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Coffee and Tea Reports from the Front Lines

First World Tea Festival In Russia

Russia - From September 2002 until May 2003, the 1st World Tea Festival will take place in Moscow. A number of tea-related events, will be held as part of this global occasion in order to promote the beverage.

“We believe that a global event connected with tea and the cultural traditions of various nations will draw worldwide attention to the cultural, historical, health-improving, aesthetic and economic value of tea,” said Vladimir Volkov, the Festival’s director of international programs.

There will be a host of opportunities for tea boards, tea companies, confectionary and allied manufacturers to participate. The festival will begin with a number of ships forming a “Tea Regatta” on the Moscow River. A “Town of Tea Civilizations” - pavilions in the style of main tea producing and tea consuming countries will be built in Gorky Park. Each pavilion will present national teas, traditions, cultures, etc. There will be 10 pavilions (China, Japan, India, Sri-Lanka, Kenya, England, Russia etc.). A non-stop Gala-Show will be presented featuring the tea and traditions of “tea civilizations” through participation of dance and folklore groups during the two final days of the festival. Finally, a “Teacup of Peace” will take place under the leadership of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia and will be an opportunity for diplomats and leaders to discuss any, even delicate matters with interested parties in free and easy atmosphere, and for tea producers supply their teas for this event.

A Tea Fair in Gorky Park with specially equipped tents for tea-tasting and tea selling for the public as well as industry members, an international tea conference and an international scientific conference dealing with tea and health, will also be held for the bulk of the show.

For information on attending the show, see our Calendar page.

U.S. Coffee Consumption Increases
United States - At its 91st annual convention the National Coffee Association (NCA) reported on the growth in the U.S. coffee market based on initial results from its 2002 National Coffee Drinking Trends.

In 2002, 77% of U.S. adults over 18 years of age drink coffee on a daily or occasional basis, representing 161 million people, reported Michelle Eichhorn, associate research director at Kraft Foods’ Coffee Division, who presented topline data from the survey at the convention. This represents an increase of 1.8 million new daily drinkers over 2001, and a larger increase of 10.2 million weekly drinkers over 2001.

Consumption is up as well as the number of drinkers, commented Robert Nelson, president and c.e.o. of NCA. “Despite the downturn in the economy,” said Nelson, “more than half the adult population is consuming coffee every day (52%), and now number 108.7 million daily drinkers”.

Another 25% of the adult population, or 52 million people, chose to drink coffee on an occasional basis. “Overall consumption has increased as a result of these new daily and weekly drinkers,” he added, “leading to a record level of 18.285 million bags (132 pounds per bag) of roasted coffee in 2001, a figure not seen in the U.S. for a decade.”

Highlighted in this year’s results was the extent to which the general public are embracing coffee as a social beverage. Nelson said, “This year’s survey demonstrates the long-term success of the gourmet coffee sector, for it has secured the gains it has made during the past five years, when consumption of gourmet coffee beverages increased from 7 million daily drinkers in 2002.”

The gourmet coffee sector, added Michelle Eichhorn of Kraft Foods, has helped maintain overall market penetration by bringing in younger consumers. Another special aspect of this age group is their tendency to drink coffee during the afternoon and evening hours, outside the beverage’s traditional breakfast period.

The survey is based on telephone interviews with 2,950 people 18 years and older, the sample being a representative sample of the adult population of the continental U.S. Conducted by the NCA since 1950, the 50-page survey details consumption data about coffee and coffee beverages.

Those interested on purchasing copies of the survey can do so by contacting the NCA at:(1) (212) 766-4007.

Tea Exports Up in India
India - Exports of tea from India rose almost 6% to 41.3 million kg during the first quarter of FY ‘02 down nearly 6% at Rs 338 crore ($69 m), the official, who did not want to be identified, said.

“Exports in March ‘02 were 19 m kg compared with 13.8 kg in March ‘01,” he said. Tea exports have been hit by fierce competition from Indonesia. Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and lower demand from traditional buyers such as Russia and Britain. But production in the first two months of the year has declined. India produced 33.1 m kg tea in January and February, down 10.5 percent from 37 m kg in the corresponding period last year, the offical said.

Brazil to Store Excess Coffee
Brazil - Coffee Growers will have $287.5 million to store up to 8 million 60 kilo sacks of coffee, approved by the National Monitary Council (CMN). The resources are from the Fund for the Defense of the Coffee Economy (FunCafé) and will be for voluntary storage by the producers of Arabica and Robusta coffees. “The measure is necessary because of the super harvest this year,” said Agriculture minister Marcus Vinícius Pratini de Moraes.

The price of coffee is the lowest in 10 years. This year Brazil will harvest 40 million sacks. The financing will have 9.5% annual interest, with an 18 month storage period extendabe for a similar period. Representatives of the Brazilian National Confederation of Agriculture and Livestock (CAN) had asked the minister for $450 million to store 10 million sacks. Still, Joao Roberto Pulit, president of the FunCafé committee of the CAN, thought the announcement positive because the minister assumed the obligation to seek more funds, if necessary.

In addition, $792 millions worth of research funding was announced coordinated by the Campinas Agroeconomic Institution (IAC), to identify the genetic map of coffee. The objective is to improve quality and productivity. According to the agricultural engineer Carlos Augusto Colombo, coordinator of the Coffee Genome project, the program is unprecedented. “Coffee has complex characteristics and we don’t know exactly what guarantees its good quality.”

Tea & Coffee - August/September, 2002
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