Need to Know (March 24, 2014)

What tea professionals need to start the week —

New York Coffee & Tea Wraps Up…Tough week at the tea auctions… Third Street Chai breaks into Whole Foods in a big way…New book on Homegrown Tea


New York Coffee & Tea Another Sold Out Success

This past weekend New York Coffee & Tea Festival filled the floors of the 69th Regiment Armory on Lexington Ave. in Manhattan. Once again this year the show was sold out well in advance of the weekend, including tickets for a VIP hour Saturday morning that allowed early admittance to those ticket holders. 7,000 attendees were expected.

Sixty exhibitors set up shop across the 25,000 square foot space. A number of presenters, well-known to tea aficionados, were on the festival schedule. Jeni Dodd of Jeni’s Teas and Thomas Shu of ABC Tea presented on Taiwanese teas. Emeric Harney, the creator and manager of Harney & Sons’ Harney SoHo tea cafe, was on the schedule to talk about the people and plants of tea. Judith Krall-Russo prepared a talk on the history of women and tea.

The pairings are always quick to fill up and this year was no exception. L’Espalier’s tea sommelier and author of Culinary Tea, Cynthia Gold, introduced attendees to the art of pairing tea and cheeses. A Gift of Tea’s Jo Johnson talked tea and chocolate and Capital Teas’ Peter Martino explored tea infusions for cocktails. Shu and Dodd teamed up again to talk about finding “harmony” in tea, solving the mystery of the perfect combinations of tea, water, timing, and temperature.

Given the speed of ticket sales and the fact that next year will be the 10th anniversary, you may want to start planning your trip for 2015 now.

Coffee & Tea Fest Philly is scheduled for November 8-9, 2014.


Going once, going twice…Not Sold!

It was a tough week at the tea auctions this past week as prices were lower than anticipated. African Tea Brokers reported that Kenya tea prices were low this week with top grade teas, broken pekoes and pekoe fannings all selling for less than the week prior. Nearly 14% of the tea was unsold and more than 17% was unsold the previous week. Pakistan was the big buyer.

Bangladesh saw lower prices also for the sixth week in a row. A glut of poorer quality leaf that remained from the end of the season was blamed. 54% of the tea was left at the end of the sale, topping the 50% that was left at the previous auction. An auction official blamed the quality of tea on offer, citing big demand for high quality tea which seemed to be at short supply.

Things at Coonoor were no better where the Coonoor Tea Trade Association reported that 34% of their tea remained unsold at the end of the auction even at a lower price point than usual.


Third Street Chai Releases Ready-to-Drink Tea Line

Boulder, Colo. based Third Street Chai has been selling this spicy tea since 1995, a time when most people had never heard of the stuff. Nearly twenty years later, they’re still in the thick of things. They’ve established themselves as a source of hand-blended chai (blending and milling whole spices for each batch) and claiming the title of the first Fair Trade certified chai. Now they are preparing to release a new ready-to-drink teas at Whole Foods stores nationwide.

Third Street will be selling unsweetened and lightly sweetened black and green teas, incorporating flavors like raspberry, honey and mint. These Fair Trade certified, non-GMO drinks will be sold in 14 ounce containers.

Whole Foods helped make this product a reality by selecting Third Street for one of its Small Producer loans. Their in-house microbrewing and focus on traceability of ingredients made the company stand out.

Source: Food Navigator


— — —

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.

Dan Bolton

Dan Bolton | Tea Biz

Dan Bolton is pictured against a background of tea gardens in the town of Coonoor, located in the foothills of the Nilgiri Mountains in Tamil Nadu, India.

Recent articles by Dan Bolton

The Wait is Over; Tea’s Time is Now
Specialty Coffee Retailer, November 14, 2013

Investors placed a $1 billion bet on tea retail in the past year, acquiring brands like Teavana (Starbucks) and Australia’s T2 (Unilever) following a 2012 round of venture capital investment in Canada’s DAVIDsTEA (Highland Consumer Fund) and private investment in Chicago-based Argo Tea (Terzian Enterprises).

The Whole Leaf: From Tea Garden to Consumer, in a Click
Fresh Cup, July 1, 2013

Just as independent outlets have been able to compete with international behemoths in the brick-and-mortar cafe world, a number of small, unique tea marketplaces are developing a presence online– and their main point of advantage is connecting buyers directly to tea growers

Tea Bar Success Leads to More Stores
Specialty Coffee Retailer, June 12, 2013

Twenty-five years ago every shop with an expensive European espresso machine, a friendly barista and a good location could count on lines of customers stretching out the door most mornings. Great tasting coffee drinks that could not be replicated at home combined with quick, friendly service to make specialty coffee special.

Manik Jayakumar: A Life-long Student of Tea

World Tea News, December 20, 2012

Standing on the steps of his state-of-the-art tea blending facility – with dignitaries, clients and well-wishers, his son and wife at his side – Manickarajah “Manik” Jayakumar embodies the American Dream. Since establishing QTrade Tea & Herbs as an in-home trader in 1994, Jayakumar has elevated the company to the largest supplier of organic teas in North America. His new 70,000 sq. ft. factory…more

Teavana’s Acquisition Advances Starbucks’ Healthy Beverage Strategy

Specialty Coffee Retailer, November 15, 2012

Starbucks Coffee Co. had many good reasons and enough cash to buy Peet’s Coffee & Tea this year. Instead, in its largest acquisition to date, the coffee company spent $620 million on Teavana Holdings, a 300-store, mall-based rival to its $1.4 billion Tazo Tea division.

Tea and the Tipping Point

Specialty Coffee Retailer, October 25, 2012

Convinced of tea’s health benefits and willing to experiment with different varieties in seeking superior taste, tea drinkers are visiting an expanding number of retail locations serving and selling packaged specialty tea. Rising affluence and the desire for convenience drive sales of hot and iced teas and have prompted Starbucks, DavidsTea, Argo Tea, Teavana and Unilever to open hundreds of new…more

Tea Stirs Retail Pot

Specialty Coffee Retailer, February 7, 2012

Well financed and newly energized competition is heating beverage retail to a boil. Remember when there were only three Starbucks in town? It was not that long ago. In January 2000 there were only 1,996 Starbucks in the entire country.

 Riding the Wave

Specialty Coffee Retailer, November 11, 2010

Retailing tea was for generations as predictable as the gently rolling surf. Sales of tea bags rose and fell seasonally, with crests in the colder months and troughs in July and August. Predictable seas, that is, until five years ago when consumer interest in quality loose leaf teas surged due to media attention and a growing awareness of tea’s health benefits. The swell had been building since…more

Steeping In Profits

Specialty Coffee Retailer, May 16, 2011

One sure fire way to minimize the impact of record high coffee prices is to sell more tea. Profits per cup top 85 percent at a time when coffee margins are falling. When considering a tea program recognize that customers entering the shop are looking for a hot caffeinated beverage.

 Japan Officials Debate Whether Contaminated Tea is Dangerous

World Tea News, May 17, 2011

Authorities halted the ichibancha (first flush) harvest in the vicinity of Minamiashigara last week after tests at five municipalities in Kanagawa Prefecture showed cesium readings greater than 500 Bq/kg (becquerels per kilogram). No contaminated tea is shipping from Japan but agricultural and commerce ministers now question the current radioactivity threshold. Additional tests this week are…more

TEArrific Iced Teas

Specialty Coffee Retailer, May 13, 2011

Get summer sales brewing with refreshing iced tea. Whether from concentrate or freshly brewed, iced tea is a refreshing addition to a summer menu. In its annual Foodservice Brief, market researchers at The NPD Group in Port Washington, N.Y., identified iced tea as “one of the top growth beverages” of 2011.

 New Generation Teahouses

Specialty Coffee Retailer, November 6, 2009

The very second you step into a tea bar your body and mind find themselves at ease. The setting can be traditional Chinese, ultra-hip urban or homey. Ironically, what sets modern teahouses apart is a philosophy of quiet reflection that is ageless.