Monday, April 07, 2008


Many customers of mine give me suggestions on how to improve my business. I appreciate their inputs and endless new information from every corner of the world. I learn quite a bit and stumble upon valuable information every now and then.

Today, a very dear lady customer of mine stopped by told me about a "brewing" product she tried. A bottled tea tastes like wine. It cost $10 a bottle and it's still in testing stage. She suggested I carry something like that when it's in the market.

The idea urks me. It sounds like one of those Monster drinks that the marketers tell you how good it is for your health and what can it do for your "brain", except it will turn you into a dummy slowly.

It's sickening that some people try to ride the wave of "tea" and make bank. I refuse to get suck into the RTD market. Do we not learn anything from the fast food/beverage diet that American health are suffering now?! Call me stubborn, I'll not carry RTD tea no matter how much money I might make.


Anonymous said...

Congrats on your steadfastness. RTD and "instant" tea totally misses the spirit and intent of tea culture.

Besides, how much more "instant" can you get than leaves + water = tea?

Salsero said...

Here's hoping you stay stubborn forever!

Daniel said...

I don't think thats stubborn, I think it is sticking to your principles and only selling good tea; not compromising to make a quick buck.

Imen said...


I am going to use that as a slogan! :D

Thank you for the support guys, it makes me feel less foolish when looking at things through the business view.

Ecclenser said...

I've never had a RTD drink that actually tastes good. It's always too sweet, some of them bitter with no flavor. There is a market for people who get latched into food crazes...

Your trueness to Gong Fu/Kung Fu says a lot about you! Perhaps that's why your store is "Tea Habitat", not "Tea Conglomerate".

Takuro said...

I actually have a different opinion on this; I think there's a time for this type of tea -- as a replacement for bottled water or soda. I grew up drinking bottled japanese teas, and a lot of them are pretty well done. They do use fairly good quality leaves and the quality control is great. Sometimes you want to drink tea as a beverage; not as an event.

I'm not saying that you should sell it at your store, though. You should sell what you believe in. I myself wouldn't think it would be "selling out" to sell bottled tea. Sometimes you want to "take one for later, when I'm thirsty"

MarshalN said...

I too agree with Takuro -- they have their time and place. When I'm on the go in Hong Kong and need a drink, bottled tea is actually a great choice, especially in the heat of the summer.

But that's for convenience store and supermarkets to stock.

Michel said...

Well cold tea left overs is what I drink at 2 am after a long work session in my studio and I'm too tired to boil a kettle.

Some think it's hippie to splash water on the side walk but A gong fu tea break can be over and done with in 5 mins with a gaiwan and a thermos any time any place.

Imen you're selling some great Dan cong, that is apreciated all over the world for its rare quality.

Magic and finesse are needed in this world.
I lift my cup to your stand.

ViƱedo Bosco said...

Two thumbs up for ya! ^^
Kerne is right ^^
Anyway, that instant drink is never going to replace the original way of making tea. Ive heard guys saying that those drinks taste like "dirty socks tea" =) As for myself, Im never going to try one of those.

Imen said...

Thank you all for your opinions and support! Cheers everyone!

a cup of Ao Fu Hou

Unknown said...

Imen: I know this is an old thread, but I'll comment anyway.

I've been thinking a lot about tea culture in the U.S., and it's one of the topics I'll be anxious to speak to you about soon. But it occurs to me that the U.S. does not really have an established Way of Tea, and because of that, we are feeling our way toward excellence.

I'm an American, and I grew up thinking tea was viciously awful-- year-old Lipton's that had been sitting in a cardboard box, then oversteeped and doused with sugar and milk. Bleh. And that's what most Americans think about tea: Bleh. They have no idea what they're missing.

So my thought: If an RTD can serve as a "gateway" tea (like a gateway drug) to get them to taste something better, then think of it as a tool. You could say, "Hi, I'm Imen. Did you like that bottled tea? Well, then, I have something I bet you would REALLY like. You just have no idea how amazing tea is, and I bet the moment you find out, you'll want to find out more. Here, have a sample of this oolong from the Phoenix Mountains. Notice how it tastes complex and interesting, and almost like jasmine? Well, here's how they make it...." And so on.