LOS ANGELES — Tea Drops, the maker of bagless tea blends, is expanding into hundreds of Sprouts Farmers Market, Walmart and Target stores across the country as consumer demand for at-home cafe experiences continues to gain steam. The brand markets an assortment of whole-leaf tea pressed into single-serving shapes that dissolve in water.
“There is a big movement happening in the at-home cafe category, and we’re excited to be first movers here,” said Sashee Chandran, founder and chief executive officer of Tea Drops.
Among the eight items launching at Sprouts nationwide is an exclusive strawberry matcha honey boba kit, which includes Tea Drops’ strawberry matcha tea blend packaged with honey boba packets and biodegradable straws.
“We’ve reimagined the traditional matcha bubble tea, offering Sprouts’ customers our take on this cherished favorite,” Ms. Chandran said. “Our ethos of customization and premium ingredients remains unwavering, woven into an accessible at-home bubble tea experience.”
Also rolling out to Sprouts shelves are citrus ginger, matcha green tea and turmeric tea blends. Additional offerings include four latte kits — ube, matcha, chai spice and Thai tea — bundled with sweetened condensed milk packets produced by Copper Cow Coffee. Each kit has three servings.
“We are thrilled about joining forces with Sprouts,” Ms. Chandran said. “Our focus is on introducing fresh innovation to the Sprouts customer, reshaping their tea aisle experience.
“With our launch, Sprouts’ guests gain access to more than just ordinary tea choices. They now have the option of indulging in cafe-quality tea beverages, crafted swiftly in their homes — from delicious bubble teas to creamy and cozy lattes.”
At 1,500 Walmart stores, Tea Drops is debuting an exclusive vanilla bean latte kit and strawberry matcha latte kit, alongside its ube and chai spice latte kits. The brand also has broadened an existing partnership with Target Corp., expanding its matcha bubble tea kit and ube latte kit to an additional 1,000 stores following a limited launch earlier this year.
“The bubble tea market isn’t known for premium ingredients, and so it was important for us to deliver high-quality tea ingredients and versatility in how the consumer enjoys their tea, with or without milk,” Ms. Chandran said. “Quality ingredients and customization aligns with our brand ethos, and our kits are designed to exceed the tea experiences available at boba tea cafes.”Tea Drops uses organic and fair-trade ingredients in its blends. Ms. Chandran created the concept in her home kitchen about a decade ago as part of a personal mission to eliminate the tradeoffs of traditional tea. She preferred the flavor and aroma of loose-leaf tea, but a demanding corporate job provided little time to properly steep and enjoy a cup. Bagged styles, meanwhile, lacked taste and created waste, she found. She patented and launched Tea Drops eight years ago.
Enjoying this content? Learn about more disruptive startups on the Food Entrepreneur page.