Getting to Know Your Inner-Tea-Personality
From Doubter to Believer!
By Sucheta Shankar, staff writer
It seems like more and more people are discussing tea these days. However, if you happen to be unfamiliar with tea-culture, the first visit to a tea-shop can be quite daunting. You’ll find walls stocked with different types and blends of tea, leaving you dizzied and baffled by the choices. “So many teas?…Is there any tea-tea here?…Maté?…Pu’erh? How do you even pronounce something with an apostrophe in its name?“…These are some of the things you’ll hear confused shoppers murmur to themselves as they wander the aisles… “Where do I start?” they groan woefully…But eventually most o f us cave and politely ask, “Any recommendations?”
David Zhang, co-founder of Cha, certainly noticed this. “When we were still working on our previous business,” he said “we would visit Dan’s store, Herbal Infusions. We’d notice people come in and stare at the wall for ten seconds. Then, they would ask for recommendations – always the same pattern. So, it makes sense for us to naturally go with a business model that is more guided.”
Cha is the solution geared towards those that that crave the healthy fix of a nice cup of tea, but struggle with the right choice.
[pullquote]It’s not only about the tea, but also the people behind the tea[/pullquote]Currently, customers can take a one-time survey that will determine the individual’s lifestyle or tea personality. Based on this, they will receive monthly samples for $32/month (shipping included) consisting of 30g of your primary tea (based on your tea personality) and two 20g pouches of your secondary and tertiary tea categories.
“For example,” says David, “I’m a Naturalist – I like drinking pure blends. When I get my tea package, I’ll get my main tea but I’ll also get two samples from the Globetrotter and Alchemist selection. I’ll get to try different teas and I might like it or not – it’s good to try different blends to see where my preference lies”
They will also receive a booklet with the information about the blend, tea drinking and blending tips in order to guide them through the process.
“It’s not only about the tea, but also the people behind the tea,” says Dan Johnais, resident tea guru. “We try to give information about the estate itself. At the end of the day, knowing what we offer the customers and taking into account how it benefits them plays a large part in our business model.”
Additionally, there is a price break for the longer subscription periods at $29 for three months and $27 for a year.
But while all of this may build a great foundation for customers to sink their teeth into, is there any room for flexibility in the flavours you receive monthly? Not yet, but the Cha team plans to introduce a feature that will allow customers to view all the teas that have been shipped thus far and place repeat orders on teas people liked.
However, one thought really gnawed at me the whole time: Is it really possible for a survey to get the essence of an individual?
“From a product development stand point, we’re looking at finding questions that can continue to personalize the tea selection – whether it be a particular taste or a specific health benefit they are looking for,” says Matthew Woo, co-founder of Cha. “I think this gives us an edge over any other tea company because we’re looking to develop a relationship with our customers.”
“We’re hoping that a customer’s profile, as it builds over time, really starts becoming valuable [as] it becomes an online history of all the teas tried,” added David.