Group buying for tea – Would you do it?

As part of our evolving set of services we are offering for the online tea community, we are looking at creating a new website within the Tea Trade Network for group deals in tea buying.

Imagine a Groupon or LivingSocial type site devoted entirely to tea and tea-related products.

For this, we would partner with tea companies, both online and brick-and-mortar, though largely online in the beginning, to bring you really awesome deals on special or unique teas and tea products. Generally, you can save anywhere from 40%-60% through group buying.

Group buying allows people interested in a particular product to buy that product together as a group, ensuring that the vendor gets a significant quantity of orders to justify a deep cut in the price. Deals last only a limited time and require a minimum number of buyers for the deal to even happen. This is called “tipping”, once the deal tips, then the price is guaranteed for the customer.

Group buying gets its origins from China where it is known as Tuángòu (pronounced: twangoo). Which makes it all more fitting as an addition to the tea industry.

If that sort of thing were available to buy interesting or rare loose tea products, would you, as a tea shopper, be interested? What would you want from a site like that?

For the vendors out there – would you be interested in promoting special deals to your customers this way? A guaranteed lump sum payment with no risk. The best thing about this compared to Groupon, or most of the other group buying sites is that we can offer a better commission rate. Groupon takes 50% of the sales – we don’t have a figure in mind yet, but it will definitely be lower than that.

What do you all think? If there is enough interest in this sort of thing, we would love to build it for you and do the work to bring you some really great deals. Give us some feedback here and let us know if this is something we should pursue.



Peter Davenport is one of the founders of Tea Trade. In addition to building, enhancing and supporting Tea Trade and its members, he studies Business Administration and Management at American Public University with a focus on Entrepreneurial Studies and Enterprises.

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  1. the_skua

    I would totally be interested, but it depends entirely on the tea. I could see this being very effective for puerh purchases.

  2. lazyliteratus

    I’m all for it. In cases of sources that are based internationally, this would be a very affordable option. (Given that shipping from Darjeeling can cost anywhere from $20-50.) In cases like that, I would definitely be all for group purchases.

    Be sure to hit up Thunderbolt Tea with this idea. *nudge-nudge*

  3. Jackie

    I was looking at the amazing 1st flush Darjeeling someone has put up on the marketplace, and I’m very tempted to buy it because the price is extremely competitive. However, it’s 500g of tea, and even though it’s a great deal, it costs over 60 bucks. That kind of offer would be perfect if it could be shared.

  4. Rachana (Rachel) Carter

    I am totally up for this. it is a wonderful opportunity for businesses and consumers. A true win/win situation. I am looking forward to reading more about this venture.

  5. Xavier

    I do agree with this idea. The only problem after that is sending it to the different buyers at a good price.

  6. Peter Post author

    @xavier can you explain what you mean, I’m not sure I understand. Are you familiar with Groupon, in France there is which operates on the same principle.

  7. Xavier


    I know the name but I never tried it.
    What I meant is that since we are in different parts of the world and shops are all over the world too, the shipping rates are an important part of any deal we might do.

  8. Jackie

    @xavier That is good input. Its typical for deals of that nature to have some “fine print” – this is something that will need to be considered during the negotiation process with a vendor and what kind of shipping support they are willing to provide. Noted, thank you!

  9. Jackie

    Fine print is a bit like”les détails du contrat”, but often the sort of details that you might easily miss but are actually very important. Fine print has “petits caractères” and can be found at the end.

  10. Chris West

    I sell teas, and I’d be happy to participate in something like this. I live here in China, so I would quite happily source teas for group purchasing.

  11. Chris West

    @Xavier – yes, definitely the postage cost is probably important to think about. Eg. shipping a large amount from China to 1 address in Europe is expensive, but shipping the same amount to 20 addresses in Europe is even more expensive!

    If are organising this, can you find a central distribution point in the US? I’d happily act as a central distributor for Europe.

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