China Food

Is the blooming teahouse the way out for pure tea?

Tea itself is a good proposition to young people.

Tea brands have gradually become the integration of subdivided categories, and fruit tea, milk tea and pure tea have become the window of niche ingredients to the public.

In previous articles of BBB Research Institute, we also mentioned that the value of the extended categories represented by perfume lemon and ice bock is being gradually enlarged. In this context, the standardization of the supply chain is becoming higher and higher. The business model of small single store, high turnover and high replicability has made many brands taste the sweetness.


However, in the rapid growth and decay of tea, the focus is not on “tea”, but on the sweet taste itself. Tea, known as “Biwu drink”, has too many stories to start. It has spanned a long cycle. It is a strong and confident industry, but it is still in the fog of vague brand awareness.


In this fog, there are still tentacles that extend to areas that are already saturated under the public understanding. Looking back at the brands that have tried to enter pure tea catering in recent years, it is nothing more than “space” oriented and the retail experience is icing on the cake.

The founder of tea’stone, an innovative brand of pure tea, graduated from Tsinghua Academy of fine arts. Boiled leaves found the original research to operate the space design. Yinxi teahouse blossomed everywhere in Shanghai, rejuvenated by the transformation of old-fashioned buildings – from the side, it is not difficult to find that the construction of “space” is very important for the brand of pure tea.


Is the pure tea brand taking the tea room route false prosperity? We try to compare the three pure tea spaces horizontally and explore the new story of tea in the “third space” from the perspective of service port.

Leisure is not necessarily tea
According to AI media consulting’s Research Report on the big data of global tea industry operation and the innovation and development trend of China’s tea industry from 2019 to 2021, the global total output of tea in 2020 was 5.972 million tons, of which China contributed 2.986 million tons, accounting for half.
The domestic tea market demand is also quite high. In 2020, the domestic sales volume of Chinese tea reached 2201600 tons, an increase of 8.69% year-on-year, of which the sales volume of green tea accounted for 58.1%, which is an important growth point of domestic sales.
For a long time, original leaf tea has been a “taste” and mysterious commodity. Earlier, a thousand yuan olive juice from a beverage store in Shenzhen caused heated discussion, but in the tea market, hundreds, thousands, or even 10000 or 20000 yuan per kilogram is common. This is because the growth environment of tea, the scope of tea producing areas and production technology affect consumers’ screening of tea, which also forms different circles of tea tasting people. They are picky about tea – Wuyi rock tea, Fenghuang Dancong and Gaoshan Oolong all have their own followers.
In the gift market of “Mom and Dad”, tea is a tripartite confrontation with tobacco and alcohol. The attraction of caffeine in tea lies not only in stimulating the reward mechanism in the brain, but also in its social use.
Culture affects the use of addicts, and the use of addicts also affects culture, “After World War II, American women found that cigarettes were not only a medium for delivering addictions, but also a useful prop. When they wanted to declare their feminine charm, they could use meaningful cigarettes to highlight their independence and friendliness, and press them out in an ashtray to express their anger or disdain,” David coutlett said in his book five hundred years of addiction The same is true of drinking tea. When you have time to cook tea, it means that your current state is more stable and comfortable.
But when today’s young people talk about tea, the protagonist has already become a new tea drink – tea leaves have no sense of existence. On the one hand, the younger generation is questioned for not understanding tea; On the other hand, the pain point of “category, no brand” in the tea industry has also emerged.
So far, there is no tea enterprise in the A-share market. In addition to Tianfu tea’s landing in Hong Kong stocks, Chinese tea, Bama tea industry, Lancang ancient tea and other tea enterprises have impacted a shares several times, and now they have not been successfully listed.
The decline of tea brands does not only exist in old-fashioned enterprises, but also in the nuances of the development of new brands – products blur tea and its origin. For example, the “king of Jinfeng tea” customized by Xi tea is the oolong tea mixed with Xi tea. This name comes from the creativity of Nie Yunchen, the founder of Xi tea. There was no tea called Jinfeng on the market before. Nie Zeng said, “although we use a lot of very expensive tea varieties from very good producing areas, I don’t want to publicize them. I don’t want to give my voice to the upstream.”
Similarly, in addition to marking a wide range of producing areas and categories, the marketing star “small pot tea” mainly highlights the “intangible cultural heritage master craft”.
Looking at the whole tea market, there are various systems and varieties. The tea making standards are different in each producing area and even in each mountain. Therefore, it is difficult for ordinary people to “taste tea”, so “shoddy tea” is even more common.
The basic plate is not hard enough, resulting in a brand that only sells tea, which can not work at the moment. In the vast market, there are still a large number of consumers who need to be trained. They have too many choices. Cheese milk covered tea can be drunk while walking. It’s also good to have a cup of coffee and enjoy the scenery on the street. Therefore, for the young generation, they may not drink tea at leisure.
But do we really not need “tea”? “Drinking tea” is squeezed into a narrower context: business office, chat and water blowing. And we can move the spotlight away from the tea to see the “space” it extends.
Space creation
The market of first tier cities needs better tea products, which is also the premise for the birth of new pure tea space in Beishang and Shenzhen.
One fact is that the traditional teahouse provides tea and environment in a mode similar to the concept of “third space”. Coffee shops are popular, but for some consumers who need “privacy”, they are gradually turning their attention to tea rooms. An interesting discovery is that when searching “teahouse”, “teahouse” and “tea space” in xiaohongshu, the total number of posts is about 160000, 180000 and 260000 respectively, which shows the love of the new teahouse for the word “space”.
Tea space is still dominated by “catering” services. In the catering industry with strong cash flow, if you want to make a new brand, it is natural for the old gun to go first. Among them, it must be mentioned that “Yinxi teahouse” was founded in Shanghai. LV Yixiong, the founder, is also the founder and President of Shanghai Hanshu Cosmetics Co., Ltd.
According to the statistics of BBB Research Institute, Yinxi teahouse has opened 32 stores in Shanghai, including 5 stores that have not yet been opened. Most teahouses are single family, and a few have settled in shopping malls, such as Mixc and Shanghai center.
Source: Yinxi Teahouse
In terms of charges, in the afternoon tea special double package with an online group purchase price of 259 yuan, the optional tea products include Jin Junmei, Dahongpao, Shengpu, Zhengshan race, etc. in addition, two fruits and one refreshment are provided, which can be used within 3 hours, and the overtime fee is 200 / hour. In appearance, Yinxi teahouse adopts a new Chinese style, and each store has different design details. The business hours are from 9:30 to 23:30 every day, which also hits the light business meeting scene – a private environment with a certain level of design.
According to media reports, Yinxi took land at a low price against the market during the epidemic and began to expand rapidly in 2021 – from this point of view, Yinxi teahouse is more like a business of commercial real estate. Nanyang Road store won the Red Mansion, Mr. zhanglanping’s former residence. Most of the other stores are located in the quiet block hidden by Wutong trees in the Old French concession.
Source: Yinxi Teahouse
For its current business model, it doesn’t seem to matter what drinks are sold in the teahouse. Under the trend of “new Chinese style”, pure tea in teahouses is still not the focus. Will this mode of emphasizing real estate, design, operation and products go far in the long run?
Yinxi teahouse has certainly expanded its product line: opening spa business. At present, five stores have opened this business, and the customer unit price is about 400 yuan. However, its target customer base is still vague.
The comparison of competing products of Yinxi teahouse is drawn vertically. Tea houses in Shanghai, such as tea houses, xishanyi cultural guild hall and Shanyu thatched cottage, have more “Zen” meaning for the details of indoor and outdoor courtyards.
If consumers don’t want to immerse themselves in the scene of “drinking tea”, they just want to drink a cup of tea lightly. There are also “tea’stone” and “boiled leaves” to choose from.
Teahouses have their own temperament, and cities also have their own temperament.
Zhuye was founded in 2015 and started in Beijing. In July 2021, it completed the a + round of financing and has eight stores in Beijing, Xi’an and other places. Tea’stone was founded in 2018 and completed two rounds of ten million level financing in 2021. It mainly sells pure tea drinks, including tea, tea utensils and other products. At present, there are five stores, all located in Shenzhen.
Source: tea’stone
Compared with Yinxi teahouse, these two brands prefer personal experience and are more like a space for drinking tea alone. Liu Fang, founder of boiled leaves, worked as a former executive of Starbucks China for more than ten years. Of course, she knows the necessity of “third space” for integrating into the lifestyle of young people – the essence of tea brand is a brand based on place consumption.
Source: boiled leaves
The pace of life and work in Shenzhen is also different from that in Beijing and Shanghai. Its consumption culture will be more pragmatic. The high premium teahouses generated by decoration and facade may only be small and beautiful. This explains that tea’stone and boiled leaves with a unit price of about 60 yuan go slowly and stably.
Fusion and differentiation
Compared with the courtyard teahouse with winding paths, the new teahouse that can quickly match the property requirements seems to go further.
The area of Yinxi teahouse is basically about 400 square meters. This scale not only increases the difficulty of expansion, but also limits the development of the region. The demand of business negotiation and friends’ small talk will make the “birth” of Yinxi teahouse have to “enter the WTO”.
The difference between Shanghai and other cities is that there are also large and small companies and studios around the small road, which is in sharp contrast to the core business districts of Beijing and Shenzhen. But take Beijing for example. On the one hand, Beijing has stricter control over property; Second, the property prices around the Financial Street and CBD blocks are too high, and the customer unit price and turnover rate are difficult to bring more benefits to the teahouse.
To become lighter or continue to take the road of heavy real estate, this is a thorny problem that can not be ignored.
According to media reports, Changsha’s cutting-edge pure tea brand “tea Shouyi” currently has 10 stores, 3 large stores with an area of 100 to 300 square meters, 4 street stores with an area of 50 to 70 square meters and 3 campus stores. This changeable retail format makes its operation more flexible, and achieves the purpose of gradually infiltrating the minds of consumers through the continuous change of spatial form.
Tea Shouyi relies on Hunan tea group. It has 97 tea garden bases, covering an area of 600000 mu, with an annual total of 40000 tons of tea. The amount of tea exported to the EU market ranks first in China. One of the most famous is Anhua black tea.
Therefore, from the perspective of the third space, to discuss the teahouse, we still have to go back to the tea itself.
A central bar is set up in tea’stone’s store, where ordering, paying, making tea soup and producing are completed simultaneously. Consumers will eventually get a cup or a pot of clear tea soup with separated tea leaves. This is very similar to the production process of Xicha and Starbucks, but the product logic is different.
We must admit that pure tea is not so “able to beat” in front of milk tea and coffee because of its astringency. Consumers are naturally more sensitive to sweetness. This kind of “tip of the tongue happiness” will come more quickly compared with the sweet return of green tea. Therefore, it is difficult for pure tea brands to catch fire at once. Entrepreneurs can either open up more space with ingenious design and “on camera”; Or make an article on the product line and “willingly” use the concept of tea to make sugar water, which is integrated with “milk” and “sugar”.
Source: boiled leaves
In essence, these emerging tea brands are the integration and differentiation of new tea drinks after category saturation. Chinese people seem to have more unique feelings and sense of mission for tea.
This spirit is also the belief of the new pure tea brand in the tea itself, so the brand should have a beautiful start, and the space design must also “carve beams and draw buildings”, which is an aesthetic bonus of new consumption.
This also makes pure tea brands come to an embarrassing situation: bringing good tea to young people is a false proposition, and authentic expensive tea has its own Jianghu. That Jianghu has its hard to shake market, which is a battlefield difficult to reach for new tea brands.
The stem of tea is floating and sinking, and the attraction of tea to the younger generation is far from what the public thinks. Whether the teahouse market can give birth to another “happy tea”, we still need to put a question mark.



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