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Tea Biz Podcast | Episode 20

Tea Industry News for the week ending June 4. - Pandemic Powers Organic Sales | Tea Cafes Cautiously Re-opening | Tata Expands Direct-to-Customer Range | Buyers Spend Big at Chinese International Tea Expo | PLUS Simona Suzuki on the Japan Tea Marathon and Jessica Natale Woollard walks listeners through Vancouver’s Chinatown.

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

Seven-minute News Recap

India Tea Price Watch | Sale 21

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 Maraton
Discover new teas during the Japan Tea Virtual Marathon from July 23 through Aug. 8

Japan Tea Marathon

Virtual tour of 15 tea producing regions tracks Tokyo Olympics

By Jessica Woollard

The 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 1,000 regular admissions give the entire world of tea an opportunity to cheer their favorite to victory.

Learn more…

Simona Suzuki, née Zavadckyte, president Global Japan Tea Association describes the upcoming marathon.
Chinese Tea Shop
The Chinese Tea Shop, Vancouver, BC

The Charm of Vancouver’s Chinatown

By Jessica Natale Woollard

In 1981, Kwok Sun Cheung, an immigrant from Hong Kong, opened the first premium teashop in recent memory in Vancouver, British Columbia, on Canada’s West Coast.

Catering primarily to immigrants from China, Mr. Cheung chose Vancouver’s Chinatown for the location of his shop. Now a National Historic Site, Vancouver’s Chinatown spans around six blocks, and is located a short walk from Vancouver Harbour and the cauldron from the 2010 Winter Olympic games. It is the third largest Chinatown in North America, after New York and San Francisco.

Today we are speaking with Olivia Chan, Mr. Cheung’s daughter at the Treasure Green Tea Co. and with Daniel Liu, owner of The Chinese Tea Shop.

Read more…

Jessica Natale Woollard takes listeners on a virtual of Vancouver’s Chinatwon

Tea News you Need to Know

Pandemic Powers Organic Food Growth
Pandemic Powers Organic Food Growth

Pandemic Powers Organic Sales

By Dan Bolton

The Organic Trade Association reports that US sales of organic food and beverages set a record in 2020, growing 12.4% to $62 billion. The total includes organic food, which grew by 12.8% to $56.4 billion. Import values for green tea also spiked, increasing 28% compared to 2019. Organic certified foods now account for almost 6% of total US food sales.

The pandemic caused consumer dollars to shift almost overnight from restaurants and carry-out to groceries, with traditional staples and pantry and freezer items flying off the shelves, according to OTA, “the only thing that constrained growth in the organic food sector was supply.”

Read more….

Bettys Harrogate
Century old Bettys Harrogate as featured on Extraordinary Places To Eat by BBC Select

Tea Retailers are Cautiously Re-Opening

A tearoom in Texas, a tea café in Portland and the Samovar Tea Lounge in San Francisco are now open for business. In Portland the menu at the new Smith Teamaker Café features tea as a spice, an ingredient, and beverage. In Montreal cafes with terraces opened May 28 and sit-down restrictions ended in Britain June 2. Irish pubs, Dublin bars and restaurants are open for outdoor dining June 7. In Montreal the Café Myriade, Café Parvis, and Café Olimpico drew urban street crowds. Quaint tea rooms in small towns, like The Charleston Tea Room in Friendswood, Tex., a city of 39,000 near Houston, are seating guests after a year. Sadly, many did not survive the financial hardship caused by extended lockdowns. In many cases these shops, like the one in Friendswood, will open with new owners. Möge Tee, a franchise bubble tea venture, will open two shops in New York City. Drive-thru HTeaO announced 11 new ice-tea franchise locations bringing its total to 41.

Biz Insight – Sit-down restrictions ended in Britain this week, check out the video linked above from the series Extraordinary Places To Eat by BBC Select. The setting is afternoon tea at century-old Bettys Harrogate, one of six tea rooms in Yorkshire, UK.

Tata Tea 1868
Package illustrations for the Tata Tea 1868 collection

Tata Expands Direct-to-Consumer Range

Tata Consumer Products expanded its successful direct-to-consumer (DTC) range to include specialty coffee this week. The successful April launch of a DTC website featuring “1868 By Tata Tea” reinvigorated the 13-variety luxury tea selection, launched in January 2018 to commemorate the company’s 150th anniversary.  The teas are exclusively available online at www.tatatea1868.com

Tata’s Puneet Das, president of packaged beverages for India and South Asia, said, “This is our entry into the direct to consumer commerce ecosystem which is a small but emerging space,” adding that “1868 is an example of our continuing investment in our brands as we innovate to create quality and distinctive products for our consumers.”

Teas in the 1868 collection are sold in premium tins organized by origin and type. The 1868 Darjeeling Rare Wonder is priced at INRs 1,500 (about $20) for 50 grams, the Nilgiri Green Twirl at INRs 500.

In February 2020 Tata reorganized how it brings its products to market, creating Tata Consumer Products, a Bengaluru-based integrated food and beverage company that offers tea, coffee, bottled water, salt, pulses, spices, breakfast cereals, snacks, and ready-to-cook mixes.

Biz Insight –Tata’s new DTC specialty coffee line is called Sonnets. It is sourced from the company’s south India farms. India is mainly an instant coffee filter market, says Tata’s Puneet Das who explains that Sonnets is targeted to QUOTE “a more discerning consumer looking for freshly ground roasted coffee delivered to their doorstep,” he said, adding, “With the prolonged COVID-19 lockdowns, consumers are seeking more coffee drinking occasions at home. This is especially true as cafes and coffee shops have remained off bounds during the pandemic.”

Hubei Pavilion at China International Tea Expo

China International Tea Expo

Live tea expositions, seminars, and tradeshows are returning with vigor in China. The five-day China International Tea Expo (CTE) that opened in Hangzhou on International Tea Day (May 21) drew a crowd of 152,000 mainly domestic tea buyers. In aggregate they spent RMB6.4 billion purchasing 254 million tons of tea, a 14% increase compared to the previous event. The average value of transactions was up 20% to RMB223 million and orders topped 13,000.

CTE is the largest tea exposition in China. Buyers collectively spent RMB6.4 billion purchasing 254 million tons of tea, a 14% increase compared to the previous event. The average value of transactions was up 20% to RMB223 million and the number of on-site orders topped 13,000. In 2019 there were 10,787 transactions, suggesting pent up demand.

The 2019 expo attracted 3,425 foreign buyers from 46 countries. In addition, there were nearly 200 foreign VIPs from 42 countries and international organizations. In 2021 only a few in-country foreign buyers attended as travel restrictions apply.

Biz Insight – China’s borders remain closed to all but residents of these 23 countries. Travelers must provide proof of receiving second of two shots at least 14 days prior to entry and they must present two negative tests PCR and antibody tests, taken within 48 hours of travel. Travelers are checked once again on arrival. Anyone failing the test will be isolated at a government facility. All others quarantine for 14 days, often at home, a approved hotel or government facility. In some regions the requirement is 14+7 (with the last seven days monitored by local community health officials). Entry restrictions are not likely to ease until February 2022 just before the Beijing Winter Olympics. The events are scheduled for February 4-20. Read more…

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Tea News and Biz Insight – June 18, 2021 Tea Biz

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.
  1. Tea News and Biz Insight – June 18, 2021
  2. Tea News and Biz Insight – June 11, 2021
  3. Tea News and Tea Biz Insight – June 4, 2021
  4. Tea News and Tea Biz Insight – May 28, 2021
  5. Tea News and Tea Biz Insight – May 21, 2021

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Editor | Publisher | Consultant | Freelance Writer Dan is the founder of Tea Journey magazine and a contributing editor at STiR coffee and tea. He is the former editor and publisher of World Tea News, and a contributor to Fresh Cup, Specialty Coffee Retailer, and CoffeeTalk. His personal blog is www-tea-biz.com In 2012 Dan supervised the successful re-launch of Tea Magazine where he was editor and publisher. This followed two years as editor and publisher of World Tea News. Dan has traveled widely, speaking on retail beverage trends in Canada and the United States at conferences in Dubai, UAE, Global Dubai Tea Forum (2016) and GDTF (2012 and 2014); World Tea Expo (2011-2015-2016); Canada Coffee & Tea Show (2011); Coffeefest; World Tea East and presented at the Tocklai Tea Research Institute Centennial, Jorhat, Assam (2011). He addressed the India International Tea Convention in Goa, India (2012). Dan is addressed COTECA conference attendees in Hamburg, Germany in September 2016, presented at the Xiamen Tea Fair in China, the DMCC Tea Centre hosted Global Dubai Tea Forum in 2016 and the Puer Specialty Coffee Forum hosted by the Yunnan Coffee Exchange in 2019.

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