Hot Tea: Not just for Grandma Anymore

As both a millennial and a tea-drinker, a recent Supermarket News article (“Tea Sets: Beverage ‘Is Rock and Roll’!”) caught my eye.  Apparently, tea is becoming increasingly popular with the younger set – something I’ve noticed firsthand.


This influx of tea consumption seems to me to be a natural reaction to a few trends. First, there is the constant strive for healthier alternatives – and tea is not only calorie free but is also chock-full of antioxidants. Additionally, consumers are demanding even more and more unique flavor profiles in their products, allowing for artisan tea blenders to get creative. Finally, tea drinking can be a social activity. Young people are always looking for an excuse to party, so why not a tea party?


With loose-leaf tea shops such as Argo, David’s Tea, and Teavana popping up with the frequency you’d expect from Starbucks, both veteran tea drinkers and those that are new to the category are faced with virtually limitless options. Not only can aficionados find their standard chamomile and Earl Grey varieties, these “bou-tea-ques” (see what I did there?) are offering flavors for more adventurous sippers. Two I’ve enjoyed recently are birthday cake and chocolate chili chai. Add to this seasonal offerings (I wonder if Ashley has tried any pumpkin spice teas), and you’ve got a category that constantly encourages trial of new varieties.


While some major bagged tea brands, such as Twinings of London, have come out with new and unique offerings, it seems like only the niche loose-leaf brands are fully capitalizing on this trend. I suspect it won’t be long until major CPG manufactures start to come out with broader and more interesting tea offerings – perhaps playing with form (such as whole-leaf and K-Cups) as well as flavor.

Personally, I know I’d be pleased if I could find a selection of more interesting tea blends in my supermarket. Though I love browsing at fancy-shmancy tea shops, my monthly trips to David’s are taking a toll on my wallet!



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