CHESTER, UK – European Speciality Tea Association (ESTA) is pleased to announce its formal support of an agreement between the International Trade Centre (ITC) and East African Tea Trade Association (EATTA) in a project to explore the feasibility of establishing a regular market connection service promoting direct trade with global buyers of specialty teas.
The platform will serve not only as a means for transactions of specialty teas, but also as a means for seller/buyer discovery and long-term relationship establishment; and promoting East African specialty teas to international markets. This ITC-EATTA initiative is under the auspices of the European Union (EU) funded) East African Community’s (EAC) Market Access Upgrade Program (MARKUP).
Joyce Maina, ESTA Director, is coordinating the Quality side of the project as Lead Judge. The first part of the process, the Competition, has already started with Joyce developing a categorisation system as well as training regional and international jury panel in its application to select the best teas. This will be followed by a pilot run, the intention of which is to test the concept, absorb and analyse the process and results, and to subsequently build a longer-term and more frequently held online marketplace.
The second component is Market Place. In the coffee industry, online private auctions have been building in popularity and frequency over a number of years. For more than 20 years, the Alliance for Coffee Excellence “Cup of Excellence” competition and auction has been promoting and encouraging high quality coffees sold at premium prices in transparent price setting mechanism and creating direct buyer/seller relationship that endure over a long term and building prestige for participants, both buyers and sellers.
The project will use similar online system to a send the teas to market, thus providing such a platform for East Africa teas to be promoted to buyers anywhere in the world, aiming for producers to find new buyers, realise competitive prices and to encourage a culture of production and trade of high-quality specialty teas as an alternative to CTC.
Joyce Maina describes specialty teas as being “… premium and luxury quality artisan teas of extraordinary aroma, taste, appearance and terroir; but more than that, the speciality tea movement encompasses the philosophy, deep love and inspiration that creates an elevated experience throughout the tea journey from crop nurturing and harvest to cup preparation and enjoyment.
Speciality teas include all types made from the tea plant (White, Yellow, Green, Oolong, Black, Purple and Dark teas) as well as botanicals, fruit and herbal infusions. What makes the offering special is that it is grown and made, selected and crafted, presented and served with a high degree of quality, expertise, passion and care.”
For this competition and marketplace, the teas regarded as speciality will be from across the East African region.
Joyce says ‘This is a breakthrough partnership between EATTA and ITC which will potentially change the nature of speciality tea trading, and it is so important that ESTA is supporting us in this initiative. We look forward to the first online sale coming up later this year. If you are a speciality tea hunter or buyer you will not want to miss it! Come and discover the best of African tea, and make a difference in a speciality farmer’s livelihood”
David Veal, Executive Director of ESTA adds ‘As an association dedicated to promoting speciality tea and inspiring excellence in the speciality tea community we are so pleased to be a part of this initiative, its importance cannot be over-estimated. On a personal level, having witnessed at first hand the success of this model during my coffee career I have been lobbying for this for the last three years so I congratulate EATTA and ITC for their foresight and innovation’.
Results of the first online sale will be announced later in the year.
European Speciality Tea Association
European Speciality Tea Association is an inclusive organisation whose mission is to create and inspire excellence in the speciality tea community through innovation, research, education and communication.
With members from over 28 countries representing all parts of the tea supply chain from producers to tea baristas, European Speciality Tea Association is helping to generate a vibrant speciality tea community across the world and is dedicated to promoting great quality tea in all of its forms to create a new sensory excitement amongst tea drinkers. You can join by contacting us at the email address above.