(This photo taken from Teapigs HK's Twitter - the rest are taken by me!)
I was working at Asia's biggest food and hospitality trade fair - HOFEX, last week and I met some great people from the F&B industry! On the 3rd day of the fair, I came across Teapigs, a UK tea company that promotes drinking real tea. Dan, Simon and Iris (from left to right) are the Teapigs distributors in China. I mentioned that since I'm a food blogger, I would love to interview them about Teapigs. And they said yes! As I'm a huge tea lover, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to meet Valerie (the lovely lady on the left), who's the Head of Export at Teapigs. Dan also joined us halfway during the interview!
What's the story behind Teapigs? V: Teapigs is started by Nick and Louise in 2006. They worked in a big tea company before and they realized that a lot of British are not drinking real tea. A lot of the brands you find in the supermarkets are dusty tea bags. Louise has been a tea tester for 12 years, she's very experienced in tasting and selecting quality real tea. Teapigs' goal is to introduce people to good quality tea - that's why all our tea temples use whole leaf tea.
Where does Teapigs source its tea? V: We source our tea from all over the world. We source our Oolong tea from Taiwan, English Breakfast tea from Assam and Peppermint tea from the States.
How many kinds of tea does Teapigs offer and which one is the best seller? V: Teapigs offers 21 types of tea. English Breakfast and Earl Grey are our best sellers in England, since the British love their cuppa in the morning. Our customers also love the peppermint tea, which has a strong and refreshing taste. In Asia, rooibos creme caramel, chocolate flake tea and popcorn tea are very popular. All of them are quite different from the traditional tea you would have. It's more like dessert in a cup, except with the benefits of having 0 calories in it!
Which Teapigs tea is your favourite? V: I love the rooibos with caramel. Roobios is from South Africa and it's good for your immune system. It also decreases cholesterol level, so it's good for people with diabetes. I also like the green tea with mint, it's very refreshing.
I love the packaging! The designs are really cute. Where does the idea of the picture for each tea come from? V: Yea the design is quite fun, each of them has their own meaning. For English Breakfast, we have the hen since it wakes you up in the morning. For liquorice and mint, we put a windmill on it since liquorice is from Holland and windmills are seen everywhere there.
I noticed that one of your popular products is Matcha and even Jamie Oliver and Victoria Beckham tweeted about it! V: Indeed, matcha is one of our most popular products at Teapigs. People love it because matcha is an extremely healthy tea, it's good for slimming and it gives you energy boost. 1 glass of matcha equals to 15 cups of tea! We sourced our matcha powder from Japan, since it's the only country that produces it. The tea bushes are covered to keep them under the shade and only the top leaves are picked. They are then dried and grounded into fine powder. That's why matcha is extremely concentrated in antioxidant.
When's the best time to drink matcha and any recommendations on how to mix and match it with other drinks? V: The best time to drink is in the morning and early afternoon. Matcha goes with all kind of juices, really. We're having matcha with apple juice at the booth and it's very refreshing. If you're in a hurry in the morning, you can also make a matcha shot. Just mix 1 g of matcha powder with hot water in a short glass and viola! It's like a little energy drink.
D: I like to make matcha as a smoothie. 1 g of matcha powder, 1 banana, protein shake and dash of honey. It's a great way to start off a day!
When did Teapigs enter the Chinese market? Can you tell us more about it? V: We brought Teapigs into the Chinese market around 8 months ago. We just joined the food and hospitality trade fair in Shanghai and it was a really good push for our business into the market. We wish to introduce more people to drink real tea.
Where can we find Teapigs in Hong Kong? V: We are currently selling Teapigs at a few supermarkets in Hong Kong: Jason at Hysan Place, Oliver 360, Marketplace and Sogo.
At the end of the interview, Dan introduced me to the mood-0-meter at Teapigs D: If you're feeling stressed, you can try some camomile tea to calm your nerves down. Feeling adventurous? Popcorn tea and chocolate flake tea are for the adventurers. It's also suited for ladies who have a sweet tooth and want to keep their calories intake to minimal! Mini Teapigs samples! Each of them includes 2 tea temples. I love how they package the mini packs in a cake box. I brought a few tea samples home and chocolate flake tea is my favourite. I also like Super Fruit, it's very berries-ish and taste wonderful with a dash of honey!
It's my first time interviewing people and it was a great experience! Many thanks to Valerie, Simon, Dan and Iris for giving me the chance to interview their companies.