Power of I 2019

‘Tea’pping point

With its gourmet offerings, Teabox has moved the modest chai much beyond mass produced and machine tea

Deepak G Pawar

It is easy to feel like a kid in a candy store when one visits the Teabox outlet at Mumbai airport. Prominently located inside Terminal 2, the 250 square feet oval-shaped store is as well thought out as the tea and the tea accessories it retails. Inside the plush store, exotic Silver Needle White Tea shares space with the humble Bombay Cutting chai, as the pure green and black teas sit cosily with blended delights such as Rum and Raisin and Himalayan Wine. There is also the Kashmiri Kahwa and the Oolong Tea, which can be sampled by anyone interested in the classics. An eclectic mix of tea warmers, kettles, infusers and tea sets are also on display, luring the connoisseur and the experimentalist equally. 

Kausshal Dugarr, founder of Teabox, says they welcome both. “We look at tea as not just another beverage, but as high-end wine. Every tea sold at Teabox has got distinct notes and flavours,” says Dugarr, CEO of the premium global tea brand. The store is a recent addition to Teabox’s offline presence; its other store is at Bengaluru airport.

Since 2012, when the company started its journey as Darjeeling Teaxpress, it has been catering to tea aficionados across the world. The brand currently supplies to over 117 countries, including the US, Russia, UK, Canada and Australia. Over 70% of its revenue comes from international markets, where it competes with local brands such as Vahdam Teas and Anandini Himalaya Tea, and international ones such as Adagio Teas, Tealish and Grey’s Teas. Teabox’s brews (200 SKUs) don’t come cheap — priced between Rs.5,000/kg to a whopping Rs.200,000/kg — but the buyers don’t seem to mind. The start-up receives 8,000 orders a month and around 60% of its customers come back for more. According to the latest corporate filings by the company, it clocked Rs.164 million in revenue in FY18, a 20% increase over the previous year. 

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