There must be a war between milk tea and coffee

The border with milk tea is becoming blurred.

Last weekend, Maomao, a milk tea lover, walked into Naixue's tea (Beijing Lecheng central store) to order a cup of milk tea, but found that the sign on the menu was coffee. When Maomao and his friends talked about this "amazing discovery", they knew that Naixue's tea had already opened the "Naixue Pro" shop, which specializes in coffee. In the door design of Naixue pro, there is also the word "tea & coffee". It can be seen that coffee and tea are the main products of Naixue Pro store.

In addition to Naixue's tea, Xi tea has already launched coffee products in stores with coffee machines. On August 10, Xi Cha also called "who wants to drink Xi Cha's coffee?" The wechat article official announced three new coffee products. The article also mentioned that "as early as when Xi tea was also called emperor tea, coffee had quietly appeared on the menu list.". In addition, coco, Michelle ice city and haven't given up this share at all. They all have their own coffee brands or coffee products.

At the same time, the trend of "milk tea" of coffee is becoming more and more obvious.

Before, more fruit juice and bubble water in milk tea products began to appear in coffee. For example, seesaw, which is newly invested by tea, focuses on creative coffee, combining coffee with tea and fruit juice. From the menu, seesaw's new summer products litchi frozen cold extract, pineapple frozen cold extract and cloud peach cold extract are closer to tea.

At the same time, the hot raw coconut element of "raw coconut milk jelly" by hi tea swept Ruixing, Wagas and other coffee brands“ I feel that now milk tea and coffee should have a common name, called 'flavor drinks'. " Maomao sighed, "isn't dirty coffee very popular these two years? I tried manner's osmanthus flavor dirty a few days ago. To be honest, it is very close to the flavor of milk tea. The difference is probably one with coffee and one with tea, but in fact, the flavor of coffee and tea in the drink is not prominent. "
Behind the deeper and deeper integration of the two, milk tea focuses on the "future" of coffee, while coffee aims at the "present" of milk tea.

Chinese people with tea genes have a stronger preference for milk tea. In December 2020, Naixue's tea jointly released the 2020 new tea white paper with cbndata. According to the data, in 2020, the total scale of China's tea market was 442 billion yuan, and the total scale of coffee market was only 215.5 billion yuan. In other words, the tea market is twice as large as coffee.

Maomao said: "there are more milk tea shops on the street than coffee shops. And I do drink milk tea more than coffee. " This is the "now" of milk tea that coffee can't match. But in the future, compared with the fierce battle of milk tea black sea, coffee in the rising stage has a broader imagination space.

According to the securities times, during the week from July 22 to 29, three start-ups, seesaw, mstand secre, received 100 million yuan of scale financing. Since this year, the financing of coffee track has reached more than a dozen. Among them, manner coffee, which has attracted the most attention, has a single store valuation of more than 15 million US dollars, more than three times that of Starbucks.
At the same time, white-collar workers in the first and second tier cities with coffee consumption habits are also the market that milk tea urgently wants to compete for.

Under the influence of many factors, the tentacles of milk tea and coffee continue to extend to each other. At present, the two sides are in the process of friendly "blending". But just like Maomao's soul asking "drink coffee or milk tea" every day, "one out of two" is bound to happen.

"According to our observation, consumers in the first and second tier cities have developed the coffee habit, and coffee and milk tea are both caffeinated drinks. Most consumers will consider health and choose only one cup of caffeinated drinks every day." Li Qingqing, who is engaged in investment observation in the consumption field, told Caijing that from the perspective of caffeine, the functions of the two kinds of drinks are similar and the impact is the same. To a certain extent, they are substitutes.

On that day, the "war" between coffee and milk tea is bound to happen.
1、 Milk tea invades coffee

Coco Duke and honey snow ice city were the forerunners of milk tea invading coffee. As early as 2015, when the third wave of coffee wave started, coco began to promote coffee in stores with an area of more than 80 square meters nationwide; Michelle ice city established the coffee brand "lucky coffee" in 2017.

But the big waves are Naixue's tea and Xi tea. In 2018 and 2019, when Ruixing's "myth" stimulates the whole market, Naixue's tea and Xi tea are also ready to move, extending their tentacles to the field of coffee.

In November 2018, the new "frozen top mandarin duck" on Naixue's tea was only sold in Shenzhen at that time. Thereafter, in January 2019, "frozen top mandarin duck" landed in stores across the country; In February 2019, Naixue's tea will be added with new coffee products, including "big coffee lemon" and "big coffee orange". By November 2020, Naixue's tea will even open a "Naixue Pro" shop, which is mainly engaged in coffee.

In March 2019, hi tea launched four types of hi tea coffee: coffee Bobo ice, coffee Bobo Shuangpin, Zhizhi American style and Zhizhi latte. Since then, tea loving coffee has been keeping a low profile. Until July this year, Xi tea invested heavily in seesaw, a boutique chain coffee brand, and the "coffee flavor" of Xi tea seems to be getting stronger and stronger. First, on August 10, "who wants tea loving coffee?" Launch 3 new coffee products; After a lapse of two days, on August 12, it was announced to launch a moon cake gift box combined with cheese, Lvyan tea and coffee.
A little eager to try, on-line coffee frozen milk tea ice.

The high coincidence of customer groups provides convenience for milk tea to invade coffee. Amu, who runs a milk tea shop in Shenzhen, recently added a coffee machine to the shop. "The coffee business is a whim," he told finance. One day, I suddenly felt that it was OK to add coffee products, because the customer unit price of coffee was almost the same as the products in the store, and the user group was also very close. "

On this point, Naixue's tea also told the media: "consumers' demand for tea and coffee overlaps 80percent, that is, 80percent of our customers drink both tea and coffee."

The cost of invasion is not high, but the benefits are excellent“ Because it already has stores, the main cost is to buy coffee machines. The cost of beans is not high, because a cup of coffee only needs a few grams of beans. The price of about 20 yuan a cup will soon recover the cost of the coffee machine. The profit is higher than milk tea. " Amu said it bluntly.

This is also a major reason why milk tea covets the coffee market. Some market analysts pointed out that compared with the complex fresh fruit operation required in high-end tea drinks, coffee drinks are easier to copy in the supply chain standard, and SOP (standard operating procedure) is relatively simple.

The dilemma of milk tea seems to be a deeper reason. Technology we media "Liu Kuang" bluntly said: the hottest period of new tea has passed, and now it is difficult to dig out a new business model. At the same time, the industry is falling into fierce competition and serious internal entanglement.

"After several years of development, the new tea market has become stable, and the consumer mind has been occupied by several well-known brands in the market. When it comes to high-end, think of Xi tea and Naixue tea, and when it comes to low-end, it must be honey snow ice city. It is difficult to break this pattern. " Xiao Huang, a staff member engaged in milk tea franchise agent, told finance and economics.

Unable to tell a new story of milk tea, "inner roll" has become the only way out. Liu Kuang said that due to the lack of core technical barriers, it is difficult to build an exclusive formula, which leads to serious product homogenization; At the same time, in order to ensure the quality of tea, we naturally need to buy high-quality tea, milk and other raw materials at a high price; Due to the influence of many factors, it is difficult to effectively control the cost of minority fruits; Coupled with the cost of materials, labor and rent, the tea industry is far from profiteering.

Coffee is "bright". According to the data of industrial information network, with the opening of China's coffee consumption market and the expansion of coffee consumption groups from first tier cities to new first tier, second tier and third tier cities, the scale of China's coffee market may achieve a growth rate of more than 20percent for four consecutive years in the future. AI media consulting data also show that the domestic coffee market will reach 300 billion yuan in 2020 and 1 trillion yuan in 2025.

"The penetration rate of coffee market nationwide is not high, and there are still many opportunities," Li Qingqing said

2、 Coffee "milk tea"

On the other side of milk tea invading coffee, coffee is gradually moving closer to milk tea.

One of the most typical is Ruixing. In 2019, while major milk tea brands aimed at coffee, Ruixing "did the opposite" and launched the milk tea brand "Xiaolu tea". However, this attempt has encountered the impact of "financial fraud" and is currently facing business contraction. According to the Beijing Business Daily on August 18, some Xiaolu tea stores in Beijing have been changed to Ruixing coffee stores, and the menu is basically the same as Ruixing coffee.

But the trend of coffee "milk tea" is becoming more and more obvious. Typical representatives, such as seesaw, can be called "the new tea in the coffee industry". Seesaw focuses on "coffee + tea, fruit juice, bubble water, dried fruit" and other elements, which is almost the same as milk tea.

This year's hot raw coconut has swept all coffee brands. When you open the menu of any coffee brand, you can see its figure, such as Ruixing's raw coconut latte, TIMS coffee's white peach raw coconut latte, convenience bee's "sleepless sea sober Hi" raw coconut milk latte, loop coffee's raw coconut dirty

"Coffee 'milk tea' is actually to cater to the market trend." Baiyang, the barista, said bluntly, "whether it's milk tea or coffee, they are all for the market as a drink. Now that the market has changed and consumers are more concerned about the flavor of coffee, coffee will naturally change. Whether dirty, which was popular a few years ago, or the raw coconut of this year's fire, are all to cater to the preferences of the audience. "

The traditional and classic coffee represented by American style, latte and cappuccino once had a clear sense of distance from the audience. Coffee consumption is often associated with high-end and business, and this sense of distance will inevitably lead to estrangement from the audience and limit the market.

Therefore, "sinking" has become the inevitable choice for coffee to win the audience. In the current coffee market, in addition to the old coffee brands Starbucks and Costa, there are also the newly emerging Ruixing and manner, which are the main cost-effective brands, as well as the "kcoffer" and "maccoffee" brands launched by KFC and McDonald's chain restaurants, as well as the coffee brands of thousands of convenience stores, such as the "sleepless sea sober Hi" of convenience bee

Coffee has become a drink that can be bought around the corner and no longer enjoys a sense of distance. After 90, Lin Shuang said to Amway in his circle of friends: "the first cup of 1.9percent discount coupon ('sleepless sea sober hi' coffee) counts down a few dollars for a cup of coffee. The taste is actually good. I recommend everyone to try."

Under the fierce impact of the huge market, Starbucks and Costa, once high above, are also "stepping down from the altar". Coffee consumers Guoguo said with emotion that Starbucks now has more preferential activities than Ruixing in the year when it first appeared. "It often reduces the distribution fee, and there are often many 50percent discount activities at 3 p.m. with the payment activities held by Starbucks and some banks, the price of a cup of Starbucks is equal to that of Ruixing."

In order to win the audience, lowering the "posture" is only one of the actions, and the change in taste has become inevitable“ I like to drink milk tea because it has better taste and strong palatability. But because drinking milk tea is afraid of being fat, I also drink coffee occasionally. " Maomao said, "there was a time when public opinion advocated that drinking American style would not make you fat, so I drank American style for some time. But it does accept incompetence. Later, when I wanted to drink coffee, I would still order lattes, dirty and raw Coconut Coffee. "

"Milk tea" coffee has indeed won more audiences for coffee. This can also be seen from the rescue of Ruixing by "raw coconut". In April this year, Ruixing launched a new raw coconut latte, which was in short supply once it came out. By the end of May, 420000 cups of raw coconut had been sold. At the end of June, Ruixing officially announced that the monthly sales of raw coconut series exceeded 10 million cups, setting a new sales record of Ruixing's new products. According to, Ruixing insiders revealed that the hot sale of raw coconut series has indeed accelerated the company's profit process.
But some people scoff at the flavor coffee, "is this still coffee?" But in the face of profitability, these are small problems.

3、 "War" is imminent

Milk tea and coffee are still in the blending stage. For example, Amu's milk tea shop has incorporated coffee into its product series and won customers who like coffee for themselves. Coffee is also learning from milk tea and constantly expanding its audience.

Just because of the overlap of the audience, the "battle" is bound to break out. From the perspective of urban layout, first and second tier cities are their key layout areas, whether it is milk tea brands like tea and Naixue tea, or boutique coffee forces manner, m stand and seesaw. By Q2 of 2021, Xi tea has 799 stores in mainland China, including 339 first tier cities and 447 second tier cities, accounting for 98percent.

According to manner's official website, manner, which started in Shanghai, has opened 194 stores nationwide, of which Shanghai is still the main force, with 165 stores. However, the rest of the layout is mainly concentrated in the first and second tier cities, such as Beijing, Suzhou, Chengdu, Shenzhen and Xiamen.

In low-level cities, there is no competition between coffee and milk tea“ We are lucky to have no Starbucks here. However, there are more milk tea shops. There are many brands, such as Baidao tea, shuyishaoxiancao, Guming, yihetang and so on. I hardly drink coffee at ordinary times. Instead, I have a cup of milk tea every week. " Qiuqiu of a county in Sichuan told finance and economics.
However, in the first and second tier cities, milk tea and coffee "meet on a narrow road", which is bound to produce some competition. Because for the audience, coffee and milk tea are often "one of two choices"“ You can only drink one cup, because drinking too much is unhealthy and you will lose sleep. " Speak frankly.

At present, the battle horn has not sounded yet, because there is still room in the market. According to the data of China catering category and brand development report 2021 jointly published by the world Chinese food Federation and red, the scale of the current tea market will be 113.6 billion yuan in 2020 and is expected to reach 340 billion yuan by 2025, with an annual compound growth rate of 24.5percent. Although according to the expectation of such market scale, China's tea market is still in the middle of development and is far from touching the ceiling in the rising channel.

Li Qingqing also said: "at present, the main business of Xi tea is still on milk tea. In the past year or two, Xi tea has launched a lower price sub brand Xi Xiaocha, explored the bottled beverage business, and intensively participated in coffee related investment or product R & D, which is more related to Xi tea's desire to expand its business territory. "

Coffee is still in the development stage and does not threaten the status of milk tea. On this point, Li Qingqing pointed out: "the investment related to the coffee industry actually existed a few years ago, but it has been particularly popular in the past two years. But generally speaking, the coffee industry is still in an early stage. "

Just because it hasn't happened yet doesn't mean it won't happen. Li Qingqing judged: "although coffee is relatively healthier than milk tea with high sugar and high fat, it is uncertain that consumers prefer milk tea rich in 'dopamine'." Now, the customer unit price of a cup of milk tea is equivalent to that of a cup of coffee. If the market penetration is further improved, milk tea and coffee will inevitably face the problem of "robbing customers".

And "the moat of both industries is not high." Li Qingqing further said, "the reason why Xi tea tries hard to do product R & D and innovation is no more than the serious homogenization of the tea industry, so we should constantly rely on new products to attract users. Although the coffee industry has just begun to "compete among hundreds of flowers", it can be seen from the competition of various companies to imitate and launch the "raw coconut latte", the problems of innovation and homogenization in the coffee industry also exist at the same time. "

This will also perplex the further development of milk tea and coffee. At present, it is not uncommon to see several milk tea shops and coffee shops in the same mall. But with more and more entrants, the competition will only become more and more intense.

In the future, in the beverage market, whether coffee or milk tea, the way to make money is very simple. That is to firmly grasp the hearts of consumers and attack each other's hinterland to increase the possibility of being selected under the problem of "one out of two", which has become a routine. However, if you want to run your own way in the future, you have to rely on products.

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