Review: Teatulia Organic Tea Soda
Covers Products: Black Tea + Pineapple + Peach + Cucumber, Green Tea + Peach + Blackberry + Lime + Cilantro, Lemongrass Tea + Wild Berry + Lime + Lavender, Mint Tea + Hibiscus Lemonade
Teatulia Organic Tea Sodas are a line of organic ready-to-drink sparkling teas that are sweetened with sugar.
To date, Teatulia has been a high-end purveyor of loose leaf tea with a focus on being a purveyor of “garden-to-cup” teas from Bangladesh. Going to an RTD tea “soda” certainly feels like a big change of pace, especially with regards to the role that the quality of the tea plays in it.
As for the flavors, there are four: Mint Tea + Hibiscus Lemonade, Lemongrass Tea + Wild Berry + Lime + Lavender, Green Tea + Peach + Blackberry + Lime + Cilantro, and Black Tea + Pineapple + Peach + Lime + Cucumber. Right off the bat, Teatulia needs a different naming convention as these are too verbose and not memorable to the point where we think a consumer will have a hard time choosing.
Otherwise, the products are quite pleasant tasting and are some of the better sparkling tea products that we’ve tasted. All four are sweetened with fair trade organic cane sugar and have 16-18 grams of sugars (and 70-80 calories) per 12 oz can. The flavors are sweet, but not too sweet, and they are certainly lower in sugar than many soda products. Still, we think think that getting the product down to 50 calories would open the brand to additional consumers.
While we enjoyed all four, there were two that stood out. First, Mint Tea + Hibiscus Lemonade, which is as simple as the flavors come. Second, Black Tea + Pineapple + Peach + Lime + Cucumber, which is a nice riff on the classic combo of black tea and fruit flavor (e.g. peach tea). These two seem like the entry point for consumers trying the brand for the first time. But we reiterate our comment about wanting the names to be more succinct.
We’d largely say the same for the packaging and positioning. The design, which features a modern aesthetic to the front of the can, is eye catching from afar but when examined closely there’s simply too much text. As a result, much of the text, including ingredients and marketing copy, is just too small to read. Honestly, it shouldn’t take as much copy as they’ve used to explain something like a sparkling tea.
Finally, there’s one last thing that we’d point out, which is the product’s positioning as a soda. This, more than anything else, is what we think will hold this product back. Soda is a word that comes with too much baggage and puts the product in a much slower space (premium sugar sweetened CSD) than it could be (premium tea) if it simply recast itself as “sparkling tea.” In addition, we feel as though a product such as this would be much more fitting for a company that has built a reputation as a high-end tea brand.
Overall, Teatulia’s Organic Tea Soda is a good first RTD effort for the company, but we feel as though some refinement, simplification, and repositioning are in order for this brand to realize its full potential.