tea in a coffee shop, mill coffee, tamara sloan, coffee, tea, insights, case study
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The Tea House Times Guest Blog FEATURING COFFEE & TEA INSIGHTS

July 2015 Posts

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Tea in a Coffee House by Tamara Sloan, Mill Coffee & Tea

Saturday, July 11th 2015 @ 1:19 PM

(Part One of a series ~ Coffee & Tea Insights: The Mill Coffee & Tea) - - The Mill Coffee & Tea is the oldest and most successful coffee/tea house in Lincoln, Nebraska.  A bit of our history:  The Mill started in 1975 with a couple of guys who owned a bicycle shop. . . 

They started roasting coffee on cold winter mornings in the back of the shop to generate some winter revenue.  Soon the coffee was drawing quite a following and as the “renaissance guys” that they were, they started offering tea and spices, just like on the classic caravan trade routes.  The idea was that tea and spices were a natural come-along to the gourmet coffee they were roasting.  They even sold mortar and pestles!  The spices eventually went by the wayside and tea limped along as a sideshow, but regardless, they stayed committed to offering numerous loose, and a few pre-bagged, teas.

Fast forward to today:  As coffee shop owners and roasters, we are knowledgeable about coffee – where it comes from, how to brew it, how to drink it. We are willing to have the conversation – allow customers to ask questions, but not made to feel dumb.  A visitor posted a Facebook shout out to us just yesterday that said we are on their list of “favorite places” because we are “respectful of a visitor's potential inexperience, willingness to answer questions thoroughly, and making thoughtful suggestions of items the customer may enjoy... We are truly revolving back to the market mentality where you gain and keep clients via the trust and care you give them. Down with instant coffee and huzzah to places of good coffee/tea & community!” We do the same with tea as we do for coffee.

While not investing in Brown Bettys and trying to be a formal tea house, we have instead focused on the presentation of tea to mesh with the way we present coffee.

It certainly hasn’t been rocket science. It has been a focus on and respect for tea and tea drinkers, while increasing our knowledge about tea and how to talk about it.

We have learned to rely on the tea drinker to know what they want.

So historically, while we have always offered world-class coffees on our shelves and have been able to talk and present them like they deserve, we haven’t been able to do that with tea - until recently. In fact, we really weren’t taking tea seriously for a long time. Not that taking it seriously has to be serving tea like a ladies formal tea house. “Taking tea seriously” to us means having someone who cares about tea. That is where I, as a non-coffee drinker, came into the picture.

My husband, who is a long time partner in the business, and I married about 2 ½ years ago. He has many years of experience and a wealth of knowledge about coffee. I, on the other hand, hate the stuff J, but have consumed tea for many years.  So, finding myself the “co-owner” of a coffee shop, I needed to find my place to fit into our well-established coffee environment. Fortunately, my preference for, and interest in, tea has been a way to do this.  I have enjoyed learning and sharing, as well as becoming the cheerleader for tea in our coffeehouse. What we do best though, is “normalize” the consumption of tea.

Our display of over 60 types of loose teas sits right beside our jars of freshly roasted coffee beans - all for sale by the ounce, the pound and the cup. You can get a cup of coffee, a latte or a tea and they are all on equal footing, both through our customer-barista interaction and presentation. We do not serve tea out of a cup and saucer. We do it more compatible to coffee: world-class tea integrated into every day life just as our customer’s latte is into their every day life. It’s that same idea of “where is my latte or I’m going to die”.  Just like we give a knowing smile when encountering the “coffee-snob” attitude, we also are not the old schoolmarm, must do it properly, kind of tea service.  We feel we have increased the quality and the presentation, but normalized it all and it has just taken off.

 

~ Tamara Sloan ~ The Mill Coffee and Tea, 800 P Street, Lincoln NE 68508

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THIS POST IS SPONSORED AND PROVIDED BY:
The Mill Coffee & Tea - http://www.millcoffee.com
The Mill Coffee & Tea is the oldest and most successful coffee/tea house in Lincoln, Nebraska.  As coffee shop owners and roasters, they are knowledgeable about coffee – where it comes from, how to brew it, how to drink it. Plus, their display of over 60 types of loose teas sits right beside their jars of freshly roasted coffee beans - all for sale by the ounce, the pound and the cup.

~

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COFFEE & TEA INSIGHTS!  An inside look into the tea industry as it intersects with coffee. This feature highlights stories of people already finding success with tea and coffee side-by-side and will additionally feature case studies as they are completed and readied for sharing. Follow along for insights, case studies, success stories, and more.  Share the direct link with others: http://coffeeteainsights.theteahousetimes.com

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