When it comes to flavored tea, how much variety is too much? In a perfect world, there would be no limit to the number of flavors one could create or offer to customers. What's the downside? Quality and freshness are at stake. As a customer, think about this very carefully. The more flavors that are offered, the more inventory that is accumulated, and the longer it takes to go through the inventory. The reason is not everyone will purchase every flavor, which means many of the flavors could sit around for a long, long time before they are replenished with fresh product. Ultimately, you, the customer, pay the price by getting stuck with stale tea.
Take Cold Stone Creamery for example, a retail chain of gourmet ice cream stores. They offer 20 signature creations and approximately 9 base ice cream flavors for custom blending. By keeping a limit to the variety, they are able to control the quality and freshness of their ice cream.
As a consumer, you should be thankful when you see a company or brand follow this type of strategy. Everyone likes variety, but there is a price to pay for too much variety. Of course there is no formula or magic number for the variety of tea flavors a brand should offer. But when you see a tea company offer 70 different loose tea flavors, approach with caution. They obviously don't have freshness or quality in mind and are interested in one thing...volume.
We discovered a new loose tea flavor by combining our Very Raspberry with our Dark Chocolate Dream at the Metropolitan Cooking and Entertaining Show in Washington D.C. The result was a huge hit with the customers. We are now seriously considering combining these two loose tea flavors and offering it as a special blend from time to time. Stay tuned for further updates.
Recently, we have had a few customers ask us if the Smart Tea Maker is safe to use in the microwave. While many of our customers do use their Smart Tea Makers to brew their loose tea in the microwave, the manufacturer has not laboratory tested the units in the microwave. Even though many of our customers are brewing their tea in this fasion without incident, we cannot make the claim that the Smart Tea Maker is safe to use in the microwave.
If you want to use the microwave, our suggestion is to heat the water first in the microwave and then pour into the Smart Tea Maker. Of course, you can always use a hot water dispenser, a pot of boiling water or a kettle as well.
We had an incredible response to our naturally flavored loose teas this past weekend at the Metropolitan Cooking and Entertaining Show in Washington, D.C. I wish we could have blogged and twittered from the event, but we were too busy serving samples and selling tea! The event drew over 20,000 foodies, and I would like to thank all those who attended and visited our booth. Sheetal and I would also like to thank Tej and Rupa for all their help, as we could not have pulled it off without them. Below are some of pictures from the event: