This past Saturday I did something I swore I would never do. I went to a tea shop and purchased a $3 dollar cup of tea. It is not because I can’t afford a cup of $3 tea, it is because I can’t justify spending $3 dollars on a cup of tea.
However, after spending the last 6 months learning the basic of Marketing and 6 months talking about the phenomena that is DavidsTea, I figured I had better judge it for myself.
Now, I don’t live under a rock. I do know about DavidsTea. I have seen their locations popping up everywhere. I am just a jaded consumer and I always have been. As someone who has worked in retail for over 15 years, I’ve seen the trends before they are trends. I know the shtick that comes with the launch of a new product and I have witnessed first hand the rise and fall of the latest fads. I also know the price points and mark-ups on products. It is probably this very reason why I am averse to jumping on band wagons.I helped price and sell the wagon.
I made a honest deal with myself. I would allow myself to try and purchase new products, play naive and just enjoy the experience. Who knows, I may learn something in the process.
This brings us to the very busy Saturday at the mall where I decided to walk right into DavidsTea, pretend like I have never heard of them and that I haven’t studied their marketing plan for the last 6 months…..”and the award for Best Actress in the Mall goes to…..”
I walk in to their turquoise boutique and the Wall of Chinese/Chai tea and straight to the counter. The very handsome tea-slinger/bartender/barista/barister?/whatever-you-call-someone-who-serves-tea greets me. I make some small talk about how I have heard so much about their stores, tea selection and rave reviews from friends.I stress that I have never had a DavidsTea. He promptly offers me a little paper shot-glass of tea to shut me up or to be nice or whatever.Seeing as this girl has had her fair share of Darjeeling in her time, you are not winning her over with just tea alone.
I quickly scan the buffet of silver tea jars and read the names: Coco-lemon Thai (white tea), Butterfly Jasmine (green tea) and Birthday Cake (rooibos tea). Birthday Cake? Ah man, you had me at “Cake”. Gimme, Gimme, Gimme!
The handsome and chatty Tea-guy allows me to smell almost every container on the wall.They all smell decadent. I order some Birthday Cake rooibos tea to go and a small bag of loose tea for later.
I was super impressed when he offered honey or agave syrup to sweeten my tea. Agave? Wow!, you guys at DavidsTea aren’t playin’. You bet your sweet tea- leaves I’m getting my Birthday Cake tea with freeze-dried pieces of actual vanilla cake sweetened. It smells heavenly and the taste is perfect. Even with all that sweetness, the rooibos makes it smooth and refreshing.
Overall, my experience at DavidsTea was worth my $3 dollars for the cup of tea and the $7 dollars for the 50 gram of loose tea. The customer service was polite and friendly. The atmosphere was tidy and appealing. Their selection of tea is innovative.Also, I was offered a catalogue of all of their tea selections which I quickly turned in to a wishlist.
The thing that differentiates them from other retailers of tea is their ability to make tea-drinkers feel apart of a sub-culture. That drinking tea is not just sipping a warm beverage but it is an art form. Much like Starbucks who turned your average cup of Joe in to a whole other language of “Grande” and “Frappuccino”. This is what makes the $3 cup of sachet loose tea worth it. The identity the consumer places on your product’s offering.
I realized, upon getting home, I didn’t have any of those little disposable sachet bags for my tea nor was I offered to buy some. I did make it clear that I was a loose-tea-newbie and yet the handsome tea-slinger never suggested I get some for my Birthday Cake tea. This was a huge oversight on both of our parts.
I’m not a big fan of disposable anything. I almost choked when I saw the price of DavidsTea travel mug (SRP $34.50). Begrudgingly, a week later I did purchased the Cadillac of travel mugs. To be completely honest; I’m glad I did.
The travel mug allows you to make your loose tea and not be wasteful. I was super impressed that my hot beverages stayed hot for over 2 hours. I am more of a coffee-drinker by day and tea-drinker by night. I have owned my fair share of travel mugs but NOTHING compares to the insulation of DavidsTea plunger travel mug. AMAZING! It is worth the investment.
My final thoughts on DavidsTea are the teas are tasty, the atmosphere was not pretentious, the travel mug is expensive but it’s craftsmanship justifies the cost. It’s an alternative to our already over-caffeinated market.
So, have your Birthday Cake and sip it, too!