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

 

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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.

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