Two weeks ago, part one of an SF roundtable on tea I lead went up on World Tea News. Today, part two is going up. It gets more into depth about the national and international economy and tea with top tea professionals in the Bay area, and even touches on the idea of growing artisanal tea near SF. Excerpt:
WTN: How have national and international sales changed since the economic downturn began?
Portman: We were growing strong through February and March. Our clients (for the ML premium tea line) are restaurants, cruise ships and hotels throughout the world, so we’re seeing reduced volume in our current clients, but we’re picking up more clients. Our retail growth has been very strong nationally and internationally because people are looking for sensory ways to enjoy themselves at home instead of going out. We are striving for strong two-digit growth this year. Tea is going to continue to have higher demand to counter all this tremendous fear and stress over the next year, plus as a result of what’s around us.
Zheng: I don’t feel a major impact. Some customers have reduced orders somewhat compared to last year, not because they’re selling less, but because they are reducing their inventory to have more cash on hand. I think the tea industry will only see moderate downturn.
Fong: My order numbers are up, but the order sizes are smaller. Things aren’t so bad that people are ready to go back to lower grades of tea. We have this very exceptional Dragonwell once a year. We sold 14 pounds at $600 a pound. We still sold out in three weeks and have a waiting list. If you do your job right, people will look for the easy comfort of tea.
You can read more on tea in the Bay area on World Tea News. I'll be off until after Christmas. I hope you all have a fantastic holiday season and enjoy your tea!!!