Strategic advice for the food and beverage industry

Cheese does go with everything…meet cheese tea

Image courtesy of Little Fluffy Head Cafe

Bubble tea had better move aside or step up its game, because there’s a new drink trend in town: cheese tea.

According to Condé Nast Traveler, the concept originated in the street stalls of Taiwan in 2010 and has spread to China and Malaysia. The trend has been on the rise for a few years in Asia and recently made its way to the US. In Little Fluffy Head café in Los Angeles it’s being sold for $6 to $7 a pop (see picture, from left to right: Chedd-Cha, Boba Milk Tea, Fluffy Green Tea, Dirty Mess, Fluffy Oolong Tea), and in Happy Lemon café in New York it’s going for a lower price of $4.

It’s not uncommon to add milk or tapioca to your tea, but cheese tea is something else. No, it’s not a slice of cheddar floating atop your jasmine tea. The basic recipe that originated in Taiwan uses cheese powder, but tea shop HEYTEA in China replaced powdered cheese with New Zealand cheese and cream when it opened in 2012. Cheese tea is any milk, fruit or green tea topped with frothy cream cheese which makes it one of the most Instagrammable drink nowadays. Just a quick search on Instagram will bring up thousands of photos and already 150 posts just in the past week on Twitter.

Who’d buy it? Everyone who’d be intrigued by food novelty, but the largest group would probably be the Millennials. Cheese tea has become extremely popular on social media, so naturally any millennial would be tempted to try it.

Opinions are mixed, but mostly positive. The beverage has been described as resembling a macchiato in form and a refreshing tea milkshake in taste.

Will cheese tea shops be the next big thing? It’s a little too early to tell right now, but it’s certainly not lacking popularity. Tea shop HEYTEA in China already has queues of a few hours for the drink. And if we’ve learned anything from 3D latte art, it’s that if a food trend is photogenic, it will eventually go global.


Posted in Editorial, Mainsite

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