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25 minutes | Jun 18, 2021
Tea News and Biz Insight - June 18, 2021
HEAR THE HEADLINES – Cold Brew is Trending for Iced Tea Month | DAVIDsTEA in Canada Settles its Debts and Kenya Exports Surge but Auction Prices Remain Low| GUEST – Ravi Kroesen, head teamaker at Steven Smith Teamaker, in Portland, Ore.| NEWSMAKER – Amy Dubin-Nath, founder Janem Tea in Colombus, Ohio| FEATURES – Tea Biz this week travels to Columbus, Ohio to visit with Amy Dubin-Nath, founder of Janem Tea and an ad hoc India tea ambassador to the US.… and then to Portland, Ore. where Ravi Kroesen, head teamaker at Smith Teamaker, explains the many uses of tea at the company’s recently opened plant-based café.Spectacular Indian TeasAmy Dubin-Nath sees a bright future for specialty teas originating in India, “but I don’t think it is going to be a quick flip where people are only after high end teas.” Instead, the process will be gradual, following a path similar to wine. “Do I want to see the spectacular teas of India keep selling at a high price?" she asks, “Yes, definitely, as that elevates the perceived value, making it something precious. I believe that message should be spread throughout the world — including in India.”A Plant-Based Café where Tea Reigns SupremeThe intent of the new café concept, says Smith Teamaker Ravi Kroesen, is to “develop foods that really reflect our ethos [E THOS] of plants, as well as utilizing tea as an ingredient.” The new Smith Teamaker café sources locally with a menu that includes snacks, lattes and iced concoctions with full meals that demonstrate how tea and food can live in harmony from leaf to cup to plate.
25 minutes | Jun 11, 2021
Tea News and BIz Insight - June 11, 2021
HEAR THE HEADLINES – Food Inflation Dampens Enthusiasm Over Rising Tea Prices | India’s Tea Industry Under Duress | and the European Union Grants Rooibos GI Protection| NEWSMAKER – Jan Holzapfel, owner of 198-year-old Ronnefeldt Tea in Frankfurt, Germany | FEATURES – Tea Biz this week travels to Frankfurt Germany to discuss best practices in Sustainable Wholesale with Jan Holzapfel, owner of Ronnefeldt Tea, a 198-year-old company that is replacing its tea packaging this year with eco-friendly materials, embracing traceability, and reducing emissions by longer airfreighting tea… and then to London to listen the Tea Book Club’s crowd-sourced review of author Henrietta Lovell’s latest book, INFUSED: Adventures in tea.| Sustainable WholesaleFirst flush teas flown to Ronnefeldt’s blending and packaging facility in Germany account for only 0.02% of the company’s offerings by weight, yet in a single season “flight tea” generates more greenhouse gas emissions than the millions of kilos transported by ship, says owner Jan Holzapfel. He acknowledges that for a premium tea supplier, abandoning expedient air cargo after 75 years is a significant step: “however, we have a responsibility towards nature that we take very seriously.”| A Book to Re-ignite your Tea FlameReviewer Kyle Whittington has a single word for INFUSED, a book by Rare Tea Founder Henrietta Lovell that describes her adventures in tea: “Wow,” he writes, "You really feel like you are sitting over a cup of tea with Henrietta as she regales you with her stories, the highs, the lows, and the off on a tangent."
27 minutes | Jun 4, 2021
Tea News and Tea Biz Insight - June 4, 2021
HEAR THE HEADLINES – Pandemic Powers Organic Sales | Tea Cafes Cautiously Re-opening| Tata Expands Direct-to-Customer Range | Buyers Spend Big at Chinese International Tea Expo| GUEST – Simona Suzuki, née Zavadckyte, co-founder and president Global Japanese Tea Association| NEWSMAKER – Olivia Chan, owner of Treasure Green Tea Co., a Chinatown tea shop in Vancouver, British Columbia. | FEATURES – Tea Biz this week travels to Japan where the Japan Tea Central Council and the Global Japanese Tea Association are organizing a Tea Marathon during the Tokyo Olympics so that enthusiasts worldwide can better appreciate the great variety of tea grown there… and then onto Vancouver, British Columbia, where Jessica Woollard leads a virtual tour of Chinatown, a Canadian National Historic Site and the location of the Treasure Green Tea Company and the Chinese Tea Shop ― two of the best places to find authentic Chinese tea.Japan Tea MarathonThe Japan Tea Marathon is a series of live online events featuring teas from 15 of Japan’s tea producing regions. Zoom sessions begin July 23 and are held twice daily, concluding Aug. 8. Two hundred competing brewers and 1000 regular admissions give the entire world of tea an opportunity to cheer their favorite to victory.The Charm of Vancouver’s ChinatownThe announcement in 1984 that the British colony of Hong Kong would be formally transferred to China in 1997, led to an exodus of 335,646 emigrants many of whom made Vancouver their new home. Today a second surge is building as new visa applications rose by more than 20% in 2020 to 10,800 applicants for Canadian residency. In the Vancouver suburb of Richmond, 42% of residents list either Cantonese or Mandarin as their first language. Retailers benefitted as demand swelled for authentic Chinese tea, leading widespread popularity and the expansion of Vancouver’s Chinatown, now the third largest Chinatown in North America.
26 minutes | May 27, 2021
Tea News and Tea Biz Insight - May 28, 2021
HEAR THE HEADLINES – | Tea History Collection Unveiled | Indian Commodities Logjam | THIRST Undertakes a Human Rights Analysis in Tea | A Series of Major Quakes Rattle Yunnan| GUEST – William Liu is a 20-year-old sophomore at Wake Forest University and founder of the World Tea Association on campus and online.| NEWSMAKER – Asha Bhandari is the International Trade and Promotion Executive at HIMCOOP, the Himalayan Tea Producers Cooperative, a consortium of all orthodox tea producers established in 2003| FEATURES – Tea Biz this week travels to Nepal to meet Aasha Bhandari the newly named International Trade and Promotion Executive at the Himalayan Tea Producers Cooperative… … and then to the North Carolina campus of Wake Forest University to learn from student William Liu on why ancient teas and rituals retain their appeal with young people.Himalayan Tea OpportunityNepal’s tea industry reported record sales in 2020. The fabled tea land is growing greater quantities and greater varieties of loose and broken leaf teas thanks to a government-initiated expansion of the industry to high altitude gardens in non-traditional growing areas. Rural agrarian entrepreneurs are redefining offerings for an international market thirsty for the distinct taste of Himalayan grown oolongs, white teas, and premium black whole leaf. In this segment Aravinda Anantharaman introduces Aasha Bhandari, newly named to promote trade at the Himalayan Tea Producers Cooperative, a consortium of all orthodox tea producers established in 2003.Why Ancient Tea Appeals to Young PeopleWilliam Liu is a 20-year-old sophomore at Wake Forest University so inspired by tea that he and his classmates established the World Tea Association on campus and online. The group offers tea discovery and tasting sessions weekly and hosts occasional tea panels with presentations by tea professionals, tea scholars, and tea explorers. The events bring together many who are new to tea, says William QUOTE: “we aim to redefine the tea experience through an interdisciplinary approach and expose the true leaf to a greater audience.” In this discussion he describes why tea appeals to young people and explains his view that tea learning is ongoing. “The tea journey has no destination, he says, it involves only intention and lifelong learning.”
35 minutes | May 21, 2021
Tea News and Tea Biz Insight - May 21, 2021
HEAR THE HEADLINES – International Tea Day | Assam Forbids Tea Workers to Isolate at Home| Nepal’s First Flush is Delayed | Kagoshima May Soon Outproduce Shizuoka| GUEST – Author Chitrita Banerji, a chronicler of food history and culture| NEWSMAKER – Eva Lee, founder of Tea Hawaii, a tea farm and wholesale venture in Volcano, Hawaii| FEATURES – Tea Biz this week travels to the slopes of the Kilauea Volcano where Tea Hawaii Founder Eva Lee describes the ongoing tea harvest as unusually wet and seven weeks later than normal …and then to Massachusetts to learn how a simple beverage transformed Indian culture.Uniquely Hawaiian TeaEva Lee pioneered modern tea cultivation in Hawaii, establishing with her husband, a tea garden and nursery in the town of Volcano. The farm supplied growers with hearty cultivars first introduced in 2000 by researchers at the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. Hawaiian tea is grown on farms producing less than 100 kilos a year. Small amounts of premium tea are exported, but most is purchased by local restaurants and tourists. In this conversation, Lee describes how the “modest but very strong tea industry” adapted during a difficult year. - By Dan BoltonTea is Both Cultural and PersonalHumans readily adapt to new foods and drink, most with little affect “we make them our own by accepting them and enjoying them” says distinguished food and culture author Chitrita Banerji. But some are transformative: “It’s interesting that a foreign drink brought in by a foreign colonial power became such an important thing. We don’t think of tea as a foreign drink anymore,” she tells Aravinda Anantharaman during this International Tea Day interview. - By Aravinda Anantharaman
23 minutes | May 14, 2021
Tea News and Tea Biz Insight - May 14, 2021
HEAR THE HEADLINES – Kenya is Becoming Unbearably Hot for Tea | Brexit Disrupts UK Tea Trade | Colombo Tea Auction Transformed| GUEST – Adventurer and author Jeff Fuchs, founder of Jalam Tea| NEWSMAKER – Steve Schwartz, founder of the Art of Tea in Los Angeles and graduate of Ayurvedic Institute of New Mexico| FEATURES – Tea Biz travels to Los Angeles this week where Art of Tea founder Steve Schwartz, a graduate of the Ayurvedic Institute in New Mexico, describes tea as a powerful conduit for health and wellness....and then to Hawaii to interview tea adventurer and Jalam Tea Founder Jeff Fuchs who is sheltering there during the pandemic. Jeff shares with Jessica Natale Woollard his thoughts on the tranquility of tea.A Conduit for Health and WellnessTea is a powerful conduit for health and wellness, says Steve Schwartz, founder of Art of Tea in Los Angeles and a graduate of the Ayurvedic Institute in New Mexico. In this segment, he discusses the challenging role for tea retailers amid the pandemic. Retailers are wise to offer counsel on the comfort and health benefits of tea, educating themselves in both the traditional and science-based properties and then sharing that knowledge with customers.The Tranquility of TeaAuthor, adventurer, and tea lover, Jeff Fuchs has walked the Ancient Tea Horse Road, been featured in television documentaries, and traveled extensively in the tea lands sourcing tea for his company while sharing the story of tea. His affinity for high-altitude treks equals his affinity for tea. He tells Jessica Natale Woollard, “I've had some of my best tea times in the mountains without necessarily having had the best teas.”
23 minutes | May 7, 2021
Tea News and Tea Biz Insight - May 6, 2021
HEAR THE HEADLINES – Dry Weather Worsens in Assam | COVID Infections are Rising in Nepal and Bangladesh | Are Tea Auctions Still Relevant? | Two Major Grocery Chains Agree to Carry Flash-Frozen Tea Leaves| GUEST – SofaSummit for International Tea Day organizer Shabnam Weber, president of the Tea & Herbal Association of Canada| NEWSMAKER – Are Tea Auctions Still Relevant? Pranav Bhansali, managing partner at Bhansali and Company, tea traders since 1929, answers in the affirmative. Auctions continue to be very relevant and play an important role, he says. Currently 45% of tea sold in India is auctioned, vs 55% sold in private transactions. Read more of Bhansali’s views on the Tea Biz blog.| FEATURES – May is Tea Month. The United Nations-designated International Tea Day will be celebrated on May 21 this year and you can once again participate from the comfort of your home. The second virtual Sofa Summit is hosted by Shabnam Weber, president of the Tea & Herbals Association of Canada. … and then we visit London where Kyle Whittington, founder of the Tea Book Club reviews The Story of Japanese Tea, a fascinating book by Tyas Sosen covering cultivation, manufacturing, history and culture. Tea Day SofaSummitThe all-day SofaSummit begins at 8 am Eastern Standard Time on Friday, May 21. It is a lively virtual chat that introduces tea enthusiasts to dozens of tea experts, scholars, growers and tea professionals from around the globe. Initiated of necessity during the pandemic, the popular event is again hosted by the Tea & Herbal Association of Canada. Jessica Natale Woollard outlines the day. Tea Book Club Review: The Story of Japanese Tea by Tyas SosenTea Book Club founder Kyle Whitting considers The Story of Japanese Tea by Tyas Sosen one of the best and most comprehensive books on Japanese tea available. Listen to his comments and visit Tea Biz Blog for how to buy this book.
23 minutes | Apr 30, 2021
Tea News and Tea Biz Insight - April 30, 2021
HEAR THE HEADLINES – Mombasa to Expand Tea Auctions to Five Days a Week | Spiking Prices Dismay Russian Tea Drinkers | A 6.4 Quake Shakes Assam – Tea Factory Damage is Minor | Vahdam Tea Mobilizes Emergency COVID Aid for India| GUEST – Rishi Saria is a third-generation planter, managing the Gopaldhara, and Rohini estates in Darjeeling, India. | FEATURES – This week Tea Biz visits the fabled Darjeeling tea growing region in the Himalayan foothills of northwestern India…. and we travel to Seattle for the launch of the Organic Marketing Association a group that conveys the complexities of organic cultivation with memorable memes, clever ditties, and illustrations that radiate the joy of farming in harmony with nature.Steadfast Darjeeling Continues to EvolveDarjeeling is the most famous of India’s tea growing regions. Revenue from its spring flush makes it the most lucrative, but the plants there are aging, wage inflation is high, and workers are restless. Innovation is overdue. Aravinda Anantharaman spoke with Rishi Saria a third generation planter, managing the Gopaldhara, and Rohini estates in Darjeeling. He discusses Darjeeling from the point of view of a planter, where things stand, what it needs, and the successful processing of . She filed this this report:Marketing Organics with HumorDennis Weaver is the co-founder and president of the Organic Marketing Association, a non-profit that growers CANNOT pay to join. The consumer-facing OMA celebrates the fun side of organics by building awareness with slogans, puns and Instagram-inspired illustrations of vegetables like celery with the headline “Stalking You” or lemons calling you to “Pucker Up Baby.”Weaver explains that organic food is delicious and nutritious, “So why is organic stuck at 5% market share with plantings on only 1% of US acreage?” he asks. One reason is that organic suppliers spend too much time talking about what’s not organic. They are in a defensive bubble, he says. Consumers are far more interested in how tasty, fun and easy it is to choose organics. “We won’t try to educate anyone. Instead, we’ll focus on making positive associations with the word organic and the things that make people happy. It’s a simple formula that works,” says Weaver.
29 minutes | Apr 23, 2021
Tea News and Tea Biz Insight - April 23, 2021
HEAR THE HEADLINES – Earth Day Takes on New Urgency | Restaurants are Rebounding || World Tea Expo Co-locates with The Nightclub & Bar Show in Las Vegas | Bubble Tea Boba is Languishing at Sea| GUEST – Philippe Juglar, President AVPA (Agency for the Promotion of Agricultural Products)| FEATURES – This week Tea Biz travels to the famed Royal Botanic Garden at Kew to explore a prized collection of 174-year-old tea recently examined and catalogued for its organoleptic properties…and we visit Paris to learn how the Agency for the Promotion of Agricultural Product (AVPA) elevates the world’s tea origins.Rediscovering 174 Year Old TeaIn 2020, the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew began analyzing the provenance of more than 300 tea specimens, mainly Chinese and Indian grown teas dating to the 1850s. Ethnobotanist Aurora Prehn began by examining labels. She then proceeded to record non-textual evidence experienced through sight, touch, and smell. She joins us to share her findings and offer some interesting insights into the work of Horticulturalist Robert Fortune whose specimens are included in the collection. Listen as we learn aboutexamine tea from 1853,ow AVPA Elevates OriginsThe Paris-based AVPA (Agency for the Promotion of Agricultural Products) is allied with tea producers globally. Recognition, professional education programs, and competitions build self-esteem and economic recognition that directs a larger share of the value chain to the country of origin.“This is why we cling to local transformation of agricultural products so that producers benefit from the pursuit of excellence,” says AVPA President Philippe Juglar. Juglar kindly shared a portion of his day to explain how competitions that exclude international judges in favor of local experts reveal that what the gastronomic world thinks and what the professional tea world thinks are quality tea leads to some “very interesting differences.”
20 minutes | Apr 16, 2021
Tea News and Tea Biz Insight - April 16, 2021
HEAR THE HEADLINES – | India Surpasses Brazil as the World’s COVID Hotspot | Tea Imports Spike in Pakistan | The Global Tea Initiative at the University of California, Davis Hosts a Second Virtual Event | Tea Masters Cup Names Champions in Moscow| GUEST – Jack Mackenzie, general manager, Summer Lodge Country House Hotel & Restaurant in Dorchester, England.| FEATURES – This week Tea Biz offers a glimpse of the many teas of India. Aravinda Anantharaman takes us on a tour revealing there is lot more to savor than chai…and we travel to the idyllic Summer Lodge Country House Hotel in Dorchester for a new take on the old English tradition of afternoon tea.The Many Teas of IndiaThe almost 1.4 billion people who live in India consume about 20% the tea produced globally, including most of the tea grown there. Consumption averages 840 grams per person annually. Growth slowed 2.5% in 2020—much weaker than in previous years—due to retail closures but India has not lost its taste for tea, it is just prepared more at home. Aravinda Anantharaman takes us on a tea tour that reveals there is lot more to savor than chai.Afternoon Tea Re-imaginedSituated in the rolling hills of Dorset, the Summer Lodge Country House Hotel & Restaurant is the perfect setting to savour Afternoon Tea in the idyllic English countryside. But when the pandemic closed the hotel the restaurant staff, at the direction of general manager Jack Mackenzie, were forced to cleverly design an afternoon tea takeaway so memorable that this old English tradition became an Instagram hit for patrons unboxing their dainties at home.
23 minutes | Apr 9, 2021
Tea News and Tea Biz Insight - April 9, 2021
HEAR THE HEADLINES – A Sparkling Future for Fizzy Tea | Bubble Tea Drinkers Froth Over Drinking Straw Ban | Vahdam Tea Partners with Goodricke Group | Starbucks Introduces Rent-a-Cup| GUEST – Supriya Sahu, managing director of INDCOSERVE, a cooperative of 30,000 tea farmers producing 14 million kilos of tea annual in the Indian State of Tamil Nadu.| FEATURES – This week Tea Biz visits the Nilgiri tea growing region in South India where the INDCOSERVE tea farmer’s co-operative has harnessed the creative and collective energy of 30,000 small farmers....and we discuss the challenges of timely tea delivery in the new harvest year with Jason Walker, spokesperson for Firsd Tea, the US division of the largest green tea supplier in the world.Waking a Sleeping GiantA money-losing federation of small grower co-operatives in Tamil Nadu, the largest of its kind in India with a history dating to 1965, languished for decades before a leader emerged with a singular message: produce tea that builds the lives of farmers and a better future, she said. “That’s our ambition to transform an organization that was a sleeping giant into one that can show the world that a small growers’ organization can be the best among the best.”Tea DeliveryEarly harvests in China, India, and Kenya sent new teas to market early this year – a fortunate head-start. Unlike last year, labor availability is good despite COVID-19 restraints, tea regions report fine weather, and orderly processing is raising expectations of a bountiful crop. Two obstacles remain. Transport is stretched to the breaking point as reinvigorated economies stir from pandemic weariness. The second hurdle is cost. Wholesalers, retailers, and importers that last year bore the weight of spiking prices must now make up for lost earnings. Expect significant price increases for both specialty and commodity teas for the foreseeable future. In this segment Jason Walker, spokesperson for Firsd Tea, the US division of the largest green tea supplier in the world, discusses challenges impeding timely tea delivery.
20 minutes | Apr 2, 2021
Tea News and Tea Biz Insight - April 2, 2021
HEAR THE HEADLINES – | Suez Ship-jam Delays Tea Deliveries | Tea Aisle Sales Stand Out in Grocery | Tea Retail Realignment is Underway | GUEST – David O'Neill director of Falls of Clyde International, a maritime heritage non-profit with plans to state clipper tea races in 2025. | FEATURES – This week Tea Biz visits Scotland for a lesson on the history of tea clipper ships and a plan to revive the famous tea races from China to the UK with next-generation zero-emission sail craft that someday may enable shippers who switched from sail to steam 150 years ago to switch back to sail again…. and we explore a realm that knows no bounds -- the imagination of tea book authors. Listen as Kyle Whittington, founder of the Tea Book Club, presents the first in a series of crowd-sourced book reviews. Clipper Tea Races Reborn Racing 2000-ton, 200-foot long, four-masted tall ships with a 30-man crew at speeds of up to 32 kilometers per hour from Foochow, China to London was a 99-day spectacle that rivaled today’s FIFA World Cup. With a ten-pence per ton premium on top of the 5 pounds per ton price of tea and a cash prize of 100 sterling for the first captain to reach port, the race (and wagers in plenty) meant fortunes won and lost. From the first race in 1865 to the last in 1872 the public eagerly anticipated September when a glut of fresh tea first arrived. British and American clipper ships were the marvel of their day but Scotland’s shipbuilders in Aberdeen on the River Clyde were the most renowned. The race of 1866 pitted 57 ships on a journey of 14,000 miles with three contenders arriving within two hours on the same tide. The world’s two fastest clippers, the Taeping and the Ariel docked 28 minutes apart, the winning captain gallantly splitting the prize. David O’Neill is director of Falls of Clyde International, a non-profit vested in preserving Scotland’s maritime heritage. The 200-foot-long Falls of Clyde is the last of the full-rigged iron-hulled clippers. It is designated a US National Historic Landmark and moored as a maritime museum in Honolulu. However, it is no longer open to the public and needs $1.5 million in immediate repairs or it will be scuttled. The Tea Book Club The Tea Book Club is a virtual adaptation of the Saturday afternoon tea and armchair get-togethers we all miss. Members meet monthly as either “Teapot” regulars or just a “Spoon-full” drop-ins. A new book is introduced every two months. The first session is social with a book-related theme or special guest. The second meet-up is to discuss the book in detail. There are two time slots to accommodate the global community with recordings available and a group chat on Instagram. Email prompts during the month help you keep on pace. In this segment, Kyle introduces the club’s favorite book of 2020, Tales of the Tea Trade by Michelle and Bob Comins, two adventurous tea retailers from Bath, England who recount their travels to origin.
16 minutes | Mar 26, 2021
Tea News and Tea Biz Insight - March 26, 2021
HEAR THE HEADLINES – | India High Court Reverses Assam Tea Worker Wage Increase | Kenyan Tea Factory Elections Suspended | Study Finds Growers Adapting to Climate Change| GUEST – Shunan Teng, founder of the Tea Drunk tea house in York City and the pandemic-inspired online Tea Education Club and monthly tea subscription service offering China’s heritage teas.| FEATURES – This week Tea Biz discusses a retail-inspired tea education club that delves deeply in the “geeky” aspects of terroir, horticultural practices, and processing during rare-tea cupping sessions at home…. and we travel to London to weigh the marketing value of third-party certifications against authentic “boots-on-the ground” community involvement tailored to local needs.Online Tea Education Club in a Class All its OwnNew York’s Tea Drunk tea house is normally bustling with tea lovers gathered to sip and learn. Since opening in 2013, founder and first-generation immigrant Shunan Teng, an accomplished speaker and educator, taught by example, telling stories of her annual buying trips while pouring tea for customers. Last March, Teng, who normally spends three months a year with heritage growers in China, was grounded – worse yet, her thriving business was locked down.Certifications Soothe the Conscience, But Do They Deliver for the Communities Where Workers Reside?In principle tea certification programs have positive impacts but in practice results are highly location-specific and mixed. Farmgate prices generally rise along with gross income, but so do that are borne by farmers in about 60 percent of certification programs. An imperative for marketers seeking to export tea – tea certifications soothe the conscience of retailers and consumers, but do they address the needs and interests of tea workers in the communities in which they reside?
26 minutes | Mar 19, 2021
Tea Biz Insight and News You Need to Know - March 19, 2021
HEAR THE HEADLINES – | US Restaurant Rescue Funds Total $28.6 Billion | EU Reviews Pesticide Rules | Tea Theaflavin Inhibits Coronavirus Replication | PLANT-AG is a $9 Billion Startup that Promises Field-to-Plate Traceability | GUEST – Rudra Chatterjee, Managing Director of the Luxmi Group, which owns estates in West Bengal, Assam and Tripura in India and Rwanda in Africa producing collectively 20 million kilos of tea annually.| FEATURES – This week Tea Biz continues its coverage of how Japan’s tea industry successfully met the challenges of marketing tea a decade after the disastrous earthquake, tsunami and meltdown of the nuclear power plant in Fukushima.…. and we travel to India to discuss a pandemic pivot with Rudra Chatterjee, Managing Director of the Luxmi Group.Meltdown Led to Tea Industry Realignment in JapanRadioactive fallout from the Fukushima Daiichi meltdown descended in plumes far north and east of Japan’s tea growing region. Losses were significant in Shizuoka due to factory closings where lightly contaminated tea was concentrated. Japan’s tea growing regions were not impacted and continued to evolve, initially foregoing exports in favor of the domestic market. That changed beginning in 2016 as exports increased from 4,000 to 5,100 metric tons. Valuation peaked in 2018 at 1.5 billion yen, largely because of the out-sized success of matcha, which accounted for 43% of exports, according to the Japanese Tea Export Production Council.Will the Pandemic and Pivot Online be the Catalyst the Farm-to-cup Movement Needed?2020 accelerated a shift to digital media, one that many tea producers embraced. Did this bring more customers? Did this increase sales? Is this the catalyst the farm-to-cup movement needed? We posed these questions to Rudra Chatterjee, Managing Director of century old Luxmi Group that auctions millions of kilos of tea annually to a small cadre of buyers purchasing 20,000 kilo container lots. Luxmi quickly adapted to selling 250 gram packets of tea directly to thousands of consumers, a pivot that Chatterjee says brought significant benefit.
28 minutes | Mar 12, 2021
Tea Biz Insight and News You Need to Know - March 11, 2021
Here are the Headlines: First Flush Harvest Underway Tea Price Report Tea Relaxes Blood Vessels Celebrating the Green GUEST Yasuharu Matsumoto, vice president of the Kyoto Obubu Tea Farms. First Flush Harvest Underway Droves of COVID-19 wary pluckers are working gardens in China, Sri Lanka, and India amid favorable weather after a dry winter. The Darjeeling first flush is underway. Consumer demand for premium tea increased during the pandemic and pricing is firm, but there is uncertainty throughout the entire supply chain as to when newly processed tea will reach market. Waiting time for obtaining container space on a ship is now 3-10 weeks at rates 50-200% higher than mid-year. Wholesalers are raising shipping minimums and pricing significant increases due to shipping. Retailers that absorbed some of the financial shock of 2020 project steep increases this year to recover losses. Biz Insight – Price volatility is a weekly concern which is why Tea Biz is launching the Tea Price Report. The podcast will report auction averages and prices for specific types of tea, drawing on many sources including, tea boards, traders, and the China Tea Marketing Association which provides a benchmark for the 10 teas most commonly exported. We welcome comments and suggestions. The full report can be viewed at www.tea-biz.com Guest: Yasuharu Matsumoto, vice president of the Kyoto Obubu Tea Farms. FEATURES This week Tea Biz travels to Japan on the 10th anniversary of the Tōhoku earthquake, a seismic event so powerful that it shifted the earth’s axis and tested both the resolve and resilience of Japan’s tea industry. …. and in recognition of International Women’s Day, we visit with the directors of THIRST, The Roundtable for Sustainable Tea, an organization committed to respect the rights of workers and farmers.
28 minutes | Mar 5, 2021
Tea Biz Insight and News You Need to Know - March 4, 2021
HEADLINES Brand Relevance in Chaotic Times Nepal Announces Tea Traceability Project The Danish Tea Association Merges with The European Speciality Tea Association YELP! Names a Tea House to its list of Top 100 Places to Eat in America GUEST Angela McDonald, president US League of Tea Growers FEATURES This week Tea Biz shares the secret to creating tea blends that sell, a conversation with master blender Sameer Pruthee, CEO at Tea Affair in Calgary... …. and we travel to Oregon for a visit with Angela McDonald, president of the US League of Tea Growers. The Business Benefit of Custom Blends Timeless blends like iconic Earl Grey, bold Yorkshire Gold and Constant Comment, a blend that Ruth Bigelow created in her kitchen in 1945, provide the sturdy foundation on which some of the world’s most treasured tea companies stand. A Tea Terroir All Their Own Growers of high quality tea in the United States set out to create something that isn’t available from anybody, anywhere else, an expression of regional flavor grounded in local terroir. The president of the US League of Tea Growers explains that while quantities are small “No one is going to buy a Mississippi Yellow Tea from Sri Lanka because it will never be the same.”
21 minutes | Feb 26, 2021
Tea Biz Insight and News You Need to Know - February 26, 2021
NEWS HEADLINES – Retail Sales Thawed in January | Restaurant Reticence Persists | Kenya's Tea Export Earnings Surged in 2020 | Assam Increases Daily Wages by 30 Percent for Tea Workers.FEATURES – This week Tea Biz visits London for a chat with David Veal about the European Speciality Tea Association’s newly launched training program for tea professionals… and we travel to India for a discussion on the future of handcrafted speciality and indigenous tea.Collaborative Training Program - The tea industry lacks a good, consistent, authoritative, recognized educational program that offers a universally acknowledged certification, writes ESTA's David Veal. Tea Biz asked what makes the association’s new training program unique? "The aspiration of our program is that not only knowledge and skills, but professionalism and passion will be stimulated by those participating in the program, and that the overall results will be an ability and desire to buy, brew, serve and promote better quality tea, and in so doing, educate consumers and encourage them to experiment with new and different teas," says Veal.Speciality and Indigenous Teas - India’s tea industry has for long, been about two types of tea, CTC and Orthodox. But in recent years, we are seeing the emergence of the specialty tea segment, which includes new tea types, and handmade and artisanal teas, and also wild and indigenous teas. Bengaluru-based Aravinda Anantharaman speaks with Parag Hatibarua, a tea consultant who works closely with these teas and their makers.
23 minutes | Feb 19, 2021
Tea Biz Insight with News You Need to Know - February 19, 2021
Guest – Simon Bell, co-founder and managing director at Amba Tea Estate, Uva, Sri Lanka NEWS HEADLINES – Sri Lanka Launches Expansive Ceylon Tea Promotion | Green Tea Compound Acts Like a Superhero Sidekick to Cancer Cell Suppressor | Lipton IPO Likely in 2021 | Tea Tourism Stirs from a Deep Pandemic-Induced Slumber FEATURES – This week Tea Biz reports on T.Kettle, a Canadian retail chain launched at the height of the pandemic that features ethically sourced, vegan, organic, loose-leaf teas…and travels to Sri Lanka for a look at an impressive digital marketing initiative created by seven small enterprise entrepreneurs promoting Ceylon tea. T. Kettle - “In any tough times – and this is certainly one of them – opportunities present themselves,” writes 36-year-old T. Kettle founder Doug Putman, a turnaround investor who has opened 45 tea retail locations in nine Canadian provinces and six U.S. states. He plans to expand to 100 stores in 2021. Tea Biz takes you to Coquitlam, British Columbia for a walk through one of the newest mall locations. Small Enterprise Marketing - The Ceylon Artisanal Tea Association, a collaboration of seven tea producers in Sri Lanka, hosted their third “garden tour” webinar this week. Webinar participants travel virtually to see the garden, processing facilities and meet principals and ask questions face-to-digital-face. Simon Bell, managing director at Amba Tea Estate, writes that “digital marketing is often one of the biggest challenges for small growers and rural entrepreneurs in emerging markets.” Tea Biz asked Bell to discuss the effectiveness of this new approach.
21 minutes | Feb 12, 2021
Tea Industry Expertise and Timely News You Need to Know - February 12, 2021
NEWS HEADLINES Hard tea packs a punch…. India earmarks worker subsidies for women and children… and beware of false claims, FDA has so far issued 145 warnings to companies, including tea companies, to stop misleading consumers with products that claim to cure COVID-19. FEATURES This week we report on the growing sophistication of tea farming in the United States…and learn about Canada’s acclaimed tea sommelier certification program that trains tea professionals on campus or online. Since 2013 the US League of Tea Growers has nurtured close collaboration among the more than 60 growers in 15 American states producing tea for commercial sale. Led by Angela McDonald, owner of Oregon Tea Traders, the group hosts online webinars and discussions. This week Kevin Gascoyne, a well-known tea buyer and co-owner of the Camellia Sinensis tea company in Montreal, counseled the group on what American tea growers need to do to make themselves competitive on the world stage. He also had this to say about what makes America’s experiment in tea growing relevant to the industry at large. Enrollment in the Tea & Herbal Association of Canada’s tea sommelier certification program surged during lockdowns and continues to grow in the new year. The designed for tea professionals, costs between $2,500 and $3,500 to complete online, or, on campus. Jessica Natale Woollard in this report talks with founder Shabnam Weber and MacKenzie Bailey, a tea sommelier enrolled in the online program.
20 minutes | Feb 5, 2021
Tea Industry Expertise and Timely News You Need to Know - February 5, 2021
NEWS Shipping container shortage threatens timely tea deliveries. …. Kenya’s High Court has ruled against unions seeking to prevent mechanical harvesting of tea …and Bombs Away… Tea bombs encased in confectionary get rave reviews online. FEATURES In its national budget proposal this week the Indian government included 1,000 crorepati or 10 billion rupees in subsidies (the equivalent of $137 million US) to assist plantation workers in Assam and West Bengal. A growing consensus, however, is that expansive plantations should be divided into cooperatives composed of entrepreneurial smallholders supplying small independent tea processing factories… Aravinda Anantharaman reports... Traveling to the tea lands to learn about tea is no long practical, yet tea retailers must still learn tasting skills essential to selecting fine tea. International Tea Cuppers Club founder Dan Robertson has constructed an international tea training center in Mexico where tea masters travel from origin to share their knowledge. The soon-to-open facility is on the Riviera Maya near the Mayan Ruins, south of Cancun and Cozumel.
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