Tea Biz
Tea Biz

Episode · 5 months ago

Tea News and Biz Insight - April 2, 2021


HEAR THE HEADLINES – | Suez Ship-jam Delays Tea Deliveries | Tea Aisle Sales Stand Out in Grocery | Tea Retail Realignment is Underway 

| GUEST – David O'Neill director of Falls of Clyde International, a maritime heritage non-profit with plans to state clipper tea races in 2025. 

| FEATURES – This week Tea Biz visits Scotland for a lesson on the history of tea clipper ships and a plan to revive the famous tea races from China to the UK with next-generation zero-emission sail craft that someday may enable shippers who switched from sail to steam 150 years ago to switch back to sail again…. and we explore a realm that knows no bounds -- the imagination of tea book authors. Listen as Kyle Whittington, founder of the Tea Book Club, presents the first in a series of crowd-sourced book reviews. 

Clipper Tea Races Reborn

Racing 2000-ton, 200-foot long, four-masted tall ships with a 30-man crew at speeds of up to 32 kilometers per hour from Foochow, China to London was a 99-day spectacle that rivaled today’s FIFA World Cup. With a ten-pence per ton premium on top of the 5 pounds per ton price of tea and a cash prize of 100 sterling for the first captain to reach port, the race (and wagers in plenty) meant fortunes won and lost. From the first race in 1865 to the last in

1872 the public eagerly anticipated September when a glut of fresh tea first arrived. British and American clipper ships were the marvel of their day but Scotland’s shipbuilders in Aberdeen on the River Clyde were the most renowned.

The race of 1866 pitted 57 ships on a journey of 14,000 miles with three contenders arriving within two hours on the same tide. The world’s two fastest clippers, the Taeping and the Ariel docked 28 minutes apart, the winning captain gallantly splitting the prize. David O’Neill is director of Falls of Clyde International, a non-profit vested in preserving Scotland’s maritime heritage. The 200-foot-long Falls of Clyde is the last of the full-rigged iron-hulled clippers. It is designated a US National Historic Landmark and moored as a maritime museum in Honolulu. However, it is no longer open to the public and needs $1.5 million in immediate repairs or it will be scuttled. 

The Tea Book Club

The Tea Book Club is a virtual adaptation of the Saturday afternoon tea and armchair get-togethers we all miss. Members meet monthly as either “Teapot” regulars or just a “Spoon-full” drop-ins. A new book is introduced every two months. The first session is social with a book-related theme or special guest. The second meet-up is to discuss the book in detail. There are two time slots to accommodate the global community with recordings available and a group chat on Instagram. Email prompts during the month help you keep on pace. In this segment, Kyle introduces the club’s favorite book of 2020, Tales of the Tea Trade by Michelle and Bob Comins, two adventurous tea retailers from Bath, England who recount their travels to origin. 

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