It is nice to know the giant corporations, like Tata and Unilever, are NOT driving the recent renaissance in tea. So, who or what, is behind the steering wheel then?
1. Small tea growers: small growers now contribute 43% of India’s national yield.
2. Artisan Merchants and Farmers Markets where sellers are passionate about the products they sell. Last week I was fortunate enough to be gifted a packet of Darjeeling from Viktualienmarkt in Munich.
3. Tea Lounges, such as Dilmah t-lounges where the emphasis is on serving fine tea, providing an inspirational ambience, innovative tea, seasonal and single estate tea and tea-inspired events. The USA has their own Samovar Tea Lounge
4. Younger aged drinkers who are demanding tea be given the same attention as coffee. It is predicted Millennials will increase their spending power by 107% by 2020. This generation are willing to pay more for a brand they see as authentic and sustainable; they want transparency, want to know where a product is grown and demand additives be listed on packaging.
6. Conferences, exhibitions and festivals, including the Ceylon Tea Festival, the Canadian Coffee and Tea Show and the Sydney Tea Festival – to name a few. On the 26th to 28th of September Sydney (Aus) hosts the Tea and Coffee World Cup
7. New products: Kenyan Purple Leaf tea.
The tea industry asks two basic questions. One is concerned with quantity, the other with quality. How to increase quantity? The answer involves increased production, probably cost cutting and more advertising.
According to the editor of Tea and Coffee Trade Journal “The tea industry has done a phenomenal job touting the health benefits of tea, but what about now promoting the flavour component more aggressively” he asks, “Where are the advertisements for tea?” Good question. However after thinking about this, the lack of inspired advertising, there are hundreds of articles about tea found in the Lifestyle, particularly the Food & Drink sections, of daily news providers. This article in the Telegraph UK mentions ‘soggy tea bags’ and there are many others.
I am sceptical of some of the health claims of tea – one in particular – that tea can cure influenza. As I empty a second box of tissues just be thankful you cannot catch influenza via my keyboard. I have consumed more tea today than I normally do (and that is quite a feat) and, still, I feel less than human. I am not quite bed-ridden so maybe the tea has helped limit the worst effects. We’ll never know.
Photos, except of the Vikualienmarkt, courtesy of pixabay