Monday, August 24, 2015

Rant: PAUL Bakery. It's You Not Me

I'm a huge fan of unsweetened iced tea, whether black or green, and I'm not alone. According to the Tea Association of the USA, the wholesale value of the U.S. tea industry is over $10 Billion and Americans annually consume over 3.6 Billion gallons of tea. Each day, over half the U.S. population drinks tea, though people in the South and Northeast consume the most. You might be surprised to learn that 85% of the tea consumed in America is iced.

Despite the huge popularity of iced tea, too many restaurants seem oblivious to this fact. They seem to have fallen for the myth that iced tea is only a summer drink so once Labor Day arrives, iced tea vanishes from many restaurant menus. You'll still be able to get cold sodas, ice cream, and other cold items after Labor Day, but poor iced tea often gets banished until summer returns.  That is simply wrong and needs to change.

Iced tea is refreshing, thirst-quenching and the unsweetened version doesn't have the sugar content of sodas and other such drinks. It is also easy and very cheap to make so there is no reason why it shouldn't be available year round. At home, I have an iced tea maker and make it year round. In fact, I generally drink it every day, year round.

PAUL Bakery, which has almost 600 locations around the world, is starting to make inroads into Massachusetts, with locations in Boston, Somerville and Burlington. They make excellent breads and pastries, all with a French flair. However, despite their quality products, I won't stop there too often because they fail in another area. I would like to dine there more often, but I'm not satisfied when I currently visit it. And it all has to do with iced tea.

Though Paul offers iced tea, you generally can only get flavored iced teas. You can't get a simple black or green iced tea, unless it is decaffeinated. Why not? It makes no sense. You can get a simple, unflavored iced coffee but not iced tea. Its discriminatory to iced tea lovers and there isn't a valid reason to justify it. I don't drink coffee and don't want flavored iced tea, so if I go to PAUL, I end up with a bottled water and that isn't satisfying enough. I want a simple iced tea.

Until PAUL starts offering a simple, unflavored iced tea, whether black or green, then I will patronize them only rarely. PAUL, it's you, not me. Are you listening?


Frederick Wright said...

Paul is hardly alone in this - I can think of several major chains, although not many with the upscale cache of Paul, that sell ONLY sickeningly sweet pre-diabetic versions of iced tea, essentially undrinkable swill. A properly made iced tea needs no sweetener at all, something that Caffe Nero knows quite well.

Chris said...

Restaurants that care about what their customers want (and making money) should serve both unsweetened and sweetened iced tea that is fresh-brewed. Coming from the South, I appreciate the refreshing nature of both styles when they are properly made. Unfortunately, too many of the pre-made sweetened iced tea varieties a little more than sugar water, while lots of the pre-made unsweetened iced tea options are extraordinarily bitter.