Coffee has been in vogue for some time now – so many recipe variations, it can be hot, it can be cold, it’s hipster and everyone who is anyone is walking around with a KeepCup full of it. But, did you know that tea is also growing in popularity amongst young consumers? National Tea Day, an industry-neutral research body, recently surveyed a cross section of the general public, a network of tea brands and hospitality leaders and found that the largest growing consumer demographic for all types of tea is the 24-35-year-old age bracket.

So how can universities and colleges use this information to improve their drinks offering to students, staff and visitors? Here’s our guide to choosing tea for your university and how to serve and promote it to the highest standard.

What’s trending in tea?

What’s hot in tea for 2019 and beyond? A more appropriate question is… what’s cold? Like iced coffee, cold brew tea is becoming increasingly popular. We’re seeing more and more teas coming to the market that are blended specifically for cold brew preparation. For university cafes, this is good news as cold brew teas are convenient to make and can command a greater premium.

Raspberry cold brew tea infusion
elderflower tea

‘Ginspired’, botanical flavours are dominating the cold brew tea scene at the moment – think elderflower notes and rosemary garnishes. Serve over ice and you have one on-trend infusion!

According to the Allegra World Coffee Report 2019, some customers who regularly drink tea in coffee shops felt that tea service lacks in comparison to coffee service. Serving tea in interesting and exciting ways is predicted to be a theme for cafes over the coming year.

Sustainability in tea is also continuing to be important to consumers, whatever their age. Oscar Wooley, founder of Suki Tea says, “There is no doubt that the premiumisation trend will continue to grow; with customers demanding more traceability in tea, sustainability commitments in ethical sourcing and promises in plastic reduction.”

oscar wooley from suki tea

Choosing tea for your university campus

Looking at the tea trends it’s clear to see a premium, sustainable tea brand with a variety of different flavours is the way to go. To improve your tea offering, choose the right tea company.

Teas (and coffees for that matter) with the Fairtrade accreditation are always going to prove popular. It’s a well-known stamp of ethical approval meaning the producers are guaranteed a fair price for their goods – something that is quite rightly important to young consumers.

Following on from this, wastage is a hot topic. Loose leaf teas forgo the tea bag so there is less waste, plus it gives you the opportunity to serve your tea theatrically, with teapots, bamboo trays and other premium accessories.

Make sure you look for a variety of flavours. Traditional breakfast tea is always going to be a favourite, but don’t neglect the power of the fruity infusions, the chamomile teas, matcha and peppermint varieties. You want to be able to offer something for everyone.

How to serve tea: it deserves more than a sad teabag in a mug!

suki teapot and tray

Tea needn’t be the underdog any longer – it’s not coffee’s less glamorous cousin; it needs a stage to shine on. Brewing and serve sophistication is on the rise. Quirky theatrics are being explored but quality loose leaf in a teapot is still king, bringing a unique, calming and tranquil experience when served correctly. This style of serve is growing in demand with the rise in popularity of luxurious high teas. One of the ways to share the full tea experience can be to serve in a transparent, glass teapot, which allows the customer to see all the beautiful colours as the tea infuses.

For cold brew tea, don’t forget to serve your refreshing iced tea with the right complementary garnishes. Pour over ice and pair your garnish with the flavour of the tea. For example, serve berry tea with fresh raspberries, a slice of lime or a sprig of mint. This will lightly compliment the flavour and make your tea look amazing!

Promote your tea with great point of sale materials from your tea supplier, choose a core range, add a seasonal special and list your tea range in clear view, preventing any barriers to your customers.

Our tea recommendations

Take a look at Suki Tea – a high end, loose-leaf tea blender from Belfast that you can find in our Espresso Warehouse range. Selected Suki Teas were winners of the prestigious Great Taste Award five years running! The Suki Tea sourcing policy is to choose Fairtrade, Organic and/or Rainforest alliance certified tea where possible and there are a variety of flavours, including a new Raspberry and Vanilla blend, specially made for cold application.

Suki tea also offer colourful and transparent stump teapots. Take your tea experience up a level by serving on the sustainably sourced bamboo tea tray with a glass milk bottle.

Suki tea range

Espresso Warehouse also stocks Pavillion tea – a brand with all your customers’ tea favourites like FairTrade breakfast tea and Earl Grey, as well Organic Summer Berry or Chamomile, Honey & Vanilla infusions.

To discuss tea and coffee solutions for your campus, get in touch!


Do you have any other suggestions on how to serve tea? Let us know in the comments!

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