Panda Express Tea Bar — Need to Know

What tea professionals need to start the week of  July 14, 2014 —

A wok through the new Panda Express tea bar… Amazing Race Canada contenders serve afternoon tea at the Fairmont Empress… Ito En brings first flush shincha to market in bottles and a British restaurant offers Da Hong Pao for $300 a pot.

Panda Express Tea Bar

Fast-serve Asian restaurants often scrimp on their tea selection but Panda Express is experimenting with a concept likely to turn some heads.

TEABIZ_ART_PandaExpressTeaBarThe 30-year-old family restaurant’s 1,657 company-owned locations in the US and in Canada are may roll out a hot tea and boba drinks menu nationwide that could prove popular with young tea drinkers. The modernization of the firm’s menu is under the direction of Andrea Cherng, daughter of founders Andrew and Peggy Cherng.

Andrea told the Los Angeles Times the restaurant chain hopes to attract millennials with a customized menu.

The company’s innovation store that opened last week in Pasadena, Calif. boasted an attractive and well-stocked tea bar. Tea is an important addition to the restaurants, according to Cherng. “Panda is in a position to bring things like boba to people that may have never heard of it,” said Cherng.

“We had a grand tea master from Taiwan come and design the teas,” said Cherng. “He spent two weeks with us perfecting them.”

TEABIZ_ART_PandaExpressTeaBarMenuThe tea bar in the innovation store serves cake and pastries from a local baker but will soon start producing its own items. In the remodeled dining area customers can order orange chicken burritos and bacon and Shiitake Kale Chicken Breast which are also available at their stores nationally.

Executive Chef Andy Kao promises “menu choices that will fuel your body and feed your soul.”

In May he introduced thick cuts of applewood smoked bacon to the Orange Chicken staple. In Pasadena diners can “choose from a selection of sauces that include green onion with ginger, reminiscent of a Hainan chicken sauce, and a fiery red chile Sambal paste. You can also add pickled cucumbers, green papaya slaw, crispy wontons, crispy shallots and crushed peanuts,” reports Daily Dish reporter Jenn Harris.

In Pasadena lines formed for the scallion pancake orange chicken wraps, salads and boba. Bases include salad, scallion pancake wrap, rice and chow mein. Mains include orange chicken, Beijing beef, honey walnut shrimp, kung pao chicken breast, broccoli, string beans, grilled veggies, stir-fry chicken breast or Angus steak with vegetables, or grilled chicken or steak.  All of the stir-fries are made to order in giant woks.

TEABIZ_ART_PandaExpressLogoItems come in a large size, which includes two mains and a base for $7, or small, with one main and a base for $5.80. Panda Express is the fastest growing Chinese restaurant concept in America.

Source: Los Angeles Times, Panda Express

Amazing Race Canada Stops for Tea

Television producers know that afternoon tea is “in” and so this week’s Amazing Race Canada made a stop at the Fairmont Empress in British Columbia into a formidable challenge.

Winnipeg’s Cormac Foster was stymied at the task of reciting the Afternoon Tea menu verbatim. Selections included roasted bone-in ham with tarragon dijonnaise and a cucumber and ginger mascarpone on butter brioche. His mother and partner Nichole watched the 19-year-old stumble through 10 attempts before advancing to the next challenge.

The event pits 11 pairs on a cross-country tour with a $250,000 prize to the winners, round-trip tickets on Air Canada and a pair of Chevy Silverado pickup trucks with gas for life from Petro-Canada.

Source: The Canadian Press

First Flush Bottled Shincha

Ito En has introduced for a limited time a ready-to-drink first flush shincha green tea.

TEABIZ-ItoEn_Oi Ocha Shincha BottleIn Japanese, “shin” means new and “cha” means tea.  Shincha’s singular character derives from its harvest starting in early April, when young green tea leaves contain naturally higher concentrations of nutrients and vibrant flavors, the result of wintertime dormancy.  Fresh Shincha leaves are distinct from latter-harvested green teas, with a subtle sweetness attributed to a higher content of the amino acid L-theanine and a lower caffeine content. The rich and vividly green tea leaves are not only fragrant and fresh in taste, but higher in Vitamin C and catechin antioxidants than regular green tea.

“Americans’ evolved palates are appreciating the flavor nuances among green teas, making this the optimal time to introduce Shincha in a modern and convenient way,” says Rona Tison, senior vice president of Corporate Relations of ITO EN (North America). “Authentically brewed and bottled to preserve the young green tea’s essence, Oi Ocha’s Shincha is an experience like no other.”

“Shincha offers the ultimate tea experience for us Japanese,” says celebrity Chef Matsuhisa of Nobu Restaurants.  “I am pleased that it has made its way to America as the fresh aroma and flavor is truly unmatched. Its smooth and clean finish truly complements the purity of our cuisine.”

Oi Ocha’s Shincha is available in 16.9 fl oz. BPA-free, recyclable bottles at select retailers.

Learn more at

A $300 Pot of Tea

London’s Royal China Club is offering a pot of Da Hong Pao for £180 ($300), according to the Daily Mail.

The tea was aged 80 years according to the restaurant spokesman who explained that Da Hong Pao dates to the Qing Dynasty where it was reserved for honored guests.

The tea is handmade from tender leaves, withered, tumbled, curled and baked in small batches over charcoal to create an aromatic infusion with distinctive dark cocoa notes, a toasted fruity flavor and a long smooth aftertaste that lingers for several minutes after consumed, said sommelier Peter Chan.

The Royal China Group restaurants are known for their dim sum and 18 types of artisan teas priced from $8 for service for two.

Source: Daily Mail

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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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Tea Beverages are Bubbling — Need to Know

What tea professionals need to start the week of  July 7, 2014 —

Market researcher Technomic reports Beverages are Bubbling Korea signs a trade agreement recognizing organic “equivalency” with USDA… Political outcry accompanies word of starvation deaths on India’s abandoned tea estates but no solutions are advanced…Suja Juice launches the first biodynamic, cold brewed, organic, non-GMO, cold-pressure teas…India’s May tea production tallies are down 12% following a 25% decline in April.

Bubbling Beverages

Chicago-based food service market research firm Technomic’s  mid-year survey of menus identified six trends including this assessment of specialty teas.

TECHNOMIC, INC. LOGOBeverages Bubbling Up: Specialty teas; lemonade-and-iced-tea blends; restaurant originals such as housemade sodas; smoothies beyond fruit, featuring surprising ingredients ranging from kale or peanut butter – all are seeing increases in menu incidence. Fast casuals lead the way: Pret A Manger added Beet Beautiful Juice with apple, carrot, beet and ginger; Grand Traverse Pie Company unveiled a Pie Smoothie; and Panda Express is testing an in-store tea bar. When it comes to adult beverage trends, hops rule; IPAs and other hoppy craft beers are proliferating in many incarnations.

Also making the list:

Shrinking menus (selections trimmed at casual dining chains)
The next sriracha  (hotter peppers, spicy mayo, aoili)
Asian-style small plates
(dim sum style)
Brand name novelty snacks (Girl Scout Cookie cupcakes, Fritos Chicken Enchilada Melt)
Barbecue Love (authentic regional interpretations)

Learn more: Technomic Digital Resource Library

Organic Equivalency

The Organic Trade Association (OTA) last week welcomed a new organic equivalency arrangement between the United States and Korea, saying it reopens a critically important Asian market for U.S. organic processed food products, and will create jobs and opportunity for the American organic food and farming sector.

“We extend our thanks and congratulations to the officials at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative for their success after a year of rigorous negotiations,” said Laura Batcha, CEO and Executive Director of OTA. “OTA and the U.S. organic industry have worked diligently to help make this happen. This new pact streamlines the trade of organic processed food products between the two countries while still upholding the highest standards of organic oversight. It’s a win for the organic sectors and for the consumers of both nations.”

Estimates are that under the new streamlined trading system made possible by this arrangement, American exports of organic processed foods and beverages to Korea, which were valued at around $35 million in 2013, will more than double over the next five years.

The U.S.-Korea equivalency arrangement was formalized on June 30.

Korea is the fifth-largest foreign market for U.S. agricultural products. The organic equivalency pact is in addition to the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement signed in March 2012.

Source: Organic Trade Association, USDA’s NOP website.

 Suja Biodynamic Teas

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Suja Juice Co. has launch of its first line of cold-brewed, organic, non-GMO Project Verified and cold-pressured teas. The four new tea flavors, Chunmee Tropical, Honeybush Peach, Jasmine Pomegranate and Unsweetened Biodynamic Black are available exclusively at Whole Foods Markets nationwide as a part of the Suja Elements™ organic, non-GMO, cold-pressured line.

SUJA JUICE CO.The Unsweetened Biodynamic Black flavor is Whole Foods Market’s first Demeter Certified Biodynamic® ready-to-drink tea.  As with all other Suja Elements flavors, 20 cents from each bottle of Suja Elements tea sold will be donated to select charities as part of the Suja Elements Cause Collective™.

The line was co-developed with Whole Foods Markets. Retail price is $3.99 per 12 ounce bottle. In April 2014, out of its thousands of national suppliers, Whole Foods Market named Suja its “Non-Perishable Supplier of the Year” for outstanding performance, expertise in the industry, commitment ethical sourcing and partnership in product development.

Source: Suja Juice Co.

Assembly Outcry Follows Starvation Revelations

Reports of starvation deaths on abandoned tea gardens enraged members of the Assembly and led India’s press to shine a light on conditions in gardens in Darjeeling the Dooars and Terai.

The Times of India conducted an investigation detailing the plight of workers on several gardens, reporting widespread malnutrition, disease and 14 starvation deaths at Bundapani Tea Estate with 10 at Dheklapara Tea Estate. Both gardens are in Alipurduar.

Many tea workers on these estates have attained the age of retirement and have nowhere to go as their pensions are held up after companies closed the gardens, reports the Times. “The younger people receive INRs1,500 per month under the FAWLOI (Financial Assistance for Workers of Locked Out Industrial Units) scheme. When I went to register, I was told that I am not eligible as I have crossed the age of 58. What about my years of service that were left when the garden shut down? How am I supposed to take care of my family?” tea worker Ram Tanti at Dheklapara told the newspaper. The garden has been closed 14 years.

The revelations caused political outcry. In the Assembly Opposition Leader Surjya Kanta Mishr, with the Left Front, said that 120 starvation deaths on tea gardens have been reported to the state in the past three years. Twenty gardens have closed during the Trinamool Congress, he said.

Food Minister Jyotipriya Mullick said the deaths had nothing to do with starvation, according to reports in The Hindu. Workers continue to receive allotments of kerosene, rice and 125 grams of sugar per person, he said.

Dr. Mishra countered that the rice is unfit to eat. He led a walkout of Left Front MLA’s who protested, holding up posters asking “why will the workers of tea gardens die of starvation”

“The deaths in tea gardens used to occur in the past. The situation has changed now but more change is required,” said Parliamentary Affairs Minister Partha Chaterjee. He said the situation in the tea gardens had worsened during the 34 years of the Left Front government and they had no right to talk on the issue.

Mullick has assigned three food inspectors to visit the gardens in North Bengal and make weekly reports.

Under the Tea Act, the Tea Board of India can assign new owners to any estate that has failed for a period of three months. However, new owners face difficult challenges repairing gardens abandoned since the 1990s. Litigation complicates financing, factories require extensive repair, the most skilled workers have departed and untended bushes are costly to replace and will not produce acceptable tea for three or more years.

Tea Association of India Secretary General PK Bhattacharya told the Times that most gardens cannot reopen without a concerted effort from state and federal governments.

As many as 30,000 workers remain in housing on 23 gardens abandoned in the past several years.

Sources: The Hindu, The Times of India

Tea Production Down

200px-Flag_of_IndiaKOLKATA, India – India’s unusually dry weather led to a 12% drop in tea production in May, according to the Tea Board.

Production in May fell to 91.4 million kilos, down from 103.7 million kilos in 2013. April production was down 25% compared to the previous year.

The total shortfall for the country is -8.5% for the period January through May, which includes the entire first flush harvest and much of the second flush.

The India Tea Association reports Assam gardens received 55% less rainfall than normal; Darjeeling received 60% less rain than normal and rainfall totals in the Dooars and Terai were down 40-60%. These conditions make it unlikely that India will match last year’s record output. Because domestic demand for tea continues to grow, the shortfall may hamper suppliers’ ability to maintain quality and meet export commitments.

Source: Tea Board of India

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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.

Green Tea May Protect Prostate — Need to Know

What tea professionals need to start the week of June 30, 2014 —

Tea garden workers in India abandoned by estate management are starving… Green tea appears to protect the prostate… crafty artists are making ornate flowers out of intricately folded tea packets.

Empowering Smallholders

DARJEELING, West Bengal – Word this week of the starvation deaths of several tea workers at an abandoned tea garden was refuted by government officials who visited Raipur Tea Estate in Jalpaiguri district.

Conflicting accounts and no formal autopsies leave the exact cause of death in question, but the incident has focused attention on the plight of up to 30,000 workers on 23 gardens abandoned in the past several years.

Press reports, including the Times of India, last week described six deaths, including infants, but West Bengal Food and Supplies Minister Jyoti Priya Mallick, on Sunday toured the Raipur Tea Estate with North Bengal Development Minister Gautam Deb and said the deaths were due to disease and illness.

Deb told the The Hindu “there have not been any starvation deaths in the tea garden. I have talked to the family members of six workers who recently died and they told me that they were suffering from illnesses such as tuberculosis and high blood sugar,” said Mallick.

A physician on Saturday confirmed evidence of malnutrition at the garden where workers continue to pluck leaves without a wage.

Like the  460 workers at Raipur there are thousands struggling toj survive on abandoned estates in West Bengal, Kerala and Assam. Tea plantations are mandated to provide shelter, medical care, food subsidies and a minimum wage but once abandoned the resources disappear.

When a garden closes workers with skills operating a tea factory and those young enough to prune and pluck leaves simply move on leaving the weak and less skilled workers to fend for themselves. At Raipur workers continue to pluck leaves without drawing a wage to sell to bought leaf factories.

On Sunday Mallick announced steps to improve the supply of subsidized rations to workers and awarded INRs 5000 ($83) to the families of the dead. A vigilance inspection was ordered at 20 other gardens, according to The Hindu.

The distressed gardens failed during difficult financial times beginning in 2004, reopen periodically and fail.

The government will also try to convince owners of the tea gardens to reopen them, according to Mallick but banks are unwilling to write off the millions in debts and new owners can bear to make good on bad loans and non-performing assets.

The state of Kerala took a different approach, reopening many gardens that had failed mainly by permitting workers ownership. West Bengal had no such success.

Kerala’s experience is powerful testimony to the important work of training smallholders to strike out on their own.

LOGO_ETP Ethical Tea PartnershipLast week the Ethical Tea Partnership and IDH – the Sustainable Trade Initiative announced a very successful pilot program of outdoor classrooms that has trained 48,000 Kenyan smallholders to improve their agricultural skills and to process tea.

ETP announced a coalition of major tea companies would expand the program to 200,000 smallholders in Africa and Asia’s tea growing countries within the next three years.

ETP’s hands-on training in irrigation, composting, plant nutrition and protection from insects has increased yields by as much as a third. The Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) supports the program through 1,600 Farmer Field Schools.

LOGO_IDH The Sustainable Trade Initiative“Tea provides a livelihood for millions of people around the globe. These projects show that the industry is committed to helping smallholder farmers and workers earn a decent wage and farm better, and that it understands that this is fundamental to building secure supply chains and future success,” said ETP Executive Director Sarah Roberts.

Targeted nations include Malawi, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, India and Vietnam. The effort is funded by multi-nationals that include Unilever and Tata Global Beverage and Taylors of Harrogate producers of Yorkshire Tea.

The Confederation of Indian Small Tea Growers Association (CISTA) is seeking assistance similar to Kenya and Sri Lanka to ensure better execution and monitoring of various tea production and promotional schemes. It will also help initiate a pilot program to develop an alternative market for small tea growers, according to The Hindu Business Line.

This, in turn, will help small tea growers produce better quality green tea leaves and ultimately upgrade themselves from mere green leaf producers to made-tea producers, according to the CISTA release.

In London delegates to the annual TEAm Up conference acknowledged it will take more than government programs to resolve key social and environmental issues affecting the sector. ETP and IDH, joint hosts of the event, updated producers, packers and retailers on the progress of their pioneering projects and explored how action to tackle them can secure supply chains and build brands’ reputation.

“It is amazing to see how the tea industry is making serious efforts and investments to address difficult issues such as wages and smallholder inclusion,” said IDH Chief Executive Joost Oorthuizen. “These and other deeply rooted problems, that only a few years ago were ‘owned’ by civil society groups, are now high on the agenda of the international tea industry. We can use this positive energy by working together, and collaborating with retailers, government agencies and NGOs, who all have a part to play.”

Learn more at: Ethical Tea Partnership

Green Tea Protects Prostate

The American Cancer Society projects that 233,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2014. It is the most prevalent type of cancer in men after skin cancer, affecting one in seven men in the course of their lives. Given tea’s reputation as a healthful beverage with powerful antioxidants, it is not surprising that researchers would be considering the potential impact of green tea on prostate cancer.

A new report published by “Metabolomics”in May 2014 found that epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), a catechin in green tea, may affect the work of one of the enzymes that powers cancer metabolism.

In many cancer types, the enzyme Lactate dehydrogenase A (LDHA) is present in elevated amounts. LDHA affects the way that the chemical compound pyruvate is processed. Pyruvate is produced in glycolysis and would typically continue to metabolize, giving the body’s cells energy. When cells lack the oxygen they need, pyruvate is instead converted to lactate because of the presence of the enzyme LDHA. Elevated LDHA keeps a process going that feeds the growth and survival of the tumor and also promotes the migration of the cancer cells throughout the body. It is suspected that if LDHA can be targeted, the growth of the cancer cells may be slowed. Researchers believe that treatments that impact LDHA may be important in future therapies.

In this study, led by Qing-Yi Lu of the Department of Medicine at UCLA, EGCG reduced the production of lactate in human pancreatic adenocarcinoma cells (MIA PaCa-2), as well as other metabolic processes such as anaerobic glycolysis, consumption of glucose and the glycolytic rate. It was assessed that the treatment “significantly modifies the cancer metabolic phenotype.”

The National Institute of Health reports being involved with five current trials related to prostate cancer and green tea extracts including studies on early stage prostate cancer, men having radical prostatectomies, and patients with low-risk cancers.

Source: Metabolic consequences of LDHA inhibition by epigallocatechin gallate and oxamate in MIA PaCa-2 pancreatic cancer cells, Metabolomics, Lu, Qing-Yu; Lifeng Zhang, Jennifer K. Yee, Vay-Liang W. Go, and Wai-Nang Lee. Accepted for publication May 2014.

Folded Flowers from Tea Bags

Here is a clever challenge for crafty tea drinkers who like origami. This video shows how to fold square tea wrappers into pinwheel like flowers.

TeaBagWrapperFolding Paper Printables shows you how to make a cute little paper star from just 8 tea bag sized bits of paper. Super easy and novel greeting card or gift wrap embellishment. Just download a beautiful tea bag design from and get folding!

Source: Scrap Books, Crafty Attic


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.

TEAM UP Supports Tea Worker Wage Increase – Need to Know

What tea professionals need to start the week of June 23, 2014 —

TEAM UP participants in London last week presented a program to raise wages for tea workers… Nestle is withdrawing its Nestea bottled products from China… India tea production fell 24.5% in April…the Fill’er Up unlimited drink app CUPS makes it debut in New York City.

Tea Worker Wages

LOGO_TEAM UP 2014TEAM UP is an annual gathering of tea professionals hosted by the Ethical Tea Partnership and IDH The Sustainable Trade Initiative in a coalition that includes OXFAM and the German Development Agency GIZ.

Combined these organizations are seeking to remedy the issue of low pay on tea estates in several developing countries.
Many tea producing countries are so poor that legally mandated minimum wages not enough to give tea workers a living wage. While tea estates that pay their workers the legally agreed amount it is not sufficient to covers a household’s basic needs, explains ETP in a release following the event.

Work will focus initially on Malawi, Africa’s second biggest tea producer, where pickers earn two thirds of the World Bank poverty line income of around $2 per person per day. It is a small sum but tea workers are better off than 62% of the population, who exist on less than the World Bank’s extreme poverty line of $1.25 a day.

The coalition aims to help tea estates improve their productivity and profits and make more finance available to invest in improvements in return for a commitment to raise wages. They will also work with employers, unions and governments to agree phased improvements to wages – which are set at national or regional level – and increase worker representation in negotiations. The program will run for several years and inform similar work to raise wages in other countries.

Learn more: Ethical Tea Partnership

Nestea Withdraws from Chinese Market

Nestle first introduced its bottled tea in China in 2002, a program jointly backed by Coca-Cola known as Beverage Partners Worldwide.

Coca-Cola had previously attempted to market Tianyudi tea and a honey tea called Lanfeng. Neither survived.

Nestea Fountain VerIt was thought the combined marketing efforts of the global beverage giants would make Nestea a success in competition with China’s Master Kong and Taiwan’s Uni-President brands.

According to an article in the Chinese publication Want China Times, Nestea’s market share peaked at 2.3% in 2008 according to Euromonitor International figures dropping to 1.9% in 2010. This led to Nestle and Coca-Cola’s decision to go their separate ways in China in 2012, with the Swiss company taking over the operations of Nestea in the country, while Coca-Cola focused on its Yuan Ye tea brand.

According to the latest report on China’s tea drink market published by Askci Corp, Master Kong and Uni-President now hold a combined market share of over 40%, reports Want China Times.

India Tea Production Falls 25%

Data from the early harvest have been compiled and declines due to the lack of rain were steep as projected.

Production in April declined 24.48% to 56.77 million kg due to lower output in Assam and other regions, according to a report in the Economic Times.

The production stood at 75.17 million kg in April 2013, according to Tea Board data.

Output in Assam, the largest tea-producing state, decreased by 40.34% to 25.33 million kg in April this year from 42.46 million kg a year earlier.

However, in West Bengal, production was up by 21.58% to 13.41 million kg during the month, from 11.03 million kg in April 2013.

The combined production of tea in the southern states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka decreased by 18.41% to 16.53 million kg from 20.26 million kg in the year-ago period.

India’s tea production in 2013-14 increased by 6.19% to 1,205.40 million kg from 1,135.07 million kg in 2012-13, according to Tea Board of India.

Source: Economic Times


An Israeli software developer has teamed with 40 independent tea and coffee shops in New York to launch a new subscription phone app good for unlimited drinks for the month.

A $45 subscription covers as many cups as you wish of tea and regular coffee in any size. Upgrade to $85 and users can enjoy unlimited lattes, iced coffee and espresso drinks.

Alternately you can opt for a variable X-cups for $Y dollars fixed price (5 cups $7 for example).

LOGO_CupsYou select your location. Select your drink and present your phone to the cashier. The cashier enters a payment confirmation code.

There is no cost for the shop to join and no point-of-sale integration. It is not a traditional loyalty program, more of a marketing strategy to bring new drinkers into your shop.

Co-founder Gilad Rotem anticipates 200 NY shops will participate as the program advances. Shop owners are paid a discounted rate for every cup purchased by customers using their phone. The fine print requires customers to wait 30 minutes between purchases and prevents them from sharing a login with their friends.

CUPS has been operating in Israel since 2012 after Rotem and four of his high school buddies came up with the idea.

Rotem told the New York Times “People love the notion of unlimited coffee and empowering independent coffee shops.”

The same holds for tea.

Learn more: CUPS (android), CUPS (ios), NYU Local

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.

Specialty Tea Pioneer John Harney Passes

John Harney

Harney & Sons founder John Harney.

Specialty tea pioneer John Haney died Tuesday. He was 83.

The founder of Harney & Sons in 1983, his contribution to the development of America’s specialty tea industry can hardly be overstated. He entered tea retail late in his life following a successful career that made his encore all the more spectacular.

Harney was known for his gentility and impeccable taste in tea. A master blender, his teas drew praise from the palaces of England and raised the profile of the entire industry.

“No man ever graced his profession more than John Harney has done for ours,” author and friend James Norwood Pratt told the audience in 2011 on the occasion of Harney’s acceptance of the Cha Jing Award for Lifetime Achievement in tea.

Thirty years ago Harney began spreading the culture of tea, he said, because in doing so “we’re spreading the business of tea.” With his sons Paul and Michael and grandson Emeric, Harney embraced and mastered all aspects of the business. His blends are best sellers in grocery and fine food stores and exported and sold worldwide including Buckingham Palace and the Grand Dorchester Hotel. His ready-to-drink line is served in fine restaurants and his loose leaf draws a steady crowd to the retail venture in SoHo managed by Emeric. Recently he produced a line of tea in capsules for Keurig brewing machines.

John and Elyse Harney, Bermuda, 2013.

John and Elyse Harney, Bermuda, 2013.

Innovation was a hallmark yet the brand reflects the tradition and manners of traditional tea. In 1960 he managed the historic White Heart Inn, in Salisbury, Conn., mastering the art of hospitality. It was then he fell for tea serving loose leaf supplied by Sarum Tea to guests in the 1960s. In 1970 he joined Stanley Mason, owner of Sarum, working there until Mason’s death in 1980. Three years later at 53, he launched his namesake company.

The business has since grown to 170 people and occupies 90,000 sq. ft. of warehouse space in Millerton, NY. A new bottling facility is under construction.

The business will continue under the direction of sons Michael, 58, and Paul, daughter-in-law Brigitte and grandsons Emeric and Alexander.

Millerton, New York filling 90,000 square feet of warehouse space – See more at:
Millerton, New York filling 90,000 square feet of warehouse space, and employing over 170 people, – See more at:

Harney served in the U.S. Marine Corps. and graduated from the Cornell School of Hotel Management. He is survived by wife Elyse and five children John Jr., Michael, Keith, Elyse and Paul, and 10 grandchildren.

The funeral was June 20 at St. Mary’s Catholic Church. Burial was in St. Mary’s Cemetery, Lakeville, Conn.

Source: Litchfield County Times

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.

Samovar Launches New Tea Bar Concept – Need to Know

A row of infusion crucibles at Samovar Tea Bar.

A row of tea infusion crucibles at the new Samovar Tea Bar in San Francisco.

What tea professionals need to start the week of June 16, 2014 —

Samovar Tea Bar launches a new tea retail concept worth watching…Honest Tea sells its billionth bottle… George Jage, founder of World Tea Expo, exits… Barak Obama sneaks out for a cup of tea.

Samovar’s Clever Retail Concept

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – Jesse Jacobs, founder of Samovar Lounge last week unveiled a new tea retail concept that bears watching.

The Samovar Tea Bar, located at 411 Valencia St., advances the idea that takeaway tea can be fast, inexpensive and every bit as trendy as a “third-wave” coffee shop.

The brightly lit, open layout (designed by Arcanum Architecture) resembles an Apple Store. The 600 sq. ft. storefront requires a small staff. The only food on the menu are scones available in savory or sweet with jam or honey.

The most significant innovation, however, is a line of what Jacobs calls “crucible” brewers built into the service counter.

This puts customers directly in front of sommeliers wearing aprons who measure the tea, place it in the glass chamber and then press a touchscreen to fill the crucible with hot water, agitate and infuse the tea. Elapsed time is a couple of minutes with the tea decanted into a pitcher and poured into a cup.

Jesse Jacobs

Samovar Tea Bar Owner Jesse Jacobs

In a flash Jacobs demonstrates all the captivating interaction of a single-pour barista with a healthful beverage delivered faster than coffee. The machines make quite an impression.

Manufactured by Salt Lake City-based Alpha Dominche they sell for $15,000. Khristian Bombeck, founder and inventor at Alpha Dominche, designed the Steampunk 4.0 with a computer to control a wide range of specific parameters, such as water temperature, agitation and water pressure as well as three grades of metal filters to reproduce a range of brewing methods.

JC_J2A9928_150dpiAn added benefit of the system is that it’s programmable, allowing staff to recreate these parameters at the touch of the screen. This also means that the Steampunk requires only minimal operator training.

The shop is frenzied urban friendly with six teas priced between $3 and $5. These include a black, green and herbal and a matcha shot or shake. Seasonal options include an iced tea. A copper cauldron of chai makes it possible to get a cup of tea as quickly at Samovar as from the famous chaiwalla street vendors in Calcutta.

The tea bar is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in a part of the city known for exceptional coffee shops like Four Barrel Coffee just up the street. Expect it to draw a crowd.

George Jage Departs World Tea Expo

LONG BEACH, Calif. – Tears and toasts marked the departure of George Jage as the organizer and host of World Tea Expo, the most vibrant of North America’s tea gatherings.

Jage, who co-founded the annual tradeshow in 2002, will lead CannaBusiness Media, a Colorado-based publishing and event company serving the medical marijuana trade. CannaBusiness is a division of Anne Holland Ventures, Inc., headquartered in Pawtucket, R.I. Publications include the Marijuana Industry Directory, Marijuana Business Daily and the annual CannaBusiness Money Show.

His last day at F+W Media was June 11.

George Jage moving on.

George Jage is moving on.

On the Saturday ending the show a crowd of friends and family filled the office during the final hour of the World Tea Expo. A portable bar appeared as the show floor closed and Jage announced his departure to the crowd of exhibitors with wife Kim and their two children nearby.

The outpouring of emotion that followed was spontaneous. There were testimonials and tearful goodbyes, a blend of sorrow and light-hearted ribbing about his new position.

Devan Shah, who invested more in the Expo than any other sponsor, told the crowd that Jage’s role in organizing World Tea Expo was indispensable in the development of America’s specialty tea industry.

James Norwood Pratt extolled Jage for his commitment and charm. Jane Pettigrew offered her congratulations and Suzette Hammond, Director of Education & Brand Communication Strategist at Rishi Tea, was so tearful she could only give him a hug.

Kim Jage watched proudly. She departed the company in October 2013.

Jage, President & Publisher at CannaBusiness Media,quipped that he intends to take his next assignment “to new highs.” The job is a perfect fit, it is as though I have been preparing for this position for years, he said.

He and his family will remain in Las Vegas.

A Billion Bottles

Sales of Honest Tea passed the billion bottle mark last week, an accomplishment that took 16 years. Astounding when you consider the company launched 85 different beverages under the label and bought 22 million pounds of organic and Fair Trade Certified ingredients to accomplish this feat.

Honest Tea_HoneyGreenTea“Sixteen years ago, it almost felt like I sold every bottle myself. It’s nice to see our brand and mission reach an audience well beyond my personal sales route! This is a testament to the persistence and faith of our team as well as the increasing acceptance of organic ingredients,” said co-founder & TeaEO Goldman.

“One of our core missions is to democratize organics,” said Goldman. “Now when I visit with our suppliers, they know it’s not just some guy who started a company out of his house, it’s a representative of The Coca-Cola Company.”

It took 10 years to sell 112 million bottles. Following the company’s acquisition in 2011 Honest Tea became available in 100,000 outlets. In the past six years sales grew by 888 million bottles. The company now buys 8 million pounds of organic ingredients a year, most of it tea.

Source: Honest Tea

Presidential Preference

President Barak Obama dashed from his Washington DC residence last week to visit a Starbucks on Pennsylvania Avenue, bypassing the media pool. He was accompanied by White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough and armed guards. He spent about eight minutes in the shop.

On their way back to the residence, a group of reporters arrived. Noticing the cup Bill Plante a CBS News reporter, loudly asked Obama, “how’s the coffee?”

“It’s tea,” the president responded.

The media subsequently ran 1,535 articles on the encounter.

Source: CBS News

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.

Teavana Shaken Iced Tea – Need to Know


What tea professionals need to start the week of June 9, 2014 —

We should all be drinking iced tea this week in celebration of National Iced Tea Month and out of necessity as temperatures climb… Starbucks debuts an iced tea commercial promoting Teavana shaken tea (with a national tea giveaway Tuesday)… Nestea positions for a comeback… the final count is in on India’s 2013 harvest… and coverage of this year’s World Tea Expo in Long Beach, Calif.

Single-origin, fast-chill, iced tea

This time of year dusty Kansans like me will drive to a convenience stop, race to the dispenser and gulp a giant iced tea without asking about price or refill policy. Unlike sweet tea drinkers in the Deep South, Midwesterners prefer to sweeten their tea with a teaspoon of sugar instead of a quarter pound scoop. Lemon optional. It is the blast of cold in the belly and the thirst-quenching astringency they seek.

Tea is a beverage enjoyed by more than one half of America’s population on any given day. According to the Tea Council in 2012, Americans drank more than 3.6 billion gallons of tea – enough to fill the Empire State Building more than 13 times. Since 85% of the tea Americans drink is iced, the U.S. celebrates a love of this healthy beverage every June with National Iced Tea Month.

Lately I’ve noticed that restaurants are making a lot better tasting iced tea. Thirty years ago I shunned the movement to mask the anemic qualities of restaurant tea with raspberry and strawberry and peach flavoring. Instead I’d request a pot of hot tea with two bags and a tall glass filled to the brim with ice. I would patiently brew the tea double-strength and pour it over the ice, diluting it nicely as it chilled. The fresh brew flavor was like home but the tea bag blends were typically stale.

At home I use a full-bodied loose leaf Ceylon or a malty Assam brewed in a Takeya flash-chill pitcher of ice. No sugar needed. Sometimes I drink three quarts a day.

The other day I was dining at a highly-rated Seattle restaurant that uses the fresh-brewed, flash-chill technique and I got to gulping. “Will you bring another,” I asked the waitress… “and another”… “and another.” This was a Sri Lankan Ceylon from Barnes & Watson made like I do at home.

The guys at Wilbur Curtis noticed the trend. When I spoke to them at World Tea Expo they said restaurants are filling the company’s foodservice iced tea dispensers with several pounds of ice and then brewing the tea extra strong. The tea is then released into the ice-filled dispenser to flash chill.

In April I was interviewing Janaki Kuruppu who chairs the Sri Lanka Tea Board. The topic shifted to iced tea and she revealed a strategic effort to promote Ceylon as an iced tea supplier in the foodservice segment. I assured her Americans are ready for a full-bodied, brisk flavored single-origin thirst quencher.


Blood Orange Sorbet Oolong Iced Tea

Iced Tea Tuesday

Teavana stores nationwide in the U.S. and Canada will offer one free small serving of brewed Raspberry Limeade Iced Tea to each customer who makes a purchase in a Teavana store or Teavana Fine Teas + Tea Bar. The new Raspberry Limeade Tea, available in Teavana stores today, is Teavana’s unique take on the summer favorite of raspberry limeade.

The company debuted a “Shake it Up” commercial in several markets to promote it summer teas. The ad depicts several baristas agitating colorful flash-chill pitchers of iced tea. Teavana recently released four new iced tea blends including a Blood Orange Sorbet Oolong,

Teavana is also inviting customers to digitally “toast” on National Iced Tea Day, June 10, and throughout June, by posting #IcedTeavanaSweeps photos that show how and where they are raising a glass to summer. For the chance to win a $500 Teavana “Upgrade Your Iced Tea” shopping spree, tea lovers across the U.S. will be encouraged to use the hashtag #IcedTeavanaSweeps and do one of the following*:

  • Share a photo on Twitter, or
  • Share a photo on Instagram

Click for details.* Sweepstakes rules.

Nestea Orchestrating a Comeback

Forbes last week published an article on renewed efforts by Nestle Waters to revitalize its Nestea brand. Two years ago the company invested in Sweet Leaf Tea and Tradewinds bottled tea. The Nestea brand was once the king of the cooler until Lipton and Arizona seized the shelf space in most convenience outlets.

Nestea’s Rick Tanner, vp of marketing for Nestle Waters, told Forbes that the worldwide restructuring with Coca-Cola allocated Nestea to his portfolio: “We think Nestea is going to be the big driver. It’s got 95% awareness but little consideration,” he said.

“Arizona really redefined the category about 12 years ago and caught Lipton and Nestea sleeping,” said Tanner.

The company is releasing a new TV commercial updating the familiar “Take the Nestea Plunge” slogan.

“We expect to do a lot in the space of digital engagement around the plunge and work with key partners such as Facebook, Google and a few others to leverage the Nestle global partnerships we have in the digital and social media space,” he said.

World Tea Expo

The Long Beach location was great and World Tea Expo once again demonstrated the collegial affability of global tea. Attendance was 4,600 with tea lovers from 50 countries in the aisles and about 200 exhibitors on the floor.

The program was enriching with returning favorites including Jane Pettigrew, Thomas Shu and James Norwood Pratt, Bruce Richardson, Anupa Mueller, David Walker, Rona Tison and Dan Robertson with lots of new ideas from speakers including Peter Marino, Shabnam Weber, David De Candia, Emeric Harney, Elyse Petersen, Naomi Rosen, Robert Wemischner and James Oliveira.

Download the sessions on tea marketing with David Sprinkle (Packaged Facts), Lynn Dornblaser (Mintel International) and Jonas Feliciano (Euromonitor International) along with the Health Beverage overview by National Marketing Institute’s Steve French.

Cha Jing Lifetime Achievement Award

LONG BEACH, Calif. – Specialty tea import pioneer Devan Shah basked in the warmth of praise and standing applause of his peers at a black-tie ceremony on board the Queen Mary, tearful in gratitude before family and friends.


Devan Shah

In accepting the Cha Jing Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2014 World Tea Expo, Shah spoke of his heritage in the tea lands of India and the remarkable opportunity America presented 25 years ago on the founding of International Tea Importers (ITI).

His lifetime commitment to tea education and innovation was detailed by author James Norwood Pratt who cited the creation of the Chado Tea Rooms, the Los Angeles International Tea Festival and that fact that Shah was perhaps America’s most influential champion of chai. “Everyone knows black tea is the most popular tea here and that green tea is second, but few recognize that it is Devan who made chai the third most popular tea in America,” said Pratt.

As emcee George Jage, Founder & Director of The Beverage Group @ F+W Media, Inc., said “Devan helped spearhead America’s tea renaissance.”

Shah has financed books, sponsored seminars and exhibitions, given talks and presentations and hosted countless tea samplings at events that led others to the discovery of fine tea.

“Shah has extended his love of tea to thousands,” said Jage, who presented the crystal trophy.

Against life-size images of his activities projected on the big screen in the stately Queen Mary Salon, Shah humbly thanked the crowd, his daughter and immediate family and the many relatives who traveled from his beloved Nilgiris to attend the banquet.

“Tea, the most romantic of all beverages, has certainly come a long way in the United States,” said Shah. “It has seen steady growth year-over-year for the last 15 years, and I am proud to be a part of that growth, and I am very grateful for this honor.”

The Cha Jing Lifetime Achievement Award (#ChaJingAward) recognizes and celebrates individuals who have made considerable contributions to the growth, innovation and education of the specialty tea industry throughout their lifetime.

Shah received toasts well into the night in the celebration that followed on the observation deck of the historic ship.

World Tea Award Winners

Ten presentations preceded the awarding of this year’s Cha Jing recognition in categories that follow. George Jage and Gail Gastelu, publisher of the The Tea House Times introduced winners following a tally of several thousand online ballots by attendees.

“Collectively, you are all winners,” said Gastelu, “But, tonight we honor and further recognize our peers who have risen to the top to help raise us all a little higher.”

Winners include:

Best Tea SpiritJames Norwood Pratt, tea author and expert, San Francisco, Calif.

Best Tea EducatorJane Pettigrew, tea author and consultant – United Kingdom

Best Tea BookTea History, Terroirs, Varieties (Second Edition) by the Tasters of Camellia Sinensis

Best Tea PublicationTeaTime Magazine, Birmingham, Ala.

Best Social Media ReachElyse Petersen, founder and CEO of Tealet, Honolulu, Hawaii

Best Tea Room WebsiteThe St. James Tearoom, Albuquerque, N.M.

Best Tea Room MenuSamovar, San Francisco, Calif.

Best Tea Retail WebsiteAdagio, Clifton, N.J.

Best Tea BlogWorld of Tea, Chicago, Ill.

Best Tea Short / CommercialThe Tea Song by Yorkshire Tea, United Kingdom

Best New Products

Innovation – Biotre (Pacific Bag, Inc.)

Tea as an Ingredient – “Ladalu Chakra” (Lumbini Tea Factory Sri Lanka)

Tea Ware – “Deluxe Iced Tea Beverage System” (Takeya USA)

Open Class – “Tea Pee – Prostate Support Tea”(Nuwati Herbals)


India Tea Production Tally

NEW DELHI, India – Final figures for the 2013 harvest reveal an increase of 6.19% to 1.205 billion kilograms, up from the 1.135 billion harvested in 2012.

The India Tea Board reports combined output of Assam and West Bengal and other north Indian states increased 7.56% to 960.96 million kg. The two states grow almost 80 percent of India’s tea. Production in the southern states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka rose to 244.44 million kg last year, up slightly from 241.69 million kg produced in 2012.


Here is the Tea Association of USA’s iced tea recipe:

Drink it by the pitcher. Since tea contains no sodium, fat, carbonation, or sugar, it is virtually calorie free. To top it off, there are decades’ worth of research showing that the many bioactive compounds found in tea, called flavonoids, may contribute to overall health.

  • Bring one quart of fresh, cold, filtered water to a full boil in a teapot
  • Remove from heat and add 8–10 tea bags per quart of tea you are making
  • Steep for three to five minutes and pour over ice cubes or into additional cold water
  • To serve, pour into tall glass filled with ice, garnish and sweeten as desired

*Note:This recipe uses 50 percent more tea than is used to make hot tea to allow for dilution by ice.

Whether you prefer black, green, white or oolong tea, you are in good company. Peter Goggi, President of the Tea Council of the USA recommends drinking plenty of tea, saying, “not only are many different types of teas available to suit each taste preference, but the amount of quality research being done on tea continues to support the idea that drinking tea can be a fulfilling, healthy addition to your diet.”


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.

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.

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.

India’s New Prime Minister Worked as a Tea Vendor – Need to Know

What tea professionals need to start the week of May 19, 2014 —

India’s Narendra Modi, a childhood tea vendor, will be the next prime minister. Modi’s pro-business platform and decisive leadership is welcome according to tea industry executives but his uneasiness with Congress Party’s tea worker subsidies make the future unclear… World Tea Expo begins Tuesday May 27 with Tea Business Boot Camp… it’s not too late to join in the fun and take part in a superior educational program in Long Beach….Would you enjoy being sent to Summer School in Montreal? You will if you love tea. Retailer Camellia Sinensis shares its wealth of information during weekend courses.

Tea Vendor Elected India’s Prime Minister

India has elected the son of a poor tea vendor its next prime minister.

Narendra Modi, 63, has long set his sights on the highest elected office in the world’s largest democracy. His election last week uplifted hopes in the business community where he is expected to encourage value-added manufacturing and exports and lower trade barriers as well as modernize finance while opposing a continuation of the welfare laws that underpin the existing plantation system.

Marendra Modi

Narendra Modi

Modi, a Hindi born into a low-caste, symbolically selected a tea vendor as one of four persons to formally nominate him PM.

In February during a campaign swing through Assam he called the living conditions of tea workers “deplorable” with “no improvement over four to five generations,” according to accounts in the Economic Times.

“The industry earns crores (tens of millions) of dollars in foreign exchange and the product reaches every home but both Central and Assam governments have paid no attention to the workers,” he said, promising if elected to assist their cause.

Specific policies have yet to be revealed but the tea industry executives I correspond with in Kolkata are optimistic.

In April I was traveling through Kerala and Karnataka India during the month-long national elections. Those I spoke with told me the sitting government led by the ruling Congress Party was ineffective and unpopular. Unemployment was high, the economy sluggish. Business executives spoke of their frustration dealing with a corrupt system. There was a pronounced sense of change in the wind.

As it turns out this is a very significant ballot. Modi’s victory is the most decisive election in 25 years. There were 120 million more votes cast than the previous election.Voting is a matter of civic pride and there were many reminders to vote. Balloting took many weeks with 537 million votes to count in the world’s largest democracy.

TEABIZ_NTK_140519On Election Day in Bangalore the people I met proudly displayed a henna mark on their left thumb indicating they had voted. Turnout was very high. At 65.85%, the overall vote was the highest ever recorded by India in the 16 general elections held since 1951. 

“Modi is widely seen as the darling of India’s corporate world and a decisive, 21st-century administrator expected to revive job creation and economic growth,” according to The National Post. Born in 1950, he will be India’s first prime minister born after the country’s violent 1947 partition and independence from imperial Britain. His rise marks a paradigm shift for the secular democracy after decades of welfare policies that have emphasized lifting the country’s impoverished. Modi has extolled the merits of trickle-down economics through industrialization.”

So far there have been 7,566 articles published on the election and its ramifications. In general the response is positive.

Modi was the third of six children. He is the son of a chaiwalla, a tea vendor earning 17-cents per cup from a stall at the Vadnagar railway station in Gujarat. Modi would walk the station and train cars with a kettle pouring chai. He joined a youth program of the Rahtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) at eight. His marriage was arranged by his mother at 12 but five years later after the wedding ceremony to Jashodaben Chimanlal he left to join the RSS and never consummated the marriage. Mentored by leaders of the powerful Hindu nationalist group which rejected secularism he rose steadily in the ranks to become the chief minister of Gujarat in 2001.

During his three terms Gujarat’s economy has grown 8.6%. The state accounts for 16% of industrial output, despite having 5% of its population. The western state boasts uninterrupted power supply and the finest road infrastructure in the country.

Modi is a gifted orator who lives alone, writes poetry and practices yoga.

WTN140217_Shri Narendra Modiji_headshot“Celibate, vegetarian and a teetotaler, Modi earned a reputation for ruthless efficiency, pushing aside party stalwarts with whom he clashed and taking charge of nearly all the key departments in the state government,” according to an account in the Los Angeles Times.

“Good days are coming,” Modi told a huge crowd of supporters in Vadodara, the western city where he won a parliamentary seat Friday. “From today, for the next five years, the journey has started.”

Source: The National Post, Los Angeles Times, Economic Times

Tea Training

Montreal’s Camellia Sinensis Tea School will open its doors for two weekend programs in English this year.

Camellia Sinensis Summer School 2014 offers two different programs, both based on a 3-day weekend.  Tea enthusiasts, visiting from far and wide, will be offered a packed two days of tea related activities and a chance to enjoy the magical ‘joie de vivre’ of summertime in Montréal. All teas for the duration of the course will be fresh spring arrivals or vintage, aged classics selected at source by Camellia Sinensis’ four tasters for their World renowned catalogue:

The CS Team have compiled a list of accommodation possibilities, favorite restaurants and suggested activities to help visitors enjoy Montréal’s passion for good living and to ensure a memorable stay in their wonderful city.

Learn more:

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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Global Consolidation of Tea & Coffee Goliaths – Need to Know

What tea professionals need to start the week of May 12, 2014 —

Global consolidation in the coffee and tea segment has led to more than 100 deals valued at $23 billion the past five years. Last week’s proposed combination of Mondelez International’s coffee brands (Maxwell House) with D.E. Master Blenders 1753 BV (Douwe Egberts) will create a $7 billion behemoth that owns dozens of leading brands in the major coffee drinking countries… Oprah surprises Teavana customers in NYC… Kenya intends to increase local tea consumption by building new factories that add value to its largely bulk production of black CTC (cut, tear, curl).

Once investors identify a golden opportunity it soon catches the attention of bigger investors.

14i3_NEWS_MaxwellHouseRebrands_tinIt is a little like the shiny minnow that darts harmlessly in the sea grass near the bottom of the pond. None of the really big fish pay much attention until a curious few one-pounders gather.

It is they who get gobbled.

In the past five years 100 deals valued at $23 billion have consolidated coffee and tea globally. Merger and acquisitions with the significant investment that follows, made a big impact on specialty tea brands. Coffee chains and juice ventures have been expanding so successfully they have now caught the attention of global firms.

Teavana’s acquisition of Teaopia followed by Starbucks’ acquisition of Teavana comes quickly to mind but Pickwick tea in Europe, Tea Forte, Talbott Teas (acquired by Jamba Juice) and the Unilever purchase of T2 are other recent examples.

In the $81 billion coffee market and $90 billion market for tea – size matters. Once a business has demonstrated that it is scalable it becomes edible.

The proposed combination of Mondelez International’s coffee brands with those of D.E. Master Blenders 1753 BV follows the acquisition of relatively small fry including Peet’s Coffee & Tea, Caribou Coffee and Tea Forte by Joh. A. Benckiser (JAB Holding Co.)

Douwe Egberts CoffeeJAB paid $10.4 billion for D.E. Master Blenders and now owns Douwe Egberts, Senseo (single-serve coffee machines), Pilao, Merriild, Friele, Harris, Moccona, L’OR and Pickwick Tea. The company sells coffee in 45 countries and has leading positions in Norway, Denmark, Belgium and the Netherlands. The $3.4 billion DMB employs 7,500. It is the world’s No. 3 coffee marketer.

Mondelez, which owns Maxwell House, Tassimo and Jacobs Coffee, Carte Noire, Grande Mere, Kaffee HAG, Kenco and Gevalia, has the top selling brands in 10 countries including France, Sweden, Poland and Austria. The firm holds a second place in Germany, Greece, China, Ireland, Russia and Denmark. The company split from Kraft in 2012 and maintains its largest holdings in snack foods. It is valued at $64 billion. Mondelez is the world’s No. 2 coffee marketer earning $3.9 billion last year.

Master Blenders offered $5 billion for the Mondelez coffee unit. If approved the new company, to be known as Jacobs Douwe Egberts (JDE), will be the largest pure-play coffee venture in the world. Annual revenues would top $7 billion with a global coffee market share of 16.3%.

That makes JDE a big fish but dwarfed nonetheless by Nestle, the world’s largest coffee supplier.  Nestle sells $20 billion a year worth of coffee, about one fifth of its $100 billion annual food and beverage sales.

Nestle accounts for 22.7% of the $81 billion global coffee market, according to Euromonitor International, a market research company headquartered in London.

The company earns 40% of its annual coffee sales from roast and ground, and owns several billion dollar brands.  Its Nescafe soluble coffee business is immense. Nespresso remains the top selling single-serve brand and Nestle is building boutiques and marketing its espresso home brewers in Canada and the U.S. Nestle maintains excellent margins and it is broad based – but it is not nimble.

Rapid expansion of the middle class in Brazil, India and China is opening opportunities to sell coffee to millions of new consumers.

Merging the coffee units allows the combined company “significant growth opportunities in a highly attractive market,” said Pierre Laubies, CEO of Master Blenders and prospective head of the new entity which expects to save $1.5 billion annually once the merger concludes early next year.

Jacobs Douwe Egberts will benefit from its focus on coffee in identifying future acquisitions. There are many mid-sized retail and roast coffee ventures thriving in the emerging coffee drinking countries.

In North America DAVIDsTEA in Montreal has demonstrated that it can scale and so has Argo Tea in Chicago. Second Cup in Toronto is another potential target.

Next year when life in the pond begins to settle look for JDE to grab another bite.

Learn more: and

Oprah Surprises Teavana Patrons

Oprah Winfrey is having a great time marketing her new Oprah Chai with pal Howard Schultz CEO of Starbucks.

The other day she surprised patrons at the new Teavana store in New York City, chatting and laughing and enjoying her new role as the nation’s spokesperson for tea. And on Sunday she donned the Green Starbucks apron and served customers a Mother’s Day buy one and get one free Teavana Oprah Chai Tea Latte.

The visits were a perfect photo opportunity with staff eager to make her tea strong to order. On her way out the door she handed out gift cards.

Curious about the combined power of television ads, promotions, TV interviews, personal appearances and hundreds of media reports on Oprah Chai I emailed the Teavana publicists at Starbucks a note requesting information on total sales (or charity contribution). I think first week sales will top $500,000.

What’s your best guess?

Tapping Kenya’s Internal Tea Market

Kenya, which relies on small holders to grow black tea for export, has experienced a difficult period due to declining prices, high production cost, climate change, narrow market outlets and limited diversification and value addition.

This week Kericho county Governor Paul Chepkwony announced his jurisdiction plans to build a new tea factory on its 450-acre Kabianga tea farm for an estimated $3.4 million (Sh300 million).

The county is undertaking feasibility studies to determine whether the processing factory will turn a profit producing higher grade “value-added” teas suitable for export to international markets.

Tea grown in this region is currently processed as CTC (cut, tear, curl) at the nearby Momul Factory owned by the Kenya Tea Development Agency.

The project is worthy of note because value-added processing is the key to generating profits. It is also central to increasing domestic consumption. About 5% of Kenya’s tea is sold in the domestic market earning $250 million, a small number compared to India where almost 90% of the locally grown tea is sold within the country. Chinese companies have created many profitable brands for various segments of the market consuming 82% of China’s 1.85 billion kilo annual production.

Kenya’s Ministry of Agriculture is currently formulating a ‘national tea policy’ to encourage tea drinking. Principal secretary Sicily Kariuki told the Kenya Star on Saturday the policy will seek solutions to sustain production of high quality tea and reduce the cost of production, processing and marketing. The policy will also look into tea trade and value addition.

Kenya earned $1.3 billion from tea exports in 2013.

Learn more:  Kenya Star

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.