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While coffee is still the most popular out-of-home hot beverage in the UK, tea is the nation’s overall favourite. Altogether we drink 165 million cups of tea every single day, compared to our daily 70 million cups of coffee. Many people are looking for more than a simple ‘black teabag’ experience out of home, so it is worth reflecting this in your tea offer

Each year, 4 billion cups of tea are consumed out of home in the UK – an impressive figure that is growing at +3% YOY. Are you making enough of the nation’s favourite hot drink, or could both your beverage menu and bottom line be improved by broadening your offer to accommodate today’s consumers?

cup of teaTea today

With her finger firmly on the pulse, Isabelle Haynes, Tetley Senior Brand Manager – Out of Home explains why a good, varied tea offer is a no brainer

Tea for every occasion

While everyday black tea accounts for 65% of all tea spend, consumers are becoming increasingly adventurous and looking to try new flavours when out of home.

With Kantar research suggesting that 60% of consumers want to see new flavours and try new drinks every 60 days, a varied menu can be an important way of creating loyal customers and driving repeat visits from people looking for an extra special experience. To make your tea offering stand out to customers, it is important to create a descriptive menu with details of the different tea blends and their ingredients.

Isabelle HaynesBreakfast

The breakfast market is booming, and the fashionable brunch trend looks set to become even more popular in 2016. Almost half of all adults eat out for breakfast, and although established breakfast foods remain popular, customers are increasingly seeking out twists on classic dishes.

Breakfast is the most important day part for tea so it is essential that you have the right beverage offer to accompany your menu. A healthy Chilli and Avocado Breakfast Pot will make a fantastic addition to any breakfast menu, and is really simple to create. Similarly, serving foods such as Eggs Benedict or Smoked Salmon with avocado creates a premium perception of your establishment. Pair this with Tetley’s English Breakfast Tea – its full-bodied flavour packs a real punch first thing in the morning.

Do not, however, forget the ever-increasing numbers of health-conscious consumers. For these customers, ensure you stock Green Tea and/or Fruit Infusions.

Healthy tea snacksAfternoon tea

Customers are looking for an experience when dining out of home, driving demand for afternoon tea. This serving style is ideal for operators looking to attract business during traditionally quiet periods, and can be tailored to customers of all types.

Tea leavesWater – crucial ingredient

With water making up to 98% of a cup of tea, it makes sense to ensure that you have addressed the issue of water quality.

Miles Dawson, sales director, Brita Professional comments: “With speciality tea on the rise, it’s a great time for operators to start adding new options to menus to answer consumer demand. As water is the main ingredient of a cup of tea, it is highly advisable to ensure that this element of the brew is as good as it can be.

“The composition of water – its hardness, mineral content and heavy metals – varies dramatically depending on where you are in the UK. Over 60% of the country has Spot the difference. Filtered (on the right) versus unfiltered water. Brita water filters use ion exchange technology, carbon and filter fleece that remove unwanted particles, metals, minerals and chlorine from water. The filters also balance the hardness of the water, improving the look, flavour and aroma of the tea.hard water, where operators are most susceptible to scale. Hard water areas are defined by water containing medium to high temporary hardness, which is sometimes known as carbonate hardness. It’s this carbonate hardness that causes discolouration, taste impairment and scum to form on top of tea, if present in high enough concentrations.

“A really simple way to experience the difference water makes to tea is make two cups of tea – one with tap water and the other with filtered water – and line them up side by side. Compare the two brews and you will easily see and taste the difference that properly filtered water makes.”

TeaSpot the difference. Filtered (on the right) versus unfiltered water. Brita water filters use ion exchange technology, carbon and filter fleece that remove unwanted particles, metals, minerals and chlorine from water. The filters also balance the hardness of the water, improving the look, flavour and aroma of the tea.

Temperature control

Helen Applewhite, marketing manager at Lincat agrees that filtered water is part and parcel of a good cup of tea; in addition, she advocates the water being at the correct temperature. “Water that is heated to the right temperature and free from contaminants really does make all the difference,” says Helen. “So the very best advice we can provide is to invest in a high-quality water boiler with built-in filtration.”

“Customers today are used to seeing a good choice of teas and infusions on the menu, but there’s more to serving these than simply putting a teabag in some boiling water. Many people don’t realise that different teas need varying water temperatures. While most black and red teas need boiling water, most of the others do not. Some green and white teas, for example, should be made with water that has been heated to just 70°C.

“Different temperatures can be achieved through the use of two separate boilers set to different temperatures, so consider investing in one to run close to boiling temperature for black tea and a second, running at 70°C, for other delicate teas. It’s worth making the effort to get this just right. The difference in flavour and fragrance of green tea made with the correct temperature of water is rather like the difference between serving red wine at room temperature or chilled.”

Tea Fusion operator using the machineTea Fusion operator using the machine

Tea Fusion offers an innovative new solution in the hot drinks market, providing a consistently highquality cup of loose leaf tea at the touch of a button, in under one minute.

“Research shows that 50% of consumers would drink more tea out of home if it were better value for money, and closer to the quality they get when they make it themselves,” comments Amanda Cooper, business unit controller, Tea Fusion.

“Tea Fusion addresses all the concerns consumers have about paying a premium for tea. There’s no messing about with tea bags, just perfectly consistent high-quality tea. And as their tea brews, consumers can watch their loose tea leaves ‘dance’ around the chamber, injecting some theatre into the process.”

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