Has this old journal really been here that long? Yes…it came into being all those years ago, when a innovative and astute man decided that the coffee, sugar and spice trade needed their own publication. I never knew William H. Ukers - I only heard about him from James Quinn, who hired me way back in 1979…how time flies!
The early editions of the magazine were full of small ads from companies I had never heard of, but Quinn would reminisce and tell me stories about the great coffee companies and the men and women that made them. He regaled me with stories of the feuding Wechsler family and how Ace Israel saved the New York green coffee trade by not collecting on a costly arbitration case. He told me how Malcolm Shalders grandfather, Ernie, made sure that Lipton purchased tea from every tea company during wartime so everyone could earn a living .
I absorbed all these stories - and hungered for more. I was not disappointed. Within the last 20 years, I’ve seen the prices of coffee tumble and rise after frost, drought, drought, and more drought. Yet tea always seemed to stay the same - low. I’ve watched several top coffee and tea companies falter, and stars rise from humble beginnings.
I took the job as editor, figuring it would be a good experience and would get me out of my first low-paying editorial job. Five years later, Quinn laid the magazine to rest and a humbled Jane was out of work (but spending a summer in the sun). When Lockwood Publications was negotiating to purchase the Journal, they told Quinn: “An editor comes with the magazine - or else no deal.” Quinn told me it was up to me whether to continue the magazine. I jumped at the chance - I couldn’t wait to see the magazine revitalized. I was delighted to watch the publication come back with a vengeance, and soon topple our competitors, becoming the Number 1 publication for the trade. Today, we have too many competitors - but I still believe it’s good for the industry we support.
I’ve truly enjoyed working with the people of industry over the years. They feel like family. I used to joke that I’d been around so long that I got to meet the second spouses, but now I am to the point where I have watched their toddlers grow into fine tea and coffee business people as well.
The tea and coffee industries have been good to us and have allowed us to grow. Besides publishing our annual Ukers’ International Directory & Buyers’ Guide, we also publish Tea & Coffee Asia, our quarterly sister publication. We continue to host our Tea and Coffee World Cup Symposium & Exhibitions (a success in Amsterdam this year), and in 2002 we will hold our first ever Tea and Coffee World Cup Asia in Bangkok, Thailand. We also bring the voice of the industries to an expanded audience on our web site - www.teaandcoffee.net.
I know Mr. Ukers would be happy to see that the seed he sowed 100 years ago has come into full bloom. I’m so glad to have been a part of our history for the first century, and look forward to beginning our second. And most of all, I’d like to thank you, our readers and advertisers, for your support. In return, we promise to continue to serve you in the fashion in which the talented Mr. Ukers began.
Editor & Co-Publisher