STiR coffee and tea magazine

Volume 5, Number 4

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10 STiR coffee and tea / Issue 4, 2016 (August/September) Publisher/Founding Editor Glenn Anthony John Managing Editor Dan Bolton Art Director Somjet Thitasomboon Global Tea Report Jane Pettigrew Global Coffee Report Jenny Neill Contributing Writers Anne-Marie Hardie Sherri Johns (North America) Alf Kramer (Europe) Larry Luxner Sunalini Menon (India) Frank J. Miller Hans J. Niebergall Dan Shryock Kelly Stein (South America) Translations (Chinese) Helen Xu Fei Subscriptions Malisa Kongkatitum Sales Director Emerson Leonard Director, October Inter Co., Ltd. Boonthin Tubsongkroh STiR c/o October Inter Co. Ltd. Interchange 21 Bldg., 32nd Fl., Room 3225, 399 Sukhumvit Road, North Klong Toey, Wattana, Bangkok, 10110, Thailand Tel +66 2 660 3789 Fax +66 2 660 3881 Published by: A Member of: T From the Editor © 2016 October Multimedia Co. Ltd., STiR Tea & Coffee is published bi-monthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December by October Multimedia Co. Ltd. Printing and distribution overseen by October Inter Co., Ltd., Interchange 21 Bldg. Fl 32, Rm 3225, 399 Sukhumvit Road, North Klong Toey, Wattana, Bangkok, 10110 THAILAND. Tel +66 2 660 3789. E-mail: info@octo- All rights reserved. By-lined or initialed articles represent the opinion of the author. All articles published in STIR Coffee and Tea or www.stir-tea- are copyrighted. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording or any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission. Transformation ransformation takes time. Like an embryo in the egg there is a period of concealment and contemplation prior to hatch- ing plans that will transform past accomplishments into something new. The issue tells the story of pioneers like Hong Peng in China, who saw opportunity in the rocky terroir of Wuyuan where growers resisted government mandates imposed in 1949 that led to extensive use of pesticides, herbicides, and nitrogen fertilizer. Mr. Hong's tea company has prospered from teas produced by the Dazhangshan Organic Farmers Assocation which in 2001 became the first Fair Trade certified exporter in China to send EU and USDA certified organic teas to the west. His vision sees beyond profit: "we realized that a cooperative system of family farms was very similar to a fair trade model. It is not just about profit. There is democracy and transparency. They can decide as a group where [profit proceeds] can be used," said Hong. (See Jiangxi Wuyuan Dazhangshan Organic Food Co., pg. 16.) Edgard Bressani of Brazil is embarking on the challenge of a lifetime. An accomplished marketer, coffee entrepreneur and former v.p. of the Brazilian Specialty Coffee Association, Bressani and his partners dream one day of returning the most southern of Brazil's coffee growing regions into a strong- hold of specialty farms. There was a time when growers near the Tropic of Capricorn routinely won top prices for their Cup of Excellence awarded coffees. Bressani is determined to return these coffees to greatness at a time when Brazil is undergoing a dramatic change in climate across the great expanse of coffee farms in Minas Gerais. To retain its rank as the top coffee producer in the world Brazil must explore and cultivate new regions with lower temperatures at higher altitude and more reliable rainfall. His tool of transformation is long-term partnerships with small growers. "Partnerships have to be sustainable and always offer a win-win situation in order to last," he said. Perhaps the most striking example is Larry Luxner's revealing look at the re-emergence of Geor- gian tea in western markets. Luxner traveled to Georgia in June. (See Georgian Tea, pg. 64) Once the fourth largest producer of tea in the world, Georgia, a war-torn satellite among the rem- nants of Soviet Russia, is determined to once again cultivate high quality specialty teas for export. Georgia is situated along the shores of the Black Sea at the crossroads of Western Asian and Eastern Europe. Tea cultivation did not begin there until the 19th century but steadily improved under the direc- tion of a wealthy merchant allied with Chinese experts. In 1892 Konstantin Popov traveled to China to study large-scale production and returned from Guangdong with a team headed by Lao Junzhou. Mr. Lao experimented with cultivars and refined the processing of "Caucasian Tea" winning the gold medal at the 1900 Paris World Expo. Quality declined during the Soviet era and by the 1960s two-kilo bricks of tea, steamed and pressed from leaves har- vested by diesel-driven combines, were sold for about 60-cents to Mongolia, the only export market outside the USSR available to growers. "The industry was dead. But now we have a private company, and I have great hope that the industry will come back again," says Kakha Nachkebia at Nagomari tea plantation. See Georgian Tea, page 60 for an uplifting tale of how tea growers persisted in returning their teas to prominence despite purges, economic collapse and civil war. Hong Peng (in China) and Edgard Bressani (in Brazil) and Kakha Nachkebia (in Georgia) each tell a story of determination inspiring to all.

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