Chinese tech startups might be still leading the news headlines today, but agricultural startups are making their way up. Teasenz, China’s largest cross-border eCommerce store for Chinese teas is one of them.
For a beverage with a history of almost 5000 years, most people can’t imagine that there’s still any potential for innovation and disruption of conventional practices. “Ever since the Chinese began exporting teas to the United Kingdom, the complete supply chain starting from production all the way to the consumer has remained same,” says Sam Lin, managing director at Teasenz.
“The industry situation that we observe worldwide is that the local markets are dominated by a few large importers of tea,” Lin says. He adds: “we often hear from tea lovers in Britain that teas from different local tea shops as well as online stores often tend to taste the same. The reason for this is simply because the sellers don’t have a lot of choice when it comes to places to source from.”
Tea stores and tea lovers looking for the premium teas aren’t able to import direct from China, because the cost for safety compliance testing can be overwhelming. This can easily cost up to a few hundred pounds per type of tea. Teasenz solves this problem by serving many tea stores and consumers at once. In this way the laboratory testing costs are spread over a large amount of buyers. The large shipping volumes also allows the tea startup to ship packages at a 5 USD flat fee delivered locally by Royal Mail.
By cutting out up to 7 intermediaries Teasenz reduces the time to consumers. The current time to consumer is about 3-6 months. Instead, with Teasenz this time is cut to just a few days with express shipping. Moreover, all teas are packed right at the source making sure tea leaves aren’t exposed to humidity and air, something that can cause artisan teas to lose up to 80% of their aroma’s.
The China tea startups also like to be transparent about their teas. “Often times & people compare tea to coffee. They see it as an alternative caffeinated beverage. I like to compare it to a good wine,” says Lin, also noting that all of Teasenz’ teas are single origin teas. In contrast, traditional tea bag teas are the result of blending that keeps the flavour consistent over time.
“Our consumers are really passionate about tea, and they love it for their different flavours as a result
of unique terroir,” says Lin, who’s company might be a tech startup, but it definitely is run like one.