What’s Brewing? – Chiques Creek Organic Hemp Tea, The Spice & Tea Exchange, Flavors 2021

Chiques Creek Organic Hemp Tea. Photo: Courtesy of Kreider Farms.

“What’s Brewing?” is a World Tea News round-up of recent happenings, news and factoids from the global tea industry.

Here’s what’s notable:

Chiques Creek Relaunches Hemp Tea Line as USDA Organic

Kreider Farms – a farm fresh-fresh producer in Central Pennsylvania – re-launched its line of unique hemp iced tea drinks, Chiques Creek Organic Hemp Tea, which are produced and bottled at their plant in Lancaster County, Pa. The teas are currently available at Giant, Weis and Rutter's stores with more retailers added to the their website daily.

Chiques Creek Organic Hemp Tea comes in a 13.5 ounce serving size with recipes made from a unique blend of hemp seed oil with all-natural colors and flavors, no artificial sweeteners and no preservatives. The new, all-natural recipes are now USDA certified organic.

Four flavors of Chiques Creek Organic Hemp Tea are offered in the relaunch, with Apricot + Orange Blossom being the newest addition to the line. The full line includes:

The Original Recipe – showcases the natural, earthy flavor of hemp
Passionfruit + Mint – a refreshing tropical blend
Peach + Lemon + Dandelion – a complex blend of earthy, fruity and tastefully bitter notes
Apricot + Orange Blossom – a sweet, citrusy blend

Chiques Creek Organic Hemp Tea does not contain CBD or THC, as the FDA has not yet approved these additives for food and beverage use. As regulations change, Kreider Farms said it may explore future recipe alterations.

To learn more, visit ChiquesCreek.com.

The Spice & Tea Exchange Is Seeing Increased Sales and Adding New Locations

Shutdowns, quarantines and sheltering in place has not paused any growth or development efforts for The Spice & Tea Exchange. Since March 2020, the specialty retail franchise has successfully opened five new stores, signed a franchise agreement, and experienced impressive sales growth on its ecommerce website, according to the company.

From its humble beginnings as one small shop in St. Augustine in 2008, to today's more than 70 stores across the country, The Spice & Tea Exchange is leaning on its 12 years of growth and experience to weather the pandemic storm. The company says its franchisees and franchisors are eager to continue this growth momentum as the holiday season approaches, and as demand for high-quality spices, teas and kitchen accessories rises.

The Spice & Tea Exchange noted that it has not halted development efforts during the first few months of the coronavirus pandemic, and remains committed to growth. Since March, franchisees have opened locations in Charlotte and West Jefferson, N.C., Myrtle Beach and Beaufort, S.C. and St. Petersburg, Fla. And in response to the shift in retail due to the pandemic, The Spice & Tea Exchange helped support its franchisees during shutdowns with an increased percent of web purchases going back to local stores. In addition, a local pickup and delivery form was added to store web pages to assist with driving local revenue as stores were able to fulfill orders from behind closed doors.

This strategy deeply impacted franchisee's bottom lines as the brand saw spikes in ecommerce traffic in March, April, May and June. Following shutdowns, shops are experiencing positive in-store sales as consumers are pivoting back to in-person shopping. In fact, some shops have seen sales figures beat last year's numbers, and The Spice & Tea Exchange experienced one of its best Labor Day Weekend's sales to date. As they enter this crucial holiday season, The Spice & Tea Exchange will continue supporting its franchisees by increasing online commissions to local shops Black Friday to Cyber Monday.

To learn more about The Spice & Tea Exchange, visit SpiceandTea.com.

Beck Flavors Announces Forecast for Food & Beverage "Flavors of the Year" in 2021

Beck Flavors says Cherry Blossom is a 2021 "Flavors of the Year" that should be of interest to the tea industry. Image: Courtesy of Beck Flavors.

In the spirit of new tastes for the new year, Beck Flavors announced four flavors that – according to their research, insights and popular vote — will play a big role in the food and beverage industry in 2021. The "Flavors of the Year" – according to Beck Flavors – are yuzu, cherry blossom, dill pickle, and honeycomb toffee. The Beck Flavors feature four key flavor categories — Fruit, Botanical, Innovative and People's Choice — that helped provide a framework for their research and 2021 projections.

Of note for the tea industry is Cherry Blossom, which was chosen as the winner in the botanical category. With a light sweetness that represents springtime and renewal, this flavor can be used in anything from tea to desserts. Restaurateur Leslie Newsam also recommends pairing it with gin in an aromatic cocktail.

Choosing Flavor of the Year winners and projecting popularity can be a challenging exercise. According to Messina Truttman, VP of sales and marketing at Beck Flavors, "First, the marketing team researched flavors utilizing our research partners like Innova Market Insights. The Beck lab and marketing teams then reviewed the list and brainstormed additional flavors to consider by category."

After they narrowed down the flavors, the lab and marketing teams consulted with other industry experts to determine the top flavor in each category. The selections signal a recent upward trend in popularity as well as an expected continued growth into the new year.

What's the next popular flavor? Projecting popular flavors is not an exact science, but it can reveal a lot about consumer preferences and marketing opportunities. As Truttman explained, "We are always asked what the next pumpkin spice will be – and you can't always see that in the trends. We have to look into the future and forecast what will be next."

If these predictions are any indication, you can expect to see these flavors on store shelves and menus more and more in the coming year.

To learn more about Beck Flavors and their Flavors of the Year, visit BeckFlavors.com.

- Aaron Kiel, Editor, World Tea News