Teens and Tea


Trends and Tips on developing and operating a tea business.

Postby Pentox » Feb 14th, '08, 14:25

I really don't think that trying to get Teens to appreciate a good tea is the right path to try to go down though. Like getting them to drink the easy premade bottled stuff is the closest you are going to get and should get I think. In my opinion it is only after people are out of their teens where they will sit down and appreciate something. Wine for example. I remember during college that some of my friends would drink wine based purely on cost and alcohol content, not caring that it tasted like swill. But now they appreciate better wines, care about vintage, winery, etc. So in the analogous form in tea it would be like switching from your instant gratification iced tea / arizona / etc to a finer form of tea like a good loose leaf. Again making an analogy to coffee, it's the change from your Venti Carmel Frappucino to a good fresh roast in a french press. The better notion is to get them going along a seed of tea, so that they will evolve into better tea drinkers.
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Postby Cinnamon Kitty » Feb 14th, '08, 16:25

From what I have seen, as I started drinking tea as a teenager, was that tea appealed to those people who found coffee disgusting. I couldn't stand the bitterness of coffee for a while so I went to tea instead. I tried coffee for a bit since my parents drink a lot of it, but never could enjoy it like tea. Coffee also gave me indigestion and acid reflux, so drinking it did not go over well any ways.

I think it depends on how the teens are brought up. I was raised in a family that drinks both tea and coffee, so I got exposure to both of them. I was also raised in a family where we have wine with dinner more often than not so just by that, I skipped the phase of binge drinking and drinking to get drunk, to enjoy good wine by the time I turned 21. I learned early to enjoy flavors, so I enjoy the complexity of tea. If you have a teen whose parents are compulsive coffee drinkers who drink bad coffee for just the caffeine with no tea experience, unless there is a friend who drinks tea, there will be no exposure. If you have teens who go through 2 liters of Mountain Dew a day, they won't enjoy an unsweetened, non carbonated beverage since it is not what they like. Then again, those kids who drink the bottled teas may have a chance if they ever want to branch out.

With the popularity of places like Starbucks or Panera Bread, a tea house with comfy chairs that teens can hang out at may work. The only problem is that tea is not completely main steam in the United States. It is gaining hold at least, so there is hope.
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Postby Carnelian » Feb 16th, '08, 12:19

Cinnamonkitty wrote:From what I have seen, as I started drinking tea as a teenager, was that tea appealed to those people who found coffee disgusting.


I started somewhere similar; I cannot stomach caffeine from either coffee or soda, so I turned to tea and never turned back.
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Postby Beanbean » Mar 28th, '08, 22:48

I started drinking sweet, milky tea when I was a toddler. My son is 9 and he is already a tea drinker with a strong preference for darjeeling and green teas. I think that the trick to getting teens to drink tea is to get them early. So many children are given so many sickly sweet beverages at such a young age that they don't know anything else. Start 'em young!
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Postby motokochan » Mar 31st, '08, 04:03

Speaking as someone who is still very new at the whole leaf tea thing, I think there is a lot of interesting commentary in this topic.

Tea, in the US, seems to be regarded as stuffy and uptight. Generation after generation of coffee experience has made coffee very embedded in the culture. It is hard to break that.

The genius of Starbucks is that they took this very common thing and showed that it could be better tasting. Their genius was to target the growing part of the market that wanted to go to something much better. This is the same market that wants to get a BMW, Mercedes, Lexus, or Audi. The same that wants Gucci or Luis Vuitton. Starbucks started out with these people and grew from there.

I see lots of teens buying Starbucks now, but I don't think too many people could argue that this segment was the original target market. The whole spread of Starbucks was from an up-market segment towards the general public. You know you've hit the masses when you have shops inside Target. (Target seems to be marketing themselves as premium lately, so it isn't an odd combination.)

But, back to tea. The big question is how to spread the love of quality tea to a wider audience. While I think this will happen slowly over time, there are a number of hurdles that will slow down this.

Firstly, as I mentioned above, tea doesn't have the same level of integration in the US society as coffee. This makes tea much more foreign. We don't have huge commercials for tea like there have been for coffee in years past. The recent healthy living movement has helped a lot to improve the visibility of tea, however.

Secondly, tea isn't a good fit with tastes in the US. Those in the US can attest that we like our stuff highly seasoned and flavored. Tea is quite weak in taste compared to other drinks, and certainly isn't anywhere near as sweet as some of those "coffee" drinks you can buy. With dulled senses, it can be harder to appreciate the complexities in taste.

Thirdly, there seems to be no good marketing strategy developed yet. It seems that there has been no hit on a good niche market to start building a strong base on for expansion. However with the healthy living movement and more of the public looking for premium stuff, seeing Lipton advertising pyramid bags is a good thing. It shows there is a market for better-quality tea, and also shows the public that there is more to tea than those familiar bags.

On that third point, there is a chain over where I am (and I think they are national) called The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. They do both coffee drinks (like Starbucks) and whole leaf tea. The stores have a nice atmosphere, and I've seen college students on several occasions studying there and consuming some kind of drink. (The fire pit most of their stores have outside is a nice touch.) Honestly, I got my first loose-leaf tea from them when I decided to try expanding my tastes.

So, how do you get teens into tea? Go after the older folks first who are looking for premium tastes and then work your way down to the teens. Give the fast-paced society here a convenient way to enjoy good tea fast (places like CB&TL are doing a good job here) and they might just get interesting into how to do it themselves.

Sorry if I rambled.
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Postby Carnelian » Mar 31st, '08, 22:43

motokochan wrote:On that third point, there is a chain over where I am (and I think they are national) called The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf.


Wow, what timing. First off, where I live (minnesota) nobody has heard of CB&TL much less seen one. However, I spent all of last week in LA with my school band and we saw them everywhere. We referred to them as "The California Caribou" (in reference to Caribou Coffee, a Minnesota based chain that not only rocks at coffee and store atmosphere, but they brew only loose leaf tea)
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Postby chrl42 » Apr 5th, '08, 11:06

I prefer a tea store where pretty teenage girls host and call me. (in China)
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Postby insanitylater » Apr 26th, '08, 11:52

i got asked by a classmate yesterday whether i was a health nut! well she didn't use nut but she just said you usually don't see people bringing in various unsweetened teas to class. it's really true because just about every desk in my morning class has a coffee to go cup on it. i ended up explaining that i just find it really delicious and the fact it's healthy for you is just a positive :D
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Postby devites » May 4th, '08, 03:17

Same deal with me. I always have crazy tea drinks from Uwajimaya (the asian market). I think teens should drink tea. I have no stress, always calm, its fun with friends, and ill live longer. Coffee is bitter, starbucks drinks have way to much sugar, and make everyone have bad breath. Teen girls should drink tea since tea helps shed fat and that seems to be a problem I my school (fat ass cracks everywhere).
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Postby tomd » Oct 13th, '08, 21:30

First off let me say that I am 17 and have been into tea for about a year now. The first thing that got me into it was the taste of good loose leaf tea that my friends aunt let me try. I think if we could show how good it is it would be easy to bring a younger generation into the tea culture. Just my 2 cents

Tom
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Postby Ashiro » Oct 22nd, '08, 09:19

I did a post on this yesterday. It may be worth watching how the Tata Tea company of India handles their youth-targetted campaigning.

It also has a political and social edge to it but maybe we can learn something from it?
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Postby teajunkie14 » Dec 12th, '08, 15:48

i am a 14 year old tea drinking teen that know for sure that alot of teens drink tea, maybe because i live in south georgia were ever one drinks sweet tea (cant belive you would ruin good tea that way LOL) the real promble is that teens dont know about good hot tea if you would get teens to just try it i think alot of people would be surpirse. :D
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Postby greenisgood » Dec 15th, '08, 19:40

i think you should find a way to infiltrate that my facebook space thing or whatever its called. i hear theres a lot of teenagers who just can't get enough of that. maybe make a page with a bunch of tea on it and then "friend" all the teenagers.

or you could market your tea with brand names and a lot of cool acronyms and flavors like "totally kool kucicha" "party hard pu-erh" and "gnarly nilgiri".

i think sometimes its hard to market to teenagers because they're always too cool for everything and might think your product is totally lame. but if you adopt the strategy of being too cool for market strategies, it creates this sort of agreement between you and the teenagers, and they become "totally down" with your products (a good thing).

and theres always bubble tea. cause really, what teenager in their right mind wants a handpicked oolong or a top quality gyokuro when they can have a smoothie with a bunch of gooey balls on the bottom??
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Postby devites » Dec 16th, '08, 00:56

ABx wrote:I'm no expert, but I would imagine that you'd have to start by deciding what kind of teens you want there. You aren't going to get all the different cliques and subcultures in one space, but you can probably get one or two.

If you want high school and college kids that are trying to study, then make an atmosphere that's conducive to that and provide mind boosters and descriptions that talk about the mental effects of the teas (and, of course, caffeinated drinks).

A lot of the outside the mainstream (including geeks) like to just have a place where they can gather with a group of friends and talk into the late hours.

Novelty goes a long way with teens, too, whether it's just names, descriptions, and decorations, or novel drink mixes (maybe herbal stuff like kava, although you might need to be careful with kava in particular). Anything "different". You might offer at least a few of the finer teas as well, just to see if they are open to trying them.

The best thing you could probably do would be to talk to some teens in your area.


Kava Kava gives a small but decent "high" a definate way to get teens interested. I started drinking tea at 6 but loose leaf didn'tt come until 14 1/2. Matcha was a big part of my initial draw to the tea world, I was very fascinated by the ceremony and the mental clarity i felt
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