Review: The Tea Boutique – supplier of quality, imported teas
Located on the first floor of a recently refurbished, glass-fronted building on Orchid Magu, opposite STO trade centre, The Tea Boutique is a veritable Aladdin’s cave for the tea enthusiast. Hundreds of brightly coloured boxes, tins and caddies line the walls of this airy first floor boutique, each filled with a different exotic tea. Delicate fruit teas, smoky green teas, to earthy Ceylon teas – the shelves are bursting with more premium and speciality blends than anywhere else in the country. Sourcing all of its tea from Sri Lanka, The Tea Boutique prides itself on distributing only the finest leaves.
Although its doors only officially opened in February 2015, the idea of opening a teashop had been a lifelong dream for the company’s chairman, Mr Ahmed Mausoom. With neighbouring Sri Lanka producing some of the world’s most exquisite teas, it made sense to capitalise on the proximity of such a resource. His idea was to provide local shoppers, hotels and food outlets with the country’s largest range of teas to choose from. After years of successfully importing comestible consumer goods, Mr Mausoom manifested his vision in the form of The Tea Boutique.
The company currently imports three superior tea labels; Steuarts, Mlesna, and Eswaran Brothers. Each label has been in the tea business for centuries, each building a reputation for producing high quality leaves and blends. Working with three separate brands allows The Tea Boutique to proffer a real choice of products. The boutique sells everything from a 3-dollar packet of fruit tea right up to a premium white tea, retailing at a little over 40 dollars per pack.
The quality of the leaves isn’t the only thing to get excited about, either. The packaging of some the teas is a delight. The little wooden boxes with colourful fruits emblazoned on the sides, woven leaf baskets and embossed tin caddies that these teas are presented in make them ideal presents. “You’ll see these beautiful boxes in all the local souvenir shops,” Sobah, the company’s marketing manager, explains. “Guests often take the gift packs home as presents for their relatives. They love trying different types and the packaging is so attractively designed.”
Currently, more than 60% of The Tea Boutique’s sales are wholesale purchases. As well as the local souvenir shops, many resorts now serve the boutique’s aromatic offerings in their F&B outlets. Champa resorts, One & Only Reethi Rah and HIH are all now purchasing tea from the store. More locally, upmarket restaurants such as Sala Thai and Salsa Royal are now counted amongst the boutique’s loyal fans.
With only a few months in operation behind them, The Tea Boutique is already looking to the future. “Holding tea tasting sessions is the next step for us,” says Sobah. “At the moment, customers can’t try the teas and there are so many different flavours to choose from that it can be overwhelming.” He believes that holding events where potential clients can enjoy a variety of teas before they elect which flavours to go for will also allow customers to try teas they wouldn’t normally go for.
For further information about The Tea Boutique, drop into 18-19 Orchid Magu and chat with one of their sales advisors.