was selling them while demonstrating how he gets a slice of it with a sawing machine!

Canadian Tea Demand Gets Boost From Millennials

A recent report published by the Tea Association of Canada shows that there’s a brewing demand from millennials in Canada.

Who are they?

The fanatic brewing millennials are mostly based in Ontario and Western Canada. Surprisingly there’s only a slight majority of female tea drinkers (53%), while traditionally tea is more popular among women. What’s also interesting is that 44% of the millennial tea drinkers are parents and are part of a 3-4 person households. This suggest that parents tend to be more health conscious then non-parent millennials.

What Millennials Like

In the past there was still a preference for coffee over tea, but a mayor conclusion of the report is that they like tea and coffee equally. Millennials are curious and like to try new flavours. There’s a trending demand for loose leaf tea and tea infusers to brew them conveniently.

Reasons of Purchase

Tea is associated with many health perks including relaxation, improving sleep, reducing anxiety etc. While there’s a growing interest for artisan tea enjoyed for the flavour and aroma, buying tea for health benefits is still the major reason of purchase.

What Are They Drinking?

2 out of 3 millennials drink at least 1 cup of tea a week. This group accounts for 36% of all Canadian tea drinkers. However, they consume consume fewer cups per week (4.6 versus 6.1). This suggest that even though more millennials drink tea, they drink it less frequently.

Where Do They Buy Tea?

15% of the tea is purchased at specialty stores and this proportion is growing. However, still the majority of the tea is bought through grocery and mass merchandise stores (48%).

One major reason to visit specialty stores is because consumers want to explore new teas. Those millennials have a wide interest in variety, quality and expert advice. They also like the fact that they can sample small quantities and taste teas before buying. The best way to introduce teas to millennials is by introducing unique flavour and blends. It’s interesting to know that the brand of the tea is relatively unimportant when purchasing in specialty stores.

Why Expensive Teas are Expensive (And Cheap Teas are Cheap)

Does more expensive teas generally taste better? What are the factors behind the pricing of tea? With so many different teas available, and a wide range of prices, it’s worth to understand the pricing rationale, so that you can make a more informed buying decision.

1. Supply versus Demand
The most basic reason for prices to differ is how much demand there’s for a type of tea relative to how much supply available. Imagine there are two equally good teas, but one has only an annual supply of 100 KG while the other has a much larger annual production of 10.000 KG.

The farmer of the 100 KG tea will tend to keep the price high, to maximise it’s sales. The other farmer faces risks of not being able to sell out his stock, and will keep lowering the price to increase the sales.

This at the same time proofs more expensive teas aren’t necessarily better. Supply and demand dynamics are very obvious in reality, with seasonal weather being on of the most important factors affecting supply. Too many consecutive days of rain or drought can ruin a harvest.

This is also a reason why agricultural insurance is on the rise in China.

Trends also affect the demand of a specific product at a specific point in time. In 2015, there’s was a new research publication backing the health benefits of Honeysuckle tea. At that time, the demand suddenly surged drastically. Because the producers were short of stock, they increased their prices.

2. Brand
Now imagine that there are two equally good teas with equal supply conditions.​ However, now one is offered by a company with a strong brand, while the other doesn’t come with any brand at all. The first will come with a higher price, because the customer sees value in the brand. It could be that the brand offers stable quality and thus piece of mind. Others offer a complete experience, such as an environment that allows them to enjoy consuming the product. Starbucks is a very good example from the coffee industry.

In addition, companies invest in their brand by incurring for example overhead and marketing costs. These costs needs to be recovered, resulting in markups on the retail price.

3. Packaging
Related to the brand is packaging. Packaging add value in several ways. A tea bag can be considered convenient packaging, as it makes the preparation of tea easier compared to loose leaf tea. Packaging can also keep teas fresh. Take for example, pouches with zip closure that can help to keep your tea fresh. Or tea in tins, that are more suitable as a gift.

4. Age
For some teas, especially pu erh, the age also affects the price. For those teas, the ripening process result in a better flavour and aroma.

Assume there are 2 tea cakes made from the same quality of raw material and from the same origin. However, one cake is 10 years old while the other is just 1 year old. The older cake will be much more expensive. A pu erh tea lover will be willing to spend more money on the 10 year cake, simply because when buys the 1 year cake, he’ll have to wait another 9 years before he can enjoy the same taste. Thus, saving time can be seen as valuable.

5. Storage Conditions
When tea is harvested, it might not be all sold directly. When tea is stored properly, the quality can be kept fresh, and thus sold for a better price in the future. Coming back to the pu erh cakes, this becomes even more important. Cakes that are preserved in the right conditions, ripen and develop a better flavour, making them more valuable.

Do you know any more factors? Feel free to leave your ideas in the comment section below!

Brew Tea In This Online Bitcoin Casino Game: Dragon’s Tale

Recently there has been some noise in the Bitcoin world about Dragon’s Tale, which is a online Bitcoin based casino. The platform now introduces a mini game with a Chinese tea ceremony theme!

While most of the games in Dragon’s Tale are based on luck, it’s said that the Chinese tea ceremony mini game is based on skill too. Here’s an explanation of how the game works from the Dragon’s Tale’s wiki page:

  • In Tea Ceremony mini game you have to get the highest value set of teas compared to other players, at the end of the round. The game has different coloured teas which have different values.
  • At first you can see only the values in your own table of teas, but as play progresses you may be able to see others.
  • On your turn, you may lock a table of teas, preventing it from being stolen, but also revealing it to other players. Do this with tables you want to keep.
  • Or you may switch one of your own tables with one of another player, in an attempt to improve your own tea set. Note: this may backfire. You may also raise during your turn.
  • If you win the round, you win all the money in the Teapot.

As you can see, this more a gambling game with a tea theme rather than a serious tea brewing simulation that I was hoping for. Stealing teas from other also really isn’t the way of tea! Neither is gambling. Let’s stick to our real life tea tables.

Image source: newsbtc.com

Flying Teapot Becomes ‘Vomiting’ Teapot

Warning, if you’re about to brew yourself a nice cuppa tea, then don’t read further. If you aren’t then this story is definitely entertaining.

An article this week by People.cn reports that a teapot sculpture outside of a tea factory in Chongqing turned green due to algae grow. Pictures of this ‘flying teapot’ that turned into a ‘vomiting teapot’ went viral in China. See below:

According to the owner of the factory the flying teapot sculpture is supposed to enhance the corporate image of the company. At first the sculpture was made of plastic, but because due to whether it often needed to be repaired. A layer of cement was used to strengthen it. However, what the makers didn’t know that it’s easy for algae to grow on cement.

The Chongqing tea factory has yet to communicate how this problem will be solved.

Tea Politics: Premier Li Treats Merkel Cup of Anhui Local Tea

Premier Li Ke Qiang shows his charms when showing German Chancellor Angela Merkel around in Hefei, in his home province Anhui. This is a special occasion as it’s the first time, the premier has invited a foreigner political leader to visit his province. And of course, they had a cultural tea session together, including a tea ceremony.

Anhui tea offered to angela merkel by li
Angela Merkel opens Anhui tea gift box.
Tea ceremony girls ready to perform tea ritual
Tea ceremony girls ready to perform tea ritual
Ready to sip! Merkel can't wait.
Ready to sip! Merkel can’t wait.
Demonstrating tea customs to Angela Merkel
Demonstrating tea customs to Angela Merkel

Brewing Success: Global Tea Sales Increasing in 2015

While countries such as China, India, the United Kingdom, Turkey, and Ireland have traditionally been large tea consuming countries, the global demand in other countries show an increasing trend.

U.S. Tea Market

Recently, CCTV reported that the demand for tea in the US is growing. Even though, the average American still drinks far less tea, more are learning to get a taste for it. One important fact is that the U.S. tea market has grown from 2 billion USD to about 10 billion USD in 2013, based on data from the U.S. Tea Association.

Thailand Tea Market

The Nation reports that a recent research among 300 respondents aged 15-49 in Bangkok shows that green tea is currently the ruling beverage in the market. The main reasons for choosing green tea is that respondents believe that its refreshing, energizing, good for the skin, and improving digestion.

China Tea Market

The Center for Agricultural and Rural Research recently published the Chinese tea ranking list of 2015 based on brand value, showing an increase of more than 10%, compared to 2014.

In the mean time coffee consumption is growing 7 times faster than the global average.

How To Date Your Customer To Grow A Tea Business

With today’s technology it’s not that difficult to gain visitors to your tea business, whether it’s online shop or a physical store. It’s easy to spend money on ads using Google, participate on social media or offer great coupon deals on sites such as Groupon. What most tea start-ups struggle with the most is how they grow their business. The secret that we want to reveal in this article is that most fast growing businesses successfully apply insights from dating someone to their business.

When it comes to growing your tea business, the concept is behind it is fairly simple. It relies on two simple factors.

1. The % of store visitors will buy your product, and;

2. The % of your customers will come back and buy again.

The only way to influence these factors to work your way up to success is by offering something that your customer will love. It’s something that they are passionate about, and when you achieve that, they are unconditionally wanting it to be successful. If you get that right, the rest will take care of itself. The reality is that nobody ever gets it right the first time, even if you spends a lot of time preparing your tea offerings. Great businesses listen to customers and continuously improve their product (or services) to make it great.

In this blog post we will talk about the first factor that we listed above ” The % of store visitors will buy your product.” To make this happen, you have to treat your customers if you are dating them. With this in mind, you’re going to have to create a great first impression and find ways to make first impression things memorable.

The First Impression

When it comes to dating, the first impression matters and this is something that also holds for companies. We humans are ‘relationship-manufacturing’ creatures. Whether it’s the car you drive, clothes we buy, or even the cup of tea we drink, if it’s something you love, you feel a ‘personal’ connection with it. If you are a tea business owner, then ask yourself how you can create that first connection when presenting your tea product? The number one important factor is to make it memorable, which we discuss in the next paragraph.

Make Things Memorable

When trying to uncover opportunities that people will remember, consider the below list of ideas:

Store Impressions: Pick A Venue

When you date, you have to pick the right venue. Assume your tea store or website is that venue and ask yourself: How does it feel when a tea enthusiast enters my store for the first time? If you have a physical store, make sure you get the interior design right. If you have an online store, invest in great web-design that is user-friendly. To make it memorable, it has to be remarkable.

Packaging: Dress To Impress

It’s not only the store design or quality of the tea that matter. We tea sippers are emotional people. Not only does the tea itself has to be good, but also the whole experience around it. Like you dress up for a date, you need to offer good looking packaging for your product. Is the packaging of the tea a pleasure to look at? Does the packaging tell you stories about the tea? Is it easy to open and close? How is the appearance of the tea? How does it smell? These things all matter.

Ask For Feedback

How can I make my customer remember the tea he/she tastes? It’s safe to assume that the majority of your customers have tried many different kinds of tea in their lives. It doesn’t matter how much we love tea, our brains have limitations: we simply can’t remember all the great teas that we tried in the past. To make your teas memorable, ask your customer questions to make them actively about how they feel about your tea. Whether this is during free tasting sessions in a physical store or while you engage with customers on social media, it will make them remember.

Tell More About Yourself: Each Tea Has A Story

Do I have information about the background of the product that you are selling? Make sure you never see tea just as a commodity product. What makes tea great is the story behind it! Tell your customer about the background of the farmer, the production region, the way it’s made. These are all things that make your product memorable and at the same time a more enjoyable sip.

Get To Know Me More: Steeping Instructions

Steeping instructions are similar to user manuals of electronics, except people actually read them.  Nobody will read manuals of electronics, as most of the time the product speaks for itself. Tea is different, because the steeping ritual is as important as sipping the tea itself.

Never Give Up: Continously Improve

You can always be nervous about dating and that’s fine. Never give up. Even if the first dates fail, it’s what you learn from it that matters to continuously improve that great first impression that will attract.

NEXT: Marry Your Customer

The next step after dating and getting to know someone is that you will enter a marriage. Customer retention will become more important at that stage. More on this in our future blog posts!

This blog post belongs to a series of posts about How To Start A Tea Business