Have you ever considered buying gold-leaf encrusted sugar cubes with a rose infusion? If so, you’re in luck. Teaspressa, the Phoenix, Arizona-based company pitching Shark Tank tonight, sells a line of premium sugar cubes with that shiny decorative garnish. If rose isn’t your thing, you can try the lavender-infused London Fog cube, or even just raw sugar.
Those sugar cubes might be paired with Teaspressa’s main products: gourmet tea shots that make coffee house-inspired drinks. So, of course, this company isn’t just about sugar cubes. Teaspressa wants to redefine how you drink your tea: like coffee. The brand revolves around concentrated premium tea shots. Loose leaf teas and tea-making accessories are also on sale.
Teaspressa’s founder, Allison DeVane, told ABC15 Phoenix that her Shark Tank experience was a big deal, to be sure — but it was also a bit of an adrenaline rush. As a small business owner, she was looking for the boost that Shark Tank could offer. She also hoped to inspire other entrepreneurs to take the plunge if they wanted to start a business.
— Jeremy Kapteyn (@jkapteyn) February 26, 2016
DeVane, 25, started Teaspressa just over a year ago, entering a highly-competitive food and beverage market. She started off by hustling her product at local farmers markets, riding her supplies around on her bike. On Friday, she was prepping her website in anticipation of the program and hoping for a surge in sales.
DeVane told ABC she recalled her pitch experience as being quick and intense.
“[I have] lots of feelings. If anything, I’m overly excited.
“It’s like real, super real life. It all happens so fast.”
Teaspressa does for tea what espresso drinks do for coffee: offer a range of beverages like lattes and cappuccinos. One look at the company’s Instagram page and you might mistake their brand as being that of a high-end coffee shop. Selling tea as a premium beverage is nothing new, however, but Bustleblogger Laura Rosenfeld liked the overt comparisons to that other ubiquitous morning beverage.
“Teaspressa is basically tea that’s treated as if it were coffee, which means we may have finally found something to unite tea drinkers and coffee snobs alike. I’ll drink to that.”
DeVane’s sales are now mostly online but she plans to partner with Ruze Cake House to open a shop in Scottsdale. Those sugar cubes are created “in collaboration with” Ruze, according to the Teaspressa website.
— Teaspressa (@teaspressa) February 21, 2016
Like all Shark Tank pitches, viewers won’t know what happens until after the episode airs. Food businesses have a fairly strong history with the panel of entrepreneurs. Kevin O’Leary signed an often-mentioned royalty deal with Wicked Good Cupcakes; Barbara Corcoran calls her deal with Cousins Maine Lobster one of her best Shark Tank investments; Lori Greiner had Bantam Bagels; Daymond John invested in Bubba-Q’s Boneless Ribs, and the company was featured in a follow-up episode of Beyond the Tank.
Mark Cuban, like the other sharks, passed on Hot Shot Coffee, a canned coffee that stays hot in-store. The Dallas Mavericks owner did offer to give the product a test in his chain of businesses. Earlier this season, Robert Herjavec invested $100,000 in Hungry Harvest, which gives ugly vegetables a second life.
You can watch Teaspressa try to impress the sharks at 9 p.m. on ABC when a new episode of Shark Tank is broadcast. John is not on the panel this evening, but Herjavec, Cuban, Greiner, O’Leary, and Corcoran will hear DeVane’s pitch.
[Image courtesy of Teaspressa/Instagram]