Tea Biz
Tea Biz

Episode · 7 months ago

Tea News and Biz Insight - May 21, 2021

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

HEAR THE HEADLINES – International Tea Day | Assam Forbids Tea Workers to Isolate at Home
| Nepal’s First Flush is Delayed | Kagoshima May Soon Outproduce Shizuoka

| GUEST – Author Chitrita Banerji, a chronicler of food history and culture

| NEWSMAKER – Eva Lee, founder of Tea Hawaii, a tea farm and wholesale venture in Volcano, Hawaii

| FEATURES – Tea Biz this week travels to the slopes of the Kilauea Volcano where Tea Hawaii Founder Eva Lee describes the ongoing tea harvest as unusually wet and seven weeks later than normal …and then to Massachusetts to learn how a simple beverage transformed Indian culture.

Uniquely Hawaiian Tea

Eva Lee pioneered modern tea cultivation in Hawaii, establishing with her husband, a tea garden and nursery in the town of Volcano. The farm supplied growers with hearty cultivars first introduced in 2000 by researchers at the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. Hawaiian tea is grown on farms producing less than 100 kilos a year. Small amounts of premium tea are exported, but most is purchased by local restaurants and tourists. In this conversation, Lee describes how the “modest but very strong tea industry” adapted during a difficult year. - By Dan Bolton

Tea is Both Cultural and Personal

Humans readily adapt to new foods and drink, most with little affect “we make them our own by accepting them and enjoying them” says distinguished food and culture author Chitrita Banerji. But some are transformative: “It’s interesting that a foreign drink brought in by a foreign colonial power became such an important thing. We don’t think of tea as a foreign drink anymore,” she tells Aravinda Anantharaman during this International Tea Day interview. - By Aravinda Anantharaman 

The Tea Biz podcast delivers tea newsthat you need to know, a recap of the week's major headlines, withcommentary and cultural trends. Hosted by Dan Bolt. It is the voice oforigin for tea professionals and enthusiasts worldwide. Think of us as a digital caravanof storytellers, bringing authentic, authoritative and exclusive stories to you weekly from thetea lambs. Welcome, it's international tea day. Are the headlines. Apsalm forbids tea workers to isolate at home. The Pole's first flush is delayed.Kagoshima may soon out produce. She is Wolka in Japan. Ornamenta thefirst this important message. Avani empowers rural women practicing sustainable agriculture, including tea, and crafts such as weaving with natural fiber and plant based dyes. Upin the towering Himalayans, humane is one of India's oldest tea regions. Today, we raise our cups in the name of Avani Kumone, a nonprofit dedicatedto strengthening farming communities. Cheer to a brighter future for all. To donate, visit Avani Quman Dot Org. Villagers have celebrated tea at local festivals theday to Millennia. In the past hundred years, regional and national tea celebrationsgain momentum, driven primarily by corporate marketers. A decade ago the idea of aglobal day of recognition with a different message took hold. JOYDEEP Fukhan,who directs the took live tea research center and a PSALMB was tasked by theFaos in her governmental group on tea to convince the United Nations General Assembly thefocus on producers, creating awareness and appreciation for the small growers responsible for mostof the world's DA. That took five years. Then the real work beganin two thousand and nineteen when he learned of the General Assembly vote in favorof international tea day. The CON Challenge the industry, to quote, nowthat we have a dedicated day for tea, we need to do interesting things aroundthe day to reposition tea as the most preferred beverage in the world.and quote. Today you see that commitment passionately on display their virtual festival,seminars and academic presentations and all days sofa...

...summit to hear the voices of originand the Youtube series around the world in Eightyts, a marvelous virtual visit tothe tea lands narrated by will battle and Dr Sharon Hall, who directs theUK tea and Infusions Association. The UN organized a presentation on sustainability and apanel discussion. In Argentina, missione's tea growers are presenting a Spanish language teaconference and Shri Lanka, the focus is on marketing. In China, theMinistry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs is hosting the hung zoo t expo, thelargest face to face t expo in China since the pandemic. If you lovetea, please promote and participate in these activities, either live or over theweekend, since most are recorded. Today is a Glorious Day. Let's allshare in the tea industries ten year overnight success. visit the TEABE is blogfor event schedules and registration lenks. Business insight. Teabe is presents behind theheadlines of fifteen minute youtube presentation by Dan Bolton describing four trends that shape today'snews. The video is available in English and Spanish. A psalm forbids teaworkers to isolate at home. The situation is worsened in a psalm to thepoint that workers who test positive, many of whom are mothers and grandmothers,was quarantine outside their home until they recover. Practice is controversial but necessitated by thefact that entire families have a perished on the return of infected workers.The Psalm Health Minister, he saw Ma Hunta, announced that well, inthe tea gardens, we have taken a tough stance on isolation of the PositiveAsians. No one will be allowed to avail home isolation in the tea gardensand quote, workers that do not require hospitalization must remain in covid care centerswhere they are provided food in medicine. The vaccination rate remains low, inpart because many are unable to navigate the coal wee in online registration system.Registration is mandatory for all those eighteen years and older. During the past yearof Psalm counted fewer than a thousand deaths, but there were more than five hundredcases and de Buga. This week there were more than six thousand casesreported may nineteen, and the seven one day average is more than five thousand. Deaths are approaching twenty five hundred. India recorded the highest covid one dayfatality rate of any country this week.

There are now twenty six million activecases, with almost three hundred thousand deaths officially recorded, a tally that islikely an under count. He growers in the Paul faced a formidable combination ofwet weather, expensive fertilizer, high transport costs, the shortage of labor infestationsof leaf curl and black tip that led to declines of as much as fortypercent last year, compared to two thousand and nineteen. In Two thousand andtwenty one, drought is the big concern. Harvest totals for the first flush orhalf that of two thousand and twenty. New Leaves did not sprout on scheduledue to drought conditions that lasted from December until February. The CATHMANDU Postwrites that, unlike last year, the price of CTC, that's cut terrorcurl tease, is two hundred Paul Rupees for Kilo, well blow highs ofthree hundred and sixteen to Paul Rupees last year. Nepaul is also seeing areplay of last year's covid nineteen crisis. The Paul reported nine thousand one hundredninety eight new confirmed cases on Monday, which is a three thousand percent increasefrom last month. The positivity rate is averaging forty five percent, with ahundred and seventy four deaths per day in a country of around thirty million people. Business inside the Paul Tea Founder, Nehale Ben's quota, who manages thefamilies Nepal Tea Garden remotely from New York, writes that, along with the healthcrisis, the small farmers and the agricultural sector face even longer term impactto their crops, which are being wasted due to log downs and lack ofmarket access. The farmers that were just hoping to recoup their losses from lastyear crisis are yet again faced with Kright with challenges to produce and sell theircrops. The tea farmers find themselves in the same situation where they might notbe able to harvest their most productive second flush due to rise in cases businessinside. visit the tea Biz blog for information about relief services that will assistthe tea community in Nepal. She's woken Japan's picturesque and most productive tea prefecture. Since one thousand nine hundred and fifty nine may soon have to relinquish thattitle to Kagashima. According to data release by Japan's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestryand fisheries, acreage under tea and green leaf output has slowly declined since thenineteen eighties. In Shizoka, which produced...

...twenty five thousand two hundred metric tonsof unprocessed tea leaves in twenty nineteen, the total is thirty four percent ofJapan's total production the two nineteen crop. The Twenty Nineteen Crop was valued attwenty five point one billion yen, about two hundred and thirty million US dollars. Pegoshimin growers, who harvested only twenty seven hundred metric tons in nineteen fiftynine, by two thousand nineteen, were recording twenty five point two billion insales. The prefecture harvested nearly the same amount of tea on seven thousand ninehundred seventy hectors, compared to Shizoka's thirteen thousand seven hundred hectors. The reasonis the Kalgashima invested heavily and mechanized harvesting equipment, which is now used onninety seven point five percent of the prefecture's farms. Due to steeper slopes andsmaller plots. Only sixty five point eight percent of Shizoka's he is mechanically harvested. Are Venda and thereman in Bengalou two reports on this week's he auction prices. India tea price report for the week Ending Fifteen May, two thousand andtwenty one. Covid continues to dominate the news, while weather shows some signsof relenting. In Assam, with the lockdowns and plays across the country,there is an impact on both work on the gardens and in the supply chainin the nilghres. While tea gardens are exempt from lockdown, media reports indicatethat movement of goods was affected due to restrictions as warehouses and offices are closed. Most commodity markets, including tea, seem to be grappling with a supplychain logistics both intra and interstate. Assam has been one of those regions thathas been in the news due to covid hitting the tea gardens. Currently,priority among hea producers is to ramp up vaccination on the gardens to contain thespread of the virus. Tea Gardens have been a lot of function following strictprotocols. However, new supees have been issued on Covid Management for Tea Gardens, taking into account available and accessible healthcare. Lockdown rules in Assam include a fifteenour curfew from two pm every day. In a letter to the state government, the Northeastern Tea Association has requested that covid restrictions for workers and vehiclesof t states within a five kilometer radius of urban and semi urban areas werelaxed. The letter also points out that transport of green leaves from gardens tofactories and also transport for workers who don't live on the gardens ascessitates this relaxation. At the auction's sale nineteen, so good demand for tea and prices remainsteady. Could at auctions for sale nineteen, my held on Saturday as Friday wasclosed for the festival of from Zan. Could you so good participation from Incoservant supply go for dust, leading to price increase by ten to twentyto piece Bukilo in leaf CTC leef fed better than Orthodox leave, with ninetyeight percent offering sold. CIS and West...

Asia bias lent fair support in Kunoone hundred and twenty four kilos of green tea was an offer and sold forthree hundred and one to piece per kilo. Khati auctions also saw green tea offerings, with green tea invoices from the KLINGIA fetching in the range of threehundred and fifty to piece Po kilo. And now a word from our sponsor. Q trade teas works with tea purveyors at every scale, from promising startupsto the world's largest multi national beverage brands in the hot, iced and bottletea segments. With US based formulation, blending and packaging services, q tradecan help you innovate, scale up and grow your specialty tea brand. Formore information, visit our website, que trade teasecom he builds. This weektravels to the slopes of the kiloway of volcano, where Tea Hawaii founder,evil lead describes the ongoing tea harvest as unusually wet and seven weeks later thannormal, and then to Massachusetts to learn how is simple beverage transformed Indian culture. Evilly pioneered modern tea cultivation in Hawaii, establishing with her husband a tea gardenand nursery in the town of Volcato. The farm supplied growers with hearty cultivarsfirst introduced in two thousand by researchers at the College of Tropical Agriculture andhuman resources. Hawaiian tea is grown on farms producing less than a hundred kilosa year. Small amounts of premium tea or exported, but most is purchasedby local restaurants and tourists. In this conversation, Lee describes how the modestbut very strong tea industry adapted during a difficult year. Eva, will youupdate listeners on this year's tea harvest so far? Our spring season began quitelate and the reason for that is wii has been unundated with a very,very extensive rainy season, coming off of about seven plus months of pretty muchstraight rain, deep, deep saturation. The plants have really responded, aswe have just broken with the rains and now have sun and spring is nowrevealing itself. So the tea plants themselves, I think, throughout the state,are expressing themselves considerably more this time of year than they have in thepast. Usually we would have begun in February march for our first flush springharvests. We have quite a bit of...

...production of harvests that are going on. What makes Hawaire, you grown tea, so special? You know, someof the teas are in the native forests that we've got going on,shade grown up at four thousand foot elevations and we also have teas that aredown in full sun, nine hundred foot elevation. Also on the east sideof the island are particular garden on the summit of Killaway of volcano at fourthousand foot elevation. is on what we call the windward side of the volcano. We have a fellow grower that is on the Leeward side, same elevation. The conditions are quite different there. On the Leeward side it's much drier, much more sun. They themselves also had a late beginning of spring harvest, but the micro climates, the conditions that can be just moments away arequite considerable. One of the reasons why the tea is so special is thatthis generation of tea growers our first generation tea rowers, because we haven't hada history of tea agriculture in the state. Everyone that's growing team are doing alot of experimentations. They are growing it out of the love of theleaf. Those of us that have established ourselves in the areas that are mostconducive, we have mulch and forest canopies that are some that are over ahundred years old. We don't have some of the same diseases and the sameproblems or challenges that other tea producing countries have because we are isolated in themiddle of the Pacific. We also don't have continents that are close by tous, so we don't have fallout on pollutants coming into our area, andso every season has kind of excitement. That happens because it's new every seasonit's quite different. It's very, very exciting, and now we're at thatplace where we can provide the public with a variety of teas well. Youdescribe the economics of the tea industry in two thousand and twenty one and Hawaiiangrowers adapted to the sharp decline and tourism and the restaurant business. We hadto act quite quickly on decisions as to production. We had to low gardensdown because we were faced with inventory that was not moving because of restaurant closures. We also here in Hawaii rely a lot on agriturism. Many of therestaurants here in Hawaii close down due to the pandemic. Labor costs in Hawaiihave always been much more than in other tea producing countries. So the changesor the decisions that we had to make...

...definitely hurt some labor because we werenot able to have as many people work at the gardens. We change someof the techniques in processing and how much time that we would put into ornot some of our crafted teas. So the percentages change from premium grades tosecondary grades. Maybe they're not as good but in actuality we're kind of nicelysurprised that we were able to produce some very wonderful secondary third grade. However, one wants to interpret these teas that could be very accessible for the publicand we're quite tasty. Instead of direct to restaurants, that would go directto consumers, for instance in food hubs. So we used to do a lotof distribution of our tease direct to consumers in farmers markets. Of course, many of the farmers markets were closed down during that time. We've beendoing farmers markets probably for over twelve years and it was a big change sowe ended up on producing, processing, manufacturing teas that we called tea togo for people that were here locally to take our teas and be able tosteep them up very easily, and so we were moving from fulk loose leafto individually filter packing our teas and doing it all here in Hawaii. Sowe've then turned into not only growers producers, but also co packers, and soour co packing activities are also on location. We do have a modestbut very strong tea industry here in our state and now some of the peoplethat ended up experiencing the teas that were more accessible. Well, for premiumteas, as far as by the kilo, we're talking by the Kilo two pointfive concepts, about four hundred dollars. We are wholesaling them by so manyunits. But to break it down to you is that they are wholesalefor seven dollars for that package of one ounce ten filter package teas. Soto the consumer, usually eight hundred and twenty five, I believe, iswhat the markup of some of these stores and food hubs are doing. Soalso to have discussions, even on some of our premium teas, to localretailers. So if I sell this to you for ten, do you knowinstead of you selling for twenty, think about eighteen? And that's kind ofa formula that seems to work pretty well with some of the retailers. Andwe also cut down on some of our costs of packaging itself. We madeour own packaging and and so that has...

...helped for this period of time.We it may continue. We share a little information on the inside the packageand whatnot so people can learn a little bit more, and then I thinkit gives people the confidence to maybe try the premiums. Humans readily adapt todo foods and drink most with little effect. We make them our own by acceptingthem and enjoying them as distinguished food and culture. Author. To readof energy, but some are transformative. Well, it's interesting that a foreigndrink brought in by a foreign colonial power became such an important thing. Wedon't think of tea as a foreign drink anymore. She tells our Bend Pareriman. During this international to day. She said Banachi is among the most importantchroniclers of food and culture today, having written extensively about it, in particularof food and Bengal she grew up in Kolkata before moving to the US whereshe earned a masters in literature from Harvard. Her first book, life and Foodin Bengal was published in one thousand nine hundred and ninety one. Fromthere on, food seems to have become a medium for her storytelling. Herbooks include the hour of the goddess, memories of women, food and ritualin Bengal, Bengali cooking seasons and festivals and, more recently, eating Indiaand other see into the food and culture of the Land of spices. Besidesfiction and biography, which she also writes by America has become home. Sheretains a close connection with India, especially Kolkatta and Bengal. Could he daythis year, I asked to have a conversation with her on tea. Tothe Bengali Tia is both cultural and personal, and I was curious about where oneends and where the other begins. Would you place tea is part ofthe Bengali food culture. I am a bit hesitant about saying that because youknow, although it is such a big part of Bengali social culture, wheneverwhen we think of food, there is a kind of in a wall betweenfood and drink, and that is true in the western concept of people whowrite about food in the Western world do not write about wine and stuff.That is a separate kind of expertise, a separate world. T is notsomething in that I would normally, you know, consider part of our foodculture, and yet it is part of our relation and culture. It's partof our way to band with each other. It's interesting that a foreign drink broughtin by a foreign colonial power became such an important thing, and ithas now, at least in Bengal it has acquired the Bengali identify. Wedon't think of it as a foreign drink anymore. In a very few peopleactually know the history. Very few people actually realize, you know, theA, the origins of TB, how...

...the in a British in a colonialpolitics and economics worked in order to bring tea into India and they're get tomarketing tea so that, you know, Indians would develop a taste for it. It's right, potatoes and Chili peppers. We think these are our foods injust we forget that five hundred years ago we've never heard of such things, that they came with the Portuguese into India that way. You know,some of these items are really a great, I will say, testament to howhuman beings adopt new things and then give it a character that makes ittheir own. It's a transformation process, transformative process, that I find veryinteresting and I find some that that is very hopeful, not in just thecontext of food, and I find it very hopeful in the contents of ourrelationships with each other. Very few bengalies can do without their tea or withouttheir potatoes or the cheap peppers. We are not changing tea or potatoes orChili peppers into something else, but you're making them our own by accepting themand enjoying them, except in springs. Enjoyment, you know, real enjoyment, and this is something people, you know, don't think about. Howdid your relationship with tea develop? I lived in a multicultural family home severalgenerations. It was a very big family, many, many relatives and also lotsof visitors because we had family members living outside Calcutta who would come tovisit and stay with us. Big Family means, you know, many ceremoniesand many occasions like weddings, you know, and engagements and birthdays and stuff likethat droves are friends and relatives would come and some would stay, andso there was always, you know, tea was always at presence morning,noon and night. It's like nobody ever seemed to think that you're drinking teaat night would give you, you know, seeting problems. And this is somethingthat, you know, I have learned after coming to the West.You know, Catheine in tea and caffeine in coffee, you know, getbad for sleep. No, what used to think that way before. Soeven if a visitor came to your house, said a thirteen day evening, itwould see. First thing you would say, you know Jacobin or Chocoldy, and most of the answer would be yes. So tea was next towater, the life's of stating drink for them, being allies. And itwas not different from my family to any other in any other family, youknow, we everywhere. It seems to be the same thing. And asyou throw up and you develop independence and you're allowed to go out on yourown and meet with friends, assemble with friends, well, again, oneof the things you do is go to, you know, a tea shop orfind a place where you can need to order some tea and sit together, and we did that unthinkingly, instinctively,...

...but there was this feeling inside usthat our Adat our talk would only be enhanced if we had a cupof tea with us. Since I was, you know, going to college,Presidency College, whether I was hover that I enjoyed the coffee in coffeehouse right opposite. When I went to the Coffee House, most of thetime there was no tea. Obviously, the Coffee House you can only getdifferent kinds of coffee and it was considered very sophisticated. But I have tosay that, though I never admitted it, I never really enjoyed coffee the wayI enjoyed tea, and that I attribute to my father, who mademe, you know, learn about tea and appreciate tea in a very,you know, sophisticated, nuanced way, like you would make three kinds oftea and, you know, I would taste bit by bit and sometimes Ididn't like what he would consider the best tea. But he would then,you know, say, well, you have to develop a taste for it. You know, some things don't happen automatically and you have to develop ataste for it. So next time when we make this you will see thatyou like it a little bit better. You might enjoy it more, whetheryou get to dodge things. From now I live in Cambridge and my houseis a very short distance from Harvard Square and they used to be wonderful,wonderful tea store called tea lucks so, and they had the best quality teasfrom all over the world. They had tea from China. I mean,I don't read tea from China, but they had them various grades and theyhad various kinds of Dudgel tea and they also had a little bit Tya,of course. And but they went out of business about three years ago.So for a while I just didn't know what to do when I was dreadingthe thought when my you know, stop would run out. I have,oh, I have to share this story, you know, I have to havetea. And then I wrote that piece for you and bout I don'tknow, two or three months after that, I got a call from my friendwho said, I mean, I have shared the story with my friend. She's an army Indian American, and she said, Hey, listen,I shared your story with this guy I know, and he's also an ArmanianAmerican guy and he runs a tea company called menty and he's just so blownaway by your story he wants to meet you if you do well, fine, you know, I'm happy to meet anybody. I gave him my emailand he work back and we had a ser meeting and he said, well, go to such and such. There's a tiny little restaurant. It's notreally proper restaurant's more like a sandwich shop, come coffee shop, where a lotof students go. And he said, you know, we'll meet their afterfor o'clock or something. Fine.

So I turn up there and thenthis guy peers and in. I said, I'm so glad, you know,and then he said, and then of course I must have tea withyou. I said yes, but I don't know what kind of tea.These people have said no, forget it. These people are not important, butthey let me do whatever I want here. There's a reason for itwhich I can't get into. So I've brought three kinds of tea and look, took out this little sets, you know, with different, you know, teas in them, and I'm going to brew them in their kitchen andI'm going to serve tea to you. I said, my goodness, that'sa strange experience. It's got takes over somebody's restaurant and Bruce Ta, okay, Wow II says there wasn't a thing in liquid Victoria I've got, andhe just like my father and guy said, you know, it's like the pastcomes back to me like this. You know, he brought different kindsof tea in three different cups and sat there and sort of expectantly looking atme or to taste and tell me which one I like, which one Ididn't turn, which one I like less. And I noticed that he did notoffer me the milk or sugar. It had to be the pure teataste that he wanted me to have. I did and one of them wasabsolutely wonderful, you know, very, very fragrant, beautiful dangling tea.So he said, well, I'll make a bigger packet with this and mailit to you. Is a look at present. And then I found thatmenty, his company actually does mail order sales. So now I buy teafrom them. Oh, nice, online, yeah, oh lovely. Yeah,but the funny thing is he's now sold in the company and I'm toa friend. So the you know, he said, I only sold itto somebody that I trust who will keep the quality alive and, you know, will love to you know, cut corners and, you know, makingsmeat for money or whatever. The best, best tease will be available always.And he has moved to Maine where he bought a farm and he growswell flowers. In a way I'm really surprised, but I'm also, ina way not. I find that teas used to touch people in ways beyondany understanding. So have you been able to create a world around tea inCambridge? One of the things I miss here is that very few people here, among my friends, enjoy tea. That's one of the things I missedgreatly. When I go to Calcutta's so different. You know, all thefriends that I meet, you know wilways, will get together over tea and there'sno question that we are going to, you know, have tea together andyou know, there's the being early stuff with food also. So ifyou visit somebody in that nuts tea and some oselves or, you know,tea and Moody or teenspiced Moody, stuff like that. That whole dimension oftea drinking that whole kind of in a...

...communal pleasure surrounding a cup of teaI have not been able to recapture in my American Life. In my AmericanLife I am the solo tea drinker. I am the tea drinker who's stillmaking it with great care and still enjoying it, but it is not anactive, lively enjoyment with other people. It's more like it's sort of menacentenjoyment. It's an enjoyment probably, you know, with the past. It'san enjoyment of a drink. The it takes me back to the past andI wish it could be different, you know. But yeah, I feellook Ay. So that can only happen when I go to cocae again.Intrigued by what you heard in today's podcast, would you like to learn more fromour global network of TBIS journalists and t experts? Conti them directly throughsubtext, private message based platform. Avoid the chaos of social media and starta conversation that matters. Sub Text, message based platform let's you privately askmeaningful questions of the t experts, academics and t Biz journalists reporting from theTea Lens. You see their responses via SMS text, which are sent towreck to your phone. visit our website and subscribe to subtext to instantly connectwith the most connected people and tea. Remember to visit the TB is websitefor more comprehensive coverage. That's wwwatz bizcom. Thanks for listening. Farewell to thenext week.

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