How startups are helping India’s age-old tea industry brew up new trends

The tea culture in India has undergone an evolution in the past few years, and startups are leading the charge. Here’s how.
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Tea is undoubtedly India’s most loved beverage.

The tea culture in the country has undergone an evolution in the past few years, with people looking to experiment with flavours and blends. Customer behaviour is one of the toughest things to change and it takes years of pushing or a trigger event to make that shift.

While the mini revolution in the age-old tea industry that had set ways and set blends for the Indian audience has been brewing for a while, the pandemic has turned up the heat.

Here are the five ways in which the startup world is stirring the tea pot:

Unique health benefit blends

While we all love our kadak chai, there is still space on the tea rack for more interesting blends. We have traditionally customised tea in every household. Whether it is with a masala mix, ginger, cardamom, lemon, or tulsi. A little bit of this and a little bit of that makes every cup of tea unique and adds a dash of health to it.

However, startups have taken this a step further by introducing the Indian audience to premium health blends and exotic mixes that add to your immunity. These are not what you would typically not pick up on your grocery list. The immunity booster blends available via startups are numerous and range from local to exotic.

Ultra-customisation

The Indian tea drinker is now open to experimentation with exotic blends from across the world. With more and more information becoming available on the internet on benefits of these ingredients, it is not surprising that most startups now offer a customisation option so patrons can pick and choose the mix they want to create.

From mixes to packaging to added elements, every customised package is a new route to a new circle that would be delighted with the offerings.

A touch of luxury

Growing up, you would never dream of having gifted tea to a family or friend unless you went on a trip to Darjeeling. Startups have changed the attitude and the presentation of tea so drastically that it went from being hidden in a corner on the rack to a position of display at the centre table.

Prior to these startups making an appearance, tea was seen as a commodity and only found on the grocery list in a household. Tea startups have glammed up this commodity with eco friendly and sometimes luxurious packaging. This has made tea a desirable gifting option, giving the industry a further boost.

Ethical sourcing

Today consumers want to understand the route their food has travelled to land up in their teacups or on their plates. This is a great move as it pushes the industry to create more ethical routes of sourcing and eco-friendly methods of sustainable farming, packaging, and delivery.

This has also given a chance to several smaller tea estates from around the country, which offer a unique blend, taste, and texture, to offer to join the industry. Startups are mindful of this and are leading this positive change.

Job creation

Startups in this segment have given a route and opportunity for younger consumers and professionals to join the industry. Roles ranging from tasting, sourcing, marketing, sales, digital to experiential are being filled in by the next generation of superstars who would typically not join this industry as it is today.

The infusion of fresh energy brings about fresh ideas that can create more disruption and innovation in the industry.

So, let’s raise a cup of tea to some more disruption.

Edited by Teja Lele Desai

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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