DavidTeaShopI’m always on the lookout for new tea blends – encountering a new tea blend piques my curiosity.  A few months ago, when I was in San Francisco attending the Fancy Food Show, I visited a mall and noticed a small demo stand providing samples of David’s Tea.  From its bright turquoise logo to its young, chipper demo girls, I knew that this was going to be interesting.  Based on the long line of eager consumers waiting for a taste, it was clear others were just as interested.  Imagine my surprise when I discovered that they also had a retail store in the mall.  

I’m not the biggest fan of flavored tea, but when I looked through David’s Tea’s extensive list of tea blends, I realized that was their specialty.  They have the typical classics, like Earl Grey and English Breakfast, but they also carry some concoctions that makes one wonder, “Where is the actual tea?”  One “blend” even included popcorn.  Then it became clear to me.  Looking around their clean, somewhat minimalist store design, their bright colors and cheerful and calming ambiance, and especially their way of presenting teas, it was obvious that this brand was trying to be the next Starbucks.  Oh, and did I mention that their teas are all loose leaf?  With beautiful, almost artistic images of their teas that have names like “Fantasy Island,” “Bamboozled,” and “Countess of Seville,” David’s Tea is marketing to a new niche market of tea drinkers.  Just as Starbucks changed how people view and are willing to pay for coffee, David’s Tea seems to be attempting the same model.  And it looks to be working.  

David’s Tea is barely five years old and it’s taking the U.S. by storm.  The company was founded in 2008 by a young, 30-something Canadian, David Segal, and his cousin, Herschel Segal.  They realized a new shift toward and “awakening” to tea.  According to David, “Tea had a stodgy reputation.  It was either very British or Asian. We made it North American and Modern.”  The result is very similar to Starbucks.  In New York City alone, there are four retail stores and I expect to see more by the end of the year.  It’s even becoming somewhat of a tourist attraction for bloggers like this Massachusetts student, who states, “If you are an extreme tea-lover who wants high-quality tea for a reasonable price, David’s is the place to be.”

While I am not a fan of their teas (maybe it’s my English side that prefers regular ol’ Earl Grey), I can appreciate what they are doing for the tea industry.  They are bringing a new energy to tea and most specifically to loose-leaf tea.   However, could they disrupt the industry to where the younger/next generation of tea drinkers prefers a “Copabanana” to a nice cuppa Darjeeling?  I’m very curious to see how the brand will expand and what its impact will be on next generation of tea drinkers.  Seeing as how T Ching is a community of tea lovers and experts, what are your thoughts on David’s Tea?