• Tea Biz Podcast | Episode 20

    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


    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 of 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. Organically 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 a beverage. In Montreal cafes with terraces opened May 28 and sit-down restrictions ended in Britain on June 2. Irish pubs, Dublin bars, and restaurants are open for outdoor dining on 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 a 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 were quarantined for 14 days, often at home, an approved hotel, or a 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…

    Share this episode with your colleagues


    Subscribe and receive Tea Biz weekly in your inbox.

  • Tea Biz Podcast | Episode 19

    Hear the Headlines

    | Tea History Collection Unveiled
    | Indian Commodities Logjam
    | THIRST Undertakes a Tea Human Rights Analysis
    | A Series of Major Quakes Rattle Yunnan

    Seven-minute News Recap

    India Tea Price Watch | Sale 19


    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 to the North Carolina campus of Wake Forest University to learn from student William Liu why ancient teas and rituals retain their appeal with young people.

    Nepal Tea Garden
    Nepal is expanding the country’s tea growing regions to produce more specialty loose leaf tea.

    Himalaya Tea Opportunity

    Nepal Increases Production of Quality Specialty Teas

    By Aravinda Anantharaman | Bengaluru

    Nepal’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 Aasha Bhandari, newly named to promote trade at the Himalayan Tea Producers Cooperative, discusses her plans for HIMCOOP.

    Read more…

    Aasha Bhandari discusses Nepal’s tea industry in transition.
    William Liu
    College sophomore William Liu founded the World Tea Association and To Tea Together podcast.

    Why Ancient Tea Appeals to Young People

    By Dan Bolton

    William 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 “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.”

    Read more…

    William Liu on advancing our knowledge of the leaf.

    Tea News you Need to Know

    By Dan Bolton

    An extensive private collection of historical tea artifacts and modern facilities for meetings and tea research were unveiled on International Tea Day by Tea Ambassador Mike Bunston, OBE.

    The Tea History Collection, located in Banbury, Oxfordshire in the DCS Group complex, is the inspired work of entrepreneur Denys Shortt, OBE (Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire). The facility, valued at £100,000 ($140,000) is open by appointment to tea-related organizations and academia. It is equipped with a tasting bar, high-speed internet, archive cabinets, a video-conference room and work areas.

    Shortt, who founded DCS in 1994, grew up on a tea estate in Assam. His family worked at gardens there for 20 years before moving to Africa where his father managed the Ikumbi Tea Factory in Thika, Kenya.

    “We do not believe there is anything like this in the world,” says Shortt. “We have items from Plantation House (now demolished) which was where the London Tea Auctions were held.” The collection of more than 500 items includes teas, books,  and sample cabinet with 200 tins containing teas dating to 1904. The collection will be maintained as a non-profit.

    Learn more….

    Commodities Logjam

    Fifty thousand in West Bengal are homeless this week due to a tropical cyclone that halted air traffic and port activity in Calcutta. Every link of India’s tea supply chain is under stress. Restrictions to stop the spread of COVID-19 are once again limiting the number of harvest workers in the gardens and reducing by half staffing at factories processing tea, while simultaneously forcing the cancellation of tea auctions… delaying transport and causing local warehouses to overflow.

    Truckers essential to transporting tea were virtually halted last year and while many delivering to cities face delays due to curfews that prevent unloading at night, local transport is much less problematic in 2021.

    The weak link in the commodities supply chain during the second wave are buyers who cannot easily judge what quantities are required for manufacturers and to meet varying retail demand. For example, Kochi-based spices trader Kishor Shamji told the Hindu Businessline that a lack of buying interest from masala manufacturers in upcountry markets has affected the sales of almost all spices, including pepper, cardamom, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Meanwhile, traders worry that the tea they purchase to send overseas will experience costly shipping fees and delays. Last year’s first wave dealt urban areas the hardest blow but in 2021 it is rural areas that suffer.

    Biz Insight – In India, as in many countries, mandatory lockdowns and health concerns have accelerated sales of tea. A survey of 22,000 rural small market stores known collectively as Kirana revealed a 140% increase in tea sales. Sales of hand sanitizers that appeared near the top of the list last year are flat but sales of soap increased by 50%, according to StoreKing. Pest and mosquito repellent experienced a 200% increase and comfort snacks and biscuits are up 83%.

    Assessing Human Rights in Tea

    THIRST The International Round Table for Sustainable Tea, is launching a three-year program to analyze the root causes of human rights breaches in the tea industry and come up with an action plan for how to solve them.

    Founder Sabita Banerji objects to “rights assessments” which have a negative connotation she favors an “impact analysis.” Banerji calls it a ‘constructive solution-oriented approach’.

    The program will document conditions for workers and farmers and identify problems “but more importantly, what can be done to address these problems,” said Banerji. The first step is to consolidate existing research and then conduct in-depth studies where there are gaps, providing a global picture of the interdependencies of tea.

    Read more on the Tea Biz blog.

    A Series of Major Quakes Rattle Yunnan

    Three major earthquakes and hundreds of aftershocks damaged 14,000 structures, killed three people and seriously injured 28 in Yunnan Province last week. The first in the series struck Dali located near the heart of the tea growing region. That deadly 6.0 magnitude quake on Tuesday was followed Friday by a much stronger 6.4 quake that damaged homes and forced rescuers to pull several people from under debris. Five hours later a 7.4 temblor located in adjacent Yangbi [YANg BY] rattled Yunnan again.

    The steep mountainous region, subject to landslides, is jittery about quakes. In 2008 a 7.9 earthquake centered in Sichuan province killed 87,000 people and left 4.2 million homeless, causing $150 billion in damage.

    Share this episode with your colleagues



    Avoid the chaos of social media and start a conversation that matters. Subtext’s message-based platform lets you privately ask meaningful questions of the tea experts, academics and Tea Biz journalists reporting from the tea lands. You see their responses via SMS texts which are sent direct to your phone. Visit our website and subscribe to Subtext to instantly connect with the most connected people in tea.

    Subscribe to Subtext

    Subscribe and receive Tea Biz weekly in your inbox.

Verified by MonsterInsights