Friday Roundtable is a series of discussions and informal polls exploring aspects of the business that tea professionals don’t frequently consider.
In this inaugural Roundtable our focus is Earl Grey.
To start things off, we spent some time talking with Ahmed Rahim, Co-founder and CEO of Oakland, Calif.-based Numi Tea; David Barenholtz, CEO of American Tea Room in Beverly Hills, Calif. and Olivia Wingert, President of Souvia Tea of Phoenix, Ariz.
Souvia stocks three versions of Earl Grey, ordering 51-100 kilograms per year. American Tea Room steps that number up tenfold (501-1000 kilograms) for their ten Earl Grey varieties. Numi, ordering more than 60,000 kilograms per year offers two types at this point, with another to be added in January 2014.
Two of the companies have focused on a traditional black tea base, while another is exploring white tea, green, and herbal Earl Greys. All of the companies utilize custom blends, some created in-house, although one also offers a standard blend. All three companies sell Earl Grey as a loose tea, while American Tea Room and Numi also have bagged offerings.
When we talked pricing we saw an interesting range. Prepared cups and pots were in a similar ballpark, generally $4-5; however, 2 ounces of loose Earl Grey ran from $6 – $16.
Want to weigh in on the discussion? Complete our short and sweet survey: Friday Roundtable: Earl Grey Survey. You can also jump in by commenting on this post or visiting our Linked In group and sharing your thoughts on Earl Grey.
Earl Grey tea was created for the then Earl Grey of Howick Hall nr Alnwick, Northumberland, UK which is a couple of miles from our business base.
What folk often don’t tell you is that it was invented ‘cos the water there is just awful for tea making – unlike most of Alnwick’s district, which has lovely soft water.
“Earl Grey tea – masks foul-tasting water” probably wouldn’t have been the best marketing pitch… Still, bet they regret not trademarking it.