Serving Tea


Trends and Tips on developing and operating a tea business.

Serving Tea

Postby zipp » Oct 23rd, '06, 15:57

I have been wondering where to put this post, Running, planning, other topics.... But since it deals with a tea shop I was wanting to get those that run shops suggestions.

I have been in the planning stages with some partners to start a coffee shop. They have brought me in for many reasons, one of which is I really like teas and they are more coffee drinkers. So over the past 4 months or so I have been visiting many of the local coffee shops to see how they "do" tea. From what I have seen is that they all serve the tea the same way, wheather loose or bagged I get the same temperature water. It really does not matter if I was to order a green an oolong or a black tea the water all comes from out of what I suspect is a 190 - 200 degree tap. This all brings me to the question is it worthwhile to have different water temps for different types of teas? If so what suggestions would you have in order to expidite the tea (for the to-go person) maybe keeping a tap for 180 water or one of these : Zojirushi set at different temps? OR is it even worth it and just do what everyone else does (I don't like that answer but its the cheapest way)

If the customer is going to spend money for a good tea I want to serve it the way it should be so they can really apprcieate the tea. I can really understand why someone would not like green tea if it has always been served at 200 degrees and steeps it for 5 min or more.
Suggestions, comments? Please


Also as a side point no one has ever given me any thing to put my used tea bag on after I am done steeping it. Anything will do better than wasting a bunch of napkins (how about a to go cup lid?)
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customer opinion..

Postby tenuki » Oct 25th, '06, 02:34

At the tea shop I frequent (Floating Leaves Tea in Seattle/Ballard) I like getting my tea before it hits the water and brewing it myself gong fu style like I do at home. Granted this sounds crazy, but I bet you could effect the same thing on a mass scale - even getting loose leaves in a large strainer that sits inside your mug + a water pitcher at the exactly right temp for your tea type + a little sand timer sounds doable to me, and a great deal better than a tea bag in a togo cup. When I order green tea at floating leaves that is what I get.

For fast to-go stuff keep different temp water taps and make double sure your staff is trained to do it properly - that is key.

A place like starbucks would be a great place to look for examples of how _not_ to do it. For goodness sakes, they have 'chai tea latte' on the menu... exactly what is 'tea tea' ?!?!?

Then again.. I had some coffe shop owner friends that took tea entirely off the menu because they decided they didn't like 'tea people'.. lol.
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Postby Amanda » Oct 25th, '06, 12:56

I have historically had terrible experiences in coffee shops with fine teas. Once had a guy at a counter load 3 teaspoons of Genmaicha into a teabag and hit it with boiling hot water directly from the machine. I had a lovely $3 scalding hot cup of bitter green tea.

I demanded ice cubes, but it was too late. And now my coffee drinking friends who witnessed the event think I am completely insane (yup - one of those crazy "tea people" tenuki's friends dropped tea from their menus for!).

I have been told that in China when they say "you should come for tea when you have time", they really mean "when you have time". Preparing good tea involves attention and time - which is really difficult when serving many people at a fast pace.

So my recommendation is right with tenuki's - training is the key. Make sure your all members of staff know what teas are served in which ways. At least let them know to throw in some cold water to cool down the leaves before adding the hot stuff. Maybe have staff write the time when water was added on the cup so the customer can watch how long it has been steeping?

Best of luck with the challenge.

-Amanda
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Postby zipp » Oct 29th, '06, 19:13

So my recommendation is right with tenuki's - training is the key. Make sure your all members of staff know what teas are served in which ways. At least let them know to throw in some cold water to cool down the leaves before adding the hot stuff. Maybe have staff write the time when water was added on the cup so the customer can watch how long it has been steeping?

I like your idea of writting down on the cup the time the water was added... I can see that working for to-go cups very well
even getting loose leaves in a large strainer that sits inside your mug + a water pitcher at the exactly right temp for your tea type + a little sand timer sounds doable to me, and a great deal better than a tea bag in a togo cup


I like the idea , the cup becomes the tea pot as well.... hmmm I will think about that one.

I am glad to know that I am not the only one that has problems with the coffee house "tea experience." I guess I am one of those "tea-people" as well. I will investigate different tea temp water supplies and see if it will work into the budget. Thanks for the information.

I would also like to know what other experience you have had with coffee shop teas (good or bad).
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Postby tenuki » Oct 31st, '06, 18:21

http://www.adagio.com/teaware/glass_mug ... fuser.html

or

http://www.kitchenkapers.com/decorative ... ainer.html

My wife, who is a serious non gadget person prefers the second one and a saucer for it when it is done. She'll drink more carefully prepared tea as long as someone else is preparing it, but likes the simplicity and the comfort of using her favorite mug with the simple strainer.
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