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TEAMONK Global - Curating a Tea Sense!

Krishna Kumar

Tuesday, March 14, 2017, 14:34 Hrs  [IST]

Like all good things, a good tea needs the utmost care and nurturing to bring out its best quality. And this is what Teamonk Global; a new entrant into curated specialty tea business is trying to do. Within a very short span of eight months, the brand has been able to curate best tea in White, Black, Oolong and Green from select Tea Gardens within India and present it to a consumer base who appreciate natural and fresh products and don’t hesitate to pay a premium. Started as a e-commerce Tea venture, the Bengaluru-based company is aggressively looking at new distribution channels for their specialty tea both in India and gradually in international market.

It was a different experience attending a specialty tea tasting workshop by Teamonk Global for one who is more accustomed attending tasting events of hot beverages by alco-beverage companies. Although a habitual tea drinker, only distinction I could make out about tea was black and green tea. Therefore, the tasting event was both an eye-opener and a learning experience. Similar to wines and single malts, lot of care and attention goes into the selection, handling, processing, packing, blending, etc. of specialty tea which when poured with hot boiling water becomes drinkers delight.

Teamonk Global is a specialty tea venture offering exclusive quality natural speciality tea sourced from the finest tea plantations in Darjeeling, Nilgiris, Arunachal and Assam and then curated and presented to customers who understands the benefits of quality natural tea. Most of these premium varieties are exported around the globe and customers in India never get an opportunity to experience them.

“We have been able to curate wonderful collection of tea from select gardens in India. We have 36 varieties of tea in our portfolio currently out of which 10 are available in tea bags. Our aim is not to have large number of tea in our portfolio, but to have select curated ones. We are not in the business of chasing numbers,” said Pallavi Pandey, Director – Marketing of the company. The new generation ‘pyramid tea bags’ is unique to Teamonk and it allows the large sized tea leaves to move around in the bag while brewing to give full flavour to the tea. “It was a challenge for us initially to pack them in bags because of the leaf size,” she stated.

Looking beyond e-commerce
Teamonk started as a e-commerce tea venture and currently looking at expanding their distribution base to other channels including the institutional market. Teamonk has started working with Air Asia, the airline company, as part of expanding its reach and visibility. “Our next step is to move towards institutional segment. Air Asia is a classic example and we got good appreciation and acceptance,” Pandey said. “Institutional segment is a key gateway for us. We have to address both ends of the spectrum – one, where the consumer is experiencing the products and two, where the consumer is actually buying,” she said. “E-commerce allowed us to reach out to larger consumer base at a rapid pace. But ultimately we have to be present at all consumer touch points. E-commerce can be one of the channels, but cannot be the primary one for long. We are in the process of realigning our channel strategy,” she informed. Teamonk has started conversations with leading hotel brands and premium cafes in India. Corporate gifting is another major segment that Teamonk is keen to exploit.

Speacialtlty tea market
Specialty Tea market is a niche segment and therefore quite small in terms of the size and volume. However, it is one of the fast growing segments because of the growing awareness among the people and their yearning for healthier lifestyle and food and beverages options. The market shift towards healthier alternatives in food and beverages is significant. Tea has more anti-oxidants than fruits. This awareness is making a gradual shift that is visible from coffee to tea even in traditional coffee drinking markets, says Pandey. Tea sets one free from anxiety, stress and free radicals. Tea is one of the richest sources of antioxidants, the chemicals that prevent cell damage caused by highly reactive molecules.

Teamonk has a unique collection of infusion teas which are enriched with natural ingredients like cinnamon, cardamom, jasmine, rose, etc. “Infusions are part of our portfolio, but we only have natural infusions.”

Tea lounges
The long term strategy of the promoters is to set up signature Tea Lounges so as to create exclusive experiential zones for the tea lovers. “It’s a matter of time, tea lounges are definitely part of our road map,” Pandey explained.

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