Need to Know (Aug. 19, 2013)

What you need to know to start the week.

DARJEELING, India – An economic blockade of tea will expand this week to include timber as the Gorkhaland Joint Action Committee (GJAC) seeks official recognition of a state to be carved from Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri districts. The five-day protest that began Aug. 19 will slow processing and transport but the bulk of high-quality second-flush tea was exported in June and early July. The first- and second-flush represent 40 percent of the estimated 9-10 million kilos harvested this season but 80 percent of revenue. Autumnal teas and the great majority of lower-grade tea from small holders will bear the brunt of the disruption. The dispute has been ongoing for 25 years. Gorkha are Nepali-speaking citizens of India. There are an estimated 10 million living in northern India. Learn more.

Retail News
LONDON, England – A blend of Tetley original black tea and green tea reflects marketers’ desire to promote tea’s functional benefits to younger drinkers, according to Mintel International.
Beverage Daily noted that convenience is the key consumption driver for a core soft drink target group with consumption expected to rise 9.4% through 2017. The report, Tea and Other Hot Drinks disclosed 20 percent of 25- to 34-year-olds find many herbal teas tasteless but one third indicated herbal teas are healthier than standard varieties. The U.K. survey of 1333 tea drinkers 16 and older was conducted in Feb. 2013. Learn more.

DURHAM, N. Carolina – There is no effective treatment for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease which affects nearly 70 percent of the obese and diabetics. But researchers at Duke University of Medicine and Graduate Medical School reveal “mounting evidence” that caffeine in tea and coffee triggers lipids in liver cells to metabolize which lowers the amount of fat. Tests were done on mice. The findings are to be published in the journal Hepatology. Learn more.◊

NEW DELHI, India – India’s small tea growers do not have ready access to market data to guide pricing. Most rely on agents who currently purchase about 60 percent of tea at the village level or direct. These leaves are then delivered to “bought leaf factories.”  To remedy potential inequities in pricing the Tea Board of India in each tea-producing district announced it will publish the average price of tea along with production statistics, quantity of made tea and the rate it was auctioned. The District Price Monitoring Committees, which include small growers, will establish a useful benchmark but do not require agents to disclose to growers which factory bought the individual grower’s leaf. Learn more.

NEW YORK, New York – Miriam Novalle, founder & CEO of T Salon, a 5th Avenue retailer founded in 1992 phoned with word that Oprah Winfrey considers her tea a “must have for the summer.” T Salon’s selection of 12 oz. glass mason jars are recyclable with six 8-gram bags inside, enough to make a quart each of fresh brewed tea, said Novalle. Oprah picked a sencha green tea infused with coconut and pineapple. Learn more.

BEDFORD, England – In the 1840s, Anna, the Duchess of Bedford, was the first to serve afternoon tea, but the 1920s marked the height of the craze, complete with lots of guests, pageantry, servants, silver teapots, fine linens, musicians, elegant teacups, and the best tea money could buy, according to etiquette expert Lisa Mirza Grotts. The Huffington Post offers her concise history and lists The Do’s and Don’ts of Afternoon Tea. Learn more.

Editor | Publisher | Podcaster | Consultant | Journalist Dan is the founder of Tea Journey Magazine, the Tea Biz Podcast and Blog, and a contributing editor at STiR coffee and tea. He is the former editor and publisher of Tea Magazine, former editor and publisher of World Tea News, and former editor-in-chief at Specialty Coffee Retailer, then headquartered in San Francisco. Dan has traveled the tea lands, speaking on retail beverage trends in Canada and the United States and at conferences in Europe, China, India, Australia, the Middle East, South America, and Africa.