Tea Business News

Teforia Shuts Down: 10 Reasons Why Teforia Failed

Teforia is a startup that developed a sophisticated tea infuser accompanied with a smart mobile app. The company started off well with excellent publicity on sites like TechCrunch, Gizmodo and Engadget. And as you can see on the video below, it was presentation was promising. Yet, this week the company announced that it was shutting down as mentioned in their letter below in this post, which is also published on their website.

Though, the market of tea is seen as promising with high single digit growth rates, it seems that large companies as well as startups with lots of backing aren’t able to successfully enter the market. A similar disappointment was Starbuck’s Teavana exit from the tea market.

In this article, we look into the reasons why Teforia failed to make it’s product a great success:

1. The $1299 Price Tag

As easy it is create buzz and enjoy great publicity, it’s as hard to sell. For sure that the whole tea community online noticed the product, but likely not many decided to buy.

2. Lack of Demand for Tea Brewing Machines

Even if the price would be more reasonable, we believe there’s still a lack of demand for tea brewing machines. The tea market consists of those who want the convenience of a tea bag and others who actually love to make tea the traditional way. A tea machine is somewhere between convenient and ceremonial, which makes it positioning somewhat awkward.

3. Customer knowledge

The premium tea market is still in its early stages. And lots of beginning tea consumers still need to be educated. According to Teforia:

However, the reality of our business is that it would take a lot more financing and time to educate the market and we simply couldn’t raise the funds required in what is a very difficult time for hardware companies in the smart kitchen space.

Yet, we believe this statement is kind of contradictory. A brewing machine’s goals should bridge the knowledge gap. However, the sophistication of the machine actually further increased this gap.

4. Every tea is different

The Teforia machine was accompanied with an app, in which you can customise your brew, it doesn’t make selecting the right paramaters easier. Yes, there might be preset parameters based on the tea you’re brewing. Yet, even for the same tea, you have to customise, based on it’s specific leaf characteristics and variating levels of oxidation.

Teforia, tried to fix this by offering their own teas for which they can have tweaked parameters before hand, but knowing the tea consumer, they aren’t easily convinced to switch away from their favourite suppliers.

5. Juicero & the gloomy market for smart kitchen appliances

The downfall of Teforia also had something to do with a related product: The Juicero. It’s a $400 juice maker, which Bloomberg proved in the video below that it wasn’t needed:

The shutdown of Juicero definitely affected investors’ appetite for Teforia’s machine.

6. Tea is not coffee

In the world of coffee, people have a fetish for a great machine. Brewing coffee is a kind of science. It’s about optimisation and perfection. Though, tea compared a lot with coffee, there’s isn’t really such a tea as the perfect cup of tea. The individual’s taste for tea is just way more diverse than in the world of coffee.

Teforia’s machine, offered some personalisation, but aiming for that perfect cup was still the main goal. But tea really is not comparable to coffee. Especially in the premium tea segment, which Teforia targeted, people care about the journey more than the destination. They want to be in control and brew their own tea.

These things said, Teforia is still a company that many in the industry admired. It was absolutely the best attempt so far, to disrupt the premium tea industry.

Appendix: Teforia farewell letter:

Dear Teforia Customers and Partners,

Thank you for being our companion in our journey to elevate the tea experience. From day one we set out to deliver the best tea experience possible, from sourcing the best all-natural tea in the world, to development of the perfect recipes (with tea masters) to developing the most sophisticated and powerful infusion technology.

Your support, feedback and encouragement has fueled our drive on this journey. Even though we’re only sold in the U.S., Teforia Infusers are actively used in twenty different countries, four different continents, and have made almost half-a-million servings of tea in the past nine months.

In our mission to deliver the best tea experience, we didn’t compromise on the Teforia Infuser technology, quality or the premium tea packaged within our Sips. The glass within the infusion globe and carafe are hand blown by a glass artisan, one at a time. We spent a tremendous amount of time pioneering our Sips tea container to be 90% compostable and completely recyclable. We went to these extraordinary lengths because we believe premium loose leaf tea should be delivered in the most delicate and sustainable way possible.

We believe our customers are deserving of the best. Most of you agree with us. In fact, the prestigious World Tea Expo awarded Teforia with the 2016 Best Tea Industry Innovation Award and designated Teforia as the 2017 Best Tea Brewing Device.

We achieved all of this with a most amazing team of 15 highly passionate and highly skilled professionals, with the common belief that the tea experience should be simpler, more elegant and more rewarding.

However, the reality of our business is that it would take a lot more financing and time to educate the market and we simply couldn’t raise the funds required in what is a very difficult time for hardware companies in the smart kitchen space.

Therefore, it is with heavy hearts that we are announcing that all business operations, for Teforia Company, will cease effective today. We will continue to seek a partner that can leverage Teforia technology and/or provide Sips tea sales to continue our mission of elevating the tea experience. Hopefully you will see Teforia technology in future products.

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