California Tea and Coffee Brewery has been open almost 3.5 years now in Temecula, Southern California – just an hour from everything … the beach, the mountains, the desert, and several good-sized cities.  So, after almost a half decade in tea retailing (counting another year at a company I previously co-founded, for a total of 4.5 years), I think I’ve finally figured out who the typical tea customer is.  So here goes:

  1. A group of construction workers who come in together and discuss with each other if they want to try the Ti Kuan Yin or the Genmaicha this time.
  2. A couple from the high school down the street who ask for their tea in a pot and sit and dreamily look at each other while quietly enjoying the leaf in the traditional manner.
  3. A group of 40- and 50-something ladies who share two or three tables once a month and discuss some kind of online business they are all in together while sampling things out of the bakery case and a variety of tea beverages.
  4. The realtor who rushes in and out on her way to another listing appointment after grabbing her hot chai latte.
  5. The harried businessman who comes in for coffee, but notices all the loose-leaf tea displays and decides to give tea a shot.
  6. The red hatter types who just can’t believe we don’t do high tea or have scones (they don’t sell here), but fall in love with the nut breads instead.
  7. The PhD candidates and pre-med students who bring laptops and books and block out the world with a hot cuppa.
  8. The visiting reality show producer who is shocked that we don’t want part of their new series filmed in our store, but wants to try the “one-minute brew” iced tea anyway.
  9. The lawyer from Old Town who drops by to replenish his loose-leaf tea stash, mostly Darjeeling, Yunnan, and traditional green teas.
  10. The baristas from the big coffee chain who come to enjoy the wide variety of tea lattes we offer, made from fresh loose-leaf every time – no bags or sachets!
  11. The high school teacher who drops by after school for his pumpkin bread and iced Classic Black (our own blend of Yunnan and Sri Lankan) as his afternoon pick-me-up after a long day in the classroom.
  12. The San Diego police officer who lives up here and comes in to get his iced jasmine and a cinnamon roll and relax a little before going home.
  13. The rock band guitarist and lead vocalist (and sometime successful grant writer) who loves unsweetened iced Black & Berries and sits at the table creating his sign for the “Occupy Wall Street” rally in town.
  14. The high school senior who stops by on late-start Mondays to get her strawberry-topped Liege Belgian waffle and Vanilla Citrus Rooibos.
  15. The older gentleman who has found that Rooibos has helped him feel a world better than the coffee he’d been drinking for the last 50 years.

There you have it – the profile of the typical tea customer in a nutshell, at least here in our SoCal shop.
All kidding aside, there truly is not a “typical tea customer.”  The statistics are there for those of us who love to read statistics.  But anyone and everyone is a potential customer of businesses who carry the best premium-quality, loose-leaf tea and herbals, know the product intimately, have worked with and can serve it, not only in traditional, but in exciting new ways, and who have the passion to share it with the rest of the world.