Posts Tagged ‘tea’

Recently Ozzy Osbourne has made some headlines in relation to tea. First he was featured in the Brisk Tea animated commercials and now everybody wants to know what he thinks about tea. Coming from England Ozzy loves his cup of tea and always enjoys a cup before going on to the stage. It is refreshing to see that tea starts to win some ground outside being an afternoon tea for grannies and elite.

Ozzy misses tea while writing autographs.

Photo by Kevin Burkett

All dressed up for the tea party.

All these beautiful ladies took part into BAFTA’s Award Season Tea Party 2011. This tea party is the real thing not one of those politically inclined groups that ruin the good reputation of tea.

This tea party has a long tradition of recognizing the filmmaking talent on both sides of the big water. BAFTA being originally a British association – I think this is a wonderful way to throw a party.

I have been mulling the plan of importing some blooming teas – or flowering teas if you prefer – because they have been in short supply here in Finland. Similarly various tools and pots that can be used to steep tea have been non-existent. It seemed like a good niche to position oneself – make a little webshop and sell to the small but growing market of tea educated Finns.

Forsman Tea finally introduced more variety to their product slate. They now offer blooming teas or flowering teas as well as all kinds of tea steeping related items.

DARK CLOUDS GATHER OVER THE TEA TREE FIELDS (Please excuse me that long and winding subtitle – I have no idea why I wrote it) Now there is an obstacle on our way to becoming tea entrepreneurs and that obstacle is called Forsman Tea Company.

It is a small tea company in international terms but a HUGE LEVIATHAN OF A COMPANY IN FINLAND. It is bit like Microsoft used to be. They can sniper any budding competition in Finland by introducing specific products with cheap price to match new market entries and developments.

What should we do? Any ideas?

Global warming troubles tea farmers. Traditional tea cultivation areas are facing climate changes that influence the rainfall and temperature. Changes in average rainfalls and temperatures mean that once ideal conditions for example Assam tea cannot be found in the same elevation as before.

Gloom and doom over a tea farm.

Photo by Jakob Montrasio


A tea farm that has been founded maybe one hundred years ago is now facing deep trouble. Farms have been using lot of money into investments that boost the tea production and into land purchases. Now these traditional tea farms find that their location is not so ideal anymore.


The quantitiy of the harvested tea has dropped slightly because the changed weather but this is not a catastrophical change because the drop in production is usually compensated by the increase in the prices. The world has learned to drink tea in huge mugs and that has meant increased consuption. This is the reason why the low production quantity is not so pressing issue for a tea grower.


Here comes the trouble. Tea enthusiasts around the world have come to value specific tastes and tea blends and to get those special aromaone needs standard quality teas. Standard quality tea can only be grown in steady conditions. which are now qreatly affected by changing weather patterns stirred by the global warming phenomenon.

Imagine that you grow Assam tea and you have a long supply contract with some big tea company. That tea company supplies tea to the breakfast table of millions of people. Think what effect it would have if consumer would find their favourite tea tasting like – well – something else. Tea drinker would find another brand that suits her taste buds better.

So, my review was a long time coming as my wife so eloquently put it in the previous article – Tea Emperor’s own review post will come soon after mine.

MAKERS OF THE TEA Small tea plantation in Japan under private ownership. Can tea get any more real? Not much!

INSTRUCTIONS Instruction manuals (and asking the way if lost) are for women and engineers. They are helpful if one has no idea about the topic, but useless if one doesn’t know how to read. Luckily I can read and I am rather new to tea. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I drink several big mugs of the damn thing every day, but ceremony and gong fu are far beyond the reach of my skills. Good thing that they include all the necessary guides on their website too, check them here.

COVER LETTER They had included a very comforting cover letter, which told about the teas in question. Sample bags were stabled on to the paper so it was impossible to mix them up and therefore accidentally review a wrong product. Simple and effective not to mention beautiful.

THE TEA Now you know that supportive items were fine, but how about the tea itself?

1st steep for half a minute Refreshing and light taste with sweet aftertaste. Just my kind of a cup of tea that’s what this is, but then again I am from Finland and the strongest spice that we use here is black pepper. We like our food mild and vodka strong and cold. We drink coffee here tea, however, is a drink for old women… Anyway I liked my first cup.

2nd steep for about ten seconds Much stronger and pit over the top for me. I liked the aftertaste though and had high hopes for the third steep. 3rd steep for half a minute again This one already had lost its luster and was easily downed as a refreshing drink. 4th steep for one minute

Frustratingly bland and got quickly thrown away, but the left over green tea salad was fantastic!

Actress Jodie Foster was spotted on a bubble tea break. As you can see, the answer is celebrity association. Now, the Taiwanese bubble milk tea has it made because it is tasty, sweet, possibly vegetarian, non-fattening, soft, milky and chewy – a perfect drink and cake combined. Has anyone else seen a celebrity trotting around with one of these cups?


Taiwan’s authorities, namely Control Yuan, claim that some local tea brands are laced with imported leaves and sold under the name of Taiwanese tea, which hurts the interests of consumers.

Tea farm on the beautiful island of Taiwan. Photo by Harry Huang.


Controlling body points out that sellers can blend local tea with imported tea, but tea sellers should clearly indicate the ration of imported tea and local tea. To me this sounds like the complains of the Indian Tea Board that encouraged their tea plantations to grow orthodox specialty tea. The underlying motivator seems to be protectionism.


Taiwan imports around 25,000 tons of tea every year, 74 percent of which comes from Vietnam. The imported tea ends up blended with local tea and sold as a Taiwanese product, this is unreasonable and hurts the interests of consumers.Although Taiwan imports 19,000 tons of tea from Vietnam every year, one cannot find tea labeled as Vietnamese on the local market.


Tea Board of India has asked north-eastern states to focus more on orthodox specialty tea aimed solely at the international markets instead of the bulk “crush, tear and curl” tea, which they are mostly producing at present.

A well-managed tea plantation in India on a scenic area by the railway with steam locomotives.


Tea Board has the idea that the states should follow the Sikkim model while maintaining quality close to that of the Darjeeling crop. In essence it would mean that India would be able to produce larger quantity of high quality teas, which in turn would fetch higher price on international tea markets. This is important, because of the strengthening international trend of tea consumption bodes lucrative markets for high-end teas.


Sir Thomas Lipton is behind all that fuzz, which today surrounds tea that comes from Sri Lanka, and there’s an interesting story behind it.

A photo of Sir Thomas Lipton. It is difficult to see the man from behind that bush of a mustache, but unfortunately it is part of the style of Mr. Lipton. Must have been a fashionable style back then.


Mr. Lipton was a successful retailer and you can read more about the person at Wikipedia. He started with one grocery shop in 1871 and – eventually – was able to expand into a chain of about 400 shops with the help of aggressive advertising and low pricing. Year 1888 he decided to expand into tea and already the following year his organisation sold 4 million lbs of tea. A year later the amount had grown to 6 million lbs. Tea quickly became the most important sales article in his chain of grocery stores and transformed his business.


In 1890 he traveled to Australia and on that trip he made a short stop at the island of Ceylon. One thing you need to know about Mr. Lipton is that he was all for cutting the middleman and selling directly to the consumers. This is the reason why he wasn’t entirely happy to buy tea only at London’s tea auctions. Anyway, let’s get back to the Ceylon.

Those days there had been similar financial crisis as we have now, so the asking price for tea plantations was right, and he ended up buying several tea plantations. His acquisitions tallied only up to 15% of total tea production on Ceylon, but his marketing engine took care of the image and everybody from Britain to the States thought that Mr. Lipton owns the whole island. Even today we think tea when we see the word Lipton.

I wrote about how Sri Lanka wants to benefit from their internationally recognized brand of Ceylon tea. Like most things in life this is not without contradiction. You see, Sri Lanka Tea Exporters Association would like to have the right to import more tea to the island for blending and other processes that add value. Obviously


The other party would like to create a strong brand for Ceylon tea so that local tea plantations would have plenty of demand for their products. A big part of this brand is that the Ceylon tea is cultivated locally on the island and is not diluted with imported tea.

Check out some SALES for the new store! Currently orders will be verified manually by email