Private Label vs. Branded teas

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Feb 16th, '10, 10:01
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Private Label vs. Branded teas

by Charles » Feb 16th, '10, 10:01

I've written a piece on the relative value of a tea shop offering their own private label vs. someone else's branded teas. (

I'm curious to get your feedback on how you perceive the collection of a new physical or online tea retailer?

1. Does carrying a known brand offer them credibility?
2. How readily do you trust the quality of a "house brand"?
3. What factors play into your decision to buy a brand you've never heard of?
4. How many teas is "enough" for a tea shop?

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Feb 16th, '10, 16:15
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Re: Private Label vs. Branded teas

by teaisme » Feb 16th, '10, 16:15

1. Guess that depends on the brand. A higher quality brand like rishi maybe yes, it affirms that they have good taste.

2. Depends again on the brand. It seems like the bigger the brand the less I trust them, having had many negative experiences from bigger brands and many good experiences from smaller (often higher priced) ones , also depends on country of origin where the 'house brand' is from (I have more trust in japanese house brands vs others)

3. Physical sample of the dry leaf (or at a bare minimum a picture of the dry leaf) , thought out packaging with preservation of freshness in mind , organic (brings some reassurance of farmers care for the tea/earth/personal health), credible reviews, brewing instructions (I don't trust a brand when their brewing instructions are basically the same for almost all tea they carry , I also think gongfu brewing instructions would be a nice touch for some teas (shows they know the tea)

4. I think the 300 you mention in your article is a little bit overkill
quality over quantity, maybe 100-200max , If teas stayed fresh forever then 300 would not be an issue though. I just view shops that hold a ton of tea as definitely having some that are not at an acceptable level of freshness, plus most online shops I view as high quality don't have a huge selection

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Feb 17th, '10, 10:18
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Re: Private Label vs. Branded teas

by virago_ns » Feb 17th, '10, 10:18

I think with a good tea retailer quality beats quantity. Example. Locally we have a tea retailer who boasts to have over 200 types of tea. When you go into the store, the wall-o-tea looks impressive, but at a closer glance, about 100+ of the teas are all black tea blended with various flavours. The black tea blends almost all have the same base tea (a Ceylon). So I argue that these 100 teas are in fact one type of tea with stuff added.
I think a broad selection is key and not to focus on one type of tea. Have a comparable amount of black, white, green, oolong, yellow and herbal blends. Mind you the local market might warrant a more focus on a certain type of tea and you should be flexible to accommodate that demand.
The custom blends are the way to go. This way you can advertise you have an infinite amount of tea selection. Now that's impressive.

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Feb 17th, '10, 11:28
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Re: Private Label vs. Branded teas

by LauraW » Feb 17th, '10, 11:28

virago_ns wrote:The custom blends are the way to go. This way you can advertise you have an infinite amount of tea selection. Now that's impressive.

Definitely; this reminded me of Sonic's ads where they advertise that they have so many millions of combinations of drinks because of all the flavor add-ins they have.
Also, to answer the original post:
1) Yes; and I agree with churng.
2) Depends on the quality of everything else - if they've shown me they have good taste in recognizable brands they carry, then I'm more likely to trust their own brand.
3) See #2. I'm a big fan of try before you buy, so being able to sample things is key for me. I'll also buy a cup of whatever it is I want to try, and if I like it, great. If I don't, I want the ability to walk in, say that I tried X tea, didn't like it for N reason, and an associate can recommend Y tea based on what I've just told them.
4) I agree with having a variety, I also can definitely understand having certain teas only in stock certain times of year, but I'd say 300 sounds like a lot... maybe 250 overall, but only 210 or 220 at any given time.

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