Need to Know (Jan. 13, 2014)

What tea professionals need to start the week. —

Hot tea gained market share in both the U.S. and Canada last year … an informative lecture on how marketers met the challenge of providing Mormons a hot drink… Dublin-based Research and Markets reports “green tea and herbals are the future.” Tea imports to South Korea spike… Teaity launches a new website and Village Tea Co. upgrades its e-commerce capability…Rotary International announces that a tea packaging executive will be the first Sri Lankan to sit as president… and tea lovers who like liqueurs can give Sidney Frank Imports’ new Bärenjäger Honey & Tea a sip.

Hot Tea Month

Americans are enjoying more hot tea in restaurants and at home. Following a growth spurt that featured sweet and flavored iced tea in fast-service restaurants, fresh brewed hot tea is now experiencing greater growth than iced teas and keeping pace with coffee but with much smaller market share.

  • Sales of hot beverages grew 7% in the year ending July in both the U.S. and Canada while sales of cold beverages declined 1%. In Canada hot beverages hold 28.5% market share. In the U.S. hot beverages grew to 17.4% of the total beverage market.
  • In the U.S. RTD tea grew by 2%, sales of loose leaf and tea bags grew 7% while roast and ground coffee sales grew 8% through July. In Canada sales of loose leaf and tea bags rose 3%, RTD declined 1% and roast and ground coffee sales grew 10%.
  • A survey last month found 42% of Americans plan to increase their tea consumption in 2014. A third of Americans increased their tea consumption in 2013, according to the survey which was conducted by Teavana in connection with National Hot Tea Month. Young people lead the rapidly growing interest in tea among Americans. The young are most likely to prefer a green tea over other types of tea, according to a survey of 1,019 men and women, age 18+ during the week of Dec. 16-18.
  • There are 360 tea and coffee manufacturing firms in the U.S., employing nearly 13,000 workers, and doing over $7.8 billion of business annually. Learn more from the U.S. Census Bureau, online at

* Several retailers timed their release of new products to the annual National Hot Tea Month event popularized by the Tea Association of the USA.

WTN140113_TeavanaYellowTeaTeavana unveils a Special Edition Golden Dragon Yellow Tea, its first yellow tea offering which is available for a limited time, beginning today.

“This unique tea offers captivating high floral notes that mingle with a smooth honeyed body and a subtle creamy, buttery finish,” said Naoko Tsunoda, director of tea development and tea authority, Teavana. “Yellow tea has long been prized in China for its limited harvest season and artisanal crafting process. The name ‘yellow’ tea refers to the unique processing and slow roasting of the tea leaves that produces a lovely, bright golden infusion color, but the rarity of yellow tea has also associated it with the imperial yellow worn exclusively by emperors for centuries.” The tea sells for $29.98 for two ounces.

Tattle Tea also used the occasion to release a new line of five limited-edition chais.

Tattle says its hand-blended teas encourage tea drinkers to expand their repertoires by trying new tea varieties as well as different steeping methods.

“At Tattle Tea we like to capture the season with our limited edition teas, and with National Hot Tea month falling in January we felt a line of warming chai teas would be the best way to celebrate,” said Anthony Borthwick, resident tea expert at Tattle Tea. “Chai is one of the best teas to help drinkers get through the tough winter months thanks to its blend of spices such as cinnamon, ginger and coriander. With our ‘Chai-Fest’ teas, we wanted to highlight the unique spices and showcase how they pair with a variety of different teas and flavors.” Teas include:

  • The Queen’s Chai Black Tea – Made with Earl Grey black tea, rose petals and chai spices which are infused with real Oil of Bergamot.
  • Mexican Hot Chocolate Chai Rooibos Tea– Starts with Red Rooibos tea and is flavored with Mexican chocolate then blended with chai spices, cocoa nibs and spicy African Birdseye chili.
  • French Toast Chai Black Tea – A French toast flavored black tea blended with cinnamon and other chai spices.
  • Honeybear Green Tea Chai – Made with Sencha green tea and flavored with honey and salted caramel then blended with chai spices.
  • Forbidden Love Oolong Chai – A Devil’s Food Cake flavored Oolong, blended with rose petals and chai spices. Learn more:

* The CDC estimates that more than 200,000 people will be affected by colds and flu this season. While a flu shot is highly recommended another natural preventative may be found in your tea cup, according to Beth Johnston, CEO at Teas Etc. in West Palm Beach, Fla.

Johnston reminds us of research reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that found that people who drank three cups of black tea per day produced five times the amount of germ-fighting cells than those who drank coffee, suggesting that tea drinkers have more ability to fight viral infections such as colds and flu than non-tea drinkers.

“January’s National Hot Tea Month can serve as a reminder to do something healthy for ourselves, like brew a hot cup of tea, which may provide a variety of health benefits, serve as a weight loss aid and help to ward off persistent cold and flu germs” according to the Tea Council of the USA. “What more could you ask for in a beverage?”

* In North Dakota, which has experienced a severe cold spell, Steep Me owner Terisina Hinz praises dark teas “because they’re loaded with probiotics. Probiotics resume your metabolism. It gets you ready to go in the morning. It’s not as caffeinated, but it makes you feel good; it keeps your body healthy,” says Hintz.

“As North Dakotans, we drink tea to stay warm, but once cold and flu season rolls around, it’s a good idea to drink it for the health benefits,” says Hintz.

Coffee Substitute Gives Mormons a hot drink

PROVO, Utah – The Utah Valley Chapter of the Historical Society is hosting what is likely to be a fascinating lecture at 7 p.m. Tuesday (Jan. 14) titled: “Quitting Tea and Coffee: Targeting the Mormon Market with Alternative Hot Drinks 1900 through 1930.” It is scheduled at the Provo City Library.

TEABIZ-PostumLDS Historian Melvin Bashore documents the challenge faced by marketers after the Word of Wisdom of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints excluded the consumption of alcohol, tobacco, tea and coffee for those who wished to remain in good standing.

“To the rescue came businesses with a whole host of alternatives,” said Bashore who illustrates the period with product slides and advertisements. “It was tea and coffee, not tobacco and alcohol, that seemed to be the substances that were the greatest stumbling block for otherwise faithful Mormons,” Bashore told the Daily Herald.

TEABIZ-Postum1910AdLocal suppliers concocted many alternates. Postum was the most popular alternate, becoming available nationally. It is a powdered roasted-grain beverage created as a coffee substitute by C.W. Post in 1895. Postum reached the height of popularity during World War II when coffee was rationed and remained in production until 2007. In May 2012 Kraft sold the brand to Eliza’s Quest Food which offers Postum online. Learn more:

The Future is Green and Herbal

A report from Research and Markets predicts the future of tea “is green and herbal.”

The report, released Dec. 11, notes that “while the Black/Other Teas segment is growing modestly (3.4% annually), production of Green tea is growing rapidly (11% compound annual growth rate CAGR) and Herbal Teas are growing exponentially (>15% CAGR).”

Despite the exploding demand for tea, little has been published on this market, especially the green and herbal segments, according to the Ireland-based research firm. Yerba Mate, Chamomile, Echinacea, Ginseng and Rooibos share many of tea’s health benefits which are a primary driver of sales growth.

Retailers benefit from continued publicity from green tea’s ability to cure and prevent various diseases. Recent research suggests tea is especially helpful for those concerned with heart disease, cancer, diabetes, neurological diseases, renal disease, dementia, oral health, intestinal problems, and strokes.

“Aging populations in Japan, Europe and the U.S. also are increasing demand for tea because of its anti-ageing properties,” according to the report which describes the global market as “very large and estimated at $15.4 billion in 2013, in terms of (wholesale) production value.”

Among Americans who are likely to prefer green tea over other types of tea, it is young people leading the way.

Learn more: Tea: The Future Is Green And Herbal. Global Markets, Competitors And Opportunities – 2013-2018 Analysis And Forecasts

Teaity Redesigns Website

CINCINNATI, Ohio Teaity, a website designed for tea enthusiasts, has a new look and enhanced functionality. Added were six new features and nine improvements giving tea drinkers a more robust, user-friendly experience.

“During our first year we received overwhelmingly positive response to Teaity’s vision,” said founder Chris Giddings, adding “our members and supporters asked for some really thoughtful changes and improvements.”

Teaity listened, adding features that include:

  • A Brand Directory to make searching easier;
  • Settings for temperature and weight;
  • New layout for the Tea Category Pages;
  • More visible reviews and scoring system for the teas;
  • A blog for users to stay up-to-date with Teaity, industry news, and tea tips;
  • A new and improved Tea Timer easily accessible throughout the site.

“We’ve poured a lot of heart and soul into the new design and we believe our members and fans are going to really love it,” said Giddings. Learn more:

Bärenjäger Honey & Tea

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. — Bärenjäger, the original honey liqueur, has released Bärenjäger Honey & Tea, a blend of premium honey and tea liqueur; and Bärenjäger Honey & Pear, a combination of premium honey liqueur and Williams pear brandy.

TEABIZ-BarenjagerHoneyTea_750mlBärenjäger Honey & Tea combines premium honey and tea liqueur made from all natural ingredients and no artificial flavors. The new spirit offers an herbaceous nose, a sweet black tea and honey taste and a long finish of lingering black tea notes.

Bärenjäger Honey & Pear is made with generous amounts of pure, real honey and high quality pear brandy sourced from Germany. These two line extensions join the growing portfolio which also includes Bärenjäger Honey Liqueur and Bärenjäger Honey & Bourbon which was launched in 2012.

The liqueur dates to the 15th Century when the Eastern Prussian bear trap company, Teucke & Konig, first introduced Bärenjäger which translates to “Bear Hunter.” In an effort to end the struggle between man and bear, this sweet concoction was the first professionally produced Meschkinnes – mead-like moonshine made from honey by beekeepers and farmers – and was formulated to aid hunters attract bears and lure them from their dwellings.

Imported by Sidney Frank Importing Co., Bärenjäger Honey & Tea and Bärenjäger Honey & Pear is available nationwide in liter, 750ml, 375ml, and 50ml sizes. SRP is $28.99 (750ml). Learn more:

Village Tea Company Announces New E-commerce Platform

NEW YORK,  N.Y. – Village Tea Company Distribution Inc., in partnership with Village Tea Direct has launched the company’s updated e-commerce platform,

The new site was developed and is hosted by Blue Sky Group, a digital creative marketing company based in Warwick, Rhode Island.  The site features a more product-focused interface with consumers which will enable existing and new customers to purchase their favorite Village Tea flavors in a more efficient manner.

“We are extremely excited about our partnership with Village Tea Direct. Our relationship and the new look site will allow us to generate additional revenue streams while we focus our efforts on continuing to grow the brand as well as our wholesale platform,” said Janon Costley CEO, Village Tea Company Distribution, Inc.

“As we enter into a new year, we will continue promoting our great tasting tea as an integral part of living a healthy and fit lifestyle” said Don Jones, CEO of Village Tea Direct. Learn more:

Rotary Announces First Sri Lankan President

K.R. Ravi Ravindran

K.R. Ravi Ravindran

EVANSTON, Illinois — K.R. “Ravi” Ravindran, a business leader from Colombo, Sri Lanka, will be the 105th president of Rotary International – a global network of 1.2 million volunteers dedicated to tackling the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges.

Ravindran is founder and CEO of Printcare PLC, a publicly listed company and global leader in the tea packaging industry. A member of the Rotary Club of Colombo he will begin his one-year term on in July 2015 as the first Sri Lankan to hold Rotary’s highest office. Ravindran says a top priority will be to strengthen clubs by attracting men and women committed to improving communities worldwide through volunteer service.

After the devastation of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, Ravindran led Rotary’s recovery efforts by helping to raise $12 million to rebuild 22 schools, enabling nearly 15,000 children to resume their studies. “The tsunami could take away schools, homes, possessions, and even loved-ones, but it would never be allowed to take away the spirit of children,” said Ravindran.

Ravindran was also involved in many other tsunami-related projects in Sri Lanka, Indonesia, India, and Thailand that were supported by Rotary’s Solidarity in South Asia Fund for long term recovery. Rotary clubs around the world contributed nearly $6 million to the fund. The projects include housing developments, orphanages, water and sanitation systems, solar oven technology, community-based credit unions, health centers, and the replacement of destroyed fishing trawlers.

As president, Ravindran will oversee Rotary’s top humanitarian goal of eradicating the paralyzing infectious disease polio. In 1988, Rotary helped launch the Global Polio Eradication Initiative with the WHO, UNICEF, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Since then, Rotary club members worldwide have contributed more than $1.2 billion and countless volunteer hours to the polio eradication effort. Learn more:

South Korean Tea Imports Spike

SEOUL, South Korea — Korea Customs Service reports that the country imported 8,234 metric tons of tea in 2013, up 97% over the 4,171 tons imported in 2009.

The growth is attributed to tea’s health properties. “As demand is on the rise for healthy foods, imports of tea products also continue to rise,” a customs official told Yonhap News Agency.

The imports were valued at $48.38 million, a jump of 187% since 2009. Green tea imports more than doubled from 15 to 34 tons and yerba mate surged to a surprising 446 tons in 2013, up from 47 tons in 2009.

Tea exports remain small. The country’s outbound shipment of all agricultural products reached $5.72 billion in 2013, up 1.4% according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. Japan is the largest importer of Korean goods, China is second.

Korean tea exporters shipped approximately $600 million in coffee, tea, mate and spices in 2013, according to Business Search Service. Approximately $35 million of this total was shipped to the U.S. The service does not break out figures for tea.

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Tea Biz serves a core audience of beverage professionals in the belief that insightful journalism informs business decision making. Tea Biz reports what matters along the entire supply chain, emphasizing trustworthy sources and sound market research while discarding fluff and ignoring puffery.

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Need to Know (Jan. 6, 2014)

What tea professionals need to start the week..—

Assure your customers who are resolved to lose weight that tea really does burn calories1Tetley just launched a blend of green and black tea to bring tea drinkers the best of both… author Jeff Fuchs describes in a video interview an arduous 5,000 kilometer trek for his 2008 book The Ancient Tea Horse RoadIndia will subsidize construction of micro factories to help small growers improve tea quality… Matt Bucklin’s PowerPitch that Quit Tea helps you break free of cigarettes got two thumbs up last week and for those high-energy types who never need a New Years diet Dosha Tea Pops will satisfy your lollipop cravings.


Can Tea Really Help You Lose Weight?

As calendars flip open to a new year, resolutions are made, many having to do with weight loss. Soon thereafter tea sellers will start to hear the popular question: “What is the best tea for losing weight?”

Some in the industry are strong believers in the idea of tea as a panacea, that it can help with all aspects of health, including weight loss. Others are firmly committed to encouraging a love of tea without focusing on health benefits, worried that its impact might be overstated. A third contingent find themselves somewhere in between, unsure of what is proven and what is lore. Fortunately there are now updated reports that help to present the latest information in clear documents.

In December 2013 the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN) contained twelve reports from the Fifth International Scientific Symposium on Tea and Human Health (Sept. 2012). One of the summary papers was titled “Catechin- and caffeine-rich teas for control of body weight in humans.”

In the AJCN report, it was indicated that studies showed a combination of tea’s polyphenols and its caffeine resulted in an increase in calorie burn in tea drinkers. A further review found that study participants who consumed green tea and caffeine over a 12 week period without changing other components of their diets, lost an average of 2.9 pounds. The population-based studies continued the good news for tea drinkers. People who consume tea regularly have lower Body Mass Indexes (BMI) than those who do not drink tea. They also had less overall body fat.

In summary, it appears that tea has the potential to have a positive impact on weight control. As for the perfect tea for weight loss? As a wise teacher once told me, “It’s the one that they’ll drink regularly.”

1Catechin- and Caffeine-rich Teas for Control of Body Weight in Humans
Researchers: Rick Hursel and Margriet S Westerterp-Plantenga
Am J Clin Nutr 2013 98: 6 1607S-1610S. October 2013.


Reily Foods Acquires New England Tea & Coffee

NEW ORLEANS, La. – Reily Foods has acquired New England Tea & Coffee Company, a Massachusetts-based firm in operation since 1916.

New England Tea & Coffee is one of the largest independent coffee roasters in the country with a line of bagged and flavored coffees, teas and single-serve capsules. The company’s packaged coffee is available in supermarkets across the U.S., online and brewed at more than 5,000 foodservice locations.

WTN-LOGO_NewEnglandCoffeeTerms were not disclosed and day-to-day operations will be as usual, according to Reily, a New Orleans, Louisiana-based food manufacturer and distributor.

Reily brands include Luzianne Tea, Luzianne Coffee, French Market Coffee, CDM Coffee, JFG Coffee and several condiments, dressings and sauces. Learn more at:


KOLKATA, India — India’s tea estates are near capacity giving small growers a critical role in meeting domestic demand, according to outgoing Tea Board Chairman M.G.V.K. Bhanu.

A steady and judicious investment in tea estates is critical for survival of the tea industry, said Bhanu, citing the fact that small growers already account for 35% of the billion kilos India produced last year. Bhanu cautioned tea companies “to set aside a sizable portion of their surpluses for ploughing back in replantation and irrigation” and he urged a larger allocation of government funds to small growers.

Production in a majority of big gardens has virtually reached the saturation point, he told the Hindu Business Line. In the absence of regular investments on maintenance of tea estates, production of green leaves would continue to decline.

Annual exports have remained around 200 million kilos for the past half century, while domestic demand is booming, he said. Small growers, newly defined as those with holdings up to 25 acres (10 hectares) are ideally positioned to meet an estimated annual increase of 30 million kilos per year purchased by domestic tea drinkers. In five to seven years small growers are expected to produce 50% of the country’s tea.

Bhanu has championed subsidies for growers willing to operate mini- and micro-factories. This will improved freshness by cutting transport time, raise plucking standards and reduce handling of green leaf from small gardens, said Bhanu. Micro factories are those producing less than 200 kilos a day. Mini factories produce more than micro factories but less than 500 kilos daily. Neither will be required to register under the Tea Marketing Control Order, 2003. This will relieve small operators of expensive paperwork and regulations necessary for large factories. A subsidy of up to 40% is available for the cost of machinery, construction and improvements (excluding the purchase of land) of their factories.

Bidyananda Barkakoty, Chairman of North Eastern Tea Association (NETA) to the Hindu that “If the small tea growers are able to set up their own factories within their plantation area the quality of tea will definitely improve because of improvement in plucking standards, less transportation time and less handling of green leaf. It will also generate huge employment at local level.”

The emphasis should be exporting quality and value-added tea and the focus should be on countries such as the U.S., Russia, Iran, Egypt and Kazakhstan. “The opportunities held out by Pakistan should also be carefully explored,” he said.

Training, motivating and retaining tea workers is a challenge. “Garden owners in North India must take care of their workers; otherwise there will be shortage of manpower as it has happened in south Indian gardens,” Bhanu to The Hindu Business Line.

Sources: The Hindu and The Hindu Business Line


Sweepstakes Helps “Get Your Bits Fit”

NEW YORK, New York – TEAS’ TEA® will award Fitbit Flex Activity™ Trackers daily through January to help consumers keep their New Year’s Resolutions.

WTN-FitBItTrackerThe wireless wearable devices sync to smartphones or computers to track physical activity stats, helping motivate daily fitness goals. Consumers can enter every day on the TEAS’ TEA® Facebook page, for a chance to win one of these fitness wristband devices.

To enter visit or #GetYourBitsFit.

Learn more at


Tetley USA blended black and green teas to achieve the full flavor of black tea and the health benefits of green tea, without the bitter taste often associated with green tea.

TEABIZ-TetleyBlack&GreenTea“We have heard from consumers that they would like to drink more green tea for its renowned benefits, but aren’t always happy with the taste,” said Tetley USA’s Marc Birnbaum. “With our new Black & Green blend, tea drinkers don’t have to compromise.”

Tetley Black & Green blend is available in a new flip-top 72-ct. box.  Tetley and Good Earth Tea are owned by Tata Global Beverages. All Tetley branded tea will be Rainforest Alliance certified by 2016, according to the company.

Dosha Tea Pops Promote Ayurvedic Lifestyle

Everyone needs to occasionally satisfy a craving for sweets and Dosha Pops tea-based lollipops meet the need. Finding balance through Ayurvedic principles of holistic healing inspired founder Peggy Andrews to create the natural treat in flavors that include Chai Me Up (chai spice Tulsi and coconut), Head Over Hibiscus, Velvet Rope (Chicory) and Inner Glow (lemon, turmeric and ginger)

DOSHA POPS LOLLIPOPSAccording to Ayurvedic beliefs, each person also has a unique pattern of energies like a fingerprint called “doshas,” said Andrews. “Through the use of herb mixtures, plants, teas, common oils, and spices, Ayurveda’s key mission is simple: to bring the dosha back into balance.

“We strive to offer healthful candies so that people don’t feel they need to totally abstain from sweets and can still feel good about eating them when they do satisfy their cravings,” stated Andrews. Learn more at: Dosha Pops


Two years ago Matt Bucklin launched Quit Tea because replacing a bad habit with a good habit is easier than simply curbing a bad habit. His advice to Stop Smoking — Start Sipping caught the eye of Yahoo! PowerPitch producers and last week two of the three investors on the show gave him a thumbs-up. Bucklin had 60 seconds to make his case. He said that he came up with the idea after he quit smoking himself with the help of herbs. TEABIZ-QuitTea_ProductShot“It helps temporarily support willpower, improve lung health, detoxify the body, and reduce hunger,” said Bucklin. He calls it the Substitution Strategy for Quitting Smoking. The New York-based self-funded startup is two years old. Quit Tea is distributed nationally in retail locations like Whole Foods Market and Walgreens, and sold internationally in Canada, China, and Western Europe. Bucklin said 250,000 have tried the herbal supplement. Learn more at:


Tea Horse Road
Elyse Petersen of Tealet sat down for tea and talk with Jeff Fuchs, author of The Ancient Tea Horse Road and Founder of Jalam Teas. For thirteen centuries, one of the planet’s most daunting journeys and most remarkable trade routes remained a mystery to all but a few journeyers and residents along its 5000 kilometer length. Elyse and Jeff discuss how Jeff found his way to the mountains of Yunnan trekking over the almost forgotten ancient trade route. Jeff also discusses the production and market for Pu-erh works and how to get your hands on the most prized teas of Yunnan, China. See the video on Vimeo.


 TEABIZ-DrazilKidsTeaDrazil Kids Tea, a finalist in the Dream Big America competition didn’t win last week but co-founder Christine Wheeler was upbeat over the firm’s success. The caffeine-free organic blend of herbal teas infused with fruit juices is selling well in natural grocery stores and a hit with Christine’s four kids. Learn more at: Drazil Kids Tea.

Colder than Mars

Dan at 40 below

Dan Bolton – 40 Below

Winnipeg drew the world’s attention briefly this week when scientists noted that the New Years Eve low of -37.9C was considerably below temperature readings from the surface of Mars. Airports recorded -53C degrees in parts of Manitoba Province last week while the Curiosity Rover in the Gale Crater on Mars enjoyed a balmy -29C. United Airlines canceled flights to and from the city for two days due to safety concerns. The Winnipeg Sun noted that December was the coldest month in 80 years and the second coldest in 120 years… temperatures (without wind chill) averaged -20.9C in the city of 635,000 last month about -10C degrees colder than the North Pole.

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Tea Biz serves a core audience of beverage professionals in the belief that insightful journalism informs business decision making. Tea Biz reports what matters along the entire supply chain, emphasizing trustworthy sources and sound market research while discarding fluff and ignoring puffery.

Tea Biz posts are available to use in your company newsletter or website. Purchase reprint and distribution rights for single articles or commission original content.  Click here for details.