• AVPA Competition Enhances Understanding of Consumer Preferences in Tea

    AVPA is a non-governmental, non-profit organization mainly composed of producers and taste enthusiasts. AVPA’s annual Teas of the World Contest offers more value than a medal. AVPA services include tasting workshops, technical support, and distributor staff training. During the past six years, the organization has elevated the status of tea and herbal producers, large and small, not only on the global stage but in their local markets. Teas must be traceable from origin and cannot be chemically flavored. A technical jury of professionals evaluates the teas, followed by a gastronomic jury of enthusiasts that mirror consumer preferences. The deadline to enter is Aug. 31, 2023. Register at AVPA.FR

    • Caption: Judges evaluate competitors for the gastronomic qualities consumers most enjoy
    Ksenia Hleap manages development and communications at AVPA
    AVPA Winners
    AVPA 5th Teas of the World Contest winners

    Sixth Edition Seeks to Elevate Less Well-Known Tea Lands

    By Dan Bolton

    Dan Bolton: Thank you so much for joining us on this week’s podcast.  

    Ksenia Hleap: Thank you for inviting me.  

    Dan: Will you describe the organization’s overall mission? Then, we’ll talk more specifically about tea and infusion plants.    

    Ksenia: AVPA (Agence pour la Valorisation des Produits Agricoles) is an agency for the Valorisation of Agricultural Products, and we have existed for 20 years. We first organized international contests for olive oils and other edible oils. The second contest was coffee roasted at origin. The third contest is Teas of the World. The youngest contest is for chocolates processed at origin. We are doing all these to valorize the producers in producing countries.  

    Dan: What’s new this year?  

    Ksenia: This year’s big difference from last year is that the registration form is 100 percent online. If entrants meet with any problems with the registration online, please get in touch with us. So if some producers have problems, they can call us, and we will help.

    Over the last five years, there’s been a steady increase in how many producers entered the competition. Last year, we had more than 300 participants, 33% more than the previous year.  

    Dan: I noticed that the representation is also broader. Different regions are appearing, and you’ve succeeded in inviting more of the 43 countries that produce tea into the competition.  

    Ksenia: This year was very rich in possibilities for us. And for some AVPA members to visit the producing countries. For example, our president, Phillips Juglar, in May, traveled to China, where he met many producers, with the possibility of explaining the objective of our contest. In parallel, our tea contest president, Carine Baudry, visited many tea-producing countries. We hope countries like Vietnam and India will join with more producers this year. One of our Jury members also represented AVPA at the tea symposium in Taiwan.  

    Ksenia: We are in contact with all producing countries for monovarietal teas, infusion blends, and herbal teas. The difficulties sometimes are just the way of communication because we contact the tea boards in every country. Unfortunately, not all tea boards respond. We are also contacting the associations and tea cooperatives. So, it depends on the countries and their desire to promote tea producers.

    Dan: When you look at the competition over the last few years, there have been many good quality teas. What do the winners have in common? What things typically mark the teas as exceptional, and maybe some insights into the people who are entering the competition and are successful?  

    Ksenia: All our participants are already winners because they dare to register for the contest and send their products. Unfortunately, not all of them are winners this year, but they will probably be next or another because they are doing a very great job. They are putting their hearts and their time into what they are doing.   The product recognition in Paris, in the capital of gastronomy, gives them a big possibility to communicate about this,  to showcase put the logo of the medal on their packaging, and to promote their tea or their products all over the world but first of all in their local market because this is an international recognition.  

    Some of them are doing great work. For example, one of our Taiwan winners decided to make a collaboration with a winning chocolate producer. The chocolate with black tea taste also won a gold medal.  

    Tea and Chocolate
    Tea producer Li Hsin Chang’s Xue Jian brand collaborated with DiRaja Chocolate to create a new taste of chocolate with black tea, for which DiRaja won a Golden Medal.   

    Ksenia: Tea producer Li Hsin Chang’s Xue Jian brand shared the winning experience of participating in the AVPA tea contest since 2018 and introduced the new chocolate contest to DiRaja, who participated and won the bronze in 2020. In 2023, together, they created a New taste of chocolate with black tea, and DiRaja won the Golden Medal.  

    See: More than a Medal

    Dan: That’s a wonderful story of how elevating one category complemented the other category, and it enabled two artists and producers to succeed in something they probably wouldn’t have done unless you had introduced them.  

    Ksenia: Yes, we are very proud of success stories like this. It is remarkable when initially only one producer from a country returns with a medal and communicates with the local or international press. And so his neighbors and friends see what he’s doing and ask, why not me? Why shouldn’t I try to do this? So, they are also sending their products, first of all, to compare themselves with others and to have the possibility to understand where they are in this market and what they need to improve because, after the contest, they have the feedback from our jury.  

    Dan: That’s important, too, right? Because everyone’s vision is to improve their product from year to year. In a competition, you can compare yourself to others and advance more readily because you can detect strengths and flaws in products, including your own.  

    Dan: Tell us more about the herbal (infusion plant) competition. There’s a monoculture category for Camellia sinensis. But there’s an equally important parallel competition in which you judge the best herbal infusions and tisanes. These include blends scented blends with and without added flavors.  

    Ksenia: Yes, this is the second part of our contest. All the producers of herbal teas are welcome to participate. There are categories for herbal teas and blends with the base of green, black, or other teas. There is a big demand for this kind of tea in Europe now. This part of the contest helps the producer to understand that herbal teas are not only for their health. There is a great philosophy about taste. Two AVPA Juries give an opinion representative of “French” culture and taste. With the different herbal teas, you can create a great product for your dinner and not only have health benefits.  

    Dan: Not just a medicinal, traditional use, but one that involves refreshment beverage occasions in restaurants and at home. Name a couple of popular herbal infusions. So, what are some new infusions that are coming to market?  

    Ksenia: It’s not new, but it’s very trendy. It’s Yerba Mate from Brazil and Argentina. Rooibos also started to have his place in the market. There are many others, like hibiscus, vervain, linden, etc. All herbal tea and the creation from plants and fruits are kindly welcome to participate in our Contes. We have coffee and cacao cascara.  

    Dan: Malotira (Cretan Mountain Tea) won a gold medal in 2021. Yerba Mate is growing in popularity in the Middle East. Because of its versatility, South African Rooibos is a world leader in the refreshment beverage category. Rooibos, which does not contain caffeine, is often blended with many of the same inclusions in tea blends. Will you share a closing word of advice on the gastronomic aspects of tea?  

    Ksenia: Take a fresh tea if you are hot in your place and take a hot one when you’re cold. You have so many fabulous countries of origin for tea, so don’t hesitate to taste the different ones.

    AVPA Registration Deadline

    Click to Register Monovarietals | Infusions & Blends

    Submit registration forms and samples before Aug 31.
    2022 Winners – Monovarietal Teas
    2022 Winners – Infusions, blends and scented teas

    All our participants are already winners because they dare to register for the contest and send their products.”

    – Ksenia Hleap

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    • India Audit Cites Tea Board’s Regulatory Shortfalls | China Tea Exports Decline

      India Audit Cites Regulatory Shortfalls of Tea Board: More than a third of tea smallholders were not registered by March 2021

      | China Tea Exports Decline | China Travel Restrictions Ease
      | Kenya Tea Production is Up, Exports are Down

      Tea News for the week ending Aug 18
      Hear the Headlines | Seven-Minute Tea News Recap

      Powered by RedCircle

      UKTA Director Jennifer Wood and Jo Selman-Smith, a project manager with the UK Tea Academy who, in 2022, oversaw the launch of The Leafies, join Tea Biz this week to discuss the academy’s international judging of tea in 12 categories with correspondent Dananjaya Silva. This year’s competition is open not only to farmers and suppliers but also to tea retailers worldwide. The deadline for entries to arrive in Scotland is Sept 18.

      Listen to the Interview
      UK Tea Academy’s Jennifer Wood and Jo Selman-Smith with Dananjaya Silva
      CAG Audit India Tea Board
      Cover of 176-page Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General on the Role of the Tea Board in the Development of Tea in India

      Auditors Find Lapse in Factory Inspections, Unregistered Smallholders, Lack of Well-Defined Strategy

      By Dan Bolton

      A government audit of India’s Tea Board during the five years ending 2021 found numerous flaws in its regulatory mandate and a failure to address concerns raised a decade ago. Glaring omissions include the lack of a strategy to identify and register smallholders — a first step in supporting the tea industry’s financial well-being, development, productivity, and promotion in domestic and overseas markets. Small tea growers supply more than half of the tea grown in India.

      Read More
    • CVC May Sell Kericho Tea Estates | Dunkin’ Launches Hard Iced Tea and Coffee

      CVC Capital Partners may sell Kenyan tea estates purchased from Unilever in July 2022
      CVC Capital Partners may sell Kenyan tea estates purchased from Unilever in July 2022

      CVC Capital Partners Exploring Sale of Kericho Tea Gardens: Unilever Brands Not for Sale

      | Dunkin’ Will Soon Begin Selling Hard Tea at Select US Grocery and Packaged Liquor Locations in 12 States
      | A Study Using UK Biobank Data Shows Tea May Lower the Risk of Gout

      Tea News for the week ending Aug 11
      Hear the Headlines | Seven-Minute Tea News Recap

      Powered by RedCircle

      Phil Rushworth, one of the owners of Ottawa-based ZhenTea, loves adventure camping, canoeing, climbing, and hiking. This week, he describes teas and techniques to help tea lovers enjoy special moments in the great outdoors.

      Listen to the Interview
      Phil Rushworth, co-founder of ZhenTea, Ottawa, Canada

      Turmoil Makes Kericho Tea Estates a Highly Visible Liability for Investors

      By Dan Bolton

      The private equity group that paid 4.5 billion Euros for Unilever’s tea business in July 2022 is discussing the sale of the Kenyan gardens and factories supplying its popular tea brands, including Lipton Tea and Infusions, according to the Financial Times,

      The newspaper reports three sources with detailed knowledge of the CVC Capital Partners’ plans.”The Kericho plantation has a history of violence and sexual abuse allegations. Protests in recent months led to the death of one tea worker, torching several tea harvesting machines, theft of tea, and acts of vandalism.

      A Lipton spokesperson quoted in the news report said the company had received a number of unsolicited inbound expressions of interest in our estates and would “review this strategic question at the right point in time.”

      The spokesperson said that if CVC sold the plantation, it would retain the rest of the business, which processes and markets tea under several brands, including PG Tips, Brooke Bond, and Pukka Herbs.

      Read More
    • JDE Peet’s Will Withdraw Global Tea and Coffee Brands from Russian Market

      Dr. Roshan Rajadurai
      Hayleys Plantations Managing Director Dr. Roshan Rajadurai addresses the International Plantations Sustainability Summit in Colombo, Sri Lanka
      Tea News for the week ending Aug 4

      | Sustainable Practices are Correlated to Brand Loyalty
      | JDE Peet’s Will Halt Sales of its Best-Known Tea Brands in Russia
      | The UN Global Peace Council Honors WomenServe Founder Nioma Narissa Sadler

      Hear the Headlines
      Hear the Headlines | Seven-minute Tea News Recap

      The recently concluded International Plantations Sustainability Summit hosted by The World of Hayleys in Colombo, Sri Lanka, last week encouraged tea professionals to visualize “Reimagined | Redesigned | Resilient” large-scale tea plantations in Sri Lanka and beyond. Forum attendees, at the invitation of Hayleys Plantations Managing Director, Dr. Roshan Rajadurai, forged new pathways for collaboration and integration of Sustainable Development Goals into modern plantation strategies. 

      Listen to the Interview
      Hayleys Plantations Managing Director Dr. Roshan Rajadurai with Anuruddha Gamage, General Manager of Human Relations & Corporate Sustainability at Kelani Valley Plantations

      Forum Offers Long-term Solutions for Tea Plantations

      By Rasika Galhena | PMD Tea

      Anuruddha Gamage, the General Manager of Human Relations & Corporate Sustainability at Kelani Valley Plantations, spent the past two years identifying ways to integrate the BIO (Biosphere), GEO (Geosphere), SOCIO (Social), and ECONO (Economy) elements of sustainable tea. Participants, drawn from government, academia, NGOs, and research institutes, met in pre-summit workshops to identify the unique, sustainable factors that define the long-term solutions for current challenges. He reports that climate change was top of mind.

      As the architect of the summit, Hayleys Plantations Managing Director Dr. Roshan Rajadurai seized what he called “a unique opportunity to bring together stakeholders to share best practices and drive long-term change.”

      Click to Read More Tea Biz News
    • Trustea Celebrates 10th Anniversary

      Sr. Manager Assurance, Anandita Ray Mukherjee
      Sr. Manager (System Assurance) Anandita Ray Mukherjee listens to women workers at a trustea member tea garden.
      Tea News for the week ending July 28

      | Kenya’s KTDA Chair Resigns Following Tea Reforms Conference
      | Nestle Announces Cost-Effective Sugar Reduction Technology
      | AriZona Unveils a Hard Iced Tea – Monster Tea is Next

      Hear the Headlines
      Hear the Headlines | Seven-Minute Tea News Recap

      Trustea was launched in 2013 by tea industry stakeholders, and producers determined to elevate the quality of India’s domestic tea. Today 65% of the tea produced in India adheres to the trustea Code. This month, trustea celebrates ten years of service, improving the competitiveness of tea gardens by positively influencing the practices and scale of production, farm organization, processing, new technologies, and supply chain development. We invited Rajesh Bhuyan, Director of the trustea Sustainable Tea Foundation, to describe’s trustea’s impact and plans for the decade ahead, including a Seal on Pack label to inform consumers of brand compliance with the code.

      Listen to the Interview
      Rajesh Bhuyan, trustea

      KTDA David Ichoho Withdraws Lawsuit Alleging His Resignation Was Forced

      By Dan Bolton

      The reason for the abrupt resignation of Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) chairman David Muni Ichoho effective July 14, remains a matter of speculation.

      Ichoho submitted a one-sentence handwritten letter of resignation on July 13, shortly after the conclusion of a Tea Reforms Conference chaired by Kenya Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua. No reason was cited. Ichoho was elected to the post two years ago and awarded a contract that expires in June 2024.

      Ichoho immediately filed a lawsuit alleging he was coerced to resign. Several KTDA board members, the agency’s secretary, and CEO, joined the suit supporting Ichoho.  The Kiambu tea factory directors called the ouster an “unprocedural dethronement.” The High Court agreed and temporarily barred the suspension of his contract.

      Enos Njiru Njeru was named Chairman the following Monday.

      Click to Read More Tea Biz News