In-store tea programs??

the business of coffee houses

In-store tea programs??

Postby geir oglend on Sat Dec 23, 2006 4:22 pm

Maybe a little late, (I'm hoping to open our new Roastery/Cafe on Jan. 03) What are you all using for tea in your stores?
Tea bags or loose and how are you serving it, for here and togo? Some great brand names and help on keeping it simple would be appreciated.
We have never put alot of emphasis on quality tea, but I think it's high time.

Best of the Season to you.
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Postby Brent on Sat Dec 23, 2006 5:39 pm

Tea?
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Postby onocoffee on Sat Dec 23, 2006 10:24 pm

You must not be serious about coffee - TO THE BACK OF THE LINE!!!!


But seriously...

We use Rishi Tea whose product I was originally introduced by Andy Newbom while visiting Barefoot Coffee Roasters. Great stuff, great quality and just about everything is organic and a good chunk is TransFair.

Overall, they've been great to work with but since they switched sales reps on us, they've been faltering. Perhaps it's just a new person trying to get into the groove, but we've hit a few glitches lately on our orders.
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Postby Teri Lee on Sun Dec 24, 2006 8:33 am

I approached a local tea blender who had a retail store in my town. We liked our experience in their store so much that we asked if they'd be willing to wholesale for us. We do loose leaf with tea bags by the cup (use a "no. 2" bag; I find that the smaller ones do not leave room for the tea to unfurl) and tea pots with a removable infuser basket that allows for freer movement of the tea. We choose pots and cups that are glass because I believe that part of the tea experience is enjoying the color of the liquor. At minimum, I would suggest white ceramic. The tea bags work fine for "to-go" - my only lament is that they will seep tea out of the cup, even with a lid on, if you leave it in too long. I wish we could find better, affordable tea bags. Anyone have a source for this?

When we serve the tea, we remind the customer when to remove the bag/basket - just as you would tell a customer when to plunge their french press.

Don't forget to devise a system for different water temps per tea - your tea supplier will give you the specific temps necessary for the teas you choose. We don't go too crazy with this and find that keeping an airpot with hot water usually works about right for the lower-temp teas.

To keep it simple I chose two black, two green, two herbals. Over time we added an oolong, a jasmine, a rooibos and a berry tisane. I think I have about ten now, and they all do quite well (except the oolong, which is my ten year old's favorite so I keep it). We keep them atop the pastry case where customers can (and do) open the tins and examine/smell the leaves. I don't keep them in glass, I use opaque tins with a moisture barrier. Also, I feel that I can charge more for loose leaf because the experience is superior.

Here is my supplier: http://www.thespicehut.com/
They are wonderful people and I wonder if they would ship? I usually talk to Tanvir and Harmundir.

(I love tea!)
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Postby Jimmy Oneschuk on Sun Dec 24, 2006 11:03 am

Geir,

Silk Road! However, if you're looking for something a little more scarce in your area, you might want to look elsewhere.

-j
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Postby Ryan Mason on Sun Dec 24, 2006 1:09 pm

Rishi Tea...Top notch all the way. Source direct and their opperation is flawless! They did for tea what intelly did for coffee.

give Ben a call...he's the VP or COO or President or whatever...he helped build the company. his direct number is 414-747-4007
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Postby nick on Sun Dec 24, 2006 1:47 pm

roast coffee wrote:Rishi Tea...Top notch all the way. Source direct and their opperation is flawless! They did for tea what intelly did for coffee.

Or, you can do what WE do at murky: Intelligentsia Tea Traders 8)

Doug Palas is my hero.
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Postby JavaJ on Sun Dec 24, 2006 8:41 pm

I would just fall short of also recomending Rishi. They seem to be going through a growth spurt, and there quality has suffered.

Those using Rishi, are also using Rishi tea bags or just whole leaf?

One solution, at least for pots of tea in the store is to brew the tea for the correct amount of time and remove it before giving it to the customer. Also cuts down on tea pot squatters.

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Postby onocoffee on Mon Dec 25, 2006 8:50 am

JavaJ-

I definitely agree that Rishi's attention to service has suffered over the fall, but I have not noticed a change in their tea quality.

For us, we use only loose leaf teas and the do-it-yourself tea bags.
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Postby Ryan Mason on Mon Dec 25, 2006 3:30 pm

I might have a slight advantage...I can go down the street, shake them up a bit, and usually get my order expedited :wink:
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Postby Shane on Tue Dec 26, 2006 1:11 pm

Hey Geir, I've found a great supplier here in Victoria. She was one of the original herbalists at Silk Road before she went out on her own. Give me a bell and I'll get you her details.

Shane
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Postby geir oglend on Tue Dec 26, 2006 6:37 pm

Good stuff, I'll be doing some tea cupping?
How is that done?
:? geir.
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Postby drew johnson on Wed Dec 27, 2006 5:57 pm

go local.

just bought tea in nanaimo (on commercial street) from a shop called 'shanghai merchant'. they have a great selection of loose teas- herbal/medicinal and otherwise. don't know what their wholesale situation is but try their site (which i have not looked at):

http://www.shanghaiemporium.com

(250)753-9957


goodluck,
Drew Johnson
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Postby nick on Wed Dec 27, 2006 7:09 pm

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Postby Mark Inman on Thu Dec 28, 2006 8:25 am

We take "going local" a bit farther by growing local.

Most of our ingredients are either grown on our farm or by local Sonoma County herb growers.
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Postby onocoffee on Thu Dec 28, 2006 8:29 am

Mark-

Are you stating here that Taylor Maid grows your own tea? If so, I'd like to know more.
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Postby Mark Inman on Thu Dec 28, 2006 9:33 am

Jay,

Anyone COULD grow their own tea....it is very easy to produce a high quality product- unlike attempting to grow your own coffee tree above the 25th parallel. To do so and match the costs of many green and black teas would be cost prohibitive.

Many of our teas have numerous herbal ingredients i.e. Sencha with stinging nettle, calendula, and spearmint. In that blend we produce everything but the Sencha.

In some cases we produce herbal ingredients that are not commercially available such as Anise Hysop which is a incredible addition to many blends.

TMF grows about 85-100 different varieties of culinary and medicinal herbs.

We also strongly believe in supporting as many local growers as possible and have cast a very short net to source ingredients.

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Postby onocoffee on Thu Dec 28, 2006 1:58 pm

Ah, gotcha. Just wanted to clarify that it's the (for lack of a better term) additives/flavorings that are sourced locally. Wasn't sure because the original post seemed like it implied that Taylor Maid grew their own teas!

Cheers!
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Postby trish on Thu Dec 28, 2006 2:17 pm

TMF - the Occidental farm, out of which sprang the roasting co. -
grows some of the components for their herbal tisanes...they do not have a tea farm.
..and TMF's teas are gorgeous, really.
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Postby ryan brown on Wed Jan 03, 2007 11:08 pm

i'm not sure why you'd be adding herbals to your teas? do you not like the teas on their own?

isn't that a bit like adding flavors to beans?
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Postby sam on Thu Jan 04, 2007 4:34 am

You can go down to Special T on Fort street and ask to do a tasting. They knoow tea like you know coffee. I still buy from Silk Road, Their tea is organic, varried and fresh. Like coffee the freshness and the source of the tea is very important.
Are you open yet?
pass the peas....
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Postby Mark Inman on Thu Jan 04, 2007 10:12 am

While we do offer many black and green teas naked (sans herbal additives), some teas work well in combination with our herbs. It is all a matter of preference.

In the case of our version of a breakfast tea (Pacific Coast Breakfast) we add bachelor buttons (cornflower petals) to the black tea for color aesthetics. In other cases (Black Lavender) we like the flavor combinations of the black tea with the French and Spanish Lavender works well.
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Postby trish on Thu Jan 04, 2007 11:15 am

Ryan Brown wrote:i'm not sure why you'd be adding herbals to your teas? do you not like the teas on their own?

isn't that a bit like adding flavors to beans?


-flavoring teas with flowers and scented oils is an age-old tradition, though. I guess you could argue that bergamot oil is a bastardization of tea; Earl Gray was invented (the story tells us) in order to cover a mold defect in a lot of Indian tea...back in the 1800's or something. Point is that it is a standard now, as is Jasmine scented, magnolia ooolongs, etc.
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Postby onocoffee on Thu Jan 04, 2007 11:32 pm

Oh, how I miss my old can of Wedgwood (yes, that Wedgwood) Earl Grey. Had to be one of the best Earl Grey's I've ever had.
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Postby Aldo1 on Wed Jan 10, 2007 5:06 pm

We do black, white, greeen, herbals, and a few others like a darjeeling. Loose leaf from Intelligentsia, it is good tea and a lot of it is organic which seems to go over well. We do some Republic of Tea which I am phasing out, Some folks like black decaf teas, too.

I am uncomfortable with our tea knowledge, however, and wonder how anyone else handles that aspect. I have a hard enough time keeping up my coffee knowledge, our espresso preparation and serving expertise, and machinery mechanics without a second major in tea.

Jay, are you going to start growing your own tea?
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