Tea Biz
Tea Biz

Episode · 5 months ago

Tea News and Biz Insight - March 26, 2021

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

HEAR THE HEADLINES – | India High Court Reverses Assam Tea Worker Wage Increase | Kenyan Tea Factory Elections Suspended | Study Finds Growers Adapting to Climate Change

| GUEST – Shunan Teng, founder of the Tea Drunk tea house in York City and the pandemic-inspired online Tea Education Club and monthly tea subscription service offering China’s heritage teas.

| FEATURES – This week Tea Biz discusses a retail-inspired tea education club that delves deeply in the “geeky” aspects of terroir, horticultural practices, and processing during rare-tea cupping sessions at home…. and we travel to London to weigh the marketing value of third-party certifications against authentic “boots-on-the ground” community involvement tailored to local needs.

Online Tea Education Club in a Class All its Own

New York’s Tea Drunk tea house is normally bustling with tea lovers gathered to sip and learn. Since opening in 2013, founder and first-generation immigrant Shunan Teng, an accomplished speaker and educator, taught by example, telling stories of her annual buying trips while pouring tea for customers. Last March, Teng, who normally spends three months a year with heritage growers in China, was grounded – worse yet, her thriving business was locked down.

Certifications Soothe the Conscience, But Do They Deliver for the Communities Where Workers Reside?

In principle tea certification programs have positive impacts but in practice results are highly location-specific and mixed. Farmgate prices generally rise along with gross income, but so do that are borne by farmers in about 60 percent of certification programs. An imperative for marketers seeking to export tea – tea certifications soothe the conscience of retailers and consumers, but do they address the needs and interests of tea workers in the communities in which they reside?

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