Teavana Shaken Iced Tea – Need to Know

TEABIZ-TeavanaCommercial_ShakenTea

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.

TEABIZ-TeavanaBloodOrangeSorbetOolong

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.

TEABIZ-DevanShah_WorldTeaAwardsChaJing

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.

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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.

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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.

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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

Also:
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

Also:

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.
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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: camellia-sinensis.com

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: http://camellia-sinensis.com/en/summer-school

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.

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: www.demasterblenders1753.com and www.mondelezinternational.com

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.

Need to Know (May 5, 2014)

What tea professionals need to start the week —

Watch for Mother’s Day TV ads promoting Oprah Chai this week… Services for Herbert Hyman, the pioneering founder of Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, were conducted over the weekend… Seattle-based Choice Organic Teas celebrated its 25th Anniversary during the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s annual conference… World Tea Expo is hosting a black tie awards dinner to recognize the best tea room menu, book, website, commercial and educator May 30… Taiwan oolong expert Thomas Shu discusses the launch of JT & Tea.

Starbucks is giving away Oprah Chai on Mother’s Day as the Teavana expansion continues with the latest Tea Bar opening in Chicago… early reports suggest the chai will be a big seller. Proceeds support the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy Foundation which finances a girl’s leadership academy in South Africa.

TEAVANA_OprahSignatureChaiTea“Every mom is different,” Oprah says in her narration. The spot features heart-tugging photos of children and describes many different kinds of moms including “tough” moms and “Facebook” moms and moms challenged by the fact they had a kid too young and still did OK. The ad pictures same-sex moms and moms quick to remind you they want to be a grandma. A 25-cent per cup donation will be made to the Oprah Chai Charities on Mother’s Day sales. Moms will get a free Teavana Oprah Chai.

See the ad here.

Choice Organic Teas

SEATTLE, Wash. – “Great minds think alike” nicely sums the emergence of organics which was seeded in the 1940s but remained a sapling until commercial advocates pushed through legislation leading to government regulated third-party certification of tea.

In 1989 Blake Rankin, the founder of Choice Organic Teas, was inspired to exclusively offer pesticide-free, sustainably grown organic tea. Rankin walked the talk, building his off-the-grid home of straw bales, insulated with mud and powered by solar panels with plank cork and recycled tile flooring.

His challenge was sourcing from gardens only beginning to experiment with organic cultivation.

Simultaneously the owners of Oothu Estate, located in the Singampatti Rainforest of India’s Western Ghats Mountains, embraced bio-dynamic principles to become India’s first organic tea garden and later became India’s first Fair Trade Certified tea garden. The pristine estate is situated at 4,000 feet elevation in the Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve of Tamil Nadu.

Oothu’s challenge was finding buyers willing to pay the premium rates necessitated by intense labor requirements and lower yield typical of organic estates. Indrajit Chatterjee, then a young export manager, made the match which has stood the test of time.

Last week Chatterjee, now president of Granum, Inc., which owns Choice Organic Teas, was jubilant in celebrating the 25th Anniversary of its founding. The staff danced to a New Orleans-style street band and celebrated their success at a noisy gathering during the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s annual conference.

DSCN1241

Granum President Indrajit Chatterjee

“My association with Choice Organic Teas dates back to as early as 1992 when I was a supplier to COT from the first organic tea project in India, from Oothu estate,” said Chatterjee. “I am honored and proud of my association with Granum and to be part of the 25th Year celebrations.” The Bombay Burmah Trading Corp. Ltd., which owns two gardens in Tanzania and eight Indian gardens including Oothu, acquired Granum in 2007.

25th Anniversary Celebration

Choice Organic Teas’ 25th Anniversary Celebration, Seattle, Wash.

Oothu built a modern factory exclusively for organic manufacture in 1992, 10 years before adoption of the USDA National Organic Program. Oothu, which is “surrounded by vast forests…virtually untouched by contamination”, was the ideal location to make a case for organics prior to legislation establishing USDA certification standards.

Choice Organic Teas has since promoted the growth and development of organic agriculture in tea estates worldwide and offers more than seventy-five varieties of teas and herbal infusions available in tea bags, tea pyramids, and loose leaf.

TEABIZ_140505_ChoiceWellness_ClassicBlackThe supplier-distributor-retail supply chain enabled Choice Organic Teas to become the first Fair Trade Certified tea company (2000) and the first non-GMO verified tea company (2010). Today the company continues its role in the forefront of tea innovation. In March, the company launched its Wellness Teas, a new line of certified organic, functional teas specially formulated by a master herbalist and faculty member in Botanical Medicine and Ayurvedic Sciences at Bastyr University.

TEABIZ_140505_ChoiceWellness_BreathingSpaceThe teas were designed to support healthy body functions and enhance wellness, while maintaining Choice Organic Teas’ reputation for great tasting, perfectly balanced tea. The blends are classified as Herbal Dietary Supplements (HDS), indicating that the product has met FDA standards for quality and testing.

TEABIZ_140505_ChoiceWellness_EnergyBoost“Growing a successful business over 25 years has been a team effort, and we are humbled by and grateful for the immense dedication of our partners in quality, such as the Organic Trade Association, QAI, Fair Trade USA, the Non-GMO Project and the many organic tea gardens around the world who adhere to these standards,” said Ray Lacorte, VP of Operations, Choice Organic Teas.

TEABIZ_140505_ChoiceWellness_MentalFocusDuring its first 25 years the company has been “steadfast in its commitment to organic tea, loyal to its roots in natural products, and continues to win awards for taste, quality, and environmental leadership. That staunch dedication will continue to prevail as it moves forward.”

Choice Organic Teas uses recycled and unbleached materials and has eliminated the use of Polyvinyl Chloride (PVdC). The company operates a certified organic, green facility and purchases wind-generated power to offset 100% of the electricity use of their manufacturing facility.

The company was awarded the Washington State Governor’s Award for pollution prevention in 2004 and the Seattle Public Utility BEST award for sustainability.

Choice Organic Teas’ commitment to sustainable business practices won it a Responsible Packaging Award in 2011. Choice Organic Teas is one of the few tea companies that packages its own tea, which gives it direct control over quality, food safety, and costs.

“We don’t plan to rest on our laurels as we look to our next 25 years,” said Anne-Marie Phillips, Head of Sales and Marketing. “Every day we discover new opportunities to contribute to our industry and the communities where we work and play.”

Learn more at: www.choiceorganicteas.com

World Tea Awards Dinner

The Queen Mary will be the site of a black-tie World Tea Awards banquet and celebration Friday, May 30.

World Tea Expo participants and nominees in several categories of tea promotion, education and media will attend the inaugural event from 7 – 10 p.m. in the Queen’s Salon aboard the majestic ship in Long Beach Harbor.

Queen's Salon

Queen’s Salon

“The full dinner is an evolution of our previous Cha Jing awards,” said George Jage, Group Director of the The Beverage Group @ F+W Media, Inc.

“It expands into a recognition program for the industry, but culminates with the donning of our Cha Jing Lifetime Achievement Award to this year’s recipient, Devan Shah,” he said. Shah is CEO of tea importer ITI in Los Angeles.

The World Tea Awards recognize the Best Tea Room Website, Best Tea Retail Website, Best Tea Blog, Best Tea Educator, Best Tea Short/Commercial, Best Tea Room Menu, Best Tea Publication, Best Tea Book, Best Social Media Reach and Best Tea Spirit.

The event is open to all. However, nominations are now closed and only registered delegates to the World Tea Expo are allowed to vote on the winners.

Jage promises “this will be an all-star night with the industry’s top movers and shakers, capacity is limited so register soon.”

Tickets are $125. Tables of 10 are $1000. To reserve, click here.

Click here to view the reservation form.

JT & Tea™ Taiwanese Oolongs

Josephine Pan and Thomas Shu, Taiwan’s beloved ambassador of tea, recently launched JT & Tea™ Inc., the first American brand to focus on the world’s finest oolong-style specialty teas, especially those from Taiwan.

LOGO-JT&TeaDuring the past decade at World Tea Expo Shu has introduced thousands to the exquisite flavor and variety of Taiwan oolong. Since 2008 he has led the Taiwan Oolongs Study Tour (TOST) an immersion program that gets high marks from tea retailers and wholesalers exploring these teas.

The study tour is organized by Josephine Pan whose knowledge and appreciation of oolong complements Shu.

Last month they realized a long-held dream to market these teas in America. Shu decided to make ABC Tea a subsidiary of the new venture and serve as managing director. Pan, who co-founded the business, will promote the teas and continue her work with TOST.

“It’s the realization of a long-term vision,” said Shu a third-generation member of a tea family whose familiarity with Taiwan oolongs spans 70 years. In 2007 Shu was given the honorary title “Ambassador of Taiwan Tea” by the Taiwan Tea Manufacturers’ Association.

He said JT & Tea affords him an opportunity to not only present fine Taiwan oolongs, but to provide the in-depth training required of sommeliers. His business “is a dynamic resource” for those refining their tea menus, looking for accessories to optimize storage and prepare oolong in tea shops, restaurants, cafes, hotels and business locations.

Thomas Shu

Thomas Shu, JT & Tea Taiwanese Oolongs

Shu is one of the world’s leading specialty tea experts, and a founding member of the American Premium Tea Institute that later merged with the Specialty Tea Institute. He grew up in Hsin Chu, Taiwan in a family tea factory at the height of Taiwan’s production. Communist China abandoned tea exports in the late 1940s and Taiwan preserved the culture and established a market for fine oolong no longer available from Fujian Province. He later watched in dismay during the 1980s as a younger generation of Taiwan citizens abandoned tea culture for more lucrative pursuits. Tea was uprooted from large tracts of the Tao Chu Miao region and many local businesses dismantled their factories and moved the equipment to Vietnam.

He tells the World Tea Expo audiences attending his classes that “tea is in my blood and it is my destiny to be in the tea business. It is my mission to bring the best Taiwan oolong to the world,” he said. His personal blog, Pon Fon Cha recounts his many classes and presentations at tea festivals along with practical advice on brewing oolong.

Shu is a licensed processor with skills in blending, firing and packing. He has introduced many techniques and innovations such as the “Ooloong-pac” that contains 7.5g of leaf tea used in making chilled tea served in wine glasses.

One of his training innovations is the harmony code for each tea. These are written as:  3g, 210, 6 min (weight-temp-steep time).

“Treat each tea as an individual, one of a kind, and find out its Harmony Code – then make the tea with discipline to have it presented at its best for tasting,” he advises.

Shu cites three advantages for JT & Tea customers:

  • Direct Sourcing from Origin:  The teas will be exceptionally fresh and are guaranteed genuine, he said. “Teas on offer are grown and processed in Taiwan and imported directly from our affiliate gardens in Taiwan without middle-men.”
  • Renowned Tea Specialists (especially Taiwan Oolong): Customers not only obtain tea, they benefit from decades of in-depth experience, specialty tea education and training.
  • Fine Tea Accessories: Oolongs are often served gongfu style with appropriate accessories. The tea is delicate, withstands many steeps. Preparation varies widely for best results. Shu said that JT & Tea will provide a wide range of good quality storage and brewing options for home, office and food service…all have been tested and are accompanied by detailed information. Instruction is one of the great services he provides to all accounts.

In 1990 when he founded ABC Tea with the support of his older brother Jackson Huang, and the blessing of his father Chung-Shuei Huang, his import, wholesale and processing company of necessity dealt in many international teas.

Shu who modestly prefers the title “tea specialist” to tea master, longed to concentrate on his specialty, the oolongs of Taiwan.

Now he has realized that dream.

Taiwan is a “paradise of tea” he says. JT & Tea is his way of leading the tea world to paradise.

Learn more at JT & Tea, Inc. (www.jtteainc.com) or by contacting Shu at abctea@gmail.com

— — —

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.

Choice Organic Teas

25th Anniversary Celebration

Choice Organic Teas’ 25th Anniversary Celebration

SEATTLE, Wash. – “Great minds think alike” nicely sums the emergence of organics which was seeded in the 1940s but remained a sapling until commercial advocates pushed through legislation leading to government regulated third party certification of tea.

In 1989 Blake Rankin, the founder of Choice Organic Teas, was inspired to exclusively offer pesticide-free, sustainably grown organic tea. Rankin walked the talk, building his off-the-grid home of straw bales, insulated with mud and powered by solar panels with plank cork and recycled tile flooring.

His challenge was sourcing from gardens only beginning to experiment with organic cultivation.

Simultaneously the owners of Oothu Estate, located in the Singampatti Rainforest of India’s Western Ghats Mountains, embraced bio-dynamic principles to become India’s first organic tea garden and later became India’s first Fair Trade Certified tea garden. The pristine estate is situated at 4,000 feet elevation in the Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve of Tamil Nadu.

Oothu’s challenge was finding buyers willing to pay the premium rates necessitated by intense labor requirements and lower yield typical of organic estates. Indrajit Chatterjee, then a young export manager, made the match which has stood the test of time.

Last week Chatterjee, now president of Granum, Inc., which owns Choice Organic Teas, was jubilant in celebrating the 25th Anniversary of its founding. The staff danced to a New Orleans-style street band and celebrated their success at a noisy gathering during the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s annual conference.

DSCN1241

Granum President Indrajit Chatterjee

“My association with Choice Organic Teas dates back to as early as 1992 when I was a supplier to COT from the first organic tea project in India, from Oothu estate,” said Chatterjee. “I am honored and proud of my association with Granum and to be part of the 25th Year celebrations.” The Bombay Burmah Trading Corp. Ltd., which owns two gardens in Tanzania and eight Indian gardens including Oothu, acquired Granum in 2007.

TEABIZ_140505_ChoiceWellness_ClassicBlackOothu built a modern factory exclusively for organic manufacture in 1992, 10 years before adoption of the USDA National Organic Program. Oothu, which is “surrounded by vast forests…virtually untouched by contamination”, was the ideal location to make a case for organics prior to legislation establishing USDA certification standards.

Choice Organic Teas has since promoted the growth and development of organic agriculture in tea estates worldwide and offers more than seventy-five varieties of teas and herbal infusions available in tea bags, tea pyramids, and loose leaf.

The supplier-distributor-retail supply chain enabled Choice Organic Teas to become the first Fair Trade Certified tea company (2000) and the first non-GMO verified tea company (2010). Today the company continues its role in the forefront of tea innovation. In March, the company launched its Wellness Teas, a new line of certified organic, functional teas specially formulated by a master herbalist and faculty member in Botanical Medicine and Ayurvedic Sciences at Bastyr University.

TEABIZ_140505_ChoiceWellness_BreathingSpaceThe teas were designed to support healthy body functions and enhance wellness, while maintaining Choice Organic Teas’ reputation for great tasting, perfectly balanced tea. The blends are classified as Herbal Dietary Supplements (HDS), indicating that the product has met FDA standards for quality and testing.

TEABIZ_140505_ChoiceWellness_EnergyBoost“Growing a successful business over 25 years has been a team effort, and we are humbled by and grateful for the immense dedication of our partners in quality, such as the Organic Trade Association, QAI, Fair Trade USA, the Non-GMO Project and the many organic tea gardens around the world who adhere to these standards,” said Ray Lacorte, VP of Operations, Choice Organic Teas.

TEABIZ_140505_ChoiceWellness_MentalFocusDuring its first 25 years the company has been “steadfast in its commitment to organic tea, loyal to its roots in natural products, and continues to win awards for taste, quality, and environmental leadership. That staunch dedication will continue to prevail as it moves forward.”

Choice Organic Teas uses recycled and unbleached materials and has eliminated the use of Polyvinyl Chloride (PVdC). The company operates a certified organic, green facility and purchases wind-generated power to offset 100% of the electricity use of their manufacturing facility.

The company was awarded the Washington State Governor’s Award for pollution prevention in 2004 and the Seattle Public Utility BEST award for sustainability.

Choice Organic Teas’ commitment to sustainable business practices won it a Responsible Packaging Award in 2011. Choice Organic Teas is one of the few tea companies that packages its own tea, which gives it direct control over quality, food safety, and costs.

“We don’t plan to rest on our laurels as we look to our next 25 years,” said Anne-Marie Phillips, Head of Sales and Marketing. “Every day we discover new opportunities to contribute to our industry and the communities where we work and play.”

Learn more at: www.choiceorganicteas.com

— — —

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.

Patent Persuasion – Need to Know

What tea professionals need to start the week —

Single-serve lawsuits draw a line in the sand… growers of Honeybush in South Africa voice concern over rising demand… AriZona retains its position as the market leader in ready-to-drink tea in convenience stores… Numi introduces single serve tea in RealCups.

Patent Persuasion

Numi Organic Tea announced its new single-cup line last week, about the same time Harney & Sons Fine Teas launched their selection of single-cup teas.

Neither company chose to partner with Keurig Green Mountain which licenses its K-Cup technology to major tea blenders including Lipton, Snapple, Bigelow, Teavana, Twinings, Tetley, Celestial Seasonings and Tazo.

LOGO_KeurigGreenMountain_replacesGMCRTheir decision is based on economics in part. The largest brands produce K-Cups in huge quantities paying less per cup and can therefore better afford to pay Keurig Green Mountain a royalty of 6.2 cents per cup.

There is also a principal involved, a line in the sand with KGM on one side facing a growing number of private label manufacturers including California-based Rogers Family Coffee and Toronto-based Mother Parkers Tea & Coffee. Each of these firms packages their own lines in Keurig-compatible non-licensed capsules and packs tea for companies like Republic of Tea (Rogers).

Since its patents expired in September 2012, Green Mountain has watched its market share erode. Last year unlicensed packs grew from 7% to 14% share of the $3.1 billion single-serve market, according to data from Mintel International. Green Mountain, which once controlled 80% of the market by value, now controls 20% (with another 13% held by Keurig  manufactured Caribou, Newman’s Own and Eight O’Clock coffee).

Starbucks has sold 2 billion K-Cups in a successful partnership with Keurig dating to 2011 and currently has a 12% share. Folgers (JM Smucker) has 12% share, according to IRI data (which counts grocery, drug store and mass market sales). Last week Starbucks renegotiated its deal with Keurig, striking terms that had prevented Keurig from partnering with other super-premium brands but gaining access to the lower end of the market for brands like Seattle’s Best. Almost immediately Peets Coffee & Tea announced it would partner with Keurig Green Mountain. Peets had previously offered its coffee only in RealCup™ Even though it now faces competition in the premium segment, Starbucks is quite confident it will be rewarded for expanding its offerings. Single-cups are the fastest growing coffee segment and many more homes are going to dump their Mr. Coffee for a pod machine.

Keurig believes that by developing superior equipment and partnering with companies like Starbucks to insure a large assortment of licensed brands it will win back market share.

REALCUP(TM) LOGOIn choosing to contract with Mother Parkers Tea & Coffee, Numi joins a growing number of grocery chains including Kroger and Safeway, large manufacturers such as Kraft and Mondelez International, and independent coffee roasters who believe that open competition leads to product innovation, improved quality and greater consumer value.

On Feb. 12,  TreeHouse Foods, a multibillion-dollar private label manufacturer, filed suit against Keurig, Inc., and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (collectively known as Keurig Green Mountain) alleging they engaged in anti-competitive acts to unlawfully maintain their monopoly over the cups used in single-serve brewers. A month later The Rogers Family Co. also filed suit alleging Keurig used its monopoly power in the single-serve coffee brewer and coffee pod markets to require its distribution partners to enter into “exclusive anti-competitive agreements designed to maintain Keurig’s monopoly power by excluding competition.”

In a release announcing the suit, TreeHouse writes that “Green Mountain has announced plans to eliminate the current lineup of K-cup brewers, which function with competitive cups, to exclude competition and force consumers to purchase higher-priced Green Mountain cups. TreeHouse’s lawsuit maintains that any supposed consumer benefits from the new technology are more than outweighed by the harm to competition and consumers by eliminating their choice and forcing them to pay higher prices for Green Mountain cups.”

“Such an anti-competitive product redesign would force consumers to pay at least 15 percent to 25 percent more for K-Cups, would block consumers from their preferred beverages and would restrain competition,” Oak Brook, Illinois-based TreeHouse said in its complaint.

Keurig Green Mountain Spokeswoman Suzanne DuLong responded that “We believe these claims are totally without merit, and we intend to defend these lawsuits vigorously.”

Coffee industry leader Mother Parkers agrees with TreeHouse Foods actions to stop a Keurig® monopoly, according to the company.

“The patents have expired; consumers have declared that they want choice,” said Bill VandenBygaart, Vice President of Business Development at Mother Parkers. “In our opinion, this action by Keurig as well as the pattern of anti-competitive activities described in the Complaint will continue to hurt the category.”

Tea and coffee drinkers “should decide which coffee they will brew, not Keurig® or Green Mountain Coffee Roasters®,” said VandenBygaart. “We support efforts to keep the single-serve business open to competition and believe that competition will deliver a better cup of coffee or tea.”

Numi Co-founder Ahmed Rahim was eager to enter the single-serve business, but it was paramount that the taste he so carefully crafted was present in each cup brewed from a single-serve capsule, according to a press release announcing the decision.

“I was impressed by the taste delivered by a RealCup™ capsule,” said Rahim. “It was clear to me that the superior taste from the carefully chosen real ingredients used in Numi® Organic Tea’s blends would be found in the teacup and not left behind in the capsule.” In choosing he placed Numi on the “one for all, all for one” side of the line.

No one wants to lose their monopoly. Keurig Green Mountain aggressively responded to the suit but the company’s decision to erect an even more formidable patent barricade is ultimately going to dampen innovation. In February KGM CEO Brian Kelley unveiled a new Keurig 2.0 brewer that will not work with non-licensed K-Cups. The patent for “intelligent extraction” which depends on a bar-code and radio-frequency ID means that owners will once again be forced to purchase Keurig coffee. It will also thwart the use of refill capsules.

The reality is that Keurig will find it hard to convince coffee drinkers they must pay for the new brewers through a premium of as much as three times the actual cost of coffee contained in the capsule.  Kelley has promised the technology will produce a better cup of coffee, leading existing Keurig owners to upgrade. Keurig has sold 16 million brewers to date. Installing RFID technology in existing models is not practical. Adding this feature to new less expensive models drives up their cost.

Keurig may abandon its first-generation brewers but private label capsules are here to stay, as evidenced by the rapid growth of the Hamilton Beach FlexBrew. This non-licensed $49.95 Keurig-compatible brewer in five months is already found in 11,000 outlets. It is outselling Keurig’s comparable K-10 because it not only accepts K-Cups, it accepts refillable cups, has a wire mesh basket for your own freshly ground coffee and will brew European-style filter pad coffee as well as tea pods.

Keurig 2.0 will certainly offer more features; and with its partners likely make a better cup of coffee. It may well triumph in its niche — but not by unfairly stifling competitive innovation.

CASE: TreeHouse Foods Inc. v. Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc., 14-cv-00905, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

Source: TreeHouse Foods

Fast Growth RTD Tea

While carbonated drinks remain the most widely consumed beverage in America the U.S. Beverage industry reported another year-to-year drop in volume, this time down 1.42% in convenience outlets compared to 2012. In contrast RTD tea is the fastest growing segment of the beverage category.

SLIDES-RTD_AriZonaTea_greenteaginsengAriZona Tea was the top-selling brand in convenience last year with almost $270 million in sales. Lipton Brisk ($153 million) and Lipton PureLeaf ($125 million) trailed according to data from IRI.

The biggest growth was Coca-Cola’s FUZE juice fortified with vitamins. Sales increased 250% to $33 million. The bottled tea category generated $1.23 billion sales in convenience outlets in 2013.

Bottled water showed big gains as soda consumption continues to decline but ready-to-drink tea may be the ultimate victor now that the world’s major bottlers are give it a boost.

Coca-Cola reported last month that its tea volume grew by 11% last quarter. Sales of Honest Tea are up 25% compared to 2012 and it is now a $100 million brand. FUZE tea and juice blends and Gold Peak shows solid growth as well.

Market research firm Canadean released its Global Iced/RTD Tea Drinks Report last week noting North America had net volume growth of 74 million gallons (280 million liters). The $5.1 billion U.S. market for RTD tea is expected to increase to $5.3 billion in 2014 with projected growth rate of 6% through 2018.

 “The refreshing taste and perceived natural, healthy image of iced/RTD tea drinks will continue to generate growth and place the category in a good position to take advantage of the slowing carbonates market,” according to Canadean.

RTD tea is not just gaining customers in the United States.

Of the impressive 18.7 billion liters forecast to join the market between 2013 and 2018, over 15 billion liters is projected to come from Asia, with a massive contribution from China (as it overcomes its temporary setback) and Indonesia, according to Canadean. “Soft drink categories have continued with healthy double-digit growth, primarily owing to the key categories such as iced/RTD tea drinks and packaged water. The company reports that in Europe most carbonated consumption continued to occur in West Europe (primarily Benelux) in 2012. The region consumes 55% of global volumes but has lost considerable ground to Asia.

Excessive Demand Depletes Honeybush

Demand is depleting stocks of Honeybush, a largely wild-harvested South African bush used to make a popular herbal drink.

SLIDES-INNO_RTD_HoneybushTeaIt has become a popular because of its sweet flavor and it is often praised for its potential health benefits. There are 23 species of Honeybush; several are used to make an herbal beverage. In 1997 the harvest was 27 metric tons but when companies like Tazo, Twinings and Stash offering Honeybush blends in their lineup demand rose to 200 metric tons.

The challenge is supply.

Honeybush (Cyclopia sp.) is a legume that grows only in the mountains north of South Africa’s Cape of Good Hope. Honeybush is part of the fynbos biome a habitat that is under pressure similar to that experienced by Rooibos which experienced a three-fold increase in demand. The result was widespread cultivation on land farmed at the expense of other native plant species.

Richard Cowling, of the Department of Botany at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, cautioned that steps should be taken to prevent mistakes by the Rooibos tea industry.

“What is required is the mainstreaming of biodiversity and sustainability into the policies and practices of the Honeybush industry at this early stage of its development,” Cowling told the Flower Valley Conservation Trust. This could be done through certification championed by the local industry. Certification could ensure that sustainable veld harvesting guidelines are followed, that cultivation only takes place on old lands and that fair labor practices are met, he said.

There is very limited commercial cultivation of Honeybush so supply has relied heavily on wild bushes. The small plantations that currently exist are only able to supply 25% of the need. Honeybush traders travel into the mountains and harvest what is to be sold. Concerns have been raised that improper harvesting has damaged the existing supply. Wildfires, droughts, and over-harvesting have now raised serious questions about the plants’ long-term survival. Beginning in the mid-2000s, supply began to drop significantly, just at a time when global demand was increasing. The supply problems pose significant challenges to blending for consistent flavor and appearance and prices have now doubled.

Currently 15% of the Honeybush produced stays in South Africa. The rest is exported, with 85% of those exports going to the United States and Germany. Honeybush producers worry that the plant simply will not survive and work is now being done to establish nurseries and plantations to grow more Honeybush for commercial use.

These supply concerns are coinciding with efforts by the European Union and South Africa to assist one another with protecting geographic trademarks for products including Honeybush.

Neill Coetzee at Cape Town South Africa’s Coetzee & Coetzee (Pty) Ltd. is one such exporter. He identified five species that are commercially utilized. Two are slow growing and mainly wild harvested, he writes.

One species, Cyclopia longifolia, is “a new kid on the block and showing big commercialization prospects,” according to Coetzee. “This tea is very similar to Cyclopia intermedia (the original honeybush) but grows well in cultivation,” writes Coetzee whose firm trades in natural and organic ingredients, medicinal plants, herbal teas, Rooibos and Honeybush.

Small quantities of Honeybush are grown on lands from Mosselbay to Oudsthoorn (the eastern sides of the Western Cape province) and on the western side of the Eastern Cape province (Joubertina to Kareedouw). There are two Rooibos plantations situated near Honeybush producers but most Rooibos is grown 200 miles away in the Cederberg Mountains near Clanwilliam, considered the heart of Rooibos cultivation.

Learn more: South African Broadcasting Corporation

— — —

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.

Need to Know (March 10, 2014)

What tea professionals need to start the week —

CBC reports pesticide residues greater than legal threshold… China tightens food safety rules leading tea gardens to reduce reliance on pesticides… “Be More Tea” generates plenty of social buzz… Harney & Sons introduce tea in K-Cup compatible capsules… Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf introduces tea granitas.

Popular Tea Brands Exceed Threshold for Pesticide Residue

The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. (CBC) aired an exclusive report backed by laboratory findings showing several popular tea brands contain pesticide residue exceeding the government mandated threshold.

Test results from the CBC’s Marketplace Consumer Watchdog Blog can be viewed here.

Responses from tea companies tested in the report can be viewed here.

LOGO_Marketplace_ConsumerWatchdog

Authorities stressed that minute traces of residue found in samples of Lipton, Tetley, Twinings and other popular brands were not a health risk.

“Health Canada reviewed the information provided by Marketplace and for the pesticides bifenthrin, imidacloprid, acetamiprid, chlorfenapyr, pyridaben, acephate, dicofol and monocrotophos determined that consumption of tea containing the residues listed does not pose a health risk based on the level of residues reported, expected frequency of exposure and contribution to overall diet. Moreover, a person would have to consume approximately 75 cups of tea per day over their entire lifetime to elicit an adverse health effect,” a spokesperson wrote to the CBC in a statement.

Canada’s Food Inspection Authority (CFIA) previously disclosed concerns about pesticide residue in 2009 and again in 2011 following tests of tea. Marketplace commissioned testing through an accredited lab to see if the teas exceeding Canada’s allowable limits were still in violation. In several instances that was the case.

Eight of the 10 brands sampled from grocery shelves in Toronto contained multiple chemicals and one brand contained residues from 22 different pesticides. Traces point to the use of endosulfan and monocrotophos, both banned by the United States and Canada as well as China and the European Union.

Brands purchased at grocers including Loblaws included Uncle Lee’s Legends of China, King Cole and Signal tea. Only Red Rose came back free of pesticide residues.

Environmental lawyer David Boyd told Marketplace “the presence of so many pesticides on a single product and so many products that exceed the maximum residue limits for pesticides, suggests that we’re seeing very poor agricultural practices in countries, which poses risk to the environment where these products are being grown; which pose risk to the farm workers who are growing these crops, and ultimately pose risk to the Canadians who are consuming these products.”

“The whole point of pesticides is that they’re chemically and biologically active in parts per million or parts per billion,” Boyd told the CBC. “Pesticides can have adverse effects at what are seemingly very small concentrations,” he said.

According to Boyd, these results “should raise a red flag for the regulators whose job is to protect the health and safety of Canadians in our environment.”

Here is a statement from the Tea Association of Canada:

“In Canada, the Tea Association continues to work with the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA), The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) as well as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Group (IGG) on Tea, which is spearheading an agreement to harmonize pesticide standards, making tea production safer for consumers and protecting the livelihoods of millions of smallholder producers worldwide.

Consumers should continue to consume and enjoy the many varieties of tea for its health promoting and protective effects as well as its delicious taste. “There is now an overwhelming body of research from around the world indicating that drinking tea benefits human health,” says Dr. Carol Greenwood, Professor of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Toronto and a Senior Scientist at the Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest.”

Source: CBC

See: Uncovering the Truth: Is Tea Full of Pesticides?

China Tightens Pesticide Use in Tea Gardens

STiR Tea & Coffee International

Last November the Chinese Food and Drug Administration proposed a major revision to its food safety laws that will likely be approved by China’s congress late this year.

14i2_ChinaPesticides_QualifiedTeaResidueChange

Pesticide residue has steadily declined in China’s tea leaves

This is a high-priority initiative motivated by recent food safety scandals, according to the U.S.-China Health Products Association. It will clarify government oversight, increase regulatory obligations for food manufacturers and distributors; enhance controls over food products and increase penalties for non-compliance. Individuals sentenced for imprisonment will not be allowed to engage in food manufacturing or distribution in his/her lifetime. During the past three years more than 2,000 people have been prosecuted for food safety-related crimes in China.

The amendments continue a sweeping reform of the country’s food safety standards following a national scandal in 2008 involving melamine-tainted infant formula. That breech led to the execution of violators to make the point China was serious. Enactment will further efforts to curb pesticide use in tea gardens

By 2005 93.1% of tea products already had attained or exceed the Green Food standard, according to a presentation by Mao Limin, then chairman of the Zhejiang Tea Industry Chamber of Commerce. Limin told delegates at the 2011 North American Tea Conference that random inspection of tea had reached 100% at government owned gardens. In addition 267,000 acres (108,000 ha) of organic tea plantations had been certified organic and pesticide free.

The Green Food standard permits chemical pesticides and fertilizers but mandates residue levels meet export standards. The European Union and Japan set the highest thresholds but all trading partners have Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs). Organic certification in China is under the IFOAM rules with annual re-certification. Organic teas for export must comply with rules established by certifying bodies such as Swiss-based IMO, the British Soil Association, the USDA’s National Organic Program and JAS Japan.

Every pesticide approved for use has a required safe harvest interval, which is the time lapse between application of pesticides and harvest. In China preference is given to pesticides that are not easily dissolved in water. This reduces the portion that actually gets into the liquor. Most chemicals biodegrade leaving residue trapped in the spent leaf.

14i2_ChinaPesticides_QualifiedTeaExportResidue

Use of dangerous pesticides has fallen over phase out.

“It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that there are pesticides used in commercial tea production, and that third-world countries are using some illegal ones, which are probably cheaper,” writes Austin Hodge, founder of Seven Cups Fine Chinese Tea in Tucson, Ariz.

“The boney finger always gets pointed at China, the great polluter, with pollution in Beijing as bad as when I was a kid in Los Angeles. It can all be explained in three words: cheap prices, commodity, and quantity. For the most part, bugs come in the summer. In the tropics, however, bugs are omnipresent. It’s always summer. It provides for a long growing season and an abundant yield. It is a broader truth that if you want cheap tea and cheap food, pesticides come along with the price,” he wrote in in a T Ching post last May.

In April 2012 Greenpeace issued a report: Pesticides: Hidden Ingredients in Chinese Tea following an investigation that showed chemical residue from pesticide. The organization sent samples purchased from well-known tea companies to an accredited third-party laboratory that found residues of various types on all 18 of the samples submitted. A total of 29 different pesticides were detected, several known to cause harm. Six samples contained more than 10 different pesticides. Twelve samples showed traces of banned pesticides including methomyul, endosulfan and fenvalerate which are known to impair fertility, harm unborn children and cause heritable genetic damage.

14i2_ChinaPesticides_QualifiedTeaProductsa

Inspections show greater compliance over time.

What the report did not state is that most of the residue was within established standards.

“If you take the considerable trouble of comparing the Greenpeace data with EU pesticide limits for the 28 chemicals mentioned then 5 of the 18 teas accused actually fall below the MRL limits for all 28 and two teas exceed by a trace level of 1 mg/kg on two chemicals,” writes Nigel Melican, founder of TeaCraft, a widely acclaimed British tea consultancy. He goes on to say: “This leaves 11 teas non-compliant for  one  or  more  pesticides, were they to be sold in the EU.”

The sampled teas were from local Chinese vendors and not subject to more stringent export rules.

“Nowhere in the report does Greenpeace China suggest that the non-compliant teas are representative of China teas presented for export – but commentators in the USA and UK have erroneously and immediately jumped to this conclusion,” he writes.

More troubling is the CBC investigation of tea for sale in Canada.

Source: STiR Tea & Coffee Industry International, March-April 2014.

TEABIZ-KTN_140303_KermitLipton“Be More Tea” Generates Great Buzz

Lipton’s $40 million global campaign promoting a relaxed lifestyle message is riding high on social buzz following the debut of Kermit the Frog as the brand’s new icon of calm.

The TV audience of 43 million watching the Academy Awards and a well prepared social team capitalizing on the Oscar presentations generated 3.85 million views of the ad on YouTube in the past week. The commercial depicts a horde of “Animal” puppets driving cabs, shouting and racing about New York City set the scene for the thoughtful frog who is captured placidly walking amid the mayhem doing good turns and going with the flow as he is bumped and jostled about.

“Be More Tea” is Unilever’s first global campaign to elevate its Yellow Label brand and Kermit is the epitome of mindfulness as he sips his way through the antics of Miss Piggy and pals. The promotion is tied to a Disney movie starring the Muppets.

Kermit will be the face of Lipton in North America and Europe where the puppets are well known but “Be More Tea” is a slogan that will be translated into many languages in advertisements designed to create single global positioning for the world’s leading brand of tea.

“We live in a busy world.  It’s easy to slip into a routine with our heads down, moving from one place or obligation to the next.  Lipton wants to inspire consumers to ‘look up’, take in all that life has to offer and enjoy what you may have otherwise missed,” said Alfie Vivian, vice president of refreshments for Unilever. “This is what ‘Be More Tea’ means to Lipton and the philosophy we will bring to life in our new national ad campaign starring the Muppets.”

Alessandra Bellini, VP-brand development for Unilever Refreshments, told Ad Age that Unilever is doubling Lipton marketing spending to more than $40 million this year compared to last. The campaign will run four weeks.

“The campaign backs both Lipton hot tea and iced tea. While Lipton has had global campaigns in the past for ready-to-drink tea, this is the first global effort behind the entire brand lineup,” Ms. Bellini told Ad Age. “Lipton — in both cold and hot forms — trails only Coke in sales among global beverage brands,” she added.

The Muppets“Making movies and dating Miss Piggy can be stressful – especially the dating part. But I always try to stay cool and look on the bright side,” said Kermit the Frog. “That’s what this Lipton campaign is all about.  In a world filled with high-stress wild-in-the-street types like Animal, you have to take time to enjoy life and ‘Be More Tea.'”

Click here to see the ad.

Click here to see a 90-second behind the scenes video with Kermit back stage preparing for his role in the new Disney Movie “Muppets Most Wanted” scheduled for release March 21.

Harney & Sons Tea Capsules

Harney & Sons Fine Teas introduced a line of Keurig-compatible single-serve teas this week.

TEABIZ-ART_Harney&SonsCapsules_GroupTea drinkers can now enjoy Harney & Son’s teas with the convenience of the individual tea capsules that are 98% recyclable. Four blends from the company’s classics collection are available in 24-count boxes: Paris, Egyptian, Chamomile, Hot Cinnamon Spice and Tropical Green, as well as four blends from their HT Collection in 16-count boxes: Green Tea with Coconut, Earl Grey, Peppermint Herbal and Hot Cinnamon Sunset.

The Keurig® compatible capsules deliver the same great flavor and aroma customers have come to expect, according to the company which is now celebrating its 30th Anniversary. The Cool, Peel and Recycle technology allows tea drinkers to easily peel off the capsule after cooling, and recycle the capsule filter and spent tea. Harney & Sons continues to provide new and innovative ways to enjoy their classic tea, said founder John Harney.

Three generations of the Harney family oversee a venture that still sources, blends and packages their own products from start to finish. Harney’s small home-run business in Salisbury, Conn., has grown into a global operation with more than 170 employees at its headquarters in Millerton, New York. The company fills 90,000 square feet of warehouse space and has a new bottling plant under construction.

Capsules are available for purchase at www.harney.com.

CBTL Introduces Tea Granita

Cold tea beverages, fruit and tea fusion drinks and chilled herbals are doing well in the marketplace.

TEABIZ_CBTL_TeaGranitas_pairedLast week The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® introduced Tea Granitas to the lineup, a new concept in the beverage category.

“Borrowing inspiration from the Italian granita dessert – made of fruit and ice – the Tea Granitas are a light, refreshing balance of premium iced teas and trending fruit flavors, and are blended with ice,” according to the company.

The Passion Fruit Tea Granita blends Assam Black Tea and the bright, bold flavors of passion fruit, yielding a slightly tart finish. The Pear Berry Tea Granita combines the company’s popular Swedish Berries fruit infusion with notes of pear, creating a delicious caffeine-free beverage.

“The Tea Granita is a truly unique beverage that’s perfect to launch in the spring,” says CBTL President and CEO, John Dawson. “It brings a delicious twist to iced tea refreshment and is the latest in a long line of tea beverage innovations from The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf®. Our customers know us for our signature tea beverages, such as the Chai Tea Latte and Matcha Green Tea Ice Blended® drink, and we believe the Tea Granita is another delicious beverage our customers will love sip after sip.”

Source: Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf

— — —

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.

Popular Tea Brands Exceed Threshold for Pesticide Residue

The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. (CBC) aired an exclusive report backed by laboratory findings showing several popular tea brands contain pesticide residue exceeding the government mandated threshold.

Test results from the CBC’s Marketplace Consumer Watchdog Blog can be viewed here.

Responses from tea companies tested in the report can be viewed here.

LOGO_Marketplace_ConsumerWatchdog

Authorities stressed that minute traces of residue found in samples of Lipton, Tetley, Twinings and other popular brands were not a health risk.

“Health Canada reviewed the information provided by Marketplace and for the pesticides bifenthrin, imidacloprid, acetamiprid, chlorfenapyr, pyridaben, acephate, dicofol and monocrotophos determined that consumption of tea containing the residues listed does not pose a health risk based on the level of residues reported, expected frequency of exposure and contribution to overall diet. Moreover, a person would have to consume approximately 75 cups of tea per day over their entire lifetime to elicit an adverse health effect,” a spokesperson wrote to the CBC in a statement.

Canada’s Food Inspection Authority (CFIA) previously disclosed concerns about pesticide residue in 2009 and again in 2011 following tests of tea. Marketplace commissioned testing through an accredited lab to see if the teas exceeding Canada’s allowable limits were still in violation. In several instances that was the case.

Eight of the 10 brands sampled from grocery shelves in Toronto contained multiple chemicals and one brand contained residues from 22 different pesticides. Traces point to the use of endosulfan and monocrotophos, both banned by the United States and Canada as well as China and the European Union.

Brands purchased at grocers including Loblaws included Uncle Lee’s Legends of China, King Cole and Signal tea. Only Red Rose came back free of pesticide residues.

Environmental lawyer David Boyd told Marketplace “the presence of so many pesticides on a single product and so many products that exceed the maximum residue limits for pesticides, suggests that we’re seeing very poor agricultural practices in countries, which poses risk to the environment where these products are being grown; which pose risk to the farm workers who are growing these crops, and ultimately pose risk to the Canadians who are consuming these products.”

“The whole point of pesticides is that they’re chemically and biologically active in parts per million or parts per billion,” Boyd told the CBC. “Pesticides can have adverse effects at what are seemingly very small concentrations,” he said.

According to Boyd, these results “should raise a red flag for the regulators whose job is to protect the health and safety of Canadians in our environment.”

Here is a statement from the Tea Association of Canada:

“In Canada, the Tea Association continues to work with the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA), The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) as well as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Group (IGG) on Tea, which is spearheading an agreement to harmonize pesticide standards, making tea production safer for consumers and protecting the livelihoods of millions of smallholder producers worldwide.

Consumers should continue to consume and enjoy the many varieties of tea for its health promoting and protective effects as well as its delicious taste. “There is now an overwhelming body of research from around the world indicating that drinking tea benefits human health,” says Dr. Carol Greenwood, Professor of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Toronto and a Senior Scientist at the Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest.”

Source: CBC

See: Uncovering the Truth: Is Tea Full of Pesticides?

China Tightens Pesticide Use in Tea Gardens

STiR Tea & Coffee International

Last November the Chinese Food and Drug Administration proposed a major revision to its food safety laws that will likely be approved by China’s congress late this year.

14i2_ChinaPesticides_QualifiedTeaResidueChange

Pesticide residue has steadily declined in China’s tea leaves

This is a high-priority initiative motivated by recent food safety scandals, according to the U.S.-China Health Products Association. It will clarify government oversight, increase regulatory obligations for food manufacturers and distributors; enhance controls over food products and increase penalties for non-compliance. Individuals sentenced for imprisonment will not be allowed to engage in food manufacturing or distribution in his/her lifetime. During the past three years more than 2,000 people have been prosecuted for food safety-related crimes in China.

The amendments continue a sweeping reform of the country’s food safety standards following a national scandal in 2008 involving melamine-tainted infant formula. That breech led to the execution of violators to make the point China was serious. Enactment will further efforts to curb pesticide use in tea gardens

By 2005 93.1% of tea products already had attained or exceed the Green Food standard, according to a presentation by Mao Limin, then chairman of the Zhejiang Tea Industry Chamber of Commerce. Limin told delegates at the 2011 North American Tea Conference that random inspection of tea had reached 100% at government owned gardens. In addition 267,000 acres (108,000 ha) of organic tea plantations had been certified organic and pesticide free.

The Green Food standard permits chemical pesticides and fertilizers but mandates residue levels meet export standards. The European Union and Japan set the highest thresholds but all trading partners have Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs). Organic certification in China is under the IFOAM rules with annual re-certification. Organic teas for export must comply with rules established by certifying bodies such as Swiss-based IMO, the British Soil Association, the USDA’s National Organic Program and JAS Japan.

Every pesticide approved for use has a required safe harvest interval, which is the time lapse between application of pesticides and harvest. In China preference is given to pesticides that are not easily dissolved in water. This reduces the portion that actually gets into the liquor. Most chemicals biodegrade leaving residue trapped in the spent leaf.

14i2_ChinaPesticides_QualifiedTeaExportResidue

Use of dangerous pesticides has fallen over phase out.

“It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that there are pesticides used in commercial tea production, and that third-world countries are using some illegal ones, which are probably cheaper,” writes Austin Hodge, founder of Seven Cups Fine Chinese Tea in Tucson, Ariz.

“The boney finger always gets pointed at China, the great polluter, with pollution in Beijing as bad as when I was a kid in Los Angeles. It can all be explained in three words: cheap prices, commodity, and quantity. For the most part, bugs come in the summer. In the tropics, however, bugs are omnipresent. It’s always summer. It provides for a long growing season and an abundant yield. It is a broader truth that if you want cheap tea and cheap food, pesticides come along with the price,” he wrote in in a T Ching post last May.

In April 2012 Greenpeace issued a report: Pesticides: Hidden Ingredients in Chinese Tea following an investigation that showed chemical residue from pesticide. The organization sent samples purchased from well-known tea companies to an accredited third-party laboratory that found residues of various types on all 18 of the samples submitted. A total of 29 different pesticides were detected, several known to cause harm. Six samples contained more than 10 different pesticides. Twelve samples showed traces of banned pesticides including methomyul, endosulfan and fenvalerate which are known to impair fertility, harm unborn children and cause heritable genetic damage.

14i2_ChinaPesticides_QualifiedTeaProductsa

Inspections show greater compliance over time.

What the report did not state is that most of the residue was within established standards.

“If you take the considerable trouble of comparing the Greenpeace data with EU pesticide limits for the 28 chemicals mentioned then 5 of the 18 teas accused actually fall below the MRL limits for all 28 and two teas exceed by a trace level of 1 mg/kg on two chemicals,” writes Nigel Melican, founder of TeaCraft, a widely acclaimed British tea consultancy. He goes on to say: “This leaves 11 teas non-compliant for  one  or  more  pesticides, were they to be sold in the EU.”

The sampled teas were from local Chinese vendors and not subject to more stringent export rules.

“Nowhere in the report does Greenpeace China suggest that the non-compliant teas are representative of China teas presented for export – but commentators in the USA and UK have erroneously and immediately jumped to this conclusion,” he writes.

More troubling is the CBC investigation of tea for sale in Canada.

Source: STiR Tea & Coffee Industry International, March-April 2014.

— — —

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.

Need to Know (March 3, 2014)

What tea professionals need to start the week —

European restrictions on the import of Japanese tea ease April 1… Meet 700-year-old ChigusaCredit markets are expected to be more active in 2014… Numi Organic Tea secures $4.75 million working capital… Jamba is juiced over Drink Green offerings… Zest high octane tea triples the caffeine of regular black tea… Tea Magazine evolves.

European Restrictions on Japanese Tea Eased

The European Union has eased stringent tests of Japanese foods including tea after examining 85,000 products harvested in the third growing season following the nuclear accident at Fukushima.

FLAG-EuropeanUnionThe decision by the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health follows a recommendation to lift emergency restrictions on goods from two prefectures and eased restrictions for seven other prefectures. Restrictions on mushrooms from the four prefectures nearest the breached reactors remain. Three additional prefectures, Nagano and two newly added prefectures Akita and Yamagata, face restrictions on mushrooms and a few edible wild plants.

Shortly after the March 2011 disaster importers of Japanese tea, fruits and vegetables, meats and some seafood were advised their goods would be quarantined and subject to additional tests for radioactive cesium and iodine. The cost of sampling and the lengthy delays required to test foods virtually closed the European market to perishables from half the country.

All products had to be tested before leaving Japan. All costs resulting from these checks, including the cost of sampling and analysis and any enforcement measures taken in respect of a failed consignment must be met by the importer, according to the standing committee.  Ten percent of arriving goods were examined. Costs at the English Port of Suffolk are typical, adding $400 to the price of landing a container. Items that failed tests faced an additional $185 in fees.

Few of the prefectures grow substantial quantities of tea except Shizuoka which accounts for much of the country’s production and processes tea from the nearby prefectures. It is the home to the great port of Yokohama. Shizuoka, As of April 1 Yamanashi, Niigata and Aomori no longer have to contend with restriction on tea.

The next review is March 31, 2015 at which time most of the remaining restrictions are expected to be lifted.

Source: Food Safety, Port of Suffolk, Japan News

Tea-leaf storage jar named Chigusa with mouth cover and ornamental cords Photo credit: Courtesy Freer Gallery of Art The mouth cover for Chigusa was made by Tsuchida Yuko in 2013; the cords for tying ornamental knots are from the Japanese Meiji era (late 19th–early 20th c.)

Tea-leaf storage jar named Chigusa with mouth cover and ornamental cords Photo credit: Courtesy Freer Gallery of Art The mouth cover for Chigusa was made by Tsuchida Yuko in 2013; the cords for tying ornamental knots are from the Japanese Meiji era (late 19th–early 20th c.)

Meet Chigusa, a 700-Year-Old Tea Jar

By Stephenie Overman

Introductions are in order.

Please meet Chigusa. At first glance an ordinary Chinese tea storage jar, over the course of centuries Chigusa has become one of the most revered objects of Japan’s chanoyu, or “art of tea.”

“Tea men looked at Chigusa and found beauty even in its flaws, elevating it from a simple tea jar to how we know it today,” says Louis Allison Cort, curator for ceramics at the Smithsonian Institution’s Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery.

“This ability to value imperfections in objects made by the human hand is one of the great contributions of Japanese tea culture to the world,” she said.

Only a few hundred similar tea storage jars survive and fewer still are accompanied by such a wealth of artifacts and documentation.

Japanese tea enthusiasts awarded each jar its own name, often tied to poetry or literature, as a sign of respect and reverence. The name Chigusa means “abundance of varieties” or “abundance of plants.” Since Chigusa has its own distinctive name, “we can trace its story precisely to the present day,” Cort says.

These Japanese tea enthusiasts often kept extensive diaries, which recorded detailed descriptions of Chigusa’s physical attributes and accessories, allowing contemporary scholars to see the jar through their eyes, notes Andrew M. Watsky, professor of Japanese art at Princeton University.

“Looking at, appreciating objects’ shape, size and so on was part of the pleasure of tea,” Watsky says. “They took this very seriously.”

Ciphers of past owners on the base of the tea-leaf storage jar named Chigusa Courtesy Freer Gallery of Art

Ciphers of past owners on the base of the tea-leaf storage jar named Chigusa Courtesy Freer Gallery of Art

From these extensive records, scholars know how Chigusa originated as one of countless utilitarian ceramics made in southern China during the 13th or 14th century and was shipped to Japan as a container for a commercial product.

In Japan however, Chigusa, like other Chinese storage jars, was endowed with special status, and over the years it became a highly desirable antique. One eyewitness, who saw the jar at a gathering in 1586, admired its large size and the reddish color of the clay and noted that it was a “meibutsu,” meaning “celebrated tea object.”

Chigusa is visiting the Sackler Gallery in Washington, D.C, through July 27. Chigusa then travels to the Princeton University Art Museum in the fall. The exhibition is accompanied by a book of essays by a number of authors narrating Chigusa’s 700-year-history.

In the exhibition, “Chigusa and the Art of Tea,” Chigusa holds court over other cherished objects, including Chinese and Korean tea bowls and Japanese stoneware water jars and wooden vessels that were used and enjoyed during this formative time of Japanese tea culture.

The goal of the exhibit, Cort says, is “to show the total package used in a 16th century ceremony,” based on the tea diaries.

In the 15th century participants in Japanese tea ceremonies were impressed “by the quantity of objects,” she says. But in the 16th Century – the high point of chanoyu – the emphasis was on the harmony of the objects within the group.

“There was a combination of precious and easily available objects and the contract of highly different materials. It was a powerful aesthetic experience for guests” at tea gatherings, Cort says.

For display in the tea room, Chigusa has been outfitted with accessories bestowed upon it by its successive owners: a mouth covering of antique Chinese gold-brocaded silk, a netted bag of sky-blue silk and a set of blue silk cords used to tie ornamental knots attached to the four lugs on the jar’s shoulder. A video in the exhibition follows a tea master in the elaborate process of dressing Chigusa in its adornments.

In order to create the intimate feel of a 16th-century tea gathering, and to give the sense of how the objects would fit into the space, part of the exhibition recreates a Japanese tea room.

Set of three nesting storage boxes for the tea-leaf storage jar named Chigusa Courtesy The outer storage box is the most recent, from the Meiji era (late 19th– early 20th c.). The middle box, formerly the outer box, is from the Edo period (1615–1868), and is made of cedar stained with persimmon tannin. The inner storage box, from the same time period, is made of lacquered paulownia wood. All three are Japanese, designed to nest within one another. Photo Credit: Freer Gallery of Art

Set of three nesting storage boxes for the tea-leaf storage jar named Chigusa Courtesy The outer storage box is the most recent, from the Meiji era (late 19th– early 20th c.). The middle box, formerly the outer box, is from the Edo period (1615–1868), and is made of cedar stained with persimmon tannin. The inner storage box, from the same time period, is made of lacquered paulownia wood. All three are Japanese, designed to nest within one another. Photo Credit: Freer Gallery of Art

“Tea is a living activity,” Watsky says, and visitors to the exhibit will have an opportunity to experience a traditional Omotesenke tea presentation, including the preparation of matcha, the whisked green tea made from leaves of the kind that Chigusa would have contained.

The museum acquired the 16.5-inch tall jar at auction in 2009. Believed to have been made during the Yuan dynasty, it is colored with a mottled amber glaze with four lugs on its shoulder and a cylindrical neck with a rolled lip sealed by a silk cover and secured with cord.

The jar bears four ciphers written in lacquer on its base. The oldest is attributed to Noami (1397-1471), a painter and professional connoisseur for the Ashikaga shogun. According to researchers, this suggests the possibility, otherwise unrecorded, that the jar circulated among owners close to the Ashikaga government. The next oldest cipher is that of Torii Insetsu (1448-1517) an important tea connoisseur and collector in the international trading city of Sakai, known for innovative tea activity. The next owner to inscribe his cipher was another Sakai tea enthusiast, Ju Soho, who hosted a tea in the new year of 1573 for guests, including the esteemed tea master Sen no Rikyu (1522-91).  Learn more: Chigusa and the Art of Tea 

The Arthur M. Sackler Gallery is located at 1050 Independence Avenue S.W. and the Freer Gallery of Art is located at 12th Street and Independence Avenue S.W. both on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily, except Dec. 25. Admission is free.
Source: Smithsonian Institution

Credit Markets Active

A poll of middle-market executives by KPMG predicts an active credit market in 2014.

“Executives anticipate a shift from opportunistic deals to corporate M&A, which will be driving activity in the 2014 credit markets,” according to the U.S. audit, tax and advisory firm.

The market has been slow the past few years according to Joe Rodgers, co-head for Capital Advisory for KPMG Corporate Finance.

“With economic indicators improving over the latter part of 2013 and the credit market remaining very supportive, all signs pointed to an uptick in M&A activity for 2014 at the turn of the year,” he said. Thirty-six percent of the executives expect corporate M&A will be the primary driver. Twenty-six percent expect refinancing will drive credit markets and 23% anticipate private equity funded buyouts with 15% of the financing used for restructuring.

Tea companies routinely secure financing this time of year to insure sufficient goods for the peak sales season. Numi Organic Tea recently obtained $4.75 million to keep pace with its rapid growth in major retail outlets.

Teas from the Oakland, Calif.-based firm can be found in Whole Foods, Stop & Shop, Safeway, Target, Balducci’s and Trader Joe’s. It is also the tea of choice of Marriott and Hyatt foodservice buyers.

Business Capital, which recently provided the $4.75 million credit facility and a $750,000 seasonal over-advance, praised Numi as a company “that cares so much about their suppliers, quality of product, customer experience and our planet. This company’s financing needs were significant and were happy to deliver a solution beyond what most formula based lenders can fund against,” said Chuck Doyle, Managing Director of Business Capital.

“They took the time to understand our complex global business model and deliver a financing structure tailored to ensure the best possible outcome for Numi,” said Ahmed Rahim, CEO of Numi Organic Tea.

Triple caffeine

Triple caffeine

Zest Tea Company

Caffeine fortified Zest Tea is a new loose-leaf and bagged line developed to wake you up in the morning.

Founder James Fayal couldn’t find a traditional tea with enough caffeine to keep him alert so he blended caffeine rich teas, oils and other natural ingredients to triple the caffeine of regular black tea.

“I wanted to increase the energizing caffeine punch, but not at the expense of quality, that’s why we start all of our blends with premium base teas,” he said.

Pomegranate Mojito

Pomegranate Mojito

His proprietary blending process maintains tea’s healthy dose of tannins and antioxidants while avoiding the “jolt and crash” impact of coffee, said Fayal. A cup sustains alertness over a six to eight hour period.

Flavors include Apple Cinnamon, Earl Grey and Blue Lady black teas and Pomegranate Mojito green tea.

The project was crowd funded in a competition co-sponsored by American Express and Venture For America.

Learn more: Zest Tea

Jamba is Juiced Over Drink Green Smoothies

Jamba Juice is rolling out custom-ordered whole food blends.

The new offerings far exceed the nutritional value of carrot juice and squeezed oranges by introducing beets and kale and ginger to the menu. The Orange Fusion combines fresh-squeezed orange juice blended with whole fresh carrots with bananas, mangos, chia seeds, soy milk and nonfat Greek yogurt. An infographic on the company’s website summarizes a survey on beverage preferences that indicated 1 in 5 prefer to drink beets and dark leafy greens in juice rather than eating them whole.

Many of those who participated in the survey believe green juice to be the most nutritious juice, but are skeptical that it could also be great-tasting.

  • More than one-quarter (28%) of U.S. adults say they “fear the look” of green juice;LOGO_JambaJuice
  • Green represents the juice people drink least often
  • 32% say green juice is the one they like the least, and;
  • Only 9% of people like green juice best.
Kale, mangos, passion fruit-mango juice, chia seeds and nonfat Greek yogurt

Kale, mangos, passion fruit-mango juice, chia seeds and nonfat Greek yogurt

“Just like we should be enjoying a wide range of all the colors of the rainbow in the food we eat, drinking colorful fruits and vegetables is an easy way to satisfy your daily requirements, too. Juices made from ingredients like kale, spinach, beets and chia seeds are powerhouses of good nutrition and they can actually taste good,” said Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, LD and member of the Jamba Juice Healthy Living Council.

The results of the YouGov study of 2,200 Americans also highlighted a discrepancy between Baby Boomers’ and Millennials’ views on juice. Not only were Millennials more open to green juice, but also to the broader notion of drinking vegetables.

  • Millennials are twice as likely as Boomers to think that vegetables taste better in juice (39% vs 18%);
  • Millennials are twice as likely as Boomers to prefer green juice (13% vs 6%); and,
  • Millennials are twice as likely as Boomers to most often drink green juice (13% vs 6%).
  • Combined, two-thirds (66%) of Americans believe fresh-squeezed juice is healthy.

According to a 2013 report published by the USDA based on MyPlate serving suggestions, men, women and children are only eating 1/3 of the fruit (33%) and 2/3 of the vegetables (63%) they need each day.  “It gives us the opportunity to democratize this really healthy trend that is largely unattainable for most consumers because of either availability or cost,” CEO James White told CNN Money.

Whole food smoothies are available at 50 locations equipped with new juicers and mixers. Whole food juices will be available at 300 of Jamba’s 800 locations later this year.

Learn more: Jamba Juice

Tea Magazine Evolves…

Tea Magazine® a 20-year-old consumer publication for tea enthusiasts is replacing its bi-monthly print edition with a combined print +online content package for its readers, including a new book-style softcover guide to tea published annually.

LOGO_TeaMagazine_400pxIn mid-April ITEM Media will launch The Daily Tea (www.thedailytea.com) a subscription-based tea portal replacing www.teamag.com. Visitors to the site will see a mix of free and paid content, along with new articles each month, and some previously published in Tea Magazine. Subscribers have their choice of several different newsletters — for example, newsletters targeted to those interested in cooking with tea; Yoga and tea; tea travel and terroir.

Subscribers will get at least three new feature articles a month, “…the articles will be accompanied by video, behind-the-scenes interviews and picture galleries, which is a lot more than we could do in print,” said Chief Media Officer Graham Kilshaw.

Since acquiring the magazine in January 2012, “we have built the audience from just a couple of thousand to more than 30,000. Most of this growth has come from our digital platforms, and very little has come from our print media,” said Kilshaw.

“We now see an opportunity to grow our audience significantly beyond its current 30,000 people – digitally. Consequently we are going to make several changes starting in May 2014,” he said.

The 150-page book-style magazine, often referred to as a “bookazine” will have longer in-depth feature articles on science, geography and history and “great photography,” said Kilshaw. There will also be a catalog of tea products, said Kilshaw. The publication will be mailed to all subscribers and sold nationally in bookstores and by grocers including Whole Foods Market.

Chief Media Officer Graham Kilshaw

Chief Media Officer Graham Kilshaw

Annual subscriptions are $24.99 and include the new $9.99 “Tea Magazine 2015 Tea Guide” mailed annually in September.
Kilshaw was upbeat about the new direction which he described as “evolving from predominately print with a little bit of digital to becoming predominately digital with a little bit of print.”

“This is all about aligning our goals and strategy with our resources. Producing the print magazine required us to spend 80 percent of our resources on 20 percent of the content. During the past 24 months print subscriptions increased by a couple of thousand while our digital audience has grown by five times,” he said.

“The change in the mix of media is driven by our readers,” said Kilshaw. “Print generally-speaking attracts an older demographic and we want to reach a broad audience. Younger tea drinkers are forming their tea habits now, experimenting widely and trying out lots of different teas. They represent the future customers of our media clients,” he said, adding , “We want to build a very large audience for the tea community.”

The company expects to soon announce a new content manager to replace Kate Sullivan who left in December.

Learn more: www.thedailytea.com

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