Loose Leaf Tea and the Tea Room – A Valuable Partnership
The growth in demand for high quality loose leaf tea is spectacular and all indications are that the trend will continue for the foreseeable future. As more loose leaf tea enthusiasts consume greater quantities of tea, the relationship between tea suppliers and the tea room increases in importance.
Tea rooms are critically important to suppliers of loose leaf tea because the tea room bundles high quality loose leaf tea with other food products, services and an ambiance that create a very pleasurable tea experience. This addition of value is essential to the growth of the loose leaf tea market in the United States
Many high quality tea rooms create an intimate and attractive experience for the drinking of tea outside of the home. Historically tea has represented a total experience with social, cultural, and even spiritual aspects and high quality tea rooms offer a broad choice of loose leaf teas, complimentary food products like sandwiches, fruit, and pure water beverages in a pleasant, warm environment. The basic element in the relationship between the tea supplier and the tea room however, is quality loose leaf tea.
Loose leaf tea is all about quality and service. The owner of the tea room makes a substantial investment of time and resources including the choice of an attractive location, high quality furnishings and staff in order to create a quality brand. In order to maintain the integrity of the tea room brand the basic tea offering must be one of consistent high quality.
Quality tea rooms often look to increase the quality of tea and then maintain the consistency of the tea offering. In addition a broad product line of teas offered by the supplier offer the tea room’s customers choices and the excitement of new blends and flavors. Many tea rooms are constantly on the look out for new vendors of loose leaf tea because new tea lines are easily integrated into their tea offering.
Generally speaking, the commercial relationship between tea importer suppliers and the tea room is a wholesale one with discounts off of retail provided based on volume of tea purchases. Where the supplier provides marketing and customer support the relationship tends to be close and very profitable for both parties.
What Should Tea Rooms Look for in A Tea Supplier?
There are a number of tea suppliers in the marketplace but not all are the same. Some of the characteristics of the best tea suppliers from a tea room perspective are:
• High quality loose leaf tea recognized in the marketplace
• A commitment to the tea room industry
• A commitment to quality that is evidenced by tea cupping of each bulk shipment import
• A broad product offering that includes varietals, blends and flavored teas
• An e-commerce site with features that provide easy ordering, flexibility of delivery and good prices
• Marketing support including information about tea and tea commerce
• Open lines of communication that solicit feedback from tea room customers
• The highest quality customer service and a dedication to tea room customer satisfaction
The relationship between tea rooms and tea suppliers is one of the mainstays of the loose leaf tea industry. Relationships that are based upon the highest tea quality and premium customer support and service will be valuable to both parties in the transaction.
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