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New-Style Chinese Tea Houses on the Rise in Chongqing

By Dai Yuan|Nov 09,2023

Chongqing - At Chongqing's Ecool fashion block in Liangjiang New Area, a vibrant and recreational atmosphere envelops Tea Tales, a popular tea house. Indoors and outdoors, customers gather to savor tea, engage in conversations, and capture moments to share on social media. This scene is a microcosm of the burgeoning fascination with Chinese tea culture in China.

Tea Tales employs high-voltage steam extraction for all their teas. (Photo/Dai Yuan)

According to the 2023 New Tea-based Drink Research Report released by the China Chain Store & Franchise Association, the number of new tea-based drink establishments in China reached about 515,000 as of August 31, 2023, marking a 36% increase compared to the end of 2020. The annual market consumption is poised to reach 149.8 billion yuan (about 20.46 billion U.S. dollars).

These new-style Chinese tea-based drinks are known for their innovative preparation techniques, diverse flavors, and modern presentation, attracting a broad audience, particularly young consumers eager to explore Chinese tea culture.

Yang Chenhao, who established Tea Tales in 2019, categorizes the new-style Chinese tea-based drink market into two segments: tea drinks and tea houses. Prominent chain tea drink brands like Naixue and Chagee are expanding their presence, while tea houses like Tea Tales have emerged as a fresh trend with promising opportunities. "The key distinction between new-style tea houses and traditional tea drink brands is the ambiance and social aspect," Yang offers his perspective.

Tea Tales's design incorporates abundant wooden elements, blending traditional Chinese tea house aesthetics with fashionable design elements. It has earned the distinction of being the top-rated environment in the district by Dianping, a popular Chinese rating application.

The design of Tea Tales blends traditional Chinese tea house aesthetics with fashionable design elements. (Photo/Dai Yuan)

Ms. Zeng, a regular at Tea Tales, emphasizes the importance of the ambiance when choosing a tea house for her social gathering with friends. The tea flavor is also a crucial factor for her.

Unlike the traditional Chinese tea brewing method, Tea Tales employs high-voltage steam extraction for all their teas, ensuring a high-quality and healthy taste. The menu includes an array of offerings, such as delicate teapot brewing sets, delectable desserts, fruit teas, and bubble teas. The tea house is designed with functional partitions to cater to various needs, allowing visitors to find private spaces for work, social gatherings, alone time, or even group meetings.

The social aspect plays a pivotal role in the success of a tea house. To engage and retain customers, Tea Tales places a strong emphasis on customer feedback and preferences. They actively involve customers in the tea selection process and share the journey of discovering new teas that resonate with their clientele. Membership gatherings are organized to promote Chinese tea and its cultural significance.  

In the era of social media, Tea Tales recognizes the importance of effective marketing to attract consumers. Yang highlights the need for improved marketing strategies, including cost reduction and enhanced efficiency.

Tea lovers enjoy outdoor drinking on sunny days. (Photo/Dai Yuan)

With three Tea Tales stores already thriving in Chongqing, Yang is optimistic about the growth of the new-style Chinese tea house sector in the post-epidemic era and is dedicated to raising awareness of this home-grown brand among more people.


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