The company, owned by David Elghanayan, opened its first site in Marylebone in 2013 and has become a popular haunt for locals, business development manager Antonia Hylten-Cavallius told BigHospitality.
The second Amanzi Tea site will open in Soho’s Brewer Street in August where it will bring its 150 loose leaf teas and ‘creative tea blends’ – from chai lattes and Taiwanese bubble teas to iced tea cocktails and green tea frappes – to a new customer base.
Hylten-Cavallius said the company had identified a gap in the market for a concept that showcased the versatility of tea and offered an alternative to coffee.
“We have very exciting expansion plans for the UK market. We see a gap in the market to develop the brand and Marylebone has given us a chance to see how it would work,” she said.
“People really, really love what we do. Generally people drink two types of tea in the UK – standard builders and Earl Grey – but there are so many different varieties out there. We have 150 blends of loose leaf tea and are enjoying educating our customers about the differences.”
Following the launch of the Soho site, which will serve sandwiches and snacks as well as the cakes and pastries offered at Marylebone, Amanzi Tea plans to open a third site this year.
“We’re planning to open another two or three next year if all goes well,” said Hylten-Cavallius. “Our aim is to have 10 shops nationally before then expanding internationally.”
Hylten-Cavallius said although the aim was to build Amanzi Tea into a recognised brand, each store would have its own identity.
“We don’t want to be a cookie cutter brand. We want to have a more independent feel and will tailor our shops to the area we are in, so our Soho site will have a different look and atmosphere to our Marylebone store. We have a beautiful tea wall in our Marylebone store, but we’ll adapt that to make it a bit cooler for Soho. “
Hylten-Cavallius agreed with Camellia’s Tea House co-founder Ajit Madan that there was an opportunity for operators specialising in tea to regain some of the market share from coffee shops over the next few years.
“People are starting to care more about what they consume and put into their bodies and are selecting things that are good for them,” she said. “The potential for tea is huge right now.”