If Black Tea Is
Dead, Why Do We
Sell So Much?

Over the last few years everyone has been talking about black tea being somewhat ‘dead’ and other blends including fruits, herbals and greens being ‘on the rise’.

Over to the number crunchers at Mintel:

“It is a known fact that traditional tea sales are in long term decline with fruit/herbal the ‘rising stars’ of the category.”

We of course know you love nothing more on a Saturday night than cuddling up with a glass of wine and some EPOS data - makes for peculiar reading right? You sell loads of black tea, in fact almost every cup you sell is black tea, do you just have fuddy duddy drinkers who need to be brought up to date?


It’s a certainty that the big commercial tea companies are losing volume - down 1.6% year on year in “normal tea”. Whilst “speciality tea” is up 6.4% year on year. It’s all in the Grocer for us to study or for the tabloids to report on the “death of the great British cuppa”.

Step in Allegra, another bunch of highly excitable calculator lovers, with a different story:

“Consumers also want to see premium tea brands in coffee shops, with 58% considering this to be the most important factor when ordering out of home”

Who knows, maybe it’s actually quality over quantity after all?


Drinkers definitely seem to value herbals/fruits/greens more, after all they’re willing to pay more per cup than the bog standard stuff. Given that the volumes of “normal tea” are in decline then it makes sense for the big companies to sell more of what’s typically called “speciality tea”.

The trouble comes with the definitions - not all black tea is “normal tea” {the cheap paper bags of commoditised dust}. Equally not all “speciality tea” is herbal, fruit and green.

So discarding black tea based purely on the stats of “normal tea” is a little premature.


A nice pot of English Breakfast

Newsflash!! Guess what us “speciality tea” operators are selling the most of?!

English Breakfast and Earl Grey are our best sellers, CO2 Decaffeinated isn’t far behind. All black tea!

There is definitely a shift away from 99 out of 100 cups being “normal tea” - but the classic black tea with milk is going to dominate - it is still comfortably 70% of our sales. So don’t disregard it, black tea is not dead.


In future we advise some caution - when you see your next jazzy 50 page tea presentation, you need to befriend the Find & Replace function. Find: “Black Tea” and Replace With: “terrible drinker experiences based on dust filled paper bags” - something that is most certainly doomed.

Drinkers want value but you know that already, less pounds spent but on more valuable things, more experiences - it’s the same everywhere and no surprises to anyone except this guy.


“A cup of tea, please” will continue to be the sentence your drinkers utter most often.

So don’t think about things like normal tea versus speciality tea - think about how you can give your drinkers something awesome, something that stops them and pokes them in the ribs. Something to make them want to come back to you for another brew next time - this always starts with your black tea.


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