Tea Biz
Tea Biz

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Tea News and Biz Insights - January 14, 2022

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HEAR THE HEADLINES – Draft Tea Act Redefines India’s Tea Board Mission | A Global Tea Harvest Review, a TEAIN22 Forecast | BOH Malaysia Named Tea Brand of the Year| NEWSMAKER – Jason McDonald, tea farmer and founder/CEO of The Great Mississippi Tea Company| GUEST – Kyle Whittington, founder Tea Book Club| FEATURES – This week, Tea Biz travels to the state of Mississippi, where tea farmer and founder/CEO Jason McDonald of The Great Mississippi Tea Company discusses the economics of mechanical harvesting following a two-year trial of selective harvesting equipment. Then to London, where Tea Book Club founder Kyle Whittington offers a modern take on the century-old classic The Book of Tea, published in 1906 by Okakura Kakuzō with an introduction rich in detail and context by Bruce Richardson. The Economics of Small Scale Mechanization –Inspired by The Charleston Tea Plantation in South Carolina, Jason McDonald decided to plant a tea garden amid the timber on his 289-acre farm in Lincoln County, Mississippi, where a combination of high heat, humidity, acidic soil, and ample rainfall is ideally suited to tea. In 2012 McDonald planted a test plot, making his first tea in 2015. In 2018 the tea garden produced sufficient quantities to begin selling to the public. McDonald has since diligently researched all aspects of the industry, enlisting horticultural, sustainability, manufacturing, and machine professionals to develop harvesting and automated tea processing equipment at scale. During the past two years, the farm conducted field trials with a selective mechanical harvester to produce 250 to 350 kilos of made tea annually. McDonald shares cost savings, a boost in yield, and leaves suitable for making specialty and mid-grade teas with readers.The Book of Tea, a review by Kyle Whittington –For a book that is well over a century old, The Book of Tea remains a classic and a book that is well worth re-reading from time to time. There are so many editions out there, variously with introductions by tea aficionados, scholars, and masters of the last hundred plus years. Some editions are particularly aesthetically pleasing to add to the tea bookshelf. However, the edition I always recommend is the one with the introduction by Bruce Richardson. Bruce’s exceptionally well-researched introduction into the life and times of Okakura is fascinating and helps to contextualize The Book of Tea. Additionally, the fantastic photos and illustrations help bring both the book and Okakura’s period of history to life.

The Tea Bis podcast delivers tea newsthat you need to know, a recap of the week's major headlines, withcommentary and cultural trends. Hosted by Dan Bull. It is the voice oforigin for tea professionals and enthusiasts worldwide. Think of us as a digital caravanof story tellers, bringing authentic, authoritative and exclusive stories to you weekly fromthe tea lands. Hello everyone, here is this week's headlines. India drafttea act redirects the tea board's mission, a global tea harborst review and teain twenty two forecast and Boh, Malaysia, is named tea brand of the year. Moren a minute, but first this important message. What makes aPerfect Cup of Ceylon tea? The Perfect Cup is from the tea businesses thatensure the protection of all the children living within their tea estates. We SaluteKailani Valley, tell a Wacky Lee, Bogajanthalalawa, Harana and Elyptia tea estates. Support Save the Children Sri Lanka. The Tea Board of India this weekpublished draft legislation that will minimize its regulatory role in favor of promotion and developmentthe proposed legislation, with parliament's approval, redefines the board as a facilitator,a transition welcomed as progressive by industry leaders. In a formal twelve page public notice, the board, quote, proposes to delete those archaic provisions of theTea Act of nineteen fifty three which have lost relevance in today's context, andto introduce new objectives, functions and powers of the board so that it couldact as a facilitator for optimizing the development, promotion and research in the tea industry, as well as improved production, export and quality of Indian tea.And, quote. The announcement invites public comments through January twenty. First TeaBoard Chairman P Ku Besbru said, quote, the old act was based on factswhich have become fallacies over the decades, that tea was a predominant export ofIndia, that people needed planning permist plant tea, that the government hadaccurate estimates of green lafe production. He sat in many steps that could betaken by the board, including the revamping of auctions, removal of substandard teasfrom the system, setting a for price and establishing quality standards for raw leafa ban on unethical manufacturing policies, ensuring compliance of Indian tea with international normsfor MRL's maximum residue levels and the identification of restrictive trade practices by some participantsin the tea valued chain. Business inside the government has been mulling these changesfor some time, but the pandemic delayed implementation. As a regulator, thetea board has been perceived by summons, an enforcer or adversary and has beenaccused by the media occasionally of indulging in unprofessional behavior. The New Act willredefine and remove some of the bottlenecks that have stood in the way of thesector's competitiveness. Observes Besborough. A Global...

Tea Harvest Review the fourth in aseries of twelve tea and twenty two forecasts for the New Year. Production reboundedglobally in two thousand and twenty one as the tea industry adjusted to the impactof the coronavirus pandemic. Talies for the full calendar year not available, butthe annual harvest will likely reach six point two million metric tons, that's sixpoint two billion kilos. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, growth will slowin two thousand and twenty two to two point six percent, yielding an estimatedsix point four million metric tons. Global production of black tea rebounded thirteen pointeight percent to eight hundred ninety five million kilos during the period January through August. According to the global tea market report by market research firm research and markets, production of black tea is estimated at one point three six billion kilos,compared to one point two three billion kilos produced in two thousand and twenty.India's all the biggest gains after a disastrous two thousand and twenty. Malawi andBangladesh also experienced double digit increases. In Two thousand and twenty, one Vietnamesegrowers exceeded one million kilos of slightly over two thousand and twenty. Can Usethe only major tea producing nation to report a year on year decline of approximatelyten percent. Let's break down the four major producers. In Indian black teaproduction increase ten percent, but growth was uneven. A psalm experienced an eightpercent decline in production compared to two thousand and nineteen totals of the period Januarythrough November. The state, which produces more than half of India's tea hasso far harvested fifty two million fewer kilos. Growers in south India did quite well. India is expected to finish the Europe seven point five percent. Whoapproximately the one thousand, three hundred and ninety million kilos produced in two thousandand nineteen? India, which produces more than twenty percent of the world's tea, is considered a global hot spot by meteorologists. In August, the countryexperienced to twenty four percent nationwide rain deficit, followed by a thirty five percent rainaccess in September. L Last year, twelve point five million acres, that'sfive million hectors, of India's crop land, was loss due to cyclonicstorms, flooding land sides and cloudbursts. According to the Ministry of Agriculture andFarmers Welfare China, in two thousand and twenty eight, China produced nearly threemillion metric tons of mainly green tea, accounting for forty seven point six percentof the world's total. Despite the spring onset of the pandemic and one nearthe tea producing lands of Whu Bai province, lockdowns continue to depress out of homedemand, but producers in two thousand and twenty one regain momentum with anestimated two point five percent growth. The Chinese government has invested heavily to curbrural poverty, resulting in a long term average growth rate of four point fivepercent. In Two thousand and twenty two, the pace will accelerate to almost fourpercent as China continues to adopt modern farming practices. Sri Lanka Shar Lankaexperience a resurgence of Covid in two thousand and twenty one, reducing harvest totals, but favorable weather enabled the tea industry to recover from setbacks. In Twothousand and twenty here on your growth during...

...the first few months of the yearreached eighteen percent, but Sri Lanka harvested only two hundred and seventy eight millionkilos in two thousand and twenty, the lowest annual yield since one thousand ninehundred and ninety seven. While production grew rapidly in the first quarter of theyear, it's slowed during the summer and decline by four point seven million kilosin October and November, compared to two thousand and twenty totals. A finaltally is not available for December. It appears likely, however, that productionwill exceed three hundred million kilos. The forecast for two thousand and twenty twoandnticipates to decline due to disruptions in the timely application of chemical fertilizer, laborunrest, inflation and a rising cost of inputs Kenya. Kenya's agriculture, forestryand fishing sectors all contracted in two thousand and twenty one year on year.Totals felled two hundred and thirty million kilos in the first seven months of theyear. Unfavorable weather is to blame, but Kenya's tea industry is undergoing politicalupheaval as well. Production decline seven percent during the period January through October andas likely to finish ten percent lower for the year. The tea sector isexpected to grow no more than by single digits in two thousand and twenty twoand will likely remain flat in two thousand and twenty three as auction prices remainlow and production costs increase. Malaysia's boage plantations was named brand of the yearfor two thousand and two one twenty two in the tea category by the Londonworld branding awards competition, five hundred winners were selected for more than five thousandthree hundred nominees and sixty countries. Sixty brands were recognized, including twg,et PG, tips, Ming chaw and Eto in. Founded in one thousandnine hundred and twenty nine, Baage, which stands for best of the Highlands, is located one two hundred hectors in the camera and highlands at one thusfive hundred meters elevation. The family owned plantation annually produces more than four pointfive million kilos of commodity, black, green and herbal teas, as wellas single origin and specialty teas. Deputy Head of marketing, a no Ramley, said that as a tea producer, quote Bo h recognizes that we oweour livelihood to the fertile soil and cool climate of the camera and highlands,which is highly suited to t cultivation. Hence, sustainability remains a core value. We are consistently adopting more ECO friendly business practices and ensuring our tea packagingutilizes more recyclable and biodegradable materials to reduce waste and safeguard the environment. Businessinside the world branding form and nonprofit based in London, first presented the awardsin two thousand and fifteen. Winners are judged on brand valuation via Consumer MarketResearch and with public vote Puting Online. Ever, remember an Atheroman in Bengalurureports on this weeks to auction prices. India tea price report for the weekending AIDS January two thousand and twenty two. The first sale of two thousand andtwenty two was historic, as south India opened with a new auction model, the Bartlett Auction, piloted last year.

It follows the style of the JapaneseAuction and, despite the pilot meeting with much antagonism from the bias,the tea board ruled out the new auction across the centers of Cochi, Coimbatoreand Kunu in the south. We spoke to stakeholders to understand how they viewthis and with the little benefit biers, more sellers, more or the industriesa whole. Meanwhile, sale once so good demand for these in both northand south India. In north India called Katanghati, so good demand for alltea types. Major blenders were active. Mid least was active for Orthodox teain the south. Demand and prices were not much different from the previous saleand now the word from our sponsor. H Trade understands that a successful teablend goes beyond the creative fusion of appearance, are Rama and flavor. Are MultiAward winning product development team is passionate about converting natural ingredients into sensory experiencesthat customers crave. Every recipe is formulated with a commercial backbone of dependable qualitysourcing, with a pricing structure that supports as safe, regulated, profitable andscalable plant q trade meets every brand's retail, food service and ECOMMERCE need. Formore information, visit our website, que trade teascom. This Week TeaBiz travels to the state of Mississippi where tea farmer and founder Jason McDonald ofthe Great Mississippi Tea Company Discusses The economics of mechanical harvesting following a two yeartrial of selective harvesting equipment. Then to London where tea book club Founder KyleWhittington offers a modern take on a century old classic, the Book of Tea, first published in one thousand nine hundred and six by Okakura Cucuzo, withan introduction rich in detail and context by Bruce Richardson. Inspired by the CharlestonTea Plantation in South Carolina, Jason McDonald decided to plan a tea garden amidthe timber on his two hundred eighty nine Acre farm in Lincoln County Mississippi.or a combination of high heat, humidity of city soil and ample rainfall isideally suited to tea. In Two Thousand and twelve, McDonald planted a testplot, making his first tea in two thousand and fifteen. In two thousandand eighteen, tea Jordan produced sufficient quantities to begin selling to the public.McDonald has since diligently researched all aspects of the industry and listing corticultural sustainability,manufacturing and machine professionals to develop harvesting and automated tea processing equipment at scale.Quote. We are striving to modernize and ancient industry with innovation and bring itmuch closer to home. He said. The Great Mississippi Tea Company is leadingaway and pioneering tea science, employment standards and cultivation and develop countries where thehigh cost of labor and land has discourage growers. Thank you so much forcoming on the program Jason. I really appreciate you being part of the teaBIS podcast. Thank you. Thank you for having me. Can Specialty teagrowers who focus on quality over quantity rely on mechanical harvesters to deliver leaves suitablefor making high valued tea? Well, I think they can. That we'regoing to have to rethink the idea of what quality is. Commodity Leaf canbe anything from dust to fannings to broken leaf. And then you've got thereally high end. You know, one let, one bud that's going tocommand higher prices. I think the economics are going to fall out into thatmidgrade or special the midgrade tease. Those...

...are the one that Tay the billsand that type of market is really suited for selective harvesters. I think thata selective harvester would be wasted on a CTC plantation. It also would bewasted on hand plucking in China. But for the the rest of the midlevelspecialty teas are the specialized selective harvester as worked wonders for us and kept qualityup. So we recently were in the Australian Team Masters Golden Leaf awards andtwo of the teas that we produced using the Williams Harvester scored high enough forgold medal, and the yellot was actually the overall winter for Yellot, whichmeans that in blind tasting, you know, we scored over ninety percent. Soin the hands of a skilled processor that's able to adapt, quality canactually increase and and can also bring the price of tea down so that it'saffordable for more people. During the past two years you've conducted field trials witha selective mechanical harvester to produce two hundred and fifty to three hundred fifty kilosof made tea. Will you share with listeners which you have discovered when you'reone? When we were doing hand plucking, we were on a seven day rotationand we couldn't keep up. And and it wasn't about hiring enough peopleor paying people. We could make it economically feasible to hire people in butwhen it gets a hundred and ten degrees Fahrenheit and our field in the summer, people just don't show up. So we were losing yield. We wereonly getting about a hundred pounds year one hand plucking, and so that's aboutforty five kilos a year. And after using the machine first year we almostfive hundred perccent increase and then we had another about a hundred and fifty percentincrease after that and you're to using the machine. So just in year oneour yield blew up because we could keep ahead of the bushes growing. SoI guess in a short time that you and a short answer. Then itwould be that the labor availability plays into the equation to and in an areawhere you can't get Labor into the fields, a machine with two people using itincreases our yields by most five hundred percent. Will you compare, forlisteners the coast of manual harbors compared to the coast of operating mechanical harvesters,and how to fix your final pricing? I'm curious not only about the costof harvesting but the Prune and give feed and maintain the seven acres currently undertea. Ultimately, what wholesale retail price is required to recover that expense?It's roughly forty three eighty one a pound chest for plucking, and so that'sabout ninety six dollars a kilo. Generally there's about another twenty five thirty dollarsa pound of made tea for Labor in the field. So you're looking atabout seventy five dollars a pound or a hundred sixty five dollars a kilo justto be able to produce our tea. If you're doing by handmade, ourretail price is generally between about a hundred and eighty and two hundred and fortydollars a pound, so that's about three hundred and ninety six a kilo atretail. Now wholesale is about thirty percent...

...less. We're actually moving our wholesaleor our retail, moving everything we can produce at this point through our retailmarket. So they really know incented for us to wholesale it at these prices. Down the line, Oh, when we have lots more coming in,we're going to have to figure out of wholesale. I'm at eighty six dollarsa pound break even, which is, you know, a hundred eighty ninedollars a kilo, and that's doing it by hand. You know you canmake money off of that if you've only got five or ten kilos I guess, but do you really want to spend day in, day out working somethingpossibly make? There are threezero dollars a year this machine. What it allowedus to do is that we reduced the the cost of the plucking from fortythree eighty one a pound to six dollars and fourteen since found. So that'sroughly one thousand, three hundred and fifty per kilo and that would cover theanticipated cost of the machine, which is about FIFTEENZERO dollars into us. Soif you're producing four hundred pounds of tea hundred eighty one kilos, you've gota machine paid for. And now the machine doesn't quit working at that time. So you know there's cost of running it, but I think we useless than a gallon of gas the entire summer and so it's, you know, it's minimal. Now you still do have to pay someone to use,like to walk with the machine, and so in the US we pay fifteendollars an hour here, which is a which is a living wage. It'sactually twice the the minimum wage in the United States. When you're hand plucking, your sorting in the field. With machine harvesting, you've got the costof actually running the machine and then you've got the cost of sorting it inthe factory. There are some pieces it does pluck that are either too smallor too large and you'd have to sort that out. But what that helpswith our labor as when it's really hot outside, people would rather be indoorsand the air conditioning sorting leaf. I'm taking investors now a fully automated wholeleaf black tea line out of China that's all run off of an IPAD andautomating the whole thing, being able to create a wholesale line of black teawhich could further reduce the cost down to almost about seven dollars a pound forus here in the United States. What kind of volume would you have?And if you wanted to run twenty four hours a day, it would be, you know, fifty kilos a day, and that's enough capacity to take careof our eventual fourteen acres. We have to do this. If youcan do it in the in the labor cost and energy costs and the regulationthe United States, you should be able to do it anywhere in the world. Like art tea has this periods and at schools. It's evolution may beroughly divided into three main stages, the boilty, the whipped tea and thesteeped tea. We moderns belong to the last school. These several methods ofappreciating the beverage are indicative of the spirit of the age in which they prevailed. And that's a quote from the book of Tea by Ocacura Cucuzo. Hello, I'm Carl Whittington, founder of Tea Book Club. For a book thatis well over century old, the book of Tea remains a classic and abook that is well worth rereading from time...

...to time. There are so manyeditions out there, variously with introductions by teaficieronado's scholars and masters of the lasthundred plus years. Some additions are particularly esthetically pleasing to add to the teabookshelf. However, the addition I always recommend is the one with the introductionby Bruce Richardson. Bruce's exception well researched introduction into the life and times ofOccukura is fascinating and really helps to contextualize the book of Tea. Additionally,the fantastic photos and illustrations helped bring both the book and Occacura's period of historyto life. Indeed, whilst there's so much to get from the book ofTea on life, esthetics, philosophy, architecture, spirituality, flowers and,of course, to tea, understanding the context and time in which it waswritten is hugely important and goes a long way to a fully rounded reading experience. For although this is a much loved classic and a great introduction to tea, there are parts of it that can be particularly frustrating for the modern reader, from the use of old fashioned Romanization of Chinese and Japanese words and someadditions two terms of phrase and thought that well simply don't fit with how weview the world today. This is why I love the Bruce Richardson addition somuch. It really gives you a context for Okakura, how and why hethought the way he did, what was going on in his life and whathe was trying to express with the book of Tea. I find it fascinatinghow different my experience is each time I reread the book of Tea. AtTea Book Club, we reread it each year and it's wonderful to see howmembers react differently to what Okakura has to say. Each time, for someas the first read ever, for others the first reread, sometimes in overa decade, and for others like me, it's a yearly read. But regardless, each time there are new thoughts to consider, new inspirations to behad. In many ways, a rereading this classic of tea and with someself reflection, you get a little insight into where you are and your tealife, in your own tea journey. Where one year archaic terms of phraseMay Irk, with the next read these disappear and the gems of wisdom andthought, thought in its pages float to the surface like so many dancing tealeaves in your cup. Tea Book Club is an International Group of tea loversand readers who meet up virtually each month to discuss the tea books we read. My book reviews are combination of my own thoughts and those of t bookclub members. He has what Tea Book Club members thought I read the BruceRichards. In addition, he puts it into context. He offers background thatmakes it much more enjoyable on this read than it was on the previous read. It's a lot about esthetics and spirituality. There's not that much information actually ontea. It's way more than just Ta, which is what makes itlast. I think, an introduction made for Occidentals to understand tea and itsphilosophy. Intrigued by what you heard in to do is podcast, would youlike to learn more from our global network of tubers, journalists and t experts? Remember the visit the t Biz website from more comprehensive coverage. That's wwwertBiz bizcom. Thanks for listening for a world till next week.

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