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Here, we have published articles related to tea and tea business, written by experts and by everyday tea users. This articles will give you an indepth insights on tea. These will help you take right decissions when you buy tea for your business or for your home use.
All tea businesses are started by the buyers after checking the sample.
Tea sample issued by tea gardens or wholesalers are two types.
One is Lot Samples and the other is Type Samples.
Every tea garden makes hundreds of kg tea everyday.
After sorting and packing, these are divided into small lots.
Every garden makes some predetermined quantity of tea may be 500 kg or six hundred kg or any other predetermined quantity. That is called one lot of production.
Or after sorting, when different grades are separated and prefixed quantity, may be 600 kg or 700 kg or any pre decided quantity is packed, we call it one lot.
When we give sample from such a lot, it is called Lot samples. If you like the sample and order for it; you get exactly the same tea which you had tested as samples.
You are assured of the quality and price.
But this is possible when garden is near to the buyer or courier service from garden to your city is quick or production of that tea garden is bit slow moving.
Generally tea gardens send such samples to all of their regular buyers and either request them to bid for it or offer the tea to them at a certain price.
You check the sample, accepted the quality and price. Then you inform the seller, follow the payment procedure and the seller sends the exact lot of tea that you had tested.
This is suitable and preferred when quality is utmost important. Say, you have got your own brand and you try to maintain and improve the quality.
Or When the seller tries to get higher price for his tea from the highest bidder of a large number of buyers.
Reputed gardens produce or sale in large quantity and have a wide range of buyers, spread over big geographical area like throughout the country. With strict quality control process and huge demand.
For such gardens it is nearly tough to keep a particular lot for a some time in stock. Because of their goodwill buyers are assured of quality. Such gardens are trusted so much by the buyers that often buyers book their product by paying advance even without physically checking the tea samples.
This type of gardens send samples on request from prospective buyers, often against a fee for courier charges.
When a buyer likes the taste and price of the sample, he orders for it. In turn the garden supplys the same or similar tea to the buyer depending on how quick the buyer ordered the tea and availability of the tea for whose samples were distributed.
The main advantage for the buyer is that he can check sample, do the market research for suitability of the tea in his area. When completely satisfied, he can order the tea. Unlike lot samples, this type of purchase are NOT required to rush through.
This method also help the buyer to get the fair price depending on the season and the quality of tea at the time of purchase. Say, if you are sitting in Mumbai and ordered the sample in a tea garden of Assam. In a normal time, you should get the sample within 6/7 days. Another 2/3 days for testing it. So after 10 days, you are in a position to buy the tea. But it may happen that by that time 2nd flush is over or some reasons, quality of latest has come down.
And you rightfully deserve some price cut down in the price.
This is possible only when you are given Type sample and not Lot samples.
Generally, Type sample giving gardens modify their prices as per quality and market demand of the tea. As a buyer, you always get this advantage.
Finally, if you are established near the tea garden belt, you may go for type sample. But tea is world wide business. Most of the time, buyers are established at 100s of kilometres away. For them Type sample is the best solution.
How To Cope With Tea Price Increase in 2020
Year 2020 has become a tough year for every industry, for entire world. This musically sounding year started with bright business signs and with more than high hopes.
First non availability of rain in March 2020 then Covid 19 attack and subsequent lock down of tea industry made 110 million kg of tea loss. That is approximately Rs 1200 crore loss.
This is a loss just at the beginning of the tea season.
This loss will go up further for tea industry. Agriculture is dependent on season. Tea needs rain and heat. It grows everyday. If a tea Planter can not pluck it at optimum growth than that shoot over grows. That is again loss of quantity and also quality. Covid 19 lock down compelled gardens to slash down this over grown leaf. But this low production and high demand have increased the prices to 50 to 100%. If we were selling tea at this time at Rs 160 in 2019, now we are selling at Rs 230 in 2020. Brokers are even ready to sell very low quality old tea in auctions, because buyers are opting for affordable price sacrificing quality.
So that was problem, now what are the solutions?
Only bright side of this bad situation is that if somehow you can buy some tea from auction or preferably from tea garden even at above than reasonable price, selling at a premium price wont be a problem.
But how a small or new wholesaler or an small brand owner survive in this high priced market. Two nice ways are there for you. Buy at a higher price and sell it at higher price. That way you do not sacrifice your quality and your loyal buyers stick to your brand.
But Covid 19 adversely effected other industries also. Crores of people has become unemployed or facing severe income crunch. They may not be able to buy your brand at a higher price. In that case they will opt for next cheaper brand.
In such situation, best option for you is to sacrifice your quality. Say if you were blending 50% good quality tea and 50% low quality tea, now depending on the price, make it 30% or less good quality tea and 70% or more low quality tea.
Only precaution you must take that look of the blend should look as farthest as possible your regular blend. Say if you are generally using blend of blackish BOP + brownish OF and blackish PD, better to maintain similar combination.
Your buyers are habituated with the look of your blend. So if they find it at least, similar, they will accept change of quality.
If possible, start giving some incentive to your buyers. For example if they buy more quantity then give them some gift. Always remember, if your buyers become habituated with your tea for a month or more, that brand becomes their best tea. Then they start buying your quality ignoring other brands.
Tea Business Prediction in 2020
New year of 2020 is already one month old. New Tea season is coming soon. Assam tea gardens are getting little bit of rains. Normal rain that we get in the month of January. From the trend of weather it seems, we may get little bit rain in February also. If trend continues, tea gardens will start little bit of production after 15th March.
It appears that tea market will be good this year. Already established wholesalers have started sending their inquiries and requirements. Our own survey also shows that there will be good domestic and international demands. If you are planning to start tea business in 2020, it will be good year for you also. Some of you are already in discussion with us and some are already taken necessary steps.
We will try to inform all of you a few things about tea business.
1. Tea quality is depended on rainfall among other things. If Assam tea gardens get sufficient rain in February and March in 2020 tea quality and quantity both will improve.
2. Better quality will increase the price but more quantity production will cut down the price.
3. Being a wholesaler or a would be wholesaler, both situations are same to you. If price is low, you will buy it at low price and add your profit and sell it. Again, if it is high, you will buy at higher price add your profit with the price and sell it. So finally in both situations you will make profit. Only difference is that, in one case you have to invest more money and in other case, investment will be low. But profits are same or similar in both cases.
4. For many years, many wholesalers have been buying first production of the gardens at whatever prices the gardens are demanding. That is a goodwill gesture on the part of buyers. They are doing it traditionally, event for 2/3 generations. You may or may not do it, it is not at all important.
5. Though many buyers offer higher price for first production, but first production is not generally very good quality. Tea gardens generally make good quality or even excellent quality from first week of April.
6. When quality is good price is also generally high. Though, price is influenced by many factors like demand and supply.
7. In the month of May, tea gardens get less rainfall hence quality comes down so are prices.
8. In June and July, Assam tea gardens get excellent rain, so tea quality significantly improves. All gardens generally make there best tea during June, July and August.
9. Always try to buy tea as much as possible in the month of April, June, July and August. If you mix 75% low quality tea of December with 25% tea of April or June or July or August, your tea will be cheaper as well as better in quality.
10. This above point might not be possible for you if you are starting tea business in this year. But you must buy stock for December, January, February and March in November without fail. After November, latest by 15th December quality significantly comes down.
Wish you a grand successful tea business in 2020.
Satya R Paul
Non tea items that can be blended with tea
Tea blending can be improved to an art. You can blend it for your family use or for your buyers. Different blends of tea can be prepared using loose tea leaves. To blend in different flavors you have to be imaginative and creative. Tea being one of the most common beverage and can be blended in many different ways using different flavors and ingredients.
Different flavors and additives
People try and add different additives to the tea leaves for better taste. Some common additives may include:-
Fruit juice and spices.
There are also natural ingredients that are added to your blend of tea. These may include:-
Tulsi, mulethi and ginger can also be added to the tea to make it herbal. Mint leaves can also be added to it for an exotic taste and aroma.
Cinnamon. And Many More depending on you buyers' taste.
Additives that are rich in natural oil are added to the tea as flavors. These offer the tea with spicy taste. It also holds its benefits of herbs along with flavor. Apart from this, mint leaves, sage and lemon grass are also added to the tea that offers it with natural punchy flavor.
In few blends people also add fruits like orange, apple and pine apple to offer it with fruity flavor.
Fruit extracts including Jasmine, hibiscus and rose petals are also added in few cultures to offer it with rich healing power. These act as best antioxidant property to the tea.
Blending that perfect tea for taste
When speaking of tea blending, there certainly are no fixed rules. Each cup of tea can be prepared as per your likes. Any additives can be added as per your taste and preference. When blending you can also experiment and discover your preferred flavor.
Preparation method (General Blend)
The main ingredient for preparing tea blend is all about selecting your best ingredients. All ingredients that you want to add to the tea can be selected individually and crushed to fine powder or paste.
If you prefer any unique flavor then you can add it to the crushed ingredients. The selection can be made on basis of rich aroma and taste.
You also need to keep in mind that selecting right quantity for each ingredient is important as per your taste.
Just add 5% to 10% of your prefered ingredients to tea leaves. The selection of ingeredient percentage has to be made depending on how strong or light your buyers' prefer it.
After thorough mixing of ingredients with the tea, next process is usual procedure of making a cup of tea.
You just need to keep in mind that tea is a beverage that can be prepared in many different ways. You have to select your particular taste and aroma when blending your cup of tea.
Which tea is better, Assam, Dooars or South Indian?
Over a lot of production years, every tea variety in the country has been able to create a name for it in the export market. But a healthy competition always remains in these tea varieties. One variety may be better than the other one as these are manufactured in different regions of the country. Each kind has its own specialty. While Assam tea is best known for its heavy sales volume and strong musky flavor, Dooars tea is known for its artificially created blackness, low price and low quality. South Indian tea is best known for its low price and low quality in comparison to Assam tea.
According to the Tea Board of India, tea quality is determined by various factors like aroma, color, strength, and characteristics of infused leaf. Tea quality is the factor which actually judges that which tea flavor is the best. Tea quality greatly depends on cultural and environmental factors. Climatic conditions like humidity, sunshine duration, temperature and rainfall also contribute to overall tea quality. The tea quality of Assam and South India varies a lot, not only because these are entirely different regions, but also the genetic properties of the core tea plants of both the regionsis entirely different.
The state of Assam is the tea home of the country. The climatic condition consist of heavy rainfall and humid summers.India's largest tea research center is situated in Assam. Assam is the only region in globe where tea plantation is done in plains. Assam tea is an ideal early morning tea as it has a rich, fulfilling and strong malty taste which imparts intense energy to a lazy and tired mind. Secondary Assam tea is also famous for their distinctive taste, high quality and low price in comparison of its high quality. Assam tea is popular not in India only, it is the most desired tea in this entire green planet.
The Dooars or Duarsregion is about 30 km wide and spreads over about 350 km from the Teesta River in West Bengal to the Dhanshiri River in Assam. Tea industry is the main industry of the Dooars region. Half of the people are engaged in the tea estates for their economy.
In Dooars, the Assamese tea plant was found to be more acceptable.
Dooarstea can be described as black, clear and bulky with good volumetric count. The first flush has a virgin flavor which is really fresh with good fragrance while the subsequent flush is comparatively more brisk. In very strong blends, this tea flavor can easily play a reducer role.
Tea from South India are quite different. Always low quality, low price and high productivity. There are different south Indian tea varieties depending on the regions where tea is grown. The most famous varieties are Nilgiri tea, Annamalais Tea, Wayanaad Tea, Karnataka Tea, Munnar TeaandTravancore Tea. Nilgiri tea is grown in Nilgiris mountain range. This tea has an exquisite flavor and fragrance. The tea from Annamallais mountain ranges generates golden saffron liquor in the cup which has a strong flavor. Annamalais tea is known to be the ideal early morning refresher. One must try all the flavors of south Indian teas to experience the taste of all places.
Different Options For Tea Business
Tea may be termed as the National Drink of India as maximum population of the country likes tea as a drink, whether its urban or rural population. India is one of the largest producers of tea in the whole world. Mostly the tea is produced in the regions of mainly in Assam, then in Dooars, Darjeeling, Nilgiri etc.
Various kinds of loose teas are popular in India as there are variations in tea blends according to the regions: -
Black tea is the most popular tea, which most of the people have grown up drinking. Entire India drinks it. It is one of the healthiest tea and over 80% business is done on Black Tea. Some Indian may be using Green Tea, but taste wise, price wise, popularity wise nothing comes even a mile near to Black Tea, particularly Assam Black tea.
This is a world-wide famous tea blend which itself has numerous variations like lemon, honey, cinnamon etc. Known for its anti-oxidant properties, this tea is a popular health drink in the country. People are eagerly putting green tea in their health schedule so that they can enjoy health benefits of this tea. But taste wise and price wise rather tough.
White tea is one of the purest and least processed of all the available tea flavors. White tea has a light in taste and in flavor and has natural sweetness. People love this flavor for its natural delicacy.
The most wanted tea blend in almost all parts of the country is Masala Chai. It is popular in almost all restaurant menus. It is the most famous beverage made by mixture of spices, cloves and cinnamon, making it one of the tastiest tea flavors. Masala Chai gives best taste from Assam tea.
Ginger tea, popularly known as “adraki chai” in northern parts of the country is quite tasty with ginger as the major ingredient. This tea flavor is sold in abundance at tea stalls. People love to sip ginger tea in winters and in other cold environments. It gives relief from cold, cough, headache and tiredness. Like Masala Tea, Ginger tea is also made with Assam tea to make tasty.
Kashmir has an entirely different tea style, also known as Noon or Salty Chai. This traditional tea is mostly cooked in a samovar. This tea is also known as pink tea. It is also served in other regions like Nepal and Rajasthan.
Butter Tea is a popular tea available in Himalayan ranges and mountains of Nepal and Bhutan. This is popularly known as Po cha in Tibetan regions and famous for itssalty flavor unlike sweet flavor of other tea variations.
Herbal tea is not at all tea. Unlike normal tea, it does not contain any leaves from the inherent Camellia Sinesys plant family. Just to popularise it easily they call it Herbal tea. Herbal tea is a kind of liquid which contains natural herbs which might have health benefits. It has further variations like Mate tea, Rooibos tea and Herbal infusions. Herbal infusions are one of the purest forms and consist of pure herbs and flowers. People can drink it hot or iced based on their choice.
Our country is a great place for tea lovers, even people from other countries agree to this fact. From perspective of a tea businessman, Black Assam Tea is best for its widest market and abundant supply in India.
Tea Packaging Options
Tea is drunk by everyone who can stand on their 2 legs, well almost. Thus, the market for the consumption of tea is global. India is no exception, and the very vast majority of its residents are tea lovers. The business of tea in India is thus extremely promising, as the potential target market is the entire Indian population. As such, good packaging of tea is of utmost importance. With a good and attractive packaging, you can immediately tempt the customer to buy your product, by catching their eye.
Different types of tea packets and pouches?
Tea packets and pouches are an essential part of how the tea is presented to the customer. Hence they need to be made very beautiful and appealing. Also, tea is delicate and needs to be handled with proper care and caution, so that its aroma and freshness are preserved.
Barrier bags are one of the best bags for tea leaves. They can protect the tea from a number of harmful elements. Their multi-layered and stratified protection ensures that the delicate leaves are protected from UV rays. Sun rays can be harmful for tea leaves, which is why bags are needed that are impervious to the sun light.
Foil pouches are useful for packaging of small quantities of tea. They can be used in hotels, offices, homes etc. These pouches can also be used for promotional offers. They can be easily carried in a small bag. They are better than ‘dip’ bags because foil is of better quality. It can resist a number of foreign particles.
Stand up pouches
These are ideal for tea as they are useful for retail shelving. They can be made of polyester, brown paper, white paper among a host of other things. For bulk packing, you may use following packing system.
This is another effective way of packaging tea. Pillow bags are one of the most customary ways of packaging used in the market. When the bag is packed with the product, it looks like a pillow. They can also be created with lamination and metallised lining to keep moisture out. They also have great resistance to pressure, so very less chance of getting torn or breakage.
They are among some of the more uncommon methods of packaging tea, but they are very effective nonetheless. They are made of Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE) resins. They allow you to package thicker or bulkier, larger items by having extra material on the sides or bottom that expand. It is a very useful method for packaging tea.
While all of them are very effective methods of packaging, the right design and visual appeal is necessary to appeal the customer aesthetically. The customer should be drawn towards the product by its visual appeal and wish to buy it and taste it. The customer should feel like it will add value.
How much monthly profit I can make from loose tea business in my city?
Tea enjoys a global audience, particularly Assam Tea and Darjeeling Tea. Indians are extremely fond of tea as well, and thus, tea is something we always look towards to. Introducing your own brand of loose tea to your city needs meticulous planning and effort, and can be done only after your tea brand is market ready, and poised to enthrall tea lovers.
Before starting, you must be prepared with an estimated monthly profit you can make.
What is loose tea?
This is tea that is found loose in retail shops and recently, through e-commerce websites. These are generally in 3 kg or higher quantity bags. It may or may not carry any particular brand name. Except the name of the producing gardens. They are available in loose form and in retail shops, they are displayed openly for you to see, smell and sometimes taste.
What is the scenario of loose teas in India?
Indians currently have higher disposable income. In a recent study by the Tea Board of India, it has been found that perceived quality and better storage options are making demand for packet tea in India go up. Close to 80 per cent of the households in urban India and around 75 per cent of the households in rural India have shifted to buying packet tea. With this current trend towards loose tea, loose tea options may be on the back foot.
Is there a particular area of India where loose tea is more favoured?
Southern and eastern India consume relatively lesser amounts of tea. It was found that tea consumption in India is skewed towards the northern and western parts of the country, with contribution from the northern states accounting for 32 per cent and 31 per cent from western region. Thus, the western and northern parts of India are conducive to loose tea business.
How much profit can I expect?
This will depend on the revenue generated by your loose tea brand. There will be fixed costs like office, go-down, rent and salary of your employees. There are variable costs like electricity charges, travel allowances etc. The revenue will depend on the amount of sales you manage to make.
If your marketing team is strong, and sales team is successful, the sales will be positively impacted.
The profit margin on loose tea depends on many factors. Some of them are:
the soil in where the crops are grown
the climate of the area
the leaves plucked for manufacturing
manufacturing processes adopted
demand for the tea manufactured
We find that Assam tea fulfills all round consumers' demands of every nice of tea buyers.
If the quality of tea is good, then the net margin would be between 10–20% with respect to the current scenario. If the tea quality is not good, you may not have customers and you will have to sell it at a rate which would not fetch you a healthy profit margin.
It is thus extremely important that you have a strong sales and marketing team, and you can properly brand your tea to provide value in the eyes of the customer. With respect to this, presence on social media and customer communication are indispensable.
Which types of loose tea is popular in India?
Tea is the most consumed drink after water, in the world. Tea being a plant native to East India, it is extremely popular in India as well. India and China together produce more than 60 % of the world’s tea. Due to the majority of Indians being tea lovers, many loose tea varieties are popular in India.
There are four main types of loose tea that are popular in India. All of them come from the same plant. The type they fall into depends on the form of processing they undergo, after being picked. Different teas can be classified as a type into any one of the following:
This is the most commonly produced tea. It consists of catechins and flavonoids, and has a sweet aroma. The sweet aroma is due to the process of oxidation.
It undergoes the less amount of processing among all the tea leaves. The liquor is refreshing, and is pale-green to yellowish in colour.
It is a semi-fermented tea. It can be considered as a cross between green and black tea. It also has the least amount of caffeine.
This type of tea goes through the least amount of processing. As such, it is considered to be a purer source of anti-oxidants than green tea.
A different classification of tea can be done with respect to their source of origin. They are:
Top of the list is Assam Tea. The tea from Assam is rich, full-bodied and dark coloured. It remains a favourite for tea connoisseurs all over the globe. Earlier Darjeeling tea was considerred world famous. But in 2018, Assam tea fetched Rs 40000 per kg in Guwahaty auction center. Its world record. In 2019 june, CTC BOP fetched Rs 600 per KG.
Renowned worldwide due to its unique taste, subtlety and rich tones, this is one of the most popular types of loose tea found in India. It is indigenous to Darjeeling, and the reason for its superior taste is yet unknown.
Dooars and Terai tea
This is grown in the foothills of the Himalayas in North Bengal. The Terai tea is slightly spicy, while the Dooars variety is usually black and light.
This is another variety of tea that is in great demand in loose form. It has a golden-yellow colour and leaves a creamy aftertaste in the mouth.
Although the south of India is famed for its coffee, the Annamalai, Wayanadand Nilgiri teas are exceptions. The Annamalai tea has floral notes, a deep golden colour and gives a strong flavour.
The Wayanad tea is an exceptional type of tea, providing a reddish colour. The liquor is light and quite mellow to savour.
Another tea type of southern India, this produces a golden yellow liquor with fruity undertones. It has been compared with dipping a biscuit in single malt whisky and enjoying it.
This tea is conspicuous with its reddish liquor, which has a faint yellowish streak.
The majority of the teas have been registered as geographical indications in India. For example, Darjeeling tea, Assam tea, Nilgiri tea among others.
Which tea is better, Assam, Dooars or South Indian?
A vast majority of Indians are tea lovers, and that is proved by the eclectic variety of teas available in India. There are more than 10 different types of tea, with respect to geographical locations, ranging from the north of India to the south and from the western fringes of the country to the east. Some of the most popular varieties are the Assam, Dooars and South Indian teas.
Although it is a subjective matter as to which one is better, we can provide a brief insight into each type of tea, so that prospective tea drinkers have a reference: The description below assumes that tea manufactured in ideal conditions and at least average to better quality in look and taste.
Assam tea is world famous tea, it is a type of black tea. It is has a strong colour with a malty taste, malty flavour, briskness, strong, bright colour. Its strong tea, so it can be blended easily with any low quality. Its strong so Assam tea is very popular breakfast drinks all over the world. The “Irish breakfast tea”, a famous variety of tea, contains Assam tea leaves. The tropical climate of Assam renders a rich, full-bodied malty taste, which accounts for a high level of loyalty among its drinkers. In a simplest sentance, Assam Tea Is The Best
The Dooars tea is indigenous to the Dooars region, in North Bengal, at the foothills of the Himalayas. It is a unique tea, in that it mixes the character of Assam tea with the mysterious sweetness and aroma of Darjeeling tea. The tea is bright and smooth, and is lighter than the Assam tea. The tea is usually black, light and has a fresh flavour to it.
South Indian tea
There are many varieties of south indian teas. Although known primarily for its coffee, south India provides a range of delectable teas.
The tea from this region has exceptional fragrance and taste. It is pale yellow to golden yellow in colour, and leaves a creamy aftertaste in the mouth. It is a type of green tea, and it is registered as a geographical indication under the Indian government.
The tea is bright golden to golden saffron in colour. It has a strong flavour and its taste contains floral undertones. It is ideal for consumption in the early morning after waking up.
This type of tea has a sweet fragrance and is characterised by an earthy reddish colour. It is light and has a unique mellow taste.
Teas from Karnataka produce a golden ochre liquor. They have a simple, balanced character and are medium toned. These teas are ideal for consumption many times a day.
The tea is golden yellow in colour, with a tinge of fruitiness. It has medium toned fragrance and has been described as equivalent to tasting a biscuit dipped in single malt.
The tea has a reddish body and a yellowish tinge. It is not full-bodied and is thus ideal for consumption between meals as well.
You have noticed that I have written many paragraphs on Assam tea due to its extra ordinary quality but could not go for other varieties despite born and brought up in South India.