Tea; A Cafe’s Most Under Utilized & Appreciated Asset

I consider myself a true lover of industry and a true lover of coffee culture. I’ve been revelling in the complexities and magnificence of specialty coffee for as many years as I can remember, and I spend more time than I should just browsing through a social feed chalked full of cafes, baristas, roasters, producers, and everything between. I’ve noticed one thing in my time in the industry more than anything, though- and it’s a complete overlooking of such a pivotal potential all-star MVP behind the bar.

Your Tea Program

I know, I know. Blasphemy. We’re coffee shops, tea’s just a necessary evil. We make London Fogs and Chai Lattes. We’ve got tea.

That’s all good and great, but how much justice are you REALLY doing to your product and your customers? How much thought have you put into the curation of your tea menu, and furthermore your use of it outside of just tossing a bag in some (probably too hot) water and handing it off? I’m a believer that theres a need to re approach and reevaluate what has passed by as a standard ‘flavoured’ or ‘tea’ latte for the past 20 years and I think a lot of that is based in a need to be more thoughtful with every aspect of the service we’re giving. A tea drinking is every bit as deserving of being wowed by their experience as a latte drinker who is visually wowed constantly by the technical skills that their barista has spent months and years honing in.

I don’t want to give the impression of preachiness, because that is not my intention and people are free to (and will) do as they please. It’s just an observation that I’ve spent years trying to be at the forefront of a change in, and I am finally in a space where that concept can truly come to light. The best way to cause change is to create new standards and that’s the intention. More thoughtful flavour marriages, attention to detail, proper temperatures, NO MORE BURNT GREEN TEA, and elevation. Tea is an absolute monster of industry. Rooibos is the latte tool that’s just waiting to be blended with magic and into anything your mind can conjure. Green Tea and Gin are just waiting to hang out and steep for a bit. There is LITERALLY no end to the possibilities, and if nothing else, I intend to showcase that just as much as I have, if not more, through the rest of my career.

I’ll sign off with one last question- Can you tell me the name of the farm that your tea came from? Can you tell me how fresh it is? Is it directly traded? If the answer is no, PLEASE do yourself, your customers and your business a favour and do some research.