Pique Tea’s triple win at Global Tea Championships shows instant mixes can be high quality
“Pique has always been about trying to unlock the benefits of tea for everyone by making a super potent, super simple product” that dissolves in hot or cold water without needing the time and tools for brewing, “but without compromising on any quality parameter – especially taste, flavor, potency and authenticity,” said Simon Cheng, who co-founded Pique with his wife Amanda Wee.
He explained that while the young company found a way to do this with its proprietary cold brew crystallization process that extracts the active ingredients in teas and plants and preserves them in an easily dissolvable form, the company struggled to overcome the negative stigma that instant tea has in the US.
“So, having the certification and endorsement of judges who cup hundreds of different teas in a blind test means a heck of a lot to us because our tea masters and tea farmers and everyone has worked really hard to blend and extract the highest quality tea out there and make a product that is also convenient,” Cheng said.
Because of this extra effort and the negative rap of instant tea the company constantly must overcome, Cheng added, “Getting three gold awards is a much bigger deal to us than it might be to other people because it is the one thing we always talked about, but now there are medals to show it.”
The winning teas include the company’s Jasmine and Sencha Japanese Green Tea, which Cheng says are perennial favorites among customers, and the company’s recently launched first caffeine-free herbal tea, Hibiscus Mint, which he noted offers gut health and immunity boosting properties.
While the medals could boost the profile the young company, which first launched its products into brick and mortar stores in mid-2016, they weren’t necessary for convincing many of the top-tier retailers in the natural segment to take on the brand.
Since the brand first launched in brick and mortar stores in mid-2016, the company has secured distribution in 1,500 stores nationwide, including five Whole Foods Market territories, Sprouts, HEB and Wegmans stores, Cheng said.
“Pique has really become or is becoming actively known as a tea that delivers this new innovation of combined potency and simplicity, and we … did accomplished that breakthrough with our artisanal handcrafted approach and working with the best tea masters, the best tea blenders and really achieved gold medal worthy blends just based on traditional tea making,” and not short-cuts such as adding artificial flavors, Cheng said.