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 news that you need to know, a recap of the week's major headlines, with commentary and cultural trends. Hosted by Dan Bull. It is the voice of origin for tea professionals and enthusiasts worldwide. Think of us as a digital caravan of story tellers, bringing authentic, authoritative and exclusive stories to you weekly from the tea lands. Hello everyone, here is this week's headlines. India draft tea act redirects the tea board's mission, a global tea harborst review and tea in twenty two forecast and Boh, Malaysia, is named tea brand of the year. Moren a minute, but first this important message. What makes a Perfect Cup of Ceylon tea? The Perfect Cup is from the tea businesses that ensure the protection of all the children living within their tea estates. We Salute Kailani Valley, tell a Wacky Lee, Bogajanthalalawa, Harana and Elyptia tea estates. Support Save the Children Sri Lanka. The Tea Board of India this week published draft legislation that will minimize its regulatory role in favor of promotion and development the 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 the Tea Act of nineteen fifty three which have lost relevance in today's context, and to introduce new objectives, functions and powers of the board so that it could act 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 Tea Board Chairman P Ku Besbru said, quote, the old act was based on facts which have become fallacies over the decades, that tea was a predominant export of India, that people needed planning permist plant tea, that the government had accurate estimates of green lafe production. He sat in many steps that could be taken by the board, including the revamping of auctions, removal of substandard teas from the system, setting a for price and establishing quality standards for raw leaf a ban on unethical manufacturing policies, ensuring compliance of Indian tea with international norms for MRL's maximum residue levels and the identification of restrictive trade practices by some participants in the tea valued chain. Business inside the government has been mulling these changes for some time, but the pandemic delayed implementation. As a regulator, the tea board has been perceived by summons, an enforcer or adversary and has been accused by the media occasionally of indulging in unprofessional behavior. The New Act will redefine and remove some of the bottlenecks that have stood in the way of the sector's competitiveness. Observes Besborough. A Global...

Tea Harvest Review the fourth in a series of twelve tea and twenty two forecasts for the New Year. Production rebounded globally in two thousand and twenty one as the tea industry adjusted to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Talies for the full calendar year not available, but the annual harvest will likely reach six point two million metric tons, that's six point two billion kilos. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit, growth will slow in two thousand and twenty two to two point six percent, yielding an estimated six point four million metric tons. Global production of black tea rebounded thirteen point eight 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 and Bangladesh also experienced double digit increases. In Two thousand and twenty, one Vietnamese growers exceeded one million kilos of slightly over two thousand and twenty. Can Use the only major tea producing nation to report a year on year decline of approximately ten percent. Let's break down the four major producers. In Indian black tea production increase ten percent, but growth was uneven. A psalm experienced an eight percent decline in production compared to two thousand and nineteen totals of the period January through November. The state, which produces more than half of India's tea has so 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. Who approximately the one thousand, three hundred and ninety million kilos produced in two thousand and nineteen? India, which produces more than twenty percent of the world's tea, is considered a global hot spot by meteorologists. In August, the country experienced to twenty four percent nationwide rain deficit, followed by a thirty five percent rain access in September. L Last year, twelve point five million acres, that's five million hectors, of India's crop land, was loss due to cyclonic storms, flooding land sides and cloudbursts. According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare China, in two thousand and twenty eight, China produced nearly three million metric tons of mainly green tea, accounting for forty seven point six percent of the world's total. Despite the spring onset of the pandemic and one near the tea producing lands of Whu Bai province, lockdowns continue to depress out of home demand, but producers in two thousand and twenty one regain momentum with an estimated two point five percent growth. The Chinese government has invested heavily to curb rural poverty, resulting in a long term average growth rate of four point five percent. In Two thousand and twenty two, the pace will accelerate to almost four percent as China continues to adopt modern farming practices. Sri Lanka Shar Lanka experience 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 Two thousand and twenty here on your growth during...

...the first few months of the year reached eighteen percent, but Sri Lanka harvested only two hundred and seventy eight million kilos in two thousand and twenty, the lowest annual yield since one thousand nine hundred and ninety seven. While production grew rapidly in the first quarter of the year, it's slowed during the summer and decline by four point seven million kilos in October and November, compared to two thousand and twenty totals. A final tally is not available for December. It appears likely, however, that production will exceed three hundred million kilos. The forecast for two thousand and twenty two andnticipates to decline due to disruptions in the timely application of chemical fertilizer, labor unrest, inflation and a rising cost of inputs Kenya. Kenya's agriculture, forestry and 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 the year. Unfavorable weather is to blame, but Kenya's tea industry is undergoing political upheaval as well. Production decline seven percent during the period January through October and as likely to finish ten percent lower for the year. The tea sector is expected to grow no more than by single digits in two thousand and twenty two and will likely remain flat in two thousand and twenty three as auction prices remain low and production costs increase. Malaysia's boage plantations was named brand of the year for two thousand and two one twenty two in the tea category by the London world branding awards competition, five hundred winners were selected for more than five thousand three hundred nominees and sixty countries. Sixty brands were recognized, including twg, et PG, tips, Ming chaw and Eto in. Founded in one thousand nine 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 thus five hundred meters elevation. The family owned plantation annually produces more than four point five million kilos of commodity, black, green and herbal teas, as well as single origin and specialty teas. Deputy Head of marketing, a no Ramley, said that as a tea producer, quote Bo h recognizes that we owe our 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 packaging utilizes more recyclable and biodegradable materials to reduce waste and safeguard the environment. Business inside the world branding form and nonprofit based in London, first presented the awards in two thousand and fifteen. Winners are judged on brand valuation via Consumer Market Research and with public vote Puting Online. Ever, remember an Atheroman in Bengaluru reports on this weeks to auction prices. India tea price report for the week ending AIDS January two thousand and twenty two. The first sale of two thousand and twenty two was historic, as south India opened with a new auction model, the Bartlett Auction, piloted last year.

It follows the style of the Japanese Auction and, despite the pilot meeting with much antagonism from the bias, the tea board ruled out the new auction across the centers of Cochi, Coimbatore and Kunu in the south. We spoke to stakeholders to understand how they view this and with the little benefit biers, more sellers, more or the industries a whole. Meanwhile, sale once so good demand for these in both north and south India. In north India called Katanghati, so good demand for all tea types. Major blenders were active. Mid least was active for Orthodox tea in the south. Demand and prices were not much different from the previous sale and now the word from our sponsor. H Trade understands that a successful tea blend goes beyond the creative fusion of appearance, are Rama and flavor. Are Multi Award winning product development team is passionate about converting natural ingredients into sensory experiences that customers crave. Every recipe is formulated with a commercial backbone of dependable quality sourcing, with a pricing structure that supports as safe, regulated, profitable and scalable plant q trade meets every brand's retail, food service and ECOMMERCE need. For more information, visit our website, que trade teascom. This Week Tea Biz travels to the state of Mississippi where tea farmer and founder 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 a century old classic, the Book of Tea, first published in one thousand nine hundred and six by Okakura Cucuzo, with an introduction rich in detail and context by Bruce Richardson. Inspired by the Charleston Tea Plantation in South Carolina, Jason McDonald decided to plan a tea garden amid the 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 is ideally suited to tea. In Two Thousand and twelve, McDonald planted a test plot, making his first tea in two thousand and fifteen. In two thousand and 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 it much closer to home. He said. The Great Mississippi Tea Company is leading away and pioneering tea science, employment standards and cultivation and develop countries where the high cost of labor and land has discourage growers. Thank you so much for coming on the program Jason. I really appreciate you being part of the tea BIS podcast. Thank you. Thank you for having me. Can Specialty tea growers who focus on quality over quantity rely on mechanical harvesters to deliver leaves suitable for making high valued tea? Well, I think they can. That we're going to have to rethink the idea of what quality is. Commodity Leaf can be anything from dust to fannings to broken leaf. And then you've got the really high end. You know, one let, one bud that's going to command higher prices. I think the economics are going to fall out into that midgrade or special the midgrade tease. Those...

...are the one that Tay the bills and that type of market is really suited for selective harvesters. I think that a selective harvester would be wasted on a CTC plantation. It also would be wasted on hand plucking in China. But for the the rest of the midlevel specialty teas are the specialized selective harvester as worked wonders for us and kept quality up. So we recently were in the Australian Team Masters Golden Leaf awards and two of the teas that we produced using the Williams Harvester scored high enough for gold medal, and the yellot was actually the overall winter for Yellot, which means that in blind tasting, you know, we scored over ninety percent. So in the hands of a skilled processor that's able to adapt, quality can actually increase and and can also bring the price of tea down so that it's affordable for more people. During the past two years you've conducted field trials with a selective mechanical harvester to produce two hundred and fifty to three hundred fifty kilos of made tea. Will you share with listeners which you have discovered when you're one? When we were doing hand plucking, we were on a seven day rotation and we couldn't keep up. And and it wasn't about hiring enough people or paying people. We could make it economically feasible to hire people in but when 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 were only getting about a hundred pounds year one hand plucking, and so that's about forty five kilos a year. And after using the machine first year we almost five hundred perccent increase and then we had another about a hundred and fifty percent increase after that and you're to using the machine. So just in year one our yield blew up because we could keep ahead of the bushes growing. So I guess in a short time that you and a short answer. Then it would be that the labor availability plays into the equation to and in an area where you can't get Labor into the fields, a machine with two people using it increases our yields by most five hundred percent. Will you compare, for listeners 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 cost of harvesting but the Prune and give feed and maintain the seven acres currently under tea. 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's about ninety six dollars a kilo. Generally there's about another twenty five thirty dollars a pound of made tea for Labor in the field. So you're looking at about seventy five dollars a pound or a hundred sixty five dollars a kilo just to be able to produce our tea. If you're doing by handmade, our retail price is generally between about a hundred and eighty and two hundred and forty dollars a pound, so that's about three hundred and ninety six a kilo at retail. Now wholesale is about thirty percent...

...less. We're actually moving our wholesale or our retail, moving everything we can produce at this point through our retail market. 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 dollars a pound break even, which is, you know, a hundred eighty nine dollars a kilo, and that's doing it by hand. You know you can make 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 something possibly make? There are threezero dollars a year this machine. What it allowed us to do is that we reduced the the cost of the plucking from forty three eighty one a pound to six dollars and fourteen since found. So that's roughly one thousand, three hundred and fifty per kilo and that would cover the anticipated cost of the machine, which is about FIFTEENZERO dollars into us. So if you're producing four hundred pounds of tea hundred eighty one kilos, you've got a 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 use less 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 fifteen dollars an hour here, which is a which is a living wage. It's actually 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 cost of actually running the machine and then you've got the cost of sorting it in the factory. There are some pieces it does pluck that are either too small or too large and you'd have to sort that out. But what that helps with our labor as when it's really hot outside, people would rather be indoors and the air conditioning sorting leaf. I'm taking investors now a fully automated whole leaf black tea line out of China that's all run off of an IPAD and automating the whole thing, being able to create a wholesale line of black tea which could further reduce the cost down to almost about seven dollars a pound for us 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 care of our eventual fourteen acres. We have to do this. If you can do it in the in the labor cost and energy costs and the regulation the 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 be roughly divided into three main stages, the boilty, the whipped tea and the steeped tea. We moderns belong to the last school. These several methods of appreciating 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 that is well over century old, the book of Tea remains a classic and a book that is well worth rereading from time...

...to time. There are so many editions out there, variously with introductions by teaficieronado's scholars and masters of the last hundred plus years. Some additions are particularly esthetically pleasing to add to the tea bookshelf. However, the addition I always recommend is the one with the introduction by Bruce Richardson. Bruce's exception well researched introduction into the life and times of Occukura 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 history to life. Indeed, whilst there's so much to get from the book of Tea on life, esthetics, philosophy, architecture, spirituality, flowers and, of course, to tea, understanding the context and time in which it was written 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 some additions two terms of phrase and thought that well simply don't fit with how we view the world today. This is why I love the Bruce Richardson addition so much. It really gives you a context for Okakura, how and why he thought the way he did, what was going on in his life and what he was trying to express with the book of Tea. I find it fascinating how different my experience is each time I reread the book of Tea. At Tea Book Club, we reread it each year and it's wonderful to see how members react differently to what Okakura has to say. Each time, for some as the first read ever, for others the first reread, sometimes in over a decade, and for others like me, it's a yearly read. But regardless, each time there are new thoughts to consider, new inspirations to be had. In many ways, a rereading this classic of tea and with some self reflection, you get a little insight into where you are and your tea life, in your own tea journey. Where one year archaic terms of phrase May Irk, with the next read these disappear and the gems of wisdom and thought, thought in its pages float to the surface like so many dancing tea leaves in your cup. Tea Book Club is an International Group of tea lovers and 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 book club members. He has what Tea Book Club members thought I read the Bruce Richards. In addition, he puts it into context. He offers background that makes 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 on tea. It's way more than just Ta, which is what makes it last. I think, an introduction made for Occidentals to understand tea and its philosophy. Intrigued by what you heard in to do is podcast, would you like 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 wwwert Biz bizcom. Thanks for listening for a world till next week.

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