EPISODES
  • Diets with Tea Brewed in Teabags Linked to High PFAS Levels | Microbes are at the Root of Quality Tea | Retail Tea Prices Still High as Inflation Eases

    HEAR THE HEADLINES – Researchers Link Diets that Include Tea Brewed in Teabags to High PFAS Levels | Flavor Enhancing Microbes are at the Root of Quality Tea | Retail Tea Prices Remain High as Inflation Eases

    | GUEST – Senior Tea Master Lilian Xia, President of the Canada Tea Institute

    | FEATURED – A hundred and fifty years ago, tea exporters in China faced a dramatic shift in demand due to conflict on the high seas and fierce commercial competition. The emergence of India as Europe’s black tea supplier disrupted almost three centuries of Chinese dominance in the world’s most lucrative black tea market. China needed something new, a cream and sugar-friendly alternative to smoky old-fashioned Lapsang Souchong. That tea was Keemun, a modern marvel rivaling Darjeeling at breakfast, and the fragrant black teas of Uva used in Ceylon breakfast blends. Invented in 1875, the aromatic red tea quickly rose to prominence, explains Lilian Xia, one of Shanghai’s first batch of senior tea masters and president of the Canada Tea Institute. She joins Tea Biz to recount the legacy of a Chinese market-savvy entrepreneur, Yu Ganchen, the pioneer of Qimen Black Tea, who developed the processing method for Keemun and expanded its sales overseas.

    Hong Cha Revival – Lilian Xia and her staff in Canada offer a seven-level curriculum for adults and teens. The organization, she says, “is committed to popularizing tea knowledge, using tea as a link to strengthen cultural exchange among all ethnic groups, all classes, and all ages.” The society hosts educational tea parties, tea-themed activities, and tastings, including a public introduction to Runsi Qihong (Keemun) sponsored by the Anhui Guorun Tea Co. Lilian and I met at the Toronto Tea Festival in January. Here, she tells the of hongcha (red tea), which is experiencing a revival in China as millions line up daily for their milk tea. Keemun has a special place in the story of black tea as it is the first modern market-driven tea. Tea fragrance has always appealed to tea drinkers. Jasmin is one of the oldest and remains the most famous scented tea globally, but the European royalty and upper-class preference for milk and sugar, crumpets, and dainties limited sales of green tea, creating an opening Keemun quickly filled. 



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    40m | Feb 23, 2024
  • Maritime Security Worsens in The Red Sea | Rising Operating Costs Close a Third of Uganda’s Tea Factories | Hydration Concerns Motivate Consumer Purchases

    HEAR THE HEADLINES – Maritime Security Concerns Worsen in Suez and The Red Sea | Rising Operating Costs Close a Third of Uganda’s Tea Factories | Hydration Concerns Motivate Consumer Purchases

    | NEWSMAKER - Liam Brody, CEO, Committee on Sustainability Assessment (COSA)

    | FEATURED – The Committee on Sustainability Assessment (COSA) was established to measure the massive quantity of precise data and the impact of harder-to-quantify, pragmatic ways of measuring sustainability, such as living income calculations, gender inclusion, and next-generation training. In 2005, sustainability pioneers at the United Nations identified the need to harmonize sustainability metrics with science-based credibility. Seven years later, COSA became a not-for-profit public research organization to complete that work. Daniele Giovannucci co-founded COSA to counter what he called “the fluff and ignorance masquerading as development and colossal sums wasted by well-meaning funders.” He championed the “democratization of data,” devising standard metrics for the coffee industry in 2018. COSA, financed partly by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the InterAmerican Development Bank, has since standardized sustainability metrics for 100 Agri-related information technologies. Giovannucci retired in December, and Liam Brody was named his successor. Newly named COSA CEO Liam Brody joins us on the Tea Biz Podcast to explain COSA’s role in intelligence-gathering and developing strategic tools that advance sustainable practices with “good business” underpinnings. He also shares his vision of how artificial intelligence will revolutionize and influence consumer behavior and perception of sustainable practices.

    Predictability is Around the Corner – COSA Board Chairman Richard Rogers, in announcing the promotion of Liam Brody to CEO, described him as the right leader to unlock the exponential impact of the organization. Brody “is an accomplished and visionary leader” who can drive the transformative change needed to help tackle today’s sustainability challenges.” Brody says, “It used to be that no matter how smart the human was in this equation, we just couldn’t process all this data ourselves. There were just too many variables. But now, it’s amazing when we start to layer this data together.” He says, "Predictability is around the corner, but here’s the thing that’s missing for a lot of folks: Where’s the system? And how are those systems talking? And how do they interrelate?"



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    30m | Feb 16, 2024
  • Confederation of Smallholders Will Relocate from China to India | Iran tea Imports Plunge 62pct | Economists Predict Soft Commodity Prices Will Stabilize in 2024

    HEAR THE HEADLINES – FAO Confederation of Tea Smallholders Will Relocate its Headquarters to India | Iran Tea Imports Plunge by 62% | Economists Predict Soft Commodity Prices Will Stabilize in 2024 | 9 Feb 2024

    | NEWSMAKER – Peter Goggi, FAO IGG delegate representing the United States as President of the Tea Association of the USA

    | FEATURED – Delegates from 44 countries (and 14 official observers) who attended The 25th Session of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization's Intergovernmental Group on Tea (IGG Tea) last week expanded the organization's mandate beyond trade aspects, ratifying initiatives addressing all three dimensions of sustainability – economic, social, and environmental. Joining us today is Peter Goggi, the IGG delegate representing the United States as President of the Tea Association of the USA. Peter discusses #TeaPower, a new health and wellness campaign, FAO's ongoing support of smallholders, and the economics of oversupply.

    There's Too Much Tea in the World – Peter Goggi began his career at Unilever, where he was the first American in the history of TJ Lipton to work as a tea taster. He retired after 32 years with Royal Estates Tea Co., where, as president, he was responsible for tea sourcing, blending, and quality assurance. His last assignment was as head of tea procurement, leading a team of supply managers and analysts who spent a billion dollars a year buying tea. His encore as president of the Tea Association of the USA is marked by a fourth decade of service to the industry. Peter has been the US delegate to FAO's Intergovernmental Group on Tea for the past decade, an influential body of cabinet ministers, tea board chairs, academics, tea association executives, and policymakers representing every tea-growing and central tea-consuming region globally. "The IGG is a fabulous opportunity for all interested parties on a governmental level to talk about the tea industry," says Goggi. "It's essential to express their views. They all have issues that they're facing. The problems facing countries of origin differ significantly from those facing consuming countries. But ultimately, solutions that satisfy both need to be met," he says, adding, "The overriding concern of all parties in this business is the lack of profit throughout the supply chain."



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    30m | Feb 9, 2024
  • Lunar New Year Boosts Tea Travel | Nepal Past Currency Crisis | Pakistan’s Tea Imports Spike

    HEAR THE HEADLINES – Lunar New Year Will Boost Consumption and Tea Travel | Nepal Recovers from Foreign Currency Crisis | Pakistan’s Tea Import Spike (Legal and Smuggled)

    | NEWSMAKER – Tao Wu, co-founder of Tao Tea Leaf, Toronto, Canada

    | GUESTS - Annabel Kalmar, Tea Rebellion, Franco Li, Chin-Tea, Jean-Daniel Baki, Ryca Tea, Helen Kong, Secret Teatime, Luvinda Delwita, Robert Wilson's Ceylon Teas

    | FEATURED – After two years of crisis management, tea professionals were eager to return to work, reviving tea tradeshows with vigor – but attracting large crowds of tea enthusiasts to the smaller venues common to city-wide tea festivals took longer. In 2023, tea festival goers remained timid. Audience counts did not immediately return to pre-pandemic highs. Locally based exhibitors, their reserves exhausted, operated with tight marketing budgets.

    The Toronto Tea Festival that concluded Sunday marks a turning point in 2024 as the crowd surged from a 2020 low of 2,600 in February 2020 to 4,000 attendees - a 25% increase from previous highs. Joining us today to discuss the changing dynamics is Tao Wu, co-founder of Tao Tea Leaf and one of the festival's key organizers… but first, let’s listen to the excitement ON THE FLOOR at the weekend event.

    Exhibitors Welcome Youthful Crowd - Tao Wu and his sister Mingzhou Gao (an accountant) co-founded Tao Tea Leaf 14 years ago, opening their first three tea shops on Yonge Street in downtown Toronto. The Mississauga store in the Square One shopping Center opened next. The latest shop opened in May 2022 at Union Station on the concourse directly under the Great Hall.

    Wu said, "I noticed many young visitors this year among the local audience attending the show. They are really interested in asking the vendors questions and attending the workshop and Tea Tsunami. That's a good sign that the young generation is more interested in tea. We are trying to bring more tea-focused topics to the show. Also, as you can see, this year's vendors are mainly tea vendors. We still want to make the festival a really tea-focused tea festival."



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    28m | Feb 2, 2024
  • UN to Promote Tea Power | Tea Advice to Take with a Grain of Salt | China Tea Exports Declined in 2023

    HEAR THE HEADLINES – UN Plans #TeaPower Promotion Targeted to Younger Generations | Tea Advice to Take with a Grain of Salt | China Reports Tea Exports Declined in 2023

    NEWSMAKER - Rita Fong, Toronto Tea Festival Social Media Manager and Marketing Director

    FEATURED – The Toronto Tea Festival is celebrating its 10th anniversary this weekend. The Tea Guild of Canada and Tao Tea Leaf are co-founders and sponsors of the event. Organizers expect a big crowd to attend educational presentations, cultural demonstrations, and competitions, and there will be products on display from 50 tea vendors, large and small. Rita Fong helped organize the inaugural event. She is a director and manages social media and marketing of what is now the largest tea festival in Canada. She joins us on the Tea Biz Podcast this week to share insights on this event's staying power and growing popularity.

    Largest Tea Festival in Canada Celebrates 10th Anniversary – Rita Fong is a member of the Tea Guild of Canada, and the Tea and Herbal Association of Canada tirelessly promotes the festival, has long influenced the educational program, and recruits speakers and vendors.

    "The festival started as an idea by Tao Wu, Tao Tea Leaf’s co-founder, who wanted to organize a big event for tea lovers in Toronto. The planning committee felt that we had to do something because specialty tea is a business. They were thinking of how to promote business and how to help other businesses. Tao Tea Leaf has grown from a storefront retailer to a wholesaler to smaller companies and cafes in town and around Canada. Founder Tao Wu has become more like a mentor and advisor for many tea companies. He and Mingzhou Gao launched the company in 2009. Tea Guild, a not-for-profit established in 2009, has a mandate, in part, to educate their members and the public about tea, the exchange of ideas and sharing of resources, and the creation of programs and events, she said. 



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    26m | Jan 26, 2024
  • Missile Attacks Reroute European Bound Tea | Serve Hot Tea in Dry January | Tata Buys Organic India

    HEAR THE HEADLINES – Escalating Missile Attacks Reroute European Bound Tea | Serve Hot Tea in Dry January | Tata Consumer Products Buys Organic India and Capitol Foods

    | GUEST – Traditional Medicinals Chief Marketing Officer Kristel Corson

    | FEATURED – Kristel Corson, Chief Marketing Officer at Traditional Medicinals, says medicinal teas have been around for what seems like forever, but herbals are having their moment. It is important to educate folks, not just on what has been, but on what medicinal herbalism is today, and it’s very different, she says.

    Rooted in Modern Herbalism and Plant Wisdom – Traditional Medicinals is a Northern California-based botanical wellness brand rooted in modern herbalism to inspire active connection to plant wisdom in service of people and the planet. Formulations of more than sixty teas, lozenges, and capsules are strictly limited to botanical ingredients without added flavors and in quantities that meet pharmacopeia standards for efficacy. The company’s blends and single-herbal infusions are organic, sustainable, and ethically sourced. Traditional Medicinals was launched in 1974, and in recent years, the company has experienced exponential growth as consumer demand fills the sails, expanding distribution from niche natural food stores to mass market outlets. “One of the things we pride ourselves in is trying to introduce the true taste of herbs to consumers. We have a full staff of R&D scientists and naturopath doctors who understand these herbs, their qualities, and their different flavors,” she explains.



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    31m | Jan 19, 2024
  • A Year of Fire and Now, Ice | UC Davis Colloquium: Tea in a Changing World | SYSTM Foods Acquires HUMM Kombucha

    HEAR THE HEADLINES – A Year of Fire and Now, Ice | UC Davis Colloquium: Tea in a Changing World | SYSTM Foods acquires HUMM Kombucha

    | GUEST – Sharyn Johnston, Founder and CEO of Australian Tea Masters

    | FEATURED – World Tea Academy is making a fresh start in the new year, unveiling a new website and a refreshed portfolio of online and on-demand classes at lower fees. The curriculum spans the interests of tea enthusiasts and offers five certifications for those employed in tea. Australian Tea Masters Founder Sharyn Johnston designed the new curriculum and organized the website. She is with us today to talk about joining forces with Questex, owners of the World Tea brand. “This partnership marks a landmark moment for us, offering an extraordinary opportunity to showcase our deep commitment to tea education on a global stage,” she said.

    World Tea Academy Relaunches Online Education Platform – As the new Head of Education at World Tea Academy, Sharyn Johnston, says Australian Tea Masters has built a new Academy website that is very modern, enhanced the content, and added over 1000 unique photos, including images of tea plantations. "However, we’ve still got a long way to go. We’ve got some fantastic ideas for the future, and we want to build on that. “One of the things we’ve already introduced is a new Basic Foundation course in tea. That was one of the important things missing from the academy. We developed the world’s first tea 101 course online about nine years ago before it was the thing to do. And we’ve just had so many positive comments over the years from that particular course,” she said.



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    25m | Jan 12, 2024
  • Holiday Retail Cheer Spreads into the New Year | Expanding Value Addition | Australian Tea Masters to Manage World Tea Academy

    HEAR THE HEADLINES – Holiday Retail Cheer Spreads into the New Year | Expanding Value Addition in the Tea Lands | Australian Tea Masters Will Manage World Tea Academy

    | GUEST – Tastewise Marketing Communications Manager Lee Brymer

    | FEATURED – Lee Brymer explains that human-centered AI enables client companies, including Tata, PepsiCo, Kellogg's, Campbell’s, Mars, Chobani, and McCain, to capture and distill insights to make informed decisions, develop innovative strategies, and secure a competitive advantage. Our conversation draws on a 52-page report, “Flavor Beyond Intuition: Top Flavor and Ingredient Trends for 2024”. The report is available online at no charge.

    Flavor Beyond Intuition: According to Lee Brymer, when it comes to experimentation in flavor in general, most people aren’t really willing to go too far away from what they know. “They want a taste of something new. They want that sense of adventure, that sense of exoticism, but often aren’t willing to, you know, pay money for something that they’re not sure is in line with what they’re looking for. The pumpkin spice or the apple brown sugar people, whether they know it or not, they relate to the spice in there. There’s the cinnamon, the cardamom, maybe nutmeg, so that’s where it comes in. That’s a great point when it comes to marketing, right? That might be something that consumers don’t know about. And it would be a big risk and probably a miss for a big brand to adopt something like that. But it works if they label it as something much closer to home, something that people already know about. 


    Brymer joined Tastewise as a food and beverage insights advisor in 2022, advancing to senior consumer insights consultant before he was named marketing communication manager last fall. 



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    36m | Jan 5, 2024
  • Iran's $3.7 Billion Tea Embezzlers | Shipping Shock: Missle Threat Diverts Suez-bound Tea Cargo | Malawi Anticipates Steep Decline

    HEAR THE HEADLINES – Iran Tea Company CEO Implicated in $3.7 Billion Embezzlement Scandal | Shipping Shock: Missile Threat Diverts Suez-Bound Tea Cargo | Malawi Anticipates a Steep Decline in Tea Production

    | GUEST – Cindi Bigelow, President and CEO, R.C. Bigelow Tea

    | FEATURED – In 2023, the tea industry bid farewell to several notable figures. In this episode, we pay tribute to David C. Bigelow, Jr., an industry icon who died in June at 96. A member of the silent generation born in the roaring 20s, David was a World War II veteran and 1948 Yale University graduate who transformed the specialty tea segment. He steered a boutique tea blending business launched in his mother’s kitchen into a multi-million-dollar mass-market brand. Joining us today is David’s daughter Cindi, President and CEO of Connecticut-based and family-owned R.C. Bigelow, a $250 million B-Corp known for innovations that redefined tea service in restaurants and grew the company to become the US market leader in specialty tea.

    David C. Bigelow: Innovative Specialty Tea Pioneer – David C. Bigelow managed R.C. Bigelow Tea for 45 years beginning in 1960. Like many of the 55 million members of the Silent Generation, he was hardworking and humble. Survivors of the Great Depression and the horrors of war – these men and women were careful with their money, patriotic, and ambitious. The generation displayed characteristics of thrift, simplicity, patience, and a need for financial security and comfort. Cindi Bigelow is the third generation to lead Bigelow Tea, founded in 1945 by her grandmother, Ruth C. Bigelow. During her years as chief executive, sales have increased from $94 million in 2005 to more than $250 million. Bigelow Tea produces more than one hundred million unit boxes of tea annually and employs 450 people. She shares with listeners how her father and family expanded the specialty tea segment into the mass market grocery aisles "where he built an entire shelf presence" and then moved us into foil wrappers in food service. "We are the first in single-serve foil and pioneers in the away-from-home marketplace," she said.



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    39m | Dec 22, 2023
  • COP 28 Adopts Transition From Fossil Fuels | AVAP Winners Celebrate in Paris | Kenya Budgets Expansion of Tea Blending and Packing Capability

    HEAR THE HEADLINES – UAE Consensus Calls for a Transition Away from Fossil Fuels | AVAP Contest Winners Celebrate at a Paris Awards Gala | Kenya Budgets Expansion of Tea Blending and Packing Capability

    | NEWSMAKER – QTrade Teas & Botanicals CEO Manjiv Jayakumar

    | FEATURED – Tea blending is more tech-intensive than ever as the industry responds to consumer demand for more sophisticated tea blends and functional herbal beverages in convenient formats. Economies of scale favor manufacturers that have invested in robotics, automation, bottling lines, and environment-friendly packaging solutions, explains QTrade Teas & Botanicals CEO Manjiv Jayakumar. Last week, Jayakumar announced a friendly merger with Sun Garden Tea, a specialty tea wholesaler. Manjiv joins us this week to discuss the merger and current trends in blending, formulating, and packaging tea.

    Tech-driven Tea Manufacturing at Scale – Manjiv Jayakumar, a Harvard University graduate, worked on Wall Street as a financial analyst for Goldman Sachs for several years before joining QTrade Teas & Botanicals in 2005. QTrade was founded by his father, Manik Jayakumar, in 1994. Manjiv is the company’s chief executive officer.

    “Since I joined in many ways, it's been a whirlwind," he said. "I have tried to keep up with our clients, who grew in exciting ways, who innovated in exciting ways, and who pushed us to support them in ways that we never thought possible. And so, I've enjoyed the process of helping build this company and to help advise and support the businesses of our clients.”

    During QTrade’s early years, coffee roaster and retailer Craig Min, founder of LAMILL coffee roasters, began wholesaling and blending specialty tea. His Alhambra-based Sun Garden Tea and Cerritos-based QTrade were nearly neighbors in the vast expanse of the industrialized belt east of Los Angeles. Their proximity and compatibility led the two companies to collaborate frequently, a relationship formally recognized in the merger.



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    28m | Dec 15, 2023
  • COP28 Declaration is Good News for Tea Smallholders | Sun Garden Tea Merges with QTrade Teas | It’s Easier Now to Attend Chinese Tea Tradeshows

    HEAR THE HEADLINES – A UN COP28 Declaration is Good News for Tea Smallholders | Los Angeles-based Sun Garden Tea Merges with QTrade Teas & Botanicals | It’s Getting Easier to Attend Chinese Tea Tradeshows

    | NEWSMAKER – Kevin Gascoyne, partner Camellia Sinensis, Montreal, Canada

    | FEATURED – In the 1990s and early 2000s, curating a catalog of 200 direct-sourced teas, establishing a small chain of neighborhood tea shops, launching a formal tea school, and selling tea online to people worldwide was pretty ambitious. Twenty-five years later, Montreal-based Camellia Sinensis, having survived pandemic peril, has emerged with vigor in a configuration admired for its innovative approach to experiential retail. Camellia Sinensis even helped finance a factory in South India to produce tea on demand. Partner Kevin Gascoyne joins us today on the company’s 25th Anniversary to share valuable insights and a few missteps while traveling a long path to success.

    Innovative Retailer Celebrates 25-Year Journey to Success — Camellia Sinensis offers an extensive online collection of fine teas, teaware, and utensils. The company was founded in 1998 by Hugo Americi, inspired by visiting the Dobra Cajovna tea houses in Prague. The first Bohemian-themed store on Emery sold tea and cakes amid Shisha pipes and musical acts. The company has grown to operate neighborhood tea shops, supply restaurants, and offer a private branding service, an office tea program, and custom corporate gifts. The staff conducts formal training in two tea schools and has published several award-winning books and guides. Terroir is the central theme for the extensive collection, mirroring the founders’ direct sourcing. Teas are categorized by style, type, origin, format, discounted, and discarded as each new harvest arrives. Kevin Gascoyne began buying tea in South Asia in 1989 and has since visited the tea lands hundreds of times. Kevin is responsible for selecting teas for the Camellia Sinensis catalog from India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and the African continent. Born in Yorkshire, England, Gascoyne migrated to Canada, where he established a tea import venture in the early 1990s. He began supplying Camellia Sinensis in 1999, and in 2004 the two companies merged.



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    34m | Dec 8, 2023
  • Tea Overflows Mombasa Warehouses | Black Friday Sales Set $9.8 Billion Record | Sri Lanka Welcomes Strong Harvest Finish

    HEAR THE HEADLINES – Tea Overflows Mombasa Auction Sales Warehouses | Black Friday Sales Grew by 7.5% to $9.8 Billion | Sri Lanka Tea Growers Welcome a Strong Year-End Harvest Finish

    | GUEST – Bruce Richardson, founder of Elmwood Inn Fine Tea and Tea Master for the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum

    | FEATURED – The year-long commemoration of the 250th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party counts down to a grand-scale live re-enactment in two weeks. There will be special exhibits and artwork, virtual presentations and webinars, theatrical performances, and the dumping of a thousand pounds of loose-leaf tea (no tea bags) donated to the Boston Tea Party & Ships Museum for the December 16 event. Joining us today is author and tea historian Bruce Richardson, “The Tea Maestro,” Bruce is the founder of Elmwood Inn Fine Tea and has served as Tea Master for the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum since 2011. A renowned storyteller, Bruce recounts the momentous decision to defy the British King and Parliament by tossing 340 chests of tea into the sea, lighting the fuse of rebellion 250 years past.

    Celebrate the 250th Anniversary of the Boston Tea Party – Bruce Richardson has written hundreds of articles and authored several books, including “The New Tea Companion” and co-authored with Jane Pettigrew, A Social History of Tea: Tea’s Influence on Commerce, Culture, and Civility. He is an authority on tea culture who speaks publicly and is widely quoted in the national press and television. He has served as tea historian and Tea Master for the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum since 2011. Who better to recount the momentous decision to defy the British King and Parliament by tossing 340 chests into the sea, lighting the fuse of rebellion 250 years past? "The ladies of Boston, Philadelphia, New York, Charleston, South Carolina, were enamored by the tea ritual. They had furniture specially made in their living rooms to entertain their friends and have tea. So this was what got us into trouble. George III says, "The ladies of Boston will pay anything for their tea." He later regretted saying that because he lost one of his greatest colonies over a cup of tea.



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    36m | Dec 1, 2023
  • AVPA Announces 37 Gold Medal Winners | Coca-Cola India and Luxmi Tea Relaunch Honest Iced Tea | Sri Lanka Urges Smallholders to Increase Planting Density

    HEAR THE HEADLINES – AVPA Announces 37 Teas of the World Gold Medal Winners | Coca-Cola India and Luxmi Tea Relaunch Honest Iced Tea | Sri Lanka Urges Smallholders to Increase Planting Density

    | NEWSMAKER – Eduardo Alberto Molina Anfossi, Head of Tea Experience for P&T (Paper & Tea) Berlin

    | FEATURED – Tea retailer Paper & Tea has emerged from the pandemic with renewed vigor, opening seven new stores in 2022, including their first retail location outside Germany. The Vienna store was a catalyst as the Berlin-based tea merchant has since opened airy storefronts in Zurich, Switzerland, Utrecht in the Netherlands, Bruges in Belgium, Copenhagen in Denmark, and soon in Oslo, Norway, with more to come. There are now 30 locations across Europe, 23 of which are in Germany. High ceilings and large windows have a captivating effect on passersby attracted to their brightly lit interiors, colorful displays, and a wide variety of fine teas to sample. Today, we are joined by Tea Sommelier Eduardo Molina, Head of Tea Experience for P&T, the man who is responsible for creating an alluring experience for every customer who visits.

    P&T Experiential Retail Stores Entice the Passing Crowd – Tea is well suited to experiential retail, a type of physical retail marketing that offers customers experiences beyond browsing. Tea retailers worldwide are experimenting with sophisticated sampling, live music, art, interactive displays, video walls, and even making cameras available for customers to record and share experiences. Eduardo Molina, 37, is originally from Chile, a narrow coastal country whose people drink more tea than any country in South America. Eduardo embraced the tea-drinking culture, discovering his passion for tea working in hospitality at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Santiago in 2007. He has since traveled extensively in the tea lands. “The culture and history of tea is fascinating,” he says. His special focus is training. “I love training people how to present, sell, and tell stories about tea,” says Eduardo. He has ten years of retail experience, including three years as the co-founder and tea sommelier of Adagio Teas in Chile. He taught at the Chilean Tea Academy and joined P&T in Berlin in May 2018 as product manager for new business development. As Head of Tea Experience, he is responsible for marketing the new properties and training staff. He leads the team that created the in-store experience at every location, including the company’s soon-to-open 31st store.



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    29m | Nov 24, 2023
  • Holiday Shoppers Lose Confidence | Tanzania Debuts New Digital Auction | Tea Barter: Egypt Offers Kenya a Blank Check

    HEAR THE HEADLINES – Holiday Consumers Lose Confidence Before Black Friday Sales Begin | Tanzania Debuts New Digital Tea Auction in Dar es Salaam | Tea Barter: Cash Short Egypt Offers Kenya a Blank Check 

    | NEWSMAKER – Theophord Cosmas Ndunguru, Director General, Tanzania Smallholders Tea Development Agency, Dar es Salaam 

    | FEATURED – As Director General, Theophord C. Ndunguru is the voice of the Tanzania Smallholders Tea Development Agency (TSHTDA), but he also has their ear. In October, I traveled to Dar es Salaam to talk with Theophord and fellow members of the Tea Board of Tanzania to better understand the state of tea smallholders. Today’s report is an excerpt from our discussion. 

    Tanzania Tea Confronts an Array of Challenges with Zeal – Tanzania is the third-largest tea producer in Africa. Smallholders 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. The economy in this country of 68 million is mainly agrarian. There are approximately 3.7 smallholdings of 2.2 hectares or less. “The tea industry in Tanzania is currently going through several challenges and constraints. But the government of Tanzania has started taking very strong and robust measures to make sure that all these challenges are sorted out,” says Ndunguru.



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    25m | Nov 17, 2023
  • Starbucks Ambitious Global Expansion | Bangladesh May Break Elusive Record | Researchers Find that Adding Cream and Sugar to Tea Does Not Impact Health Outcomes

    HEAR THE HEADLINES – Starbucks Announces Ambitious Global Expansion | Record Revenue Powers Plan to Operate 55,000 locations by 2030, with 75% overseas | Bangladesh May Finally Break an Elusive Record | Researchers Challenge the Belief that Adding Cream and Sugar to Tea Impacts Health Outcomes

    | GUEST – Jason Walker, Marketing Director Firsd Tea, the US subsidiary of Zhejiang Tea Group

    | FEATURED – 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.

    Tea Sustainability Perspectives and Practices – Most survey respondents have an improved outlook on progress made in sustainability in the last ten years, says Jason Walker. They also view present-day efforts more favorably and predict an increased improvement trajectory in the next ten years, adds Walker, 46, one of the architects of the Chinese Tea Sustainability Report. Walker is the Marketing Director at Firsd Tea in New Jersey. His expertise includes business development, market research, and tasting. 

    “China set [sustainability] standards, especially domestically, for tea. About 85% of China’s tea stays in China. They said, ‘We have to protect our people and raise our standards internally as well.’ he said.



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    26m | Nov 10, 2023
  • UK Tea Academy Announces Winners of The Leafies | Rooibos Red is one of Top Colors for 2024 | Indian Tea Undergoing FSSAI Safety Analysis

    UK Tea Academy Announces Winners of The Leafies | Rooibos Red Chosen as one of the Top 10 Colors for 2024 | Indian Tea Undergoing FSSAI Safety Analysis

    | GUEST – Steve Anyango, Managing Director, Nemooneh Iranian Food and Industries

    | FEATURE INTRO – 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 significant 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.

    Tanzanian Tea: Strategically Sought, Yet Widely Unknown – Tanzania is a critical player in the transport of tea among landlocked producing countries that are members of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC). Malawi, Burundi, Rwanda. Even the Congo and Madagascar can easily use the port at Dar es Salaam to export tea and spices. Tanzania produces good teas, amiable for blending with various herbals. This makes the tea strategically sought after by buyers in many regions. Black Tanzania tea reaches about 75% of the world tea market but remains largely anonymous as a preferred base tea in teabags and herbal infusions.



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    29m | Nov 3, 2023
  • Middle East Unrest Heightens Tea Logistics Concerns | Just Ice Tea Raises $14 Million to Expand Distribution

    HEAR THE HEADLINES – Middle East Unrest Heightens Tea Logistics Concerns | Iran Running Short of Tea | Just Ice Tea Raises $14 Million to Expand Distribution | Wagh Bakri Executive Director Parag Desai, 49, Dies Fleeing Stray Dogs

    | GUEST – Tahira Nizari, co-founder and CEO of the Kazi Yetu Tea Collection

    | FEATURE INTRO – Tea Biz traveled to Tanzania last week to explore the tropical Usambara tea-growing region. There, I met with smallholder farmers, tea makers, traders, tea sellers, members of the Tea Board of Tanzania, and a tiny cooperative of 14 families deep in the jungle who invited me to watch as they hand-rolled and wood-fired organic black tea that always sells out on “market day” in the local village. I recount my adventure beginning today with Tahira Nizari, a savvy business school graduate and humanitarian who 2018 founded Kazi Yetu. This specialty tea brand advances the role of women in Tanzania’s tea industry.

    Value Addition at Origin Enhances the Lives of Tea Workers – Kazi Yetu sources much of its tea from the Sakare farmer’s cooperative in the Usambara Mountains, a range in northeastern Tanzania that is 90 kilometers long and about half that wide. Usambara is one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots, with a virgin rainforest that rises to more than 7,500 feet (about 2,289 meters above the Indian Ocean). Teas are finished and transported to the port at Dar es Salaam, where 35 women are employed in blending, packaging, and distributing tins and canisters of specialty tea available globally.  



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    21m | Oct 27, 2023
  • Unilever Kenya Pays Tea Workers Harmed in 2007 Attacks | Tea Powers Taiwan’s Bottled Beverage Market | Big Tobacco Infuses Rooibos With Nicotine

    Unilever Kenya Pays Tea Workers Harmed in 2007 Attacks | Tea is Powering Taiwan’s Bottled Beverage Market | Big Tobacco Infuses Rooibos With Nicotine

    | GUEST – Aravinda Anantharaman, Tea Biz Senior Editor South Asia

    Assam Celebrates 200 Years of Tea – The story of tea in Assam is fascinating. It dates to antiquity as one of the birthplaces of tea and remains relevant today. Situated in the Brahmaputra valley, Assam reaches from the foothills of the Himalayas down to the Bay of Bengal. It is the world’s largest tea-producing region, contributing 700 million kilos annually. Aravinda Anantharaman recounts the storied history on the 200th anniversary of planting the first tea gardens in Assam.



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    28m | Oct 20, 2023
  • Indian Tea Association Report Describes Acute Financial Crisis | Tea Awards Season is Underway as Judging Concludes in Major Global Competitions | Online Venture Vahdam Tea Opens its First Brick-and-Mortar Tea Room in Delhi

    HEAR THE HEADLINES – Report from the Indian Tea Association Describes Acute Financial Crisis: Auction prices are low, and tea exports are in decline | Tea Awards Season is Underway as Judging Concludes in Major Global Competitions | Online Venture Vahdam Tea Opens its First Brick-and-Mortar Tea Room in Delhi 

    | NEWSMAKER – Lumbini Tea Valley Managing Director Chaminda Jayawardana

    | FEATURE INTRO – Lumbini Tea Valley in southern Sri Lanka relies on the expertise of more than 1,700 small growers to produce 625 metric tons of Ceylon tea annually. Lumbini tea is crafted in 40 styles, from conventional black tea bags to innovative twists and specialty curled tea, with ongoing experiments in inorganic Kale cultivation and a rare white tea cultivar. Smallholders are key to winning international awards that attest to the company’s ability to exceed expectations in overseas markets, says second-generation planter Managing Director Chaminda Jayawardana. He joins us today to discuss how smallholders became the foundation of Lumbini’s success. 

    Foundation For Success – Forty-eight years ago, Dayapala Jayawardana planted tea in the lowlands along the south coast of Sri Lanka near Galle. The pristine 220-acre Lumbini Tea Valley garden he founded was surrounded by 18,900 acres of virgin Sinharaja rainforest(a UNESCO World Heritage site). The factory he built in 1984 was remote and self-reliant, soon becoming an essential means of support for the many smallholders in Ruhana. Twenty-four years ago, his son, Chaminda, was named managing director after several years as assistant superintendent at Kahawatta plantations. In 2000, he received a diploma in plantation management from the National Institute of Plantation Management. 

    Lumbini received the presidential award as the best small-scale factory in the nation in 2017, one of many awards for excellence, including this year’s well-deserved recognition by the SriLanka Tea Exporter’s Association as the Ruhuna tea growing region’s OutstandingTea Producer for 2023. 

    Smallholders contributed to that success from the beginning, says Jayawardana. “It’s mainly the bond we have with the small farmers from when my father started the tea factory. We have the farmers from my father’s era working with us. So they have a great loyalty to our brand and with us.”



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    28m | Oct 13, 2023
  • Dark Tea Reduces the Risk of Diabetes | Consumers Feel Culpable for Climate Change | Kagoshima Benefits from Diverse Tea Exports

    HEAR THE HEADLINES – A Daily Cup of Dark Tea Reduces the Risk of Diabetes: Researchers Demonstrate Tea Helps Control Blood Sugar Levels | Mintel Consulting: Consumers Feel Culpable for Climate Change | Kagoshima Benefits from Diverse Tea Exports

    | GUESTS – Professor Katharine Burnett, Founder and Director of the Global Tea Institute for Tea Culture and Science at UC Davis, UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education Program Manager Heather D. Ogle, and Brendan Shah, CEO at ITI (International Tea Importers) in Los Angeles.

    | FEATURE INTRO – The Global Tea Institute at UC Davis is a hub connecting tea professionals and academics, a virtual campus enabling the creation and sharing of new knowledge about tea. Last week, the Institute conducted the first of 15 Professional Tea Program lectures in collaboration with tea industry experts. The live online learning advances the vision of a Certificate Program for tea professionals. The deadline to register is Oct. 10

    Tea Industry Leaders Sharing Knowledge from the Own-Lived Experience – Fifty years ago, career tracks for tea professionals were the province of global brands and expansive plantations. Future executives were recruited young, rigorously trained, and tested. Aspiring brokers spent hours in labs refining their ability to discern tea quality and set market prices. Future managers assimilated a wealth of knowledge as leaf line supervisors in the fields and junior factory officers. There is no substitute for on-the-job experience, but the 15 industry veterans who teach the course engage in a lively exchange of information among peers, replicating the one-on-one training essential to building confidence when dealing with real-world situations. GTI Founder and Director Prof. Katharine Burnett explains, "We started the UC Davis Global Tea Institute Professional Tea Program at the request of the tea industry. The instructors are largely from the industry itself. And that means these are leaders in the field who can talk to you about the tea supply chain, blending or plucking, and transport. They know from their own lived experience what they're talking about. Bringing this wealth of expertise to the classroom and the group is, frankly, pretty extraordinary."



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    25m | Oct 6, 2023
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