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Home » Start Your Business

Coffee v’s Tea

Coffee v's Tea

According to the Starbuck’s website they have over 15,000 locations across the globe.  In some cities there’s one on every street corner. In New York they open at 6am and close around 10pm.

In London it’s just the same. Outlets competing with one another all over the place. The competition is immense.

And yet, coffee is not the favourite drink in the UK. The UK’s favourite drink is tea.

If you look on the website by the UK Tea Council, you’d be forgiven for thinking that drinking tea was stuck in Victorian times (often perpetuating the myth with the name Tea Shoppe) and served with afternoon cakes and sandwiches.  You can see what I mean from the photo. This is typical of how the British portray tea shops. Some activity from yesteryear.

In the US I understand that it’s almost impossible to find a shop that sells tea as the main product line and yet in Japan it’s a massive part of Japanese culture.

I suspect that there is a demand in both the US and UK for quality teas as the big players narrow their ranges to the more popular tea varieties such as Lipton in the US and PG Tips in the UK. Yet there are many different varieties and types of tea, probably 1000’s.     In fact a Google Search for Most Popular Brand of Tea In US came up with Iced Tea.  A completely different drink!

With focus on healthier lifestyles and reports claiming that tea is healthier than water maybe tea or more specifically, specialist tea, could be an unexplored opportunity. This long tail could be an unexplored niche.

Could this be a business opportunity for you?

If you’re an Infopreneur type and good at educating others, could supplying tea online or maybe the creation of an information product about tea be a business opportunity for you?

What do you think?


  • John Soares said:

    Matthew, I’m definitely the infopreneur type, but I’d be concerned that tea is popular enough world-wide that there’d already be a lot of competition in the niche. Doesn’t mean there isn’t room for one more player, though.

    I’d focus on creating an e-book about selecting and enjoying tea. PPC would probably be too expensive, so I’d need to start a blog and do the whole become-an-authority route.

    And it just so happens a friend of mine owns a successful tea specialty shop here in Mount Shasta, a town with only 5000 people but a significant stream of visitors/tourists.

  • Matthew Needham said:

    Hi John, I’ve not done any particular research into this as a subject. I have a lot of ideas or thoughts which I’ll never do anything with, so I thought it would be a good idea to put them out there to the readership. Better someone picks it up and runs with it. They can always hire us to help them out with any business plans and building a successful business!

    That’s really interesting that the town is so small suppoting your friends place. I would have thought that they could only work in a large city like San Francisco or New York.

    Thanks for stopping by.

  • John Soares said:

    My friend is a quite-savvy businesswoman, and she also sells tea through her website.

  • Matthew Needham said:

    I think that’s a very sensible plan she’s following. Good for her. Thanks for following up John.

  • El Edwards said:

    I love tea. My business is fueled by the stuff! But I’m not sure I’d know where to start with turning this into a info product. I can’t wait to see what other readers come up with though. Sounds interesting.

  • Matthew Needham said:

    Hi El, thanks for the comment. I had the idea for this post a week or two ago. I thought it would be an interesting debate and it is!

    I personally think that any business would probably sit around shipping product, but I suspect there’s real long tail tea drinkers that are like fine wine drinkers.

  • Steve said:

    I don’t know that I have ever seen a “tea” shop in the States. It is just not that popular here. My father, brother and I are all tea drinkers, rather than coffee drinkers, but I cannot think of anyone else I know from the US that says they prefer tea.

    Although I like Tea, I am still probably an American heathen when it comes to my tea, as I, really like Lipton and have not found any fancy ones that I like as much.

    Tea would be a sufficiently narrow niche that I am sure there could be a great opportunity to be a major redistributer online.

    As for an info product, a free one sure. I do not know what type of hook you could get for a “paid” info product. It would definitly fall under a luxury product and many of your customers, that would have to have their quality tea around the world, likely already have knowledge.

  • Matthew Needham said:

    Hi Steve, thanks for the comment. My wife and I refer to Lipton’s as ‘holiday tea’ as wherever we go in the world you usually end up with Liptons tea next to the kettle, yet I don’t think that I’ve ever seen it in the UK on the supermarket shelves.

    I agree, I think any business would have to be based around shipping product, but there could be something of an info product such as ‘how to blend you’re own tea’.

    Personally, I’ve just started drinking mint tea. A sprig of mint, hot water and a tea pot and relax!!!

  • Yolanda Facio said:

    I’m a coffee drinker for hot beverage and an occasional iced. But from about 11:00a to 10:p I drink iced green tea. I like tea and recently I noticed a place has opened up just down the road that specialized in tea. I haven’t been in to see what they are doing but I am concerned about their location and whether or not they’ll make it.

    From an infoproduct standpoint I think yes, tea can be a great niche. Opening a tea shop…just not sure it will gain traction in the US but that could change as coffee prices keep going up. For the most part I think the reason coffee is a bigger deal here in the states is convenience. Drive up to a place and get a coffee instantly. With Tea you have to wait which is part of the reason tea folks like it, it is a much more ritualized thing. I could be wrong… but those are my 3 cents! 🙂

  • Matthew Needham said:

    I think this is a really disussion opening up here. In the UK ‘Tea Shoppes’ are almost tourist like, which I guess sits with your last point, but yet in the US they just don’t register. Based on my experience of the US, I can’t see them being on each street corner either. But maybe there’s something here for someone.