TEN QUESTIONS: CHRISTIAN AND LYNN HAZLEWOOD, THE ENGLISH TEAROOM, STUTTGART
Good news for fans of a cuppa – tea is more popular than ever. People are beginning to think of tea with the same reverence as coffee or wine, savouring its many varieties. Get to know Lynn and Christian Hazlewood, two experts on the perfect brew, and their »English Tearoom« in der Weißenburgstraße 29 in Stuttgart.
How did you start your company in Stuttgart? I started the company alone and with a small selection of high-end teas in order to gauge the public’s response to a superior quality than they were hither to used to.
What’s the most fun about being a tea trader? Both my wife and I love first and foremost the contact we have with our wonderful customers. We also get the chance to the regularly visit beautiful countries where tea grows and get to know first hand the people who spend their lives making this amazing gift from nature.
The range of your choice of teas is large – which types are best selling? Do you focus on certain types? The best selling teas are our own blends (Earl Grey, English Breakfast, Afternoon tea etc.) and Chinese green teas. My personal area of expertise is British Legacy teas (Indian and Ceylon) and Lynn‘s is more Oolongs and Japanese green teas but we both love all sorts of tea.
What kind of questions do your customers typically ask? Where is their biggest need for advice? Our challenge in the shop is to find the right tea for the right customer. We enjoy spending time trying to find the perfect match by asking the right questions and trying various teas. The biggest need for advice tends to be the temperatures at which different teas are infused and how to make multiple infusions.
You being tea experts: What do you think about trends like cocktails with tea and cooking with tea? I think generally that anything that gets people interested in tea is a good thing. In the Middle East, where the Millennial generation tend to drink less alcohol they make Mocktails with iced tea. Also, there are many similarities between tea and wine, not just cooking with tea but also food pairing.
Do sales of white and green tea, or herbal teas/tisanes in particular, continue to rise? We are constantly striving to improve the quality of the teas and the herbal tisanes we sell and through our efforts are seeing a growth in sales. The production amounts of many of the teas we sell is very limited and so our business model is unsuited for selling huge volumes. Tea in general is booming though. People are catching on to the health benefits.
How do you keep up to date with the latest information, trends and know how about tea? We have friends around the world who are involved in the tea business who we keep in close touch with and visit whenever possible. We also follow tea related blogs and subscribe to the best tea related publications.
You’re abroad very often to get to know tea plantations. What was the last region you visited and what did you discover? We visited Sri Lanka in January and discovered a really amazing high grown tea (similar to a first flush Darjeeling), with wonderful hints of lemon and it blew our socks off. It always gives us such a thrill to find a new tea for our shop, especially one that is not known in Germany (or even Europe).
From time to time you offer tea tastings in your tea school. What’s the challenge to teach about high quality tea? One of the major challenges when doing a tea tasting is getting participants to the point where they can recognise the subtlety of tea. In a world in which we are constantly bombarded with sugar, salt and flavour enhancers, it can be a challenge.
What do you do / what are your interests besides work / when your business doesn’t preoccupy you? I must admit that we both live and breathe the business but we do have a dog and she brings a bit of balance to our lives.