How to keep the tea-drinkers happy in your coffee shop – on National Tea Day
That old stereotype about Britain being a nation of tea-lovers has taken a bit of a battering over the past couple of decades. We’ve gone from drinking instant coffee ‘for a change’ to being a kingdom of coffee connoisseurs. According to research by the Centre for Economics and Business Research, UK coffee consumption has now risen to 95 million cup a day, a 2.5 million increase on 2008. But – as you’ll know if you’ve printed or bookmarked our 2018 Commercial Coffee Shop Calendar – Saturday 21st April is National Tea Day.
And this matters. Not just because tea companies are keen to reclaim a bit of ground on coffee companies. But because some of your customers might just fancy a decent cup of tea and on National Tea Day, of all days, you’d better be getting it right.
And if you’re reading this not as a coffee shop owner but as a facilities manager responsible for the company coffee machine and supplies, we’re going to share some interesting revelations about the way the people in your office are making tea badly. Of course, that’s the advantage of leasing a bean-to-cup coffee machine – these commercial coffee machines are programmed to make every coffee perfectly. The humble cup of tea, which we’d all think doesn’t take a lot of skill to make, is made wrongly more than a third of the time…
And people take it personally
That’s (some of) the news from Clipper Teas, who conducted a survey recently. The top tea complaint made by recipients of teas made at the hands of others is that it’s too weak. 36% of people said that was the most common problem. Next up: only luke-warm or too milky. Half of everyone polled said they’ve had to complain about poor tea to a partner, friend or colleague. 75% said it was a sign of how well someone knows you, and 30% said they felt actually insulted by a poor cuppa. Four in ten workers would be too frightened to tell their boss that they didn’t like the tea made for them.
Not a great sign for office morale, is it?
We’re used to saying “How do you take it?” about tea or coffee, expecting simple answers: black, white, no sugar, two sugars, please… And while bean-to-cup coffee machines make life easy for colleagues doing a drinks round for the office, and a decent espresso machine coupled with a good bean makes such a good coffee that you can’t go wrong, tea is a sorrowfully different story.
The really simple lesson – for workers, partners, friends and, of course, coffee shop owners wooing tea drinkers to their premises – is to ask for details, and care about the answer. Clipper Teas’ own master blender said the ideal brewing time for a bag in the cup is three to four minutes. Worth remembering if your customer is vague with their answer.
Otherwise: How much milk? How strong do you like it? Dip and a dunk or left to steep? Or buy yourself a tea colour chart!
We now drink an average of two coffees a day - at home, at speciality coffee shops and in restaurants. But we drink an average four cups of tea a day. And with 12% of people saying that they’re more insulted by a rubbish cup of tea than by being sworn at, get tea wrong at your peril.