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Growing Demand For Loose Leaf Tea And Tea Rooms

Copyright (c) 2007-2019

The new American tea culture places high value on stress reduction (perhaps partially attributable to the relaxing properties of L-Theanine-a natural amino compound occurring in tea), blends that respond to the demands of the market, product purity (Fair Trade and certified organic tea is thriving in the U.S.) and exotic brewing accessories (the after-market for tea accoutrements is substantial compared to espresso-based drinks).

Until the boom in RTD (Ready to Drink) teas (circa 1990-95) made tea drinking simultaneously easy (nothing to steep or prepare), hip (colorful packaging, zany copy and chic packaging) and healthy (a no/low calorie, antioxidant-rich alternative to soda pop), tea sales in America were sleepy at best.

As compared to the rest of the world, the American market is unique with 80% of tea consumption based on iced tea products and the remainder 20% primarily tea in bags. Revenues for loose leaf teas are increasing rapidly in both the iced and hot segment of the market however.

How do loose leaf tea and tea bags compare?

Most experts compare loose leaf tea and tea in bags in four ways:

  • Most of the tea that goes into bags in not high quality. Tea bags usually contain broken grades so infusion takes place quickly

  • Whole leaf loose leaf teas come in a larger number of varieties than bagged tea and some higher quality teas are only found in loose offerings

  • Bags are semi-nonbiodegradable additions to biodegradable tea leaves with implications for the environment

  • Generally speaking, tea bags offer greater convenience although e-commerce now offers loose leaf tea drinkers the convenience of on line ordering and home delivery

    Is loose leaf tea more costly than tea bags?

    Many advocates of bagged tea in believe that loose leaf tea costs more than tea in bags. Actually, most good tea is not very expensive and can be very cost effective. When you buy tea in bags, most of what you pay for is the process of putting the teas in the bags, and the brand name advertising. High quality tea is generally sold loose, and the price per cup is often lower than for commercial bagged tea.

    Some truly fine teas retail in the United States retail for less than US$20 per pound, which means less than 10 cents per cup. When one considers that most loose leaf teas support multiple tea infusions the prices drop dramatically. High quality loose leaf tea is typically not available in supermarkets; but a good mail order web site will accept and process orders rapidly and offer the convenience of home delivery.

    The rise in American consumption of loose leaf tea from 1990-2004 represents more than the evolution of a new beverage segment, but rather the birth of a loyal tea-consuming community (demographic consumer segment), thriving on a complex fusion of diverse global cultures and flavor preferences.

    Loose Tea Sales are Increasing

    Annual retail sales had not reached $1 billion prior to 1990 and tea producers were simply uninspired. Snapple, Arizona Iced Tea and a handful of other specialty RTD teas catapulted the entire loose leaf tea category into double-digit growth while whetting appetites on Wall Street. Increasing interest from America's 76 million baby boomers just beginning to embrace tea as a health-promoting product for the entire family is laying a solid base for loose leaf tea.

    Health Aspects of Loose Leaf Tea

    This exceptionally health-conscious demographic is starting to explore loose leaf tea culture through brewed tea beverages, tea-based skincare products and neighborhood cafés offering exotic teas. The consumer product dollars available for loose leaf tea purchases within the U.S. over the next decade will be significant.

    This stellar consumer interest in tea is being driven by scientific findings linking tea consumption and improved health and a seemingly endless wave of favorable media coverage.

    Novel flavors and convenient packaging may be securing American consumers attracted to loose leaf tea, but news of the health promoting benefits afforded by regular tea consumption is the number one market driver.

    Researchers at The Natural Marketing Institute (NMI), Harleysville, PA, have released survey data indicating heavy frequency consumers of herbal and hot teas spend more on healthy and natural products than the general population or coffee drinkers. This is yet another indication of the emerging demographic pursuing loose leaf tea within the nation's hottest spot for loose leaf tea sales-natural foods retail outlets.

    Effect on Tea Rooms

    Finally, as the demand for loose lea tea grows, customers will also demand pleasant and wholesome surroundings to better enjoy the tea experience. The tea room business, as a result, has a very strong growth path and a bright future.


    About The Author: Shop Amazon - Top Gift Ideas
    Jon M. Stout is Chairman of the Board of Golden Moon Tea a division of Element H2O. Golden Moon Tea is a supplier of high quality loose leaf tea and high quality tea ware. Golden Moon Tea's website is found at http://www.Goldenmoontea.com Try Golden Moon Tea's collection of fine tea. You can e-mail Jon at jon.stout@GoldenMoonTea.com

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