Move over specialty coffee—there’s a new photo-worthy beverage in town.
Post-pandemic, consumers want memorable moments, quality products, and unique experiences—a fact reflected in the rise of “revenge travel” and record luxury goods sales. Naturally, this ethos extends to the food and beverage market, where customers are in search of “wow factor” moments, especially those with strong visual elements that make for good social media content.
On the beverage front, restaurant owners are looking to colorful, fragrant, and aesthetically-pleasing tea services to provide these sensory experiences. And it makes sense: According to The Tea Association of the USA, tea is the second-most consumed beverage worldwide, second only to water. More than four in five American consumers drink hot or iced tea, a number which climbs to 87 percent among the coveted millennial demographic. Though coffee still dominates in terms of U.S. culture, specialty teas are gaining traction in restaurants, particularly upscale establishments with a focus on quality and experiential dining.
“For the past three years, restaurants were all about improving the coffee experience for guests,” says David Ferreira, vice president of sales, retail, and hospitality at Tea Forté. “Restaurants are getting better coffee, working with niche brands, and introducing coffee menus, but not much has been done with tea.”
The brand’s iconic pyramid-shaped tea infusers are not only beautiful to look at, they’re functional, too. Because the pyramid stands in water rather than becoming crumpled and oversaturated at the bottom of a cup as traditional bags do, the tea leaves inside have room to fully expand, unleashing their entire gamut of flavor. The pyramid shape also allows for the use of large tea leaves and chunks of berries and florals, which makes for a better quality tea with more complex flavors.
“Aside from the quality of the tea, this creates a memorable experience for consumers because it is so unique and different from what they are used to,” Ferreira says. “Even if they don't remember the brand, they will remember the pyramid because of its visual ‘wow’ factor.”
Being that tea is so popular worldwide, it’s no surprise Tea Forté’s products are popular among brands known for their international clientele. Their products are a staple at Ritz-Carlton, Four Seasons Hotels, The Capital Grille, Seasons 52, W Hotels, Waldorf Astoria, Celebrity Cruises, and Wynn Las Vegas, among other high-end establishments like spas and specialty bakeries.
Whereas many cultures prefer to consume hot tea, 75–80 percent of tea in American restaurants is served iced. With blends such as Cherry Blossom, Green Mango, Blueberry Merlot, White Ginger Pear, Orchid Vanilla, and Moroccan Mint, guests can enjoy their favorite iced beverage with a boost of antioxidants. Tea Forté’s Tea Over Ice Pitcher Set makes for a fun, interactive beverage experience: Once the pyramid tea infuser is steeped, it is poured into a two-chamber teapot that flash-cools the tea.
“Our tea over ice is a great little show at the table, but it is also a healthy choice,” Ferreira says. “Our teas are naturally sweet, so it’s a great alternative to sugary drinks.” Teas can also be the centerpiece of cocktail and mocktail recipes.
Ferreira says the majority of Tea Forté’s restaurant sales come from word of mouth and trade shows. When luxury hospitality providers see a good thing, word travels fast—and once operators see the pyramid infuser for themselves, the design-forward and memorable product practically sells itself.
“When people are having a fine dinner, why would they want an ordinary tea bag?” Ferreira says. “We offer an elevated experience for establishments that care about quality and unique guest experiences.”
To learn more, visit the Tea Forté website.