Creativity and quality in every sip allow select industry players to present some unique blends in beverage trends
As the world’s most popular beverages, coffee and tea have been around for ages and will continue to be in demand — may be with a bit of fading and flowing in their popularity. The pandemic and ensuing economic downturn have been brutal for most people, but in these anxious times the beverages have proved a nice respite to bad days and continue to be a regular part of their routine.
You can’t deny that coffee or tea has been an escape from anxious times at least once in a person’s lifetime. “Yes it has been an absolute respite,” says Armenian expat, Diana Arutiunian, who is an EMS personal trainer. “It didn’t solve my problems, but it does help me relax and improve my focus.”
Yes it [coffee] has been an absolute respite. It didn’t solve my problems, but it does help me relax and improve my focus.
Avid coffee buff, Melanie Williams, a South African communications professional, swears by it. “Coffee always relaxes me,” she says.
The fondness for the beverages will show no signs of ebbing, but that doesn’t mean that coffee or tea can’t be seen through a new filter. And tea and coffee companies trying to give their products a little jolt to hold on to loyal customers, while attracting new ones, would be a wise move looking at the opportunities the drinks could bring to their concepts. Connoisseurship for tea and coffee has increased as people spend more time indoors and can be a great way for brands to innovate in a post-pandemic environment. It gives customers a reason to try their products, providing it’s not just a regular, drab cup.
There are a few factors supporting this tendency [increase in connoisseurship]: staying longer indoors; more information available; more online stores with deliveries available; increasing number of health conscious people, and healthier lifestyle followers. As awareness climbs up, better quality, genuine teas become more in demand.”
“Yes, connoisseurship has definitely increased,” says Olga Kolotilina, CEO, TeaLand. “There are a few factors supporting this tendency: staying longer indoors; more information available; more online stores with deliveries available; increasing number of health conscious people, and healthier lifestyle followers. As awareness climbs up, better quality, genuine teas become more in demand.”
Nirmal Sethia, Founder and Chairman of Newby Teas, says the taste for good quality tea has increased not only because people are spending more time indoors but also to increase immunity. “With digital media, advancement in information technology, medical research and social media, the truth about tea and its history are being exposed,” says Sethia. “People want and are searching for variety and better quality of tea, and some teas do not reveal the complete nutritional values i.e. antioxidants, flavonoids and low fluoride. It took nearly 200 years to hide the truth and market the falsehood, based on increased demand and decreased production of quality tea. Time is coming when the truth and merit of tea is exposed through history, art and culture.”
Innovation is vital
Just because the beverage has been around forever doesn’t mean there isn’t an opportunity to try new things. With tea there is always room for innovation and top brands are adding a creative flair to their offerings.
Newby Teas is focusing on unearthing the treasure (character) of tea and its quality through the concept of preservation and exposing the negative effects of tea presently being falsely marketed. “Innovation has to come through enhancing the character and quality of tea and not promoting poor tea in fancy packaging, which is medically harmful for people, especially for children, women and the elderly,” says Sethia.
People want and are searching for variety and better quality of tea, and some teas do not reveal the complete nutritional values i.e. antioxidants, flavonoids and low fluoride. It took nearly 200 years to hide the truth and market the falsehood, based on increased demand and decreased production of quality tea.
Unusual flavours are the biggest trends and Tealand has included tea flavours such as chocolate and mint; and coffee. “Our Energy and Focus line would suggest purely natural power drinks based on matcha powdered green tea and ginseng,” says Kolotilina. “On elegant, graceful side there would be a Blue flower (Butterfly Pea Tree) tea both in dry flower and powder form that give mesmerising blue/turquoise palette to your cup.”
Tania Lodi, Founder and Owner of Tania’s Teahouse, says her brand’s creative flair is stepping away from general, over-done flavours such as a simply earl grey, a basic masala chai, green, or black tea. “We have flavours such as cookie dough, cherry cheesecake, market medley (which has tomato and cucumber!),” says Lodi. “We’ve brought a fun and exciting twist that challenges all customers who claim they aren’t tea drinkers, in a way that encourages health benefits while still managing to have zero artificial ingredients and tea leaves that are ethically sourced.”
A full ingredients list is also important, especially when it comes to tea, where many brands include harsh artificial colourings and non-natural ingredients. People want pure, organic ingredients that are good for their body.
Health and nutrition are a priority for consumers looking to boost their immunity, and tea or coffee brands are innovating to support those goals.
While black tea or coffee offer only a handful of calories, adding milk, flavouring, and sugar can increase a coffee’s calorie count pretty quickly. People’s search for healthy choices also boils down to cutting calories and adding taste without sugar. “I mostly prefer making my own coffee, but when I am ordering I have coffee without milk and sugar,” says Arutiunian.
If you’re going to add milk or nut milk to your coffee (whether to coat your stomach or add flavour), coffee buffs take the opportunity to give their beverage a nutritional boost! “I used to have low fat milk, but have now switched to almond or coconut milk,” says Williams.
People also want to know the origins of the products they buy as well as the nature in which they are produced, and providing an ethical background and full transparency is important. “A full ingredients list is also important, especially when it comes to tea, where many brands include harsh artificial colourings and non-natural ingredients,” says Lodi. “People want pure, organic ingredients that are good for their body.”
I did not need to cut back [on coffee] at all but I looked for less expensive brands and deals.
Delivery, carryout, and drive-through gave cafés and teahouses a lifeline throughout the pandemic, and Tania’s Teahouse had to respond to this shift by getting more creative with its services. “We coined the term ‘quarantine cookies’ and ‘immune-tea kits’,” reveals Lodi. “Our cookies went viral with slogans such as “wash your hands”, “stay safe”, etc, and our tea kits feature the most immunity-boosting properties.”
The pandemic forced people to cut down on expenses, but one thing is certain: Coffee or tea likely won’t end up getting squeezed out of consumers’ budgets. They might not buy a new car or go on a vacation, but they will pony up for coffee.
“I did not need to cut back at all but I looked for less expensive brands and deals,” says Williams.
Arutiunian adds: “I don’t think people have to economise for good quality coffee.”