Trusted by specialty coffee bars across the globe; these are our fundamentals of masterful tea service.


Selection and Menu Building

Well-planned menus are the backbone of effective tea programs. The offerings should be trim and balanced, featuring classic tea categories that your clientele will recognize.

Hugo Tea programs are collaborative; we'll get to know your shop, build a tea program to-suit, and provide ongoing support in the form of printed tea lists, live and virtual trainings, and first dibs on new teas.

Training and Cupping

Establishing a training standard for baristas is key to consistent tea service. We insist on training with all our wholesale partners; each session is tailored by Hugo's education team to meet the needs of your shop and the coffee professionals who make it work. What you leave with is a timeless model for in-house training.

Cupping in particular is crucial to developing the rich understanding of tea preparation that defines a masterful program. Cup teas with your team as regularly as coffee—and with your tea provider at least once per year to ensure a high quality standard.

Storage

Proper storage is the most overlooked aspect of tea programs everywhere. It can be the difference between lackluster teas and fresh, consistent stock that shop-goers rely on.

The principles of masterful tea storage:
- Store away from light, heat, and odor.
- Refrigerate matcha (and all green teas when possible).
- Prioritize ergonomics (make teas easy to find and use) and shelf space economy.
- Store tea beautifully and prominently.

We built MIYABI to satisfy these requirements—and for wholesale partners, they're free (less shipping).

Pre-dosing

Essential enough to warrant its own section, pre-dosing is perhaps the best way to improve a tea program instantly. For busy coffee bars especially, pre-dosing is essential.

Dose tea leaves ahead of time (like coffee beans for grinding) to maintain consistency and facilitate bar flow.

- Use a precision scale.
- Store doses in small, airtight jars.
- Keep 4-5 servings of each menu item pre-dosed at all times.

Service Mechanics

Whether it's gongfu service in a 4th wave slow bar or sachets to-go from a drive thru, all tea service relies on the same basic mechanics. No matter your service style, what distinguishes a good tea program from a great one are the details:

| Have a plan for each version of customer. Decide whether loose teas, sachets, or a combination makes sense in your space—then stick with a service model for to-go and for-here customers. We'll help you choose!

| Rotate teas every so often. Maintaining recognizable tea categories (black, green, herbal) is crucial, but the specific teas on offer within those categories should be subject to change with the seasons and what we're sourcing lately.

| Use tools that encourage accuracy and lend themselves to high level tea service—variable temp kettles, quality glassware, functional storage.

No one service model is intrinsically superior; what's best is what's best for your shop, and we'll puzzle that out together.

cleanup and waste management

Tea leaves are compostable. With a typical pH level of 3-4, spent leaves are perfect for raising the acidity of soil. Collect used leaves in a sealed container and offer to local growers or community gardens.

While the compostability of tisanes is highly variable, in general used plant material also has a pH of 3-4. The spices we use to brew our chai concentrate are collected by a local farmer each week.



We're On-Call

Real-time support for your tea program is available 7 days a week. Request pricing, schedule a live or virtual training, or ask about any and all things tea.

This contact form goes directly to Hugo's owner. We'll get back to you within the day.