World Tea Expo Opens – Need to Know

What tea professionals need to start the week of May 26, 2014 —

World Tea Expo opens in Long Beach this week with a very strong educational program and an exciting show floor with several new exhibitors… see all the finalists for the Best New Products Awards listed below… Teavana co-located its newest concept store with a landmark Starbucks in Beverly Hills… two lucky Scots lost at sea credit a lifesaving flask of tea and biscuits for their survival…

Teavana Opens in Beverly Hills

The fourth Teavana Fine Tea + Tea Bar that opened Beverly Hills last week revealed two significant innovations.


Beverly Hills Teavana Fine Tea + Tea Bar

The store is co-located with a Starbucks Clover-reserve,  Teavana benefits greatly from the remodel where it has the more visible facade a the busy intersection of Santa Monica and Wilshire Boulevards.

The new store shares a courtyard with a landmark store that offers every imaginable service and coffee in the mermaid’s lineup. The remodeled store offers the La Boulange menu with oven-warmed food, features a Clover single-serve brewer, the Verismo System capsule coffees and the latest in mobile payment systems.

The latest Teavana introduces a range of tea-inspired food and beverage items including an apple Oolong chia fresca and a Genmaicha miso tea soup. A matcha avocado tea smoothie blended with Green yogurt and a fresh fruit Banana Chai are also new.

The fresca is a blend of oolong and Pu-erh tea shaken with cold-pressed apple juice and hydrated white chia seeds.

On the cold drink menu there is a Sparkling Kona Breeze Iced Tea: Pineapple Kona Pop and Peach Tranquility Tea blended and lightly carbonated with pineapple coconut water.


Veggie Sandwich and Tea Soup at Teavana

The addition of snacks like the Butternut Squash Couscous Salad: Israeli couscous, red quinoa, butternut squash, yellow curry and currants in a citrus vinaigrette and the Mediterranean Veggie Sandwich: made with savory herb and garlic cheese, quartered artichoke hearts, fire-roasted red peppers, chopped kalamata olives, and fresh baby spinach warmed on a panini roll – signal a new level of sophistication.

These food and beverage innovations are expected to appear on menus in New York, Seattle and Chicago locations.

World Tea Expo

The World Tea Expo opens this week in Long Beach, a new locale for old friends in tea.

The show is at the Long Beach Convention Center this year, a move that will bring many new attendees from the health food and beverage industry. Southern California is dense with natural food stores, innovative beverage manufacturers and tea blenders.


But no matter which city they choose to gather, the accumulation of a dozen years of first greetings and great meetings is apparent on opening day. World Tea Expo introduces tea retailers to producers, traders, scientists and experts in every aspect of the business. The education program is superb and the opportunity to see the latest equipment and build tasting skills with the help of some of the world’s most knowledgeable experts makes this a vital gathering in my view.

On Tuesday the Tea Business Boot Camp marks the official beginning of the week as tea retailers, from near and far, come together to refine their understanding of the business essentials.

This is a good time to be selling tea no matter where you set up shop which explains why so many attendees travel from Asia, South America and Europe to attend a day of lectures on best business practices followed on Wednesday by the World Origin Tasting Tour, a hands-on opportunity to taste exquisite teas, professional prepared. Attending graduation ceremonies is inspiring. During the past five years I have tracked many of these graduating entrepreneurs and can attest to the fact they enjoy a higher rate of success.

The conference, which begins Thursday, is overseen by Operations Manager Kaye Polivka. The Educational Program, overseen by Education Manager Monique Hatchett, offers five tracks: Tea Knowledge; Tea & Health; Sales & Marketing; Pioneering and Business Development.

There is much more to offer that I can cover here so be sure to click here for a view of the entire educational schedule. Click here for complete conference session descriptions.

My short list highlights three sessions each day:

Thursday, May 29

Current and Future Outlook for Tea
A must attend in my view for all as it brings into focus the global marketplace and the diverse factors catalyzing the industry by market segment.

Presenters include: David Sprinkle, Publisher, Packaged Facts; Lynn Dornblaser, Director of Innovation & Insights, Mintel International; Jonas Feliciano, Industry Analyst – Beverages, Euromonitor International.
The discussion is moderated by Brian Keating, Sage Group.

Success from the Front Lines
Investors have placed a billion dollar bet on tea retail in the past 18 months but success is far from guaranteed. These shop owners are succeeding with both single store and small chain formats because they have developed a sixth sense of what pleases customers and sweat the retail details to insure good service.

Presenters include: David Barenholtz, Owner, American Tea Room; Julee Rosanoff, Owner, Perennial Tea Room; Emeric Harney, Store Manager, Harney & Sons Fine Teas; Shabnam Weber, Owner, The Tea Emporium Inc.

Tea & Health
The revelation that tea “does a body good” underlies the remarkable growth of this segment. Understanding the relationship is complicated but essential when communicating with consumers. Dr. Jeffrey B. Blumberg is remarkably well versed in the health benefits and research describing tea’s impact on chronic conditions like cancer, diabetes, heart disease, neurodegenerative diseases, and obesity. Emerging research suggests tea may also play a positive role in cognitive performance, immune function, and bone health.

Presenter: Jeffrey B. Blumberg, PhD, FASN, FACN, CNS

Also: How to Source & Select Your Teas

Federal Trademark Registration: Are You Ready?

Cultivating the Next Generation of Tea Connoisseur

Friday, May 30

David & Goliath: Building Your Own Successful Tea Business Close to a Teavana
Learn how you can carve out niches in the specialty tea business that elevate customers’ tea experiences beyond that of shopping at a large chain store.

Presenter: Peter Martino

20 Marketing Angles You Might Be Missing or Afraid to Use
Consider 20 new or under-utilized marketing messages and learn to personalize your strongest possible tea message – the connection you want with your best customers.

Presenter: Babette Donaldson

Impactful Visual Merchandising for Retail & Online Stores!
Ever wonder how some stores like Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel, or Williams-Sonoma create an instant buying reaction for their customers? Here you’ll learn how to create attractive, impactful displays for your store and you’re on line presence.

Presenter: Ellen Leaf-Moore

Current and Emerging Regulatory Issues in the Tea & Infusion Products Industry

A Social History of Tea in the UK and the USA

Tea Room Survival

Saturday, May 31

The New Face of Retail

Retail innovations from online marketplaces and in-store blending to popup retail and decisions about accepting digital currency like bitcoins are dividing lines in the world of retail. Which trends to adopt and which innovations to ignore is the challenge.

Panelists: Austin Hodge, David Edwards, Christopher Coccagna and Naomi Rosen. Moderated by Elyse Petersen.

Keeping the Customer Engaged
Successful retailers, online and in brick-and-mortar locations, must learn to continually engage customers through promotions, events and educational programs.

Presenter: Anupa Mueller

Wellness Teas: Why Ignoring Herbs Could be Costing Your Business
Too often overlooked by Canellia sinensis devotees, herbal teas with wellness claims are central to the success of retailers.

Presenter: Toffler Niemuth


The Science Behind Health Claims on Tea Beverages: What are we really drinking?

The Crowdfunding Success Pattern

Building Communi-TEA with your Customers Online

Focused Tastings
The Evolution of Flavor
By Chris Johnston
A Taste of Hunan
By Hunan Tea Company
Teas that Depend on Nature’s Intervention
By Jane Pettigrew

The Chemical Mysteries of Puer Tea, the ‘Fat Burner’
By Kevin Gascoyne
Sensory Evaluation of Tea
By Victoria Bosogno & Jane Pettigrew
Discover the Artful Pairing of Japanese Teas & Wagashi Tea Sweets
By Rona Tison
Mixology 101: Using Tea Infused Cocktails to Grow Your Brand
By Abigail St. Clair
Detecting Defects in Tea Manufacture
By David Walker
The Keys to Matcha
By James Oliveira
Teas From Thailand
By David DeCandia
Pairing Teas with Chocolate & Cheese
By Robert Wemischner
Tea & Scotch – The Perfect Match of Two Worlds
By Shabnam Weber

Skill Building Workshops
Tisane, Herbal Tea & Herbal Infusion: An Exploration From Seed to Cup
By Scott Svihula
Tea Cupping 101
By Mo Sardella
Blending Award Winning Teas
By David DeCandia
Tea Processing – An Experiential Lab, Day 1
By Donna Fellman & Bill Waddington
Tea Cupping 201: The Next Level
By Mo Sardella
Blending Award Winning Teas
By David DeCandia
Tea Processing – An Experiential Lab, Day 2
By Donna Fellman & Bill Waddington
Bringing 3rd Wave Coffee Innovation & Excitement to Tea
By Joshua Russert
Tea Baking Basics
By Thomas Shu & Jerry Liu

Lost at Sea

Tea is well known for its health benefits but rarely under as dramatic circumstances as the North Sea rescue of fishermen who credit a flask of tea and biscuits for keeping them alive.

James Reid, 75, and his grandson David Irvine, 35, were rescued Thursday after their “miracle” discovery by another boat off the Aberdeenshire coast of Scotland, according to The Independent.

The two men were due in port Tuesday and feared lost. A large-scale search was launched that very day but called off Wednesday at dark. The following day a passing boat discovered their disabled craft about 46 miles off the coast of Scotland.

The two men from Inverbervie survived on a small flask of tea “enough for two and a half cups” and two biscuits, “that was it” they told rescuers in a lifeboat launched from the Sylvia Bowers around 8 a.m. The fishermen’s boat sunk shortly afterward.

“It’s times like these that really brings home how dangerous a job our fishermen do, day after day, to provide fresh fish for us all to enjoy and I am delighted that this incident has had a happy ending,” Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead told The Guardian.

Sources: The Independent and The Guardian.

World Tea Expo Best New Product Award Finalists

Winners will be announced during the show. Click here for a complete list of entries

“Best New Product – Tea as an Ingredient” Finalists:

  • Butterflies in the Tummy, Dethlefsen & Balk – A melange of exotic fruit paired with subtle vanilla, this tea makes a full-bodied, refreshing iced tea and delights in a hot cup, too.
  • Tea India: Chai Moments Cardomon Latte Mix, Harris Tea Company – This mix provides an authentic Chai experience that captivates taste buds, in a convenient on-the-go format.
  • Lumbini Ladalu Chakra, Lumbini Tea Factory Sri Lanka – A hand-made tea with a light and sweet taste, Lumbini Ladalu Chakra is part of the exclusive collection of Lumbini Tea Factory.
  • Jin Xuan Milk Oolong, Octavia Tea – From the mountains of Taiwan, this tea is unforgettable with the alluring taste of sweet cream and freesia with a tropical fruit finish.

“Best New Product – Innovation” Finalists:

  • Matcha to Go, Aiya America – A tea ceremony remade for modern speed; simply add to a water bottle and shake or stir into hot water.
  • Bonavita Porcelain Immersion Dripper, Bonavita – This porcelain dripper is the perfect single-cup (16 oz.) steeper for teas and tisanes.
  • Biotre, Pacific Bag, Inc. – Pacific Bag spent two years developing Biotre film, a biodegradable barrier material for packaging, which protects products and is ideal for the tea industry.
  • Teart Infuser, Teart  – This disposable paper infuser is inspired by the art of origami, designed to assure optimum leaf expansion.

Takeya USA Deluxe Iced Tea Beverage System

“Best New Product – Tea Ware” Finalists:

  • FLOWTEA, EIGENart – Designed in Germany, this double-walled glass tea-maker for on-the-go tea lovers is available in five designs with filter, steel lid, neoprene cover and carrying loop.
  • Hospitality Tea Pot, FORLIFE – Designed for both commercial and home use, this un-chippable, stackable tea pot is perfect for the food service industry and tea enthusiasts.
  • Deluxe Iced Tea Beverage System, Takeya USA – Create and enjoy hand-crafted beverages in three simple steps with Takeya’s patented Flash Chill Iced Tea System.
  • Stainless Mug with Tea Leaf Filter, Zojirushi – This mug allows drinkers to steep fresh tea and drink without getting a mouth full of loose tea, while keeping the drink hot or cold for hours.

“Best New Product – Open Class” Finalists:

  • Asian Ginger Tea & Cookies, McCoy Ceylon Commodities – This combo is for those who appreciate a quality tea blend with a cookie, specially baked to complement the tea’s flavor.
  • Earl Grey Strong, teapigs – In need of a sophisticated boost? This strong black tea with delicate Darjeeling and fancy bergamot is an early grey but with wallop.
  • Everything Healthy Tea Book, Blue Gate Books – An introduction to teas and their healing qualities, this book covers buying and brewing the most healthful teas.
  • Tea Pee – Prostate Support Tea, Nuwati Herbals – The herbs in Tea Pee have been traditionally used to assist with discomfort and frequent urination, and to support healthy bladders.

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Survey Shows Tea Topping Soda Among Adults

NCA Coffee Drinking Trends_Illustration

Adult Tea Drinkers Exceed Soda Drinkers in National Survey

NEW ORLEANS, LA– The National Coffee Association’s survey of drinking trends for the first time in decades revealed the number of past-day tea drinkers is greater than adults choosing soda.

What did you drink yesterday? is one of the National Coffee Drinking Trends questions: Soda fell to 41% behind coffee, tap water (54%) and tea (44%). Coffee topped the list with 61% of those queried. The survey engaged a nationally representative sample of about 3,000 people 18 and older. It is conducted in January and February each year.

Coffee has often been the first choice in surveys dating to 1950. Water is subdivided into tap water 54% and bottled water (46%) for a total 100%. Past-day incidence of tea drinking was next ahead of soda, milk, juice and alcohol. The big change was in carbonated soda which fell 9 points compared to last year’s survey. Tap water is up 7 percentage points in part due to economic conditions and as the most popular soda alternate.

Individuals 40-49 years of age are the most frequent coffee drinkers at four cups per day. The average number of previous day cups was 3.4 for past day drinkers.

Sports, energy drinks and energy shots were consumed by 14% of respondents (totals do not sum to 100 as many respondents reported drinking several different beverages the previous day). The percent of people drinking coffee is on the rise as well as tea and hot drinks in general. Past day drinkers are predominately hot coffee drinkers (93%) with 7% drinking iced or frozen coffee. In the 2014 survey 73% of Americans reported drinking coffee in the past week and 79% in the past year.

Also significant is the fact that 34% of coffee drinkers drank a gourmet/specialty coffee the previous day. Daily non-gourmet coffee drinking is down to 35% from last year’s 39%. Most coffee is prepared at home (85%) but 35% of previous day coffee drinkers report they purchased coffee away from home. The total exceeds 100 as many respondents drink coffee prepared at home as well as the office, restaurants and coffee shops.

Single-serve continues its meteoric rise, 29% of previous-day coffee drinkers reported their coffee was prepared with a single-cup brewer. The study showed 15% of American households now own a single-serve brewer with 25% of those who do not have a brewer indicating they will purchase one within six months. Only 53% of those who brewed coffee at home used a drip brewer. The remaining coffee at home is prepared on an espresso machine (12%) or from instant, 12%.

To learn more: NCA MarketResearchSeries,

Full tabular data are also available.

By Dan Bolton

Dueling Brewers

TWEET: Two sophisticated, quick-brewing, semi-automatic tea makers face off.


Calculating the number of tea lattes sold daily is a daunting task.

Millions upon millions and growing fast is my guess, based on conversations with Starbucks baristas and the management at Argo Tea.

Tea lattes (or more elegantly,  tea cambrics*) are one of the top ten sellers in the category with chai the most requested. Virtually every offering is created from concentrate despite the fact Baristas and tea drinkers alike prefer the flavor of fresh-brewed. Until now there was no quick way to brew a double-concentrated loose-leaf that would stand up to steamed milk.

Picture Mr. and Mrs. Customer in the most popular coffee shop’s drive-thru line at 7:35 a.m. He orders a caramel double espresso latte and she orders a latte made with tea. Chaos ensues.  A barista can brew the double and have it at the window in well under two minutes. The tea latte could easily take six minutes or more leading to incessant honking and late-to-work warnings for occupants of the 18 vehicles in line.

The Need for Speed

The Bkon® TX negative atmospheric brewer

The Bkon® TX negative atmospheric brewer

Two new highly sophisticated, semi-automated brewers introduced last week at World Tea Expo are built for speed. The Bkon® TX brewer and Steampunk brewer each debuted to a fascinated crowd of serious tea entrepreneurs, some with retail aspirations to be the first in town to introduce tea latte at drive-thru.  Selling for $9,000 and $15,000 respectively, these are not your typical tea pots.

The Bkon® TX brews tea in a negative-atmospheric (vacuum) chamber at variable temperatures between 160-210f, a process patented by Dean Vastardis. He and his brother Lou are co-founders, co-CEOs. Dean is the engineering and product lead and Lou is responsible for business development and marketing. Together they worked a deal with respected Swiss coffee equipment manufacturer FRANKE, a $2.5 billion company founded in 1911 with 10,500 employees in 70 countries. The firm provides exclusive manufacturing, distribution for the out-of-home market and global support.

Dean loves to tinker with equipment and by investigating how chefs speed-marinate proteins he came up with a way to convert an airtight food storage container with a tire valve and vacuum pump into a fast-brewing tea maker. Three years later his Reverse Atmospheric Infusion™ process gently coaxes the soluble elements, aromatics and natural sugars from tea. The technology applies to brewing coffee, infusing flavored spirits, it can be installed in vending machines, and used to make ready-to-drink beverages, said Lou Vastardis. “The reason we are here is to demonstrate a disruptive technology for the tea industry that allows every loose-leaf varietal to be delivered to consumers in a fast, consistent, and premium manner,” he said.

Vastardis describes the initial market for the equipment as foodservice. The infusion process is ideal for traditional teas and tisanes, herbals and fruit infusions. Operators can adjust temperature, time and the frequency and depth of vacuum, he explains. The Bkon® TX automatically pre-rinses and flushes the brew chamber to prevent cross-contamination. Dean brewed 16- to 20-ounce cups of tea in less than 90 seconds on the show floor and can brew 8- to 10-ounces in less than 60 seconds, yielding 90 to 110 cups per hour.

“The Bkon® TX allows an independent (or chain) to import, customize, and program over 90 tea recipes,” said Lou Vastardis. Independents would love to add a ‘specialty’ tea program if it allowed them to match the super-premium standards of their coffee program, he observes. “As you know, executing a tea beverage properly is much more complex than coffee,” he said.  The Bkon TX provides independents a turn-key ability to introduce a specialty tea program that is equal or above the standard of their specialty coffee program, he said.

Due to the control of the atmospheric brewing perimeters by our software’s algorithms, independents can deliver any super premium tea with unmatched simplicity and consistency (across multiple locations), he explained. “It does not make a difference who is operating the equipment,” he said.

Attendees by the hundreds stopped to taste the results with Dean manning the machine and the FRANKE team fielding service and support questions. The consensus was favorable across a range of challenging teas and the price is comparable to an espresso machine, said Lou Vastardis. “Conservative ROI calculations project that an average independent shop should be able to recoup its investment in about six months,” he added.  The Bkon® was named “Best New Product” at World Tea Expo.


Steampunk brewing chambers.

Siphon Strategy

Sam DuRegger is director of business development for Alpha Dominche, a coffee equipment maker in Salt Lake City, Utah. The name may sound foreign, but this two- and four-chamber siphon coffee and tea maker is American through and through. DuRegger said the company focus is creating technology to make world-class coffee and tea accessible to all.

The equipment was invented by Khristian Bombeck a coffee shop owner who founded the company. He built the first Steampunk in his garage, taking four years to perfect the design. The latest version, 4.0, is three feet wide by two feet deep and three feet high. It features orderly pipes and tubes and valves attached to an industrial boiler commanded by computers programmed to precisely and consistently make hot drinks from a wide range of coffee and tea recipes. Baristas can adjust agitation, water pressure and install three grades of metal filters to make up to 80 cups of coffee or tea per hour. The two-crucible model sells for $9,000 and the four-crucible model costs $15,000.


The Steampunk 4.0, four-crucible model.

In April Christa and Jeff Duggan installed the newest model at their Seventh Tea Bar in Costa Mesa, Calif.

It is the kind of shop that sells Feng Huang Gui  Fei oolong, Bai Mu Dan for $3 and Bai Hao Yin Zhen for $4 a cup along with Ti Kuan Yin and Tung Ting. Gongfu service is available but siphon brewing is a hundred times faster.

The Steampunk has a coffee heritage and was named the “Best New Product” at the Specialty Coffee of Association of America show in 2012. This is the national debut, said DuRegger.

One big advantage is the ability to make quality coffee and tea simultaneously. Seventh Tea Bar resists that efficiency as the coffee aroma would kill the pleasure of scented teas but baristas serving tea latte don’t rely on gaiwans.  There is a demand for treating light-roast Caribbean coffee with care and with expensive coffee, consistency is very important.  DuRegger correctly identifies the variables that must be mastered in making pour-over. It only looks easy, we agree. The machine cannot make espresso. The Steampunk is calibrated to produce everything else from French Press style to pour over-style. It appears ideal for installation in coffee shops like Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and Peet’s Coffee & Tea or a Starbucks where large quantities of latte are served on the go.

“We believe that by transforming quality brewing into a streamlined, interactive process, we can bring quality coffee and tea to a larger audience than previously imaginable,” said DuRegger.

“We believe that the balanced marriage of function and aesthetics is the key to our designs,” he said, explaining that the name translates as “first of its kind.”

Dan Bolton | ©Mystic Media 2013

*Cambric — Buchanan’s Coffee Pub On the Hill in Boulder, Colo., advertises a $3.25 Cambric (Tea Latte) as does the Coffeebar in Truckee, Calif., where they sell a Medio Vanilla Earl Cambric for $3.50. At Terra at the Isabel Rose in a Montclair, N.J., a small Cambric Tea, described as a black tea, heavy on the organic soy/grass-fed milk and fair trade organic sugar, sells for $2.50. At Infusion Coffee & Tea in Philadelphia the Tea Cambric is described as loose-leaf tea, infused with steamed milk and honey. It is listed alongside the Mate Latte and Chai. At Russian-inspired Dazbog Coffee locations in Colorado, Texas and Wyoming the Hot Tea Cambric contains an estimated 140 calories per 16 ounces with 12 grams of carbs and 5 grams saturated fat.

Linkedin: Fast brewing siphon or negative atmospheric tea maker, which would you choose for your high-traffic shop?

Poll: Bkon® TX Reverse Atmospheric Infusion Brewer or Steampunk Semi-automatic Siphon Brewer for making tea lattes in less than two minutes.

Hans P. Theyer to Oversee Fairtrade America


Hans P. Theyer is the first executive director of Fairtrade America.

TWEET: New Fairtrade America executive reasserts smallholders role.


Hans P. Theyer was named executive director of Fairtrade America May 13 of the newly organized affiliate of the international Fairtrade system. He is charged with articulating the organization’s social mission after a schism invited major retailers to abandon Fairtrade certification in favor of a rival program run by Fair Trade USA.

Theyer confronts the challenge of re-establishing relationships with suppliers severed in January 2012 when Fair Trade USA cut its ties to Fairtrade International, diverting millions in funding after 13 years as an affiliate. The staff at Fair Trade USA, based in California, introduced a new label and began certifying large plantations and estates. The group also introduced programs that emphasized the importance of growing fair trade sales through marketing by major retailers and member suppliers.

Theyer is not without allies. Equal Exchange, the largest fair trade coffee company in the U.S., refused to accept the policy change and campaigned publicly to convince other suppliers to remain with Fairtrade International.

“Fair Trade, a product of years of sweat, sacrifice and risk, belongs to the farmers. But Fair Trade USA has abandoned the legitimate international system, not paid its dues, and changed the rules to allow large-scale plantations and private estates into the coffee system. With this move, they threaten to reverse decades of hard-won gains while potentially putting at risk the very survival of the farmer co-operatives,” declared Equal Exchange Co-Presidents Rob Everts and Rink Dickinson who made their point in full page newspaper advertising addressed to coffee giant Green Mountain Coffee Roasters.

Their appeal “to leave Fair Trade USA and rejoin the international certifier in which small farmers have a true seat at the table and governance power” was ignored.

Tea blenders, roasters, retailers and others holding Fair Trade certifications in many instances were forced to pay both Fair Trade USA and Fairtrade International.

Theyer’s zeal for small holders is apparent. “I have seen first-hand the incredible difference fair trade can make for farmers, workers and entire communities in developing countries,” he said. He also made clear his intent to raise public awareness of Fairtrade’s core mission “in partnership with companies, retailers, producers and all fair trade advocates that share our vision of building a vibrant fair trade movement in the United States.”

The stakes are high. Globally, fair trade certified goods amounted to $6.6 billion in sales in 2011, up 27 percent since 2009. Retailers in several categories including sugar, coffee and tea now find stocking their shelves with fair trade labeled goods essential to attract a growing niche of customers. Fair Trade USA founder and Chief Executive Paul Rice argues the split was essential to maintain this momentum. “We are after results,” he told BusinessWeek
after announcing the decision. “We want to get things done.” His announced goal is to double U.S. sales of fair trade goods by 2015. To achieve this goal additional products such as fair trade cotton will be certified. More controversial is the decision to certify products made with a combination ingredients. In considering chocolate bars for example, cocoa in some Hershey Bars earned the Fair Trade USA seal even though the sugar used to make the chocolate bars was not fair trade certified. In March Hershey’s, the largest American chocolate maker, announced it would source 100 percent of its cocoa from fair trade certified suppliers including both Fairtrade and Fair Trade USA. The decision followed a seven-year campaign by the Raise the Bar, Hershey! Coalition.

Prior to joining Fairtrade America, Theyer helped create and run a consulting practice specializing in developing social impact strategies for businesses. He previously served as Executive Director of Agros International, a non-profit organization dedicated to rural poverty alleviation throughout Central America and Mexico. Hans was a leader in Microsoft’s Rural Computing effort, an initiative to empower emerging markets throughout the rural, developing world with access to information and communications technology.

Originally from Chile, Theyer holds a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) degree from London Business School. His business experience includes sales, marketing and business development positions with Microsoft and leading international banking institutions.

“Hans brings tremendous assets to Fairtrade America, including a fantastic combination of business and international development experience, strong connections and work with rural communities across Latin America and Asia, and fresh ideas and vision for growing Fairtrade in the United States,” said Bama Athreya, Board Chair, Fairtrade America. “Under Hans’ leadership we look forward to collaborating with our business and non-profit stakeholders so that more Americans will learn about fair trade, buy Fairtrade products and have the opportunity to play an active part in empowering small farmers and workers to improve their lives.”

Dan Bolton

©Mystic Media 2013

LinkedIn: Hans Theyer agreed to a five question Q&A with Tea Biz. What questions would you pose?

How Much Caffeine Is Really in Your Cup?

TWEET: What you think you know about caffeine in tea might be all wrong.

When the Wrigley Company pulled its Alert Energy Caffeine Gum from the market two weeks after launch, it was in no small part due to a newly announced investigation by the Food & Drug Administration into caffeine in our nation’s foods and beverages. Consumers are increasingly conscious of their caffeine intake and they will expect tea sellers to be able to communicate clearly about how much caffeine is really in their cups. The good news is that more research is being done to give us those answers. The bad news is that we’re seeing that clarity may be a harder standard than we’d expected.

There are many myths about caffeine in tea that continue to be perpetuated. You cannot “decaffeinate” your tea by throwing out the first 30 second steep. Black tea does not necessarily have more caffeine than green tea. White tea is not low in caffeine. If a tea is promoted as “caffeine-free,” it is an herbal; Camellia sinensis will always yield some caffeine.

Research commissioned by Camellia Sinensis Tea House in Montreal and published in Tea: History, Terroirs, Varieties (Kevin Gascoyne, Francois Marchand, and Jasmin Desharnais – Firefly Books, 2011) examined the caffeine content of more than thirty teas, steeped as one would for drinking. The studies bore out the belief that matcha had the most caffeine, since the entire leaf is consumed. But after that, all bets were off. Five of the seven teas with the most caffeine were green teas, but so were five of the seven teas with the least caffeine. Few broad statements could be made about caffeine by type.

Because there is such variability within categories, it is useful to consider these factors which affect caffeine quantity. Chinese teas (Camellia sinensis sinensis) have less caffeine than Indian teas which are typically Camellia sinensis assamica. Shade grown teas tend to have higher caffeine levels, as do teas plucked during hotter seasons. Steeping style also makes a difference. Teas that steep for shorter times or in cooler water yield lower caffeine contents.

It may not be easy to assess how much caffeine is really in your cup, but you can at least make sure that you’re drinking good tea.

Katrina Ávila Munichiello

©Mystic Media 2013

LinkedIn: How does caffeine affect your tea drinking choices?