What is in this article?:
- Portola Coffee owners to launch tea bar concept
- Growing tea culture in the U.S.
Seventh Tea Bar will use unique brewing methods to serve teas from around the world
The owners of the high-end Portola Coffee brand are planning to launch a new tea bar concept in early December that they hope to grow as a chain.
Named for the Chinese belief that tea is the seventh of seven necessities, Seventh Tea Bar is a new concept developed by Jeff and Christa Duggan, coffee roasters who opened the craft coffee bar Portola last year in Costa Mesa, Calif. A second Portola is in the works, but the Duggans are also adding the tea bar concept next door to their original coffeehouse.
Jeff Duggan described Portola a part of the “third-wave coffee culture,” with beans roasted in-house, thoughtful sourcing of small-batch and exotic coffees, and each cup brewed to order. Attached to Portola is a six-seat, reservation-only “slow bar” called Theorem, where guests can experience a high-concept “creative coffee” tasting menu that Jeff Duggan described as “like a craft cocktail bar without alcohol.”
At Seventh Tea Bar, the plan is to do for tea what Portola does for coffee: offer a cutting-edge experience, where those with a passion for tea can taste new products and unique brewing methods.
“Tea has such a rich history going back centuries, much longer than coffee,” said Jeff Duggan. While Seventh Tea Bar will make reference to the various traditions, and the spiritual and ceremonial aspects to tea, the goal is simply to “cater to those who want something amazing in a cup."
The menu at Seventh will focus on non-blended teas from around the world, both hot and cold, and a lineup of beverages made from those teas, served in a “Victorian punk” setting, said Duggan. Iced teas, for example, will be brewed into kegs and served on tap.
Beverages will be the primary focus at Seventh, with some sales of loose-leaf teas for home brewing. A tea-friendly menu of food will also be available, though the company is expecting only about 15 percent of sales to come from food.
Pricing has yet to be determined, but Duggan said, “We’re not going to be the cheapest, but we’re not going to be the most expensive either.”
At Portola, coffee beverages range from $3.50 for a siphon brew to $7 for a more exotic offering, but the average is about $4, he said. Pricing for tea, however, can vary more broadly, and Seventh will aim for a mix of more affordable entry points with premium products.