acgourley wrote:One last thought: part of the genius of charging 5 bucks for a cup of tea is increasing its perceived value. Makes buying 20 dollars of loose leaf seem pretty reasonable. And the tea will perceptibly taste better if it costs 5 dollars vs free, if you believe the research done with wine.
Maybe if you brew 6 oz "samples" of tea, you can keep the perceived value intact?
I would not pay a high price (such as $5) for a cup of tea in store. I would pay in a tearoom for the experience and the table, but not in a shop.
There are two teashops I love, and will go out of my way to visit. They are both in Seattle, and they both offer brewing/tasting of samples on the spot. I always spend a fair amount of money in the store, and not just because I am only able to visit infrequently. It is because I've been able to sample something I might not otherwise choose to take a risk on.
If I am purchasing tea I haven't tasted, I have both a quantity limit and a price limit. Quantity: 2oz. Price: about $50/lb. If I can taste the tea first, I'm often willing to spend a much higher price for the tea, as well as purchase a larger quantity, mainly because it's not a risk.
However, if the shop offered me a whole cup of tea, I would likely feel momentarily satisfied, and not as likely to purchase anything to satisfy a shopping impulse. With my hands full (carrying my free cup of tea,) I'd also not be as able to touch items that I might be interested in. (I'm a very tactile shopper.)
So in my personal experience, without tasting, I might spend $20 in a shop, and might not be compelled to return to that shop. WITH the tasting session, I might (and often have) in excess of $50, and will already be planning my NEXT visit as I'm walking out the shop door.
It would be interesting to try having a tea table, with a knowledgeable and competent shop employee, brewing various teas in small batches, for tasting by anyone who wanders in. Being able to speak about the tea to the curious, having them see you actually take the samples out of the same jars you are selling from, could be a significant value add for the "western" teashop. A much more unique proposition than overly sweetened blended fruity teas in a carafe.