Allison DeVane introduced the Teaspressa in Season 7 of Shark Tank. The idea of the product was to create merchandise similar to coffee products but made with tea instead. Teaspressa is a tea blend on par with most premium tea blends. But that’s not all that it is. Teaspressa is a range of tea products that DeVane constructed to parallel those of Starbucks. She made the product since she realized that coffee would allow her to have caffeine, but it also came with diuretic properties that made her thirstier.
Thus, she shifted to tea and tea-like products because she could enjoy caffeine without having to deal with the headaches caused by coffee. The products were something that she made while trying to make tea as fun as coffee. Tea was pretty simple, according to her, and it didn’t lend itself to as many options and methods of brewing as coffee did. However, she had found an alternative by creating different concoctions and concentrations of her tea product.
The idea behind these concentrates was that she wanted to make the same drinks that Starbucks made with coffee, like lattes, cappuccinos, etc. But she wanted to make these products with tea. She even had her equipment and brewing method that she wanted out into the world.
The unique factor about Teaspressa is that it firmly positions itself as a tea brand. DeVane is not trying to be inclusive of all kinds of caffeine. She knows that she wants to focus on expanding the production line into teas and her focus on the tea market is how she manages to differentiate her product.
Allison DeVane’s ambition and plans made her give a pitch in front of the Shark Tank Judges. She told them about the concept and how she wanted greater exposure and an investment of $50K for 10%. She talked about how she would sell her famous concoctions at various farmers’ markets in Phoenix.
DeVane brewed her tea before the judges and handed out her samples. Robert asked her about the business, and she informed them that she wanted to patent the Tea Shot process, but Robert offered that he was still unsure of the product. She also said she intends to copyright both the pot and the tea shots. She also wanted to make a machine to produce the tea shots. Her influx of products and ideas grew to confuse the judges more and more about what the product was.
The Sharks thought it was a tremendous creative venture, but it was not a great product. Allison wanted money to build the website so she could sell her products. However, she started getting overwhelmed by the Sharks’ confusion. None of them saw the point of investing in the development since none of them were sure of the product. Therefore, Allison left the tank empty-handed.
However, the pitch went well for her as Teaspressa is still an active business. It has expanded from just tea brews to luxe sugar cubes, elixirs, and toppings, all of which you can buy on their website.
Our Review of Teaspressa
Teaspressa is a bit of an adventure, and while the Shark Tank pitch didn’t go as expected, there are still pros and cons to the company like those in any.
Pros of Teaspressa
It is a novel idea. There aren’t many companies, if any, that are trying to replicate the same product design as Teaspressa. The products are also entirely holistic. Besides tea concoctions, the product line includes concoctions and other concentrates that can help you get into the tea lifestyle. The idea behind the Teaspressa is also sound. The founder wanted to make Starbucks-like products except with tea. That’s a simple enough concept for many to understand.
DeVane was also able to become the sole proprietor of a shop in Phoenix, Arizona, before she ever made it into Shark Tank, which shows that she did have the business prowess to sell her idea.
Cons of Teaspressa
The cons of Teaspressa are the same ones that the Sharks already listed. It doesn’t have a set audience, and DeVane didn’t have a central product picked out to build her entire product line around. We can appreciate the variety of products. However, the lack of focus quickly made the company seem more chaotic than it was. There was also an influx of ideas about patents and production and design processes, leaving many confused about what they were buying. The lack of commitment to one product was the major con.
Who Is Teaspressa For?
This answer is simple, and one DeVane answered quite a few times in her pitch. Teaspressa is for those who want to get a caffeine kick from tea instead of coffee. Coffee can have extreme side effects on people. It’s common knowledge that coffee has a diuretic effect that makes people who drink it prone to gastric issues that lead to the ‘coffee poops.’ Coffee also has a dehydrating factor that manifests as headaches in many people. For most health nuts, tea is a better alternative than coffee as it doesn’t require as much dairy.
Are There Any Alternatives?
There are many alternatives to Teaspressa, and even more have sprung up after the episode’s initial airing. Many tea companies are coming up with variations of tea blends. Since the episode airing, Starbucks has also introduced its tea concentrate and has its production of different tea drinks that they can offer. A TeaPods company also releases its Teapods for both Nespresso and Keurig machines.
Our Final Thoughts
We think that DeVane had quite the novel idea when the episode aired. In 2014, the world was starting to acknowledge the benefits of tea over coffee. However, the fact that she couldn’t articulate her idea well speaks about why the company couldn’t take advantage of being ahead of the curve. We also commend that despite tanking the pitch, Devane still managed to have a company that expanded to having three storefronts up until 2020. In 2021, she still had one storefront and annual revenue of $1 million.