Investors reacted positively to Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. (NASDAQ:GMCR)‘ K-Cup deal with Unilever N.V. (ADR) (NYSE:UL)’s venerated Lipton tea brand. The only problem is that it’s ridiculous. Since when is making a cup of hot tea the old-fashioned way that hard?
Single-serve coffee makes perfect sense. It’s easier to churn out one cup of coffee instead of grinding beans, measuring amounts, and making a whole pot that may go to waste. It’s perfect for people who need just one cup to go in the morning, or those whose family’s coffee tastes differ; it’s a great way to deal with various opinions on, say, hazelnut. For the latter reason, it makes total sense in the office, too.
However, the problem with Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. (NASDAQ:GMCR)’s Lipton deal is that unless you’re talking about the more languid tradition of brewing a pot using loose tea, hot tea has pretty much been a single-serve beverage for ages.
Tea bags have been around for more than a century, with patents showing up around in the early 1900s. Lipton formed thereafter, and sources say Lipton’s then-innovative “Flo-Thru” tea bag hit the market in the 1950s.
The real-world truth is that brewing tea in tea bags is already convenient. It simply consists of boiling water and putting a tea bag in a cup of hot water. (Some even reuse the tea bag again, another money-saving attribute you won’t get with a K-Cup or other single-serve pod.)