Likkle Tea expands through Island Coffees

BY ALEXIS MONTEITH
Observer writer

Sunday, August 11, 2019

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The Likkle Tea brand of blended loose leaf teas and tisanes (herbal teas) created by 29-year-old entrepreneur Patrique Goodall will now be available through Island Coffees Cafe at Devon House in Kingston.

This new development represents a quantum leap forward in the marketing of the product because previously it was only available through the Likkle Tea website online and at outlets in Negril.

“It will be my second outlet and first to the Jamaican public in the Corporate Area;” Goodall revealed. “My first outlet for merchandise was at the Hedonism II gift shop in Negril, and the first place that served Likkle Tea was Wine With Me, which is also in Negril.”

Mitoya Hastings, manager of the Devon House branch of Island Coffees Cafe, says the collaboration at Devon House is just the beginning.

“It is starting out at the Devon House location and we should be up and running by this week,” she explained. “Then we are eventually going to our Victoria Pier and Ocho Rios locations as well.”

Goodall expressed that local consumers and fans of Likkle Tea will be elated at its increased availability.

“It will now be so much easier for a lot of our customers where they can just swing by the location, get their tea, pay and go rather than go on line, ordering it and waiting two to three business days to have it delivered to them,” Goodall added. “This is a game-changer for Likkle Tea.”

Despite limited access to the products, consumers have already bought over 2500 units of Likkle Tea since July 2017 when production started.

Products of Likkle Tea include green, black and oolong tea beverages with names such as Blue Skies & Green Fields; Lady Grey, Morning Glory, and Coconutty Escape, to name a few. And then there are tisanes such as Coconut Chai, Starry Night, Spicy Turmeric chai, and Pink Shade Of Lemonade.

The brand has also been a hit at pop-up and special events where it has been featured and sold, such as the launch of Likkle Tea's new summer blends at the Toyota Jamaica coffee house in July. On that particular occasion, the products were sold out by the end of the event.

Greater access to the market through Island Coffees Cafe and satisfying consumer demand will mean increased production but Goodall says this will not affect the handmade artisanal quality of Likkle Tea as she will still be producing the teas and tisanes herself.

“It is not more work,” she explained. “It is just about getting more quantities but it is one process. So rather than doing two pounds I can do six pounds and it will take me the same amount of time.”

She has hired one new staff member to assist with production, who is now undergoing the training necessary to maintain the high standards of tea-making that Likkle Tea is known for.

The collaboration with Island Coffees Cafe will not just allow Goodall to produce more tea but provide her with much-needed additional storage space.

“Because I have a small outfit, I do the teas from home and I do not do very large quantities and have them sitting down,” she said. “What I can do now is make more teas because I have somewhere to put them and store them.”

Island Coffees Cafe also stands to benefit from the arrangement and manager Mitoya Hastings is just as excited as Goodall.

“I do have a lot of customers who love tea and drink tea and request tea, so we're happy that we can carry a line that is actually Jamaican,” she enthused. “We really like to support local brands and I just admire her work ethic, putting together her own brand and it is unique. I don't think anybody else in Jamaica is doing tea the way she does it.”

“I have gotten requests for loose leaf tea in the past,” the manager continued. “So, for me it's also about tapping into her market because she has a good following of Jamaicans and people who really appreciate loose leaf tea. I have the opportunity to expose the company to that new market.”

Island Coffees Cafe will not just be serving tea to its customers, but also selling the merchandise, which will include all the various blends of teas and tisanes as well as Likkle Tea's special brand of naturally infused honey, Likkle Honey.

Goodall describes Likkle Honey as “the perfect pair for your tea” and it comes in flavours such as vanilla, lavender, cinnamon spice, scotch bonnet, and citrus peel, among others. The honey can also work well as a glaze or as salad dressing.

Guests who consume Likkle Tea at Island Coffees Cafe will be able to delight in service that involves the unique preparation and presentation of the tea that is characteristic of Goodall's brand.

“I think the reason that I am excited is because for us, how we are unique, is that we specialise in a 'pour over' service in terms of our coffee and in a way that goes well with her tea because its preparation in itself is an experience,” the cafe manager said. “You see the tea, and the leaves floating around and all of that, so it pairs really well with us.”

Goodall conducted training exercises with Hastings' staff of baristas (employees trained in preparing and serving espresso-based coffee drinks) on the proper way of brewing and serving tea. Consumers will be able to see that they are experiencing a quality product.

“I did the training as well and learned so much about tea,” Hastings revealed.

Goodall said the help she will get from Island Coffees Cafe with the marketing and distribution of her products will allow her time to work on the next phase of Likkle Tea's development. She doesn't want to say too much about it at this time, but revealed she is in the process of developing a new line of ready to drink teas, including kombucha, a fermented tea drink filled with probiotics. These new products will be primarily for export.

Up until this point, Goodall's entrepreneurial adventure has been taxing in terms of the work she has been doing mostly by herself, but rewarding in terms of results and feedback from consumers.

Her motivation, she says, has been “being able to share the joy with other people because tea for me is therapy”.

As she expands her business, widens her distribution network and creates new products, more people will be able to discover the unique experience of her blended, loose leaf teas. She insists that new partners and staff, as well as increased production, won't take anything away from the deeply personal experience she seeks to pass on to the customer.

If you doubt her resolve, one of the upcoming activities on her schedule may convince you otherwise.

“I'm going to be working on a tea therapy session with some underprivileged young ladies in a few weeks,” she revealed. “We're going to be exposing them to the therapeutic benefits of tea.”


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