In a recent survey conducted by Nielsen for the Tea and Herbal Association of Canada, findings showed that positive attitudes towards tea remain strong, with “relaxing” leading the list for positive health associations for consumers (Nielsen 2017).

There is a tea for everyone and a time for every tea

We are living in a time driven by individuality and customization, and the tea world is no different. “Tea is a very versatile drink. Each variety—black, green, oolong, herbal—has a unique taste, so Canadians can try different flavours, finding the ones they like best,” says Louise Roberge, President of the Tea and Herbal Association of Canada. There’s a tea for every palate and a time for every tea, with research showing that Canadians predominantly drink black and green from early to mid-day and turning to herbal and decaffeinated in the evening.

Why does tea unite us as Canadians?

Our multicultural society also plays a large part in the popularity of tea in Canada, as Canadians of all backgrounds are united in their love of tea. English, Chinese, Indian, Japanese and African tea traditions have all become part of our multicultural milieu. As we continue to welcome new Canadians in increasing numbers, the influence of tea culture and tea traditions in our society will only continue to grow and unite us.

A cup a day helps keep the doctor away

A single cup of tea is steeped in health benefits that can help refresh and revitalize all Canadians. Drinking a cup of hot tea every day can lower blood pressure, decrease cholesterol levels and aid in overall heart health. The secret to tea’s health benefits is flavonoids—dietary compounds found naturally in plants that protect the body through antioxidant activity.

“While most Canadians have heard of the health benefits of green tea, it’s important to know that all varieties of tea are good for your overall health,” says Roberge. “Black, green, white and oolong tea are all equally beneficial since they come from the same plant. Just like Canadians, all types of tea are created equal. It’s a natural, healthy, calorie-free drink that everyone can enjoy.”

Tea and food pairing

Tea flavours and fragrances pair beautifully with all kinds of foods and beverages, with sweets, savoury and bitter flavours. Think infusion in cocktails, reductions to add flavours and colours to dishes, teas are also phenomenal for adding flavour and colour to broths. Matcha ice cream, bergamot baked goods, green tea hot pot, herbal tea cocktails and non-alcoholic mixes that are as beautiful as they are tasty. Successfully pairing tea with foods starts with building creative menu offerings instead of listing tea as an afterthought.

Boost the eater cheque with tea. Adding 100 or 200 cups of tea per day, adds real dollars to the end of the day revenue. Taking tea for granted means foodservice operators are leaving around $30,000 per year on the table.

Presentation and sales at the table

Tea and coffee are too often relegated to the back of the menu. An afterthought instead of an experience. Tea can be both a menu booster and an occasion. Tea is steeped in culture, history and mystery.It’s all about presentation and training. Be creative, tackle tea with hearts and minds. Get tea on the menu in exciting ways and brag about it! Talk about the benefits (no calories, full of antioxidants, it’s relaxing and herbal teas are caffeine-free for nighttime consumption). Tea is perceived as exotic, cosmopolitan in its versatility. It pairs beautifully with foods and serves as an exciting ingredient added to food and beverage offerings.

Food operators, increase your tea opportunities by raising the profile of teas in your establishment. Serve curry with chai tea, or cheesecake with a green tea and highlight these pairings on the menu.

There is a tea that can be paired with almost everything. Chocolate and Earl Grey, for example, creates a food experience. Tea and mixology can be a “matcha made in heaven.” Diners, young, old and in-between are embracing tea for all kinds of reasons today, tea consumption is on the rise, don’t miss the boat.