Erica Moore, a litigation lawyer, has always been passionate about teas and really wanted to rekindle Britain’s love of proper leaf tea. In December 2008 Erica and her husband, Stewart, opened the Eteaket tea room in Frederick Street, Edinburgh, at the same time as launching their online ecommerce shop. In 2012 the Eteaket tea room was awarded ‘4 Cups Excellence and their teas were voted Best Tea in the UK’ at the Beverage Standards Awards - the Michelin stars of the beverage industry. They now also supply a growing number of quality restaurants and cafes with their tea and brewing equipment including many Michelin starred restaurants.
The company, which is being supported by Scottish Development International, has recently started exporting to Japan and are looking to expand into China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
The company wished to expand their range of speciality, blends, flavoured and decaffeinated teas. In particular they wished to develop a new range of leaf tea bags. As part of this new product launch they wished to identify and understand the antioxidant and caffeine levels in their range of teas to enable them to provide relevant information on their packaging and in their online shop. This will enable the company to promote the health benefits of their products and differentiate themselves from their competitors.
Researchers at Queen Margaret University have extensive experience in assessing the antioxidant content of a wide variety of food and drink products including undertaking a number of studies assessing the nutritional and health benefits of antioxidant rich drinks. In addition a number of studies have been conducted specifically detailing the effects of consumption of green tea and caffeine containing drinks on biomedical markers. As a result of this Queen Margaret University was chosen as the academic partner to assist Eteaket with development of their range of teas. The aim of the project was to help the company expand its range of specialty teas by providing antioxidant and caffeine analysis on their product range. Investigations were carried out on 30 samples and information provided on the antioxidant and total phenolic content of their teas and caffeine levels.
Queen Margaret University was able to facilitate Eteaket’s goal to identify and understand the antioxidant and caffeine levels in their tea. The University provided scientific evaluation of the antioxidant, total polyphenol and caffeine profile of their product range. The company is in the process of incorporating the resulting information into their new packaging design, and on their website, giving their customers clear, visual information. This is particularly important for the export market. Not many of their competitors currently provide caffeine levels on their products and it is thought that in particular the antioxidant content appears rarely, if at all, whereas the health benefits of antioxidants in the diet has been well publicised. It is also planned, in due course, that the information obtained from this project will be incorporated into the customer information on their loose tea packaging.
Dr Mary Warnock Senior Lecturer in Dietetics, Nutrition and Biological Sciences, QMU
“According to the UK Tea Council, an excess of 150 million cups of tea are drunk in the UK on a daily basis. Investigating the caffeine, polyphenol and antioxidant properties of the wide variety of teas provided by Eteaket greatly enhanced our knowledge of this beverage in its many forms. There is a growing body of research providing evidence to tea’s many healthy properties and our work has gone some way to adding to this.”
The client was delighted with the collaboration with Queen Margaret University:
“The research has had a positive impact on Eteaket tea because we can now talk specifically about caffeine and antioxidant levels in our teas which helps our customers know what they are purchasing. It has also helped to boost our profile as leaf tea experts which in turns increases sales (both in the UK and globally). We are currently implementing a caffeine and antioxidant ‘teacup’ scale on our ecommerce website and marketing materials. Everyone involved really got behind the research and I’m sure it will have a positive impact on sales for a long time to come.”
Erica Moore, Managing Director, Eteaket
The impact of the research from an academic perspective:
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