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Back on the boil

chatimeIf the recent piece on increasing tea consumption in Australia took you by surprise, this article should help explain why this very traditional herb is staging a most unlikely comeback.

The Roy Morgan data showed us a few things that we’d always suspected: older Aussies drink more tea than younger demos; and women are slightly more frequent consumers. The interesting bit was that – despite the ever-diversifying drinks market – tea consumption was actually up on the previous year. Why is this? The data tells us: sales of regular tea are in decline, and non-traditional teas are more than picking up the slack.

Globally and locally, tea is being rediscovered and reinvented. New formats and new flavours have popped up in markets around the world, proving that tea is a much more versatile drink than many would think at first blush. The ‘bubble tea’ explosion did amazing things for Asian tea consumption in the 1990s, and the ripples have finally started to hit our shores. Between 2013 and 2015 the purchase frequency of take away tea in Australia more than doubled.

Chatime is a supplier of freshly brewed iced tea in Australia, and the largest ‘teahouse’ franchise in the world. Our product range includes milky, fruity, frozen, sparkling and hot teas, as well as a huge range of mix-ins including rainbow jelly, tapioca pearls and aloe vera. These aren’t your grandma’s cups of tea!

Once a niche product targeted almost solely at Asian expats, Taiwanese iced tea has found a new audience in the younger Australian demographic – the age group Roy Morgan reports is bucking the national trend by preferring tea over coffee. This audience enjoys tea as a fun treat (unlike older tea consumers) and use products like Chatime as a social drink in the same way many do with coffee or even frozen yoghurt. And it’s catching on: more than half (57 per cent) of people who have bought a Chatime now buy one once a week or more.

Chatime has opened over 10 new locations (‘T-Breweries’) in 2016 alone, expanding to meet the needs of a growing customer base, with a further 25 new T-Breweries planned for 2017. These aren’t subdued suburban cafes – T-Breweries are bright and energetic, based in shopping and fashion hubs from Chatswood to Darwin. Grand opening days feature DJ performances, free fruity iced tea giveaways and social media activations.

Tea isn’t dead, or dying. But the new generation of tea drinkers expect tea to be a lot more than a cluster of herbs in a teabag. Tea’s future is in innovative, unexpected creations that show off just how flexible this global favourite can be. If tea consumption is to keep on rising in Australia, it will be on the back of franchises and products like Chatime – not bags of English Breakfast.

Carlos Antonius, General Manager of Chatime Australia

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