• Holiday Shoppers Lose Confidence | Tanzania Debuts Digital Tea Auction in Dar es Salaam | Tea Barter: Egypt Offers Kenya a Blank Check

    Holiday Consumers Lose Confidence Before Black Friday Sales Begin | YouGov Survey of American Shoppers Finds 52% Won’t Shop on Black Friday | Tanzania Debuts Digital Tea Auction in Dar es Salaam | Tea Barter: Cash Short Egypt Offers Kenya a Blank Check

    Tea News for the week ending Nov. 17
    Hear the Headlines | Seven-Minute Tea News Recap
    India News Update
    India Update | Aravinda Anantharaman

    Tanzania is the third-largest tea producer in Africa. Smallholders there farm 48% of the country’s 23,800 hectares under tea. Data from the Tea Board of Tanzania (TBT) estimates that 32,000 tea smallholders collectively produce about 40% of the country’s green leaf. As Director General, Theophord C. Ndunguru is the voice of the Tanzania Smallholders Tea Development Agency (TSHTDA). In October, I traveled to Dar es Salaam to talk with Theophord and fellow tea board members to better understand the state of tea smallholders. Today’s report is an excerpt from our discussion.

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    Theophord C. Nduguru, Director General Tanzania Smallholders Tea Development Agency

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    Tanzania launches digital tea auction
    Tanzania launched a digital tea auction on Nov. 13 in Dar es Salaam, selling 1,320 packages (66,920 kgs), leaving 58% unsold: 33% dust, 72% secondaries, and 44% of brokers. BP1s were not supported. Dusts were not supported. Colourly D1s were all absorbed at lower rates.

    Tanzania Debuts Digital Tea Auction

    By Dan Bolton

    Tanzania conducted the inaugural Dar es Salaam digital tea auction this week, fulfilling a government mandate to stop exporting locally grown tea through the Kenyan port of Mombasa.

    Four gardens sold a combined 1,320 packages (66,920 kgs), leaving 58% of tea unsold. Marks on offer include Arc Mountain, Chivanjee, Diddira, Kwamkoro, Kibena, Ikanga, and Itona.

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  • Starbucks Global Expansion Plans | Bangladesh May Finally Break an Elusive Tea Production Record | Adding Sugar and Cream Does Not Diminish Tea’s Health Benefits

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    Starbucks Announces Ambitious Global Expansion to Operate 55,000 Locations by 2030: Tea Played a Key Role in the Siren’s Record-setting Quarter | Bangladesh May Finally Break an Elusive Tea Production Record
    | Research Findings Challenge the Belief that Adding Cream and Sugar to Tea Negatively Impacts Health Outcomes

    Tea News for the week ending Nov. 10
    Hear the Headlines | Seven-Minute Tea News Recap

    PLUS | In October, Transworld, China’s first USDA-certified organic tea producer, and Firsd Tea, the US subsidiary of Zhejiang Tea Group, released the Chinese Tea Sustainability Report, a 12-page survey of perspectives and practices at Chinese tea farms and processing facilities. Jason Walker, marketing director at Firsd Tea in New Jersey and one of the architects of the sustainability report, joins Tea Biz for an in-depth discussion of the results of this ongoing survey.

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    Jason Walker, Marketing Director Firsd Tea

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    Tea is a standout in record-setting quarter at Starbucks
    Chai stands out in a record-setting $9.4 billion fourth quarter at Starbucks, which announced plans to operate 55,000 locations by 2030, with 75% overseas.

    Starbucks Announces Ambitious Global Expansion

    By Dan Bolton

    Starbucks CEO Laxman Narasimhan announced a record $9.4 billion fourth quarter to close a $36 billion fiscal year. Revenue was up 12% year-to-year.

    The company will expand to 55,000 locations by 2030, 75% overseas.

    Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Rachel Ruggeri said, “Our customers continue to favor more premium beverages, creating a new normal for mix and customization. To fuel this, we continue to lean in with innovation, offering our Iced Pumpkin Cream Chai Tea Latte, which boosted tea sales, and Pumpkin Cream Cold Foam, which has become a customization favorite with our customers.”

    Gingerbread chai is a hit, I recommend it, Narasimhan told Mad Money host Jim Cramer. Cold beverages, including tea and coffee, are driving sales. Customers add modifiers to cold drinks at a greater rate than hot, and it’s an easier process through the app than anywhere else. These transactions raise ticket and produce personal branding for Gen Z to broadcast via social, according to Ruggeri.

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  • The Leafies Winners Revealed | Rooibos Tea Named a Top 10 Pantone Color for 2024 | India Tea Undergoes FSSAI Safety Analysis

    UK Tea Academy Announces 2023 Winners of The Leafies | Rooibos Tea Named a Top 10 Pantone Color for 2024 | FSSAI Steps Up Safety Analysis of Indian Tea Factories

    Tea News for the week ending Nov. 3
    Hear the Headlines | Seven-Minute Tea News Recap

    PLUS | Tea was first cultivated in what is now Tanzania by German colonists early in the 20th century. Farms were planted high in the Usambara Mountains, a biodiversity hotspot in the shadow of Mt. Kilimanjaro rising vertically from the plains. The region was known as Tanga and would later, under British rule, become Tanganyika. The UK greatly expanded tea production through the 1960s and remains a major trading partner with the Republic of Tanzania. Joining us today is Steve Anyango, an expert strategist in commodity trading and logistics with deep ties to tea. Steve is Managing Director, Nemooneh Iranian Food & Beverage Industries.

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    Steve Anyango on the characteristics of Tanzanian Tea.

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    Dananjaya Silva at The Leafies Awards presentation and tasting.
    Dananjaya Silva at The Leafies Awards presentation and tasting in London.

    UK Tea Academy Announces 2023 Winners of The Leafies

    By Dan Bolton

    Winners of The Leafies are celebrating worldwide this week following an award ceremony at the Asia House attended by 100 guests, including Tea Biz London correspondent and PMD Tea Managing Director Dananjaya Silva.

    Awards Ceremony
    Dananjaya Silva reports on The Leafies Awards Presentation and Tasting from the Asia House in London.

    This year’s competition attracted 320 teas. Contenders were divided by type, region, and processing into 48 categories. Twenty-five of the award-winning teas were sampled after the award presentation, which included judges, winners, and beverage executives from sponsor Fortnum & Mason.

    Twelve judges representing eight nationalities were awarded 13 Gold awards. Several individuals were recognized for special awards, and 36 teas were “highly commended” in citations that praised noteworthy characteristics. 

    Japanese teas dominated with five gold awards. India won two: Glenburn for its Darjeeling Moonshine and Rujani Tippy Reserve in Assam on the Aideobarie Tea Estate. Lumbini Tea Valley won gold for Sri Lanka, and Zen Zen took home gold for its Formosa Red Oolong tea. A Chinese Ya Shi Xiang submitted by Jantle Group also won gold.

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  • Middle East Unrest Heightens Tea Logistics Concerns | Just Ice Tea Raises $14 Million | Wagh Bakri Executive Director Dies Fleeing Stray Dogs

    Middle East Unrest Heightens Tea Logistics Concerns for Transit via the Straits of Hormuz and Suez Canal

    | Just Ice Tea Raises $14 Million to Expand Distribution
    | Wagh Bakri Executive Director Parag Desai, 49, Dies Fleeing Stray Dogs

    Tea News for the week ending Oct. 27
    Hear the Headlines | Seven-Minute Tea News Recap

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    Tea Biz traveled to Tanzania last week to explore the tropical Usambara tea-growing region. There, I toured the Sakare Cooperative tea factory and met with smallholder farmers, tea makers, traders, tea sellers, and members of the Tea Board of Tanzania. I recount my adventure beginning today with Tahira Nizari, a savvy business school graduate and humanitarian who co-founded the specialty tea brand Kazi Yetu in 2018 to advance the role of women in Tanzania’s tea industry. Read more

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    Tahira Nizari, co-founder of the Kazi Yetu Tea Collection
    Trouble in the Middle East could force tea to be rerouted.
    Conflict in the Middle East could force tea to be rerouted, greatly increasing costs.

    Middle East Unrest Heightens Tea Logistics Concerns

    By Dan Bolton

    Tea shipping and logistics executives closely monitor Middle East unrest as tea sales to the region declined.

    Immediate concerns involve insurance premiums and pricing risk, but if Iran-backed Hezbollah escalates the Hamas conflict, Israel will likely retaliate against Iran. The Islamic Republic’s navy (IRGCN) has increasingly harassed international vessels, with 20 incidents in the past few years, including the seizing of tankers in the Strait of Hormuz (which spans Oman and Iran), a route traveled by 30% of the world’s oil and much of the world’s tea.

    Due to the violent and volatile Hamas-Israeli conflict, sales of orthodox tea at India’s Kochi Auction declined to 70% of the 2 million kilos on offer. Though Israel buys negligible quantities, exports to other destinations through the Suez Canal will be hit, according to a report in the Hindu BusinessLine.

    See: Middle East Conflict Threatens Global Growth (NYT)

    Traders who spoke to the newspaper cautioned, “Shipments to destinations through the Suez Canal are likely to be hit on account of the war.”

    They anticipate a further decline in demand and disruptions in tea procurement if the situation worsens.

    Iran is the center of attention. 

    Normally a discerning trading partner with a preference for orthodox black tea, imports to Iran spiked last year, yet “At the moment, there are signs that Iran does not have enough teas to last through the winter season,” writes one trader. 

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  • Ekaterra Rebrands as LIPTON Teas and Infusions

    Tea News for the week ending January 13

    “This change comes together with our commitment to drive the whole tea industry upwards and grow value for all and our planet,” said Roos.

    Lipton writes that the rebranding will strengthen the company’s position as the world’s number one tea business and affirm its approach as a consumer-centric organization. Ekaterra currently generates €2 billion in annual turnover from sales in 150 countries. The name change is more inclusive of non-traditional brands in the ekaterra portfolio, such as Pukka and TAZO. The company owns 34 brands including PG Tips, the T2 retail chain, and regional brands such as Brooke Bond Red Label and Bushell’s in Australia.

    | The First of Seven Agriculture-Focused Satellites is Safely in Orbit

    The SpaceX Transporter safely delivered the first Agri-Focused Earth Observation Satellite (EOS) into orbit Jan. 3. The constellation of seven satellites will each monitor one million square kilometers daily, covering 100% of the largest areas of farm and forestlands, about 98% of the globe’s land surface. The satellites, designed by Dragonfly Aerospace, scan 13 bands to generate panchromatic and multispectral imagery to monitor daily crop growth, water stress, weed spread, the presence of pests, and temperature variations at ground level. Tea growers can use the data to precisely control CO2 emissions, cut energy consumption, decrease water usage and reduce losses to pests.

    | The Specialty Tea Institute Ceases Operations
    According to Peter Goggi, president of the Tea Association of the U.S.A, the decision was driven by economics and a decline in interest. STI will not accept membership applications in 2023 and will not conduct classes anytime in the near future, he said. Goggi writes that STI could not offer many courses over the last three years due to COVID and had experienced a dramatic drop in both membership and interested students. STI is the association’s educational arm, offering basic through advanced training. The institute’s Certified Tea Specialist and Certified STI Instructor credentials and STI Tea Mentors program were well respected with participation by tea professionals around the world.

    | PLUS Mou Dasgupta, founder of Brook37 The Atelier in Princeton, New Jersey, is pursuing her passion for tea after 25 years of trendsetting corporate leadership in the financial services industry. She developed a love for fine-quality tea while living in West Bengal, India, where she attended university in Calcutta. She says Brook37 “is proud to bring fresh thinking and an ethical and sustainable mindset to all we do,” she says. “Our unparalleled tea selection of flavors, aromas, and colors from around the world, along with exquisite packaging, help you choose a positive and aspirational lifestyle.”

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