1. How did you start a tea shop? Was it out of love for the product, a market view?
Well, I have always been a tea drinker and I hate coffee products. Since in 2014 I had to decide what work or business I could run, then I did choose the tea market as I got some good experiences with other tea merchants.
2. Slowly, people are becoming more aware of high-quality tea in Finland, especially the "Millenials". What can be done to make people more interested?
I believe that young people need more information and especially nice experiences in tea tasting. That means that we can arrange tea events in my shop as soon as it is possible again.
3. Finns are mostly linked with coffee, so how is tea perceived for massive coffee drinkers? Do you see people changing more often, from coffee to tea?
People who have been drinking coffee for many years might have some health reasons to try something else. They might have some difficulties getting to sleep at night. Then they want to get to know the benefits of tea in general. Many coffee drinkers are also interested in tea with special spices like fruits and flowers.
4. Finland is seen as a growing market, with more imports of products. Where is mostly organic and single-origin tea coming from?
Organic and fair-trade tea comes mainly from India and Africa. Some organic tea is also grown in China too. Taiwan produces many nice organic oolongs. In Japan, they mostly produce traditional tea and not organic or fair-trade tea. Fortunately, I have managed to find good contacts to buy organic tea from Japan.
5. Is there a tea Finns like the most? Are people becoming more adventurous, trying new flavors?
Yes, Finns like to try and taste nowadays more different drinks and tea. This is especially for young people. We sell almost as much green tea as black tea. Many are also interested in white tea and puerh tea from Yunnan or oolongs from Taiwan.
6. How important are sustainable and fair trade labels for Finnish buyers? Are consumers more aware of this ethical side of tea?
In some surveys, they did discover that about one-half of tea consumers like to buy ethically produced tea instead of traditional tea. Then the market is quite small. Only in the Old Tea Shop can choose ethical tea from a wide range of tea. Other tea shops provide only 10 per cent up to 20 per cent organic tea.
7. With the growth of wellness and organic trends, consumers are looking for products aiding sleep, relaxation and wellbeing. Do you think tea and herbal infusions are big players for these trends?
Finns respect a lot of nature. In Finland, we still have a special relationship with our beautiful nature. This is almost the same as aboriginals in Australia or Indians in America. Then organic and purified products are closer to nature than traditional tea which is produced by the exploitation of nature in Asia.
Photo: Old Tea Shop Facebook