It was a quiet day at Bellevue’s Uwajimaya, but I did my first demonstration of Three Tree Tea’s matcha latte mix.
Customer reception seemed mostly positive, but there are some folks who don’t like matcha, some who don’t like sugar, and some who don’t like milk…We’re not talking about an outrageously sweet drink; it’s not like a typical bubble tea. But there’s a wide range of tolerance for sweetness. Occasionally someone would say it wasn’t sweet enough (which is a more solvable problem: add more sugar)… Tea is a very personal beverage, and everyone responds differently. I’m quite fond of this particular blend, because it’s not too sweet and not too bitter… most of my Japanese friends say “choudo ii” (just right.) But Uwajimaya’s customer base comes from all sorts of regions… Today a Thai customer said that the dragon beard candy wasn’t as sweet as she prefers. Indian, Thai, Indonesian and Vietnamese taste preferences tend to run a little sweeter than Japanese and Korean preferences, and Japanese and Koreans tend to like more sweetness than Chinese customers.
One bit of disaster struck. I started out serving hot matcha lattes, steaming the drink with an espresso machine’s steamer attachment. At some point the power indicator light went out, and I thought maybe the machine overheated and shut itself off. But it never got back to normal… I couldn’t turn it on again.
I improvised. The weather was moderate today, so it was no problem to start serving “iced” lattes… I just used cold milk and shook it up in a plastic pitcher supplied by Masalisa.
The big surprise of the day was that the medium size outsold the smallest “impulse” size. It is a bit cheaper per serving, but that’s quite the opposite experience with the dragon beard candy; I usually sell way more 3–pc. samplers than any other size. I’m happy about that, because the 1/2 lb. size will likely have some more elegant packaging in the future, and if it remains the bestseller, that will be a good coincidence.