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High Tea, Indeed: Cannabis-Infused Teas Are Gaining Popularity In Legal Markets

When you think about it, a bowl of cannabis and a cup of tea have a lot in common; both are nature-made, both help you mellow out, and both serve as centerpieces to end-of-day rituals.

It only makes sense, then, that a growing number of cannabis consumers are engaging in high tea. 

While cannabis-infused teas represented a tiny slice of the $20.09 million cannabis beverage market in 2015/2016 in Colorado, Washington and Oregon – a measly two percent – their popularity has been steadily rising in these markets throughout 2017.

With data from March in Oregon and Colorado and January in Washington, research firm BDS Analytics found tea capturing eight percent of the beverage market with $358,000 in sales. Throughout all of 2016, dispensaries sold just $351,000 worth of tea products.

“When you think about tea and [the act of] steeping an organic material in hot water, it’s not a very far departure from traditional tea to a cannabis-based tea,” BDS Analytics VP of operations Greg Shoenfeld told Civilized of the possible reasons behind the surge.

Shoenfeld added that the inherent discretion of a cup of cannabis tea is a real draw for those who want to imbibe sans stigma.

“[People] are looking for new cannabis delivery methods and often that involves much more discrete consumption,” he said.

“Rather than smoking a joint or a bowl, tea doesn’t give off any particularly strong weedy smell when you’re brewing it... Not to mention [tea] is something that’s already so ingrained in so many cultures.”

For its part, cannabis tea is becoming ingrained more quickly in places like Oregon.

Consumers in the Beaver State purchased $13,000 worth of tea last year, nabbing just one percent of the state’s $1.47 million beverage market. By comparison, sales of $42,000 during the first quarter of 2017 have already eclipsed all of last year’s sales by more than three-fold, with the category now commanding 20 percent of the state’s beverage market.

High Tea

In Colorado, consumers last year spent $199,000 on tea products, representing two percent of the $12.53 million beverage market. Demand has since skyrocketed, with $305,000 in sales during the first quarter of 2017 representing eight percent of the beverage market.

The tea trend hasn’t yet caught on in Washington, however, where market share in January of this year of two percent (on sales of $11,000) is identical to the tea market’s share for all of 2016. In fact, sales of coffee products have overtaken tea in the Evergreen State over the last four months.

Now if you'll excuse us, it's tea time.  


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