I am someone who drinks at least two cups of coffee a day. But tea is usually my preference for winding down at night, so I would look for common floral teas like chamomile, lavender, etc.
Another form of caffeine-free teas was recently revealed to me: fruit teas. A small company that produces them that recently caught my eye is The Bavaria.
It creates and sells freeze-dried fruit flower teas with interesting flavors that add a twist to popular options on the market.
Bavaria’s story began with two computer scientists, Kenny Tan and Liaw Chee Quan. Ditching RM15,000 salary IT job offers in Australia, they opted to return to their home country of Malaysia in favor of IT entrepreneurship.
But Kenny noticed Liaw’s disinterest in the field. Instead, Liaw preferred to pursue something in the F&B world and he was a foodie, to boot.
Unsure of what products to create, Kenny suggested starting the business with healthy teas as Liaw suffered from insomnia due to his caffeine addiction while at work.
They agreed to do just that, and for R&D, Liaw switched to replacing her caffeine intake with fruit and flower teas, reducing her coffee intake.
“However, none of them could satisfy both taste and nutrition. [They’re] either bland with nutrients or good but with too many artificial flavors,” the team told Vulcan Post.
They brought together a few friends, Khaw Wei Jing and Chew Zhi Wei, from food science and civil engineering respectively. Their meeting discussed ways to provide people with tea that is healthy, great tasting, and instant.
This took place at Kenny’s father’s homestay, Art Villa, located in Alor Setar. By the end of that meeting, the four of them had created The Bavaria.
“Therefore, to dive into a larger market and avoid interval disruption from tenants, we have decided to move the entire business to KL,” the team added.
Without outside help, the team developed a website, tea products, packaging designs and digital marketing for The Bavaria. In total, their start-up capital was around RM12,000, with the cost of ingredients and packaging absorbing 80% of these funds.
A floral touch
I got to try some of The Bavaria’s products, especially their Passion Mango Crush and Peachee Berry flavors. What immediately appealed to me was that the tea bags actually came with freeze-dried fruit that you could snack on while sipping the tea.
“All freeze-dried fruits and flowers are locally sourced, and we ensure that they are purely natural, without any preservatives,” the Bavaria team explained.
The teas themselves were refreshing and not overly sweet, which the team also deliberately ensures, knowing that the market favors such tastes.
To decide what types of flavors to create, they look for popular and common flavors already on the market, such as passion fruit, mango, peach, and berry. It’s safe to say that the Bavaria team takes inspiration from these well-received flavors and injects complementary ones, to create an all-new blend unique to the brand.
Its packaging caught my eye too. Tea bags have a small butterfly-shaped paper tag, meant to hang on the side of your cup while the tea steeps.
Although meant to be a thoughtful and practical addition to the experience, it didn’t quite work as expected for me. The groove on the label was a bit too wide which didn’t sit well on the rim of my cup which sent the butterfly diving into the drink multiple times.
On current The Bavaria promotions, RM1.89-RM2.99 per sachet, or RM13.99-RM20.99 for a box of six. Currently offering five different flavors, the brand also sells a tester pack for RM12.99 (unboxed) and RM19.99 (boxed).
Editor’s update: The information in the above paragraph has been modified to reflect greater accuracy of the statement.
Take off from the ground
With Kenny and Liaw focused full time on The Bavaria and two team members working part time, they produce approximately 900 boxes of tea per month, selling over 40 boxes per week.
“That’s because we make every process almost by hand, like butterfly label, production, and packaging,” the co-founders said.
Although global brands produce their own variations of fruit teas, The Bavaria team does not consider these big names to be their main competitors.
“We would assume that individual Shopee merchants selling homemade flower teas are our main competitors in the marketplace,” they pointed out. “It’s because they offer at a cheaper price, but their overall taste is bland even though they are healthy.”
Either way, Kenny and Liaw are positioning The Bavaria as a premium tea brand made with freeze-dried fruit, high-quality flowers and tea leaves.
As a new brand still trying to make a name for themselves, brand awareness remains one of their biggest challenges. In addition to using online marketing methods and having a presence on various e-commerce channels, they hope to take a wholesale approach or partner with cafes.
But they have to start somewhere first. So, “one of our main goals is to provide healthy foods and beverages that young people can easily prepare at any time,” they shared.
- Read more about Bavaria here.
- Learn more about the startups we’ve covered here.
Featured Image Credit: Kenny Tan, Co-Founder of The Bavaria