The tea industry is on the brink of a renaissance.
For decades, the industry has been run on the premise that consumers would buy tea for a few months and then quit.
But for some, tea subscription services like Teas4Free are a step in the right direction.
“I think it’s the right thing to do,” says Pauline Rizzi, a tea industry analyst at Teas 4Free.
“We’re seeing an influx of people coming in, looking to get the best prices possible.”
The service, which has been running for more than a decade, gives people the chance to buy tea on a regular basis.
While there’s a $25 minimum fee to sign up, there’s no need to wait for months.
“You’re not going to be a customer forever,” says Rizzis.
“Your teas are yours to keep.”
For some tea drinkers, it’s a way to avoid the typical $2-a-cup price hikes that have plagued many tea shops.
Others prefer the idea of getting tea from a source that isn’t owned by big tea corporations like Anbang, the world’s biggest tea producer.
“The best thing to get is quality tea, and you can do that without spending thousands on a subscription,” says John Taylor, a former CEO of Anbang and a current teas subscriber at Tees4Free.
There are some drawbacks to buying tea online.
“There are a lot of pitfalls, including the fact that it’s not as secure,” says Lisa Larkin, a Tea Leaf Alliance board member.
There’s also the risk that tea can become expensive if you don’t keep up.
The best tea is the one you enjoy the most, says Taylor.
“If you are a tea lover, then you will want to do it for the long run,” he says.
While tea is expensive, the price of tea itself is often lower than the retail price of your favorite product.
“So I think the price that you pay is really more about what you’re paying for than the quality,” says Taylor, who says he spends between $5 and $10 a cup for tea.
Tea is a great way to kick off the new year.
“It’s really good for you,” says Larkin.
“As a consumer, you want to get as much of the tea as you can.”
For those who want to enjoy a tea every day, the service has the benefits of being free, but it also offers an opportunity for those with limited finances to get their hands on a new product or to have some extra time with friends.
“I think the best thing is to make sure that you have a good tea supply,” says Brian Pang, a consumer consultant and former teas customer service rep at Anbang.
“Because if you’re going to buy a lot, you might as well make sure it’s good.”
If you’re not sure if you’ll enjoy a new teas product, you can always ask your friends.
“Teas4FREE is a really good way to get to know people you have tea with,” says Pang.