Insights: A Look at Teahouse and Tea Café Trends for the Year Ahead

“People don’t want to online shop, they want to get out of their house now,” said Michael Rikowich, manager and future proprietor of High SocieTea House in Wayne, N.J.

Current proprietor of High SocieTea, Bernadette Solari, noted, “Through 2022, tea rooms will still conform to the pandemic and wellness will continue to trend.”

That’s it in a nutshell. Anticipation of what’s to come is uncertain and it has become more difficult to predict trends, although each trend that surfaces will be out of necessity and desire for harmony as much as possible.

A tearoom or tea café is a restaurant – and all are impacted by the same issues plaguing the restaurant industry right now. Supply chain issues with food and giftware normally offered for sale at a tearoom are difficult to keep consistent right now. A planned menu swiftly changes when an ingredient is difficult or altogether impossible to find. Wholesale sources to the restaurant industry may not be able to supply some staples normally needed in a tearoom and, if forced to purchase at retail, food costs rise and must be passed on to the consumer. Of course, costs have risen at the wholesale level, too.

Pivoting and a Shift in Clients

Each state has its own mandates and the constant shifts in what is considered acceptable makes for very unsteady business, coupled with staffing issues and peaks and valleys in reservations, parties and gift sales. I asked Rikowich and Solari of High SocieTea House if they have seen a shift in clientele or their age. Certainly, there is a shift because more elderly clients are sticking close to home at advice of family and physicians, so they are seeing a slightly younger crowd in person while trying to also offer a take-home experience for those who are not willing to leave home.

Afternoon tea is a pleasurable time to socialize in a comfortable and eye-appealing atmosphere along with family and friends. The experience sells itself as something people prefer to do in person. During the pandemic, High SocieTea House has strived to send that good feeling home by providing the same high-quality food and tea all wrapped up in specialized packaging (not your normal to-go box) to provide a feel-good, heartwarming time to connect with others. They also increased the variety of tea and other items for sale via their website, to ensure customers are served in every way possible. All of these actions have sustained their business throughout the pandemic and will see them through 2002 and to the other side, when everyone will be out again more permanently.

As for trends in tea itself, supply chain issues here have also swayed some selections, however they’ve paved a clear path for adding new teas necessary to fill a constant wellness quest of consumers. Hot sellers are teas considered for wellness, CBD or hemp varieties, herbal blends, too.  Any tea blending ingredient which consumers consider healthy – such as elderberry – are being sought out. Fun-flavored teas also bring comfort and are sought after for variety and a sense of ease and satisfaction. It’s like enjoying a no calorie, flavor filled dessert!

Continue to Focus on Health and Wellness in 2022

We all know tea is healthy on its own for a variety of reasons and as a zero-calorie beverage. It can help people maintain hydration while contributing nutritional values to everyday consumption habits. All sellers need to be careful in making any claims for helping with the common cold or immunity, and they should simply let the product stand for itself. Consumers are much more aware now of what they should consume to strengthen their immune system and lead healthier lives. They will seek it out.

High SocieTea House intends to persevere in 2022. The tea room will continue to offer events, take out, inside reservations, wellness teas, a variety teas and giftware, parties and special events, too… all with limited seating to maintain comfort of all guests. At Christmas, the tearoom reconstructed larger windows to allow open air, so they could still have their scheduled Christmas Carolers arrive to entertain. For Valentine’s Day, they will offer a chocolate and tea pairing. Country breakfasts will return, too.

Overall, people want and need to go to tea. Teatime is uniquely tied to happy memories and feel-good experiences, which people want to enjoy over and over. “Tea, it’s a comfort thing.” This is something I always say during my speaking engagements, such as my session at the World Tea Conference + Expo, where I am presenting “Marketing Refresh for Business Professionals” on Tuesday, March 22 at 9:45 a.m. I look forward to seeing you at the conference and expo in Las Vegas, March 21-23!

Gail Gastelu is the owner/publisher of The Tea House Times, producer of Tea Course and Tea Course Fast Track, co-owner of Tea Etiquette Certified and producer of the virtual Connecting businesses and consumers since 2003, her passion and drive is to help tea businesses grow by providing many services beneficial to the tea industry. Gastelu currently serves on the advisory board for Windmill Health Products, the Tea Association of the USA's Specialty Tea Institute Advisory Board, and over the years has been an officer or advisory board member to several associations, trade shows and organizations, and involved in judging numerous competitions as well.

At the 2022 World Tea Conference + Expo, Gastelu will be judging the Devan Shah Tea Tycoons, in addition to exhibiting and presenting in a session on Tuesday, March 22.

Don't Miss the World Tea Conference + Expo,
March 21-23, 2022

To learn about other key developments, trends, issues, hot topics and products within the global tea community, plan to attend the World Tea Conference + Expo, March 21-23, 2022, celebrating its 20th anniversary. The event will be co-located with Bar & Restaurant Expo, creating unique opportunities and synergy. Visit

To book your sponsorship or exhibit space at a future World Tea Conference + Expo, co-located with Bar & Restaurant Expo, contact:

Veronica Gonnello
(for companies A to G)​
[email protected] ​
p: 212-895-8244​

Tim Schultz
(for companies H to Q)​
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p: (917) 258-8589

Fadi Alsayegh
(for companies R to Z)​
[email protected]
p: 917-258-5174​

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