Team Herald PANJIM: One of the country`s exporters of tea, Madhu Jayanti Intl Ltd has launched an exclusive TE-A-ME flavor station at Taj Vivanta as they make a determined move to garner a share of the market in the State. This is part of a strategy to be part of a domestic tea bag market which is expected to grow into a Rs 1000-1200 crore category in the next 5-7 years. Launched in 2014, this brand of tea is available in 20 different varieties in the country, each having a unique and gustative appeal, said Sunil Parikh, India head, TE-A-ME Teas. The brand, he said, aims to connect with the economy plus segment or the health conscious youth and has already spread across 13 cities in the country and is present in most of the top retail stores. This is a deter-mined move by the 70 year old company which earns 85% of its income from the export market. The Rs 500 crore company has over 100 flavors which it exports to the world. For India, it has 20 flavors which it hopes will make its mark in a fast growing market. The company intends to have similar stands around Goa in the Taj chain depending on the response at this out-let. The company hopes its success in the international market will be replicated in the country. Sunil said the company commenced its exports in 1988 with just two countries and it now extended its reach to 42 countries with around 100 different varieties. Russia, the second largest tea drinking country, is its major market followed by Europe, Australia, Middle East and very recently it has reached South African countries where it claims growth in the double digits.
If you are cold, tea will worm you, If you are heated, it will cool you, If you are depressed, it will cheer you If you are excited, it will calm you -William Gallstone Tea is the most popular beverage in the world, second only to water. With India being one of the largest exporters and one of the largest consumers of the beverage as well, it was about time that we celebrated tea in all its various moods and avatars. TE-A-ME teas are part of the Madhu Jayanti International limited, which are one of the leading exporters of tea in India for over the past 7 decades. Ina bid to revamp the image of tea as a `lifestyle drink` as well as to appeal to the aspirational and young population of India, TE-A-ME has launched 20 flavours of the brew, which include spiced teas for the Indian palate like the masala or ginger tea, to the much in demand green teas such as honey lemon green or the Kashmir inspired Kahwa. Their range also includes flower and leaf infusions such as apple mint, peppermint and tulsi. With such a wide variety to choose from, India head, TE-A-ME teas, Sunil Parikh is positive that no matter What your mood or preference is, they would have a tea flavour especially suited to your needs. Tea connoisseur Ravi Kidwai from Kolkata who has almost 40 years of experience tasting teas shared his knowledge and enthusiasm for the elixir of his choice. While brewing some exotic flavours of tea such as the mango and the blueberry, Kidwai shared interesting anecdotes on the popularity of tea across different nations. He spoke of a man who owns a tea tasting room in Prague who has dedicated kettles to brew each different type of tea, and he says the secret lies in never washing the pot, so that the flavours form a tea patina which underlines and accentuates the flavour of the brewed tea. He spoke of the different grades of tea and of how a tea taster helps differentiate a good tea from a great one by years of experience and what he called the `palate memory`. He felt that the ubiquitous and popular roadside tea stalls in India had been instrumental in positioning tea as a `poor man`s` drink, and that the addition of milk and sugar overshadows the finer nuances of the tea and thus reducing it to a `tasteless stew`. He was quick to caution against the rising trend of positioning green tea and other teas as `health drinks`. "Tea is to be savoured and enjoyed for its taste and by labelling it as medicinal or a health drink we are pushing tea into a place where I don`t think tea wants to be. Tea does not aspire to be a medication." His personi-fication of his favourite drink showed his love for his craft. When asked which tea was his favourite he said the `Darjeeling tea` which he shares a fond bond with for over 4 decades. Tea popularity is slowly on the rise; it is now not only used as a drink, but also as an added flavour to hookahs and to smoke meats while barbequing. And in popular reality food show, tea was even used to make an earl grey inspired dessert by the winning participant. Speaking about the popularity of coffee shops across India, Parikh pointed out that it was the smell of roasting coffee beans that was used to draw in the crowds; however tea too is not to be left behind in its powers to draw people. He shared the experience of TE-A-ME preparing a special blueberry flavoured tea for a baker that was used to enhance the experience of his clients while they savoured the blueberry muffins at his bakery. The great news is that now Goans too can take on this sensorial tour of different smells, flavours and tastes of the to TE-A-ME teas at the cafe in Vivanta by Taj Panaji, which is to launch the TE-A-ME flavour station.
TE-A-ME recently launched a unique mobile teacart, which it calls a `flavour station`, at Taj Vivanta in Panaji. The proponents of the brand believe that its unique flavours in tea bags will be a huge hit among young Indian consumers. The Goan spoke to Sunil Parikh, India head, TE-A-ME Teas about the growing popularity of the tea bag segment and the company`s future plans Q: Could you tell us why have you chosen Goa for launching your first flavour station in India? Sunil Parikh: Well, one of the reasons is definitely that a lot of tourists come to Goa and then our concept is we make people have our tea so that they realise its quality. Plus, I have to say that we found a great partner in Taj Vivanta in Panaji. Partnering with Taj gives a lot of credibility to our brand. Q: How is this flavour station going to operate at Taj Vivanta? SP: The flavour station will be either stationary or mobile in a tea room, café or a restaurant of the hotel. It`s a composite station that has a built-in inverter with an induction plate that allows for serving the flavour of choice live to guests. We have 20 flavours in India, which we will offer at this flavour station as well. Q: What do you have to say about people in Goa in terms of their preference for tea? SP: For us, Goa, in that sense, is a relatively newer market. But, I believe with the variety of tea flavours we have, we should be able to offer something for all kinds of palate. Besides, a lot of foreign tourists also come to Goa, who like consuming tea. Russians come to Goa in huge numbers and they drink a lot of tea. Q: Since you mentioned flavours, could you shed some light on TE-A-ME`s various flavours? SP: We have split our tea flavours broadly into two groups. One is blacks, which is more traditional tea. In this, we have flavours like Assam, Early Grey, Darjeeling and English Breakfast. Then, we have greens and we realized that a lot of people don`t like the taste of plain green tea as it`s a tasteless product. The Indian palate wants flavour and taste. So, our experts in blending worked on creating flavours of green tea with mint, and also with lemon & honey. We have a wonderful Kashmiri Kahwa, which is green tea with Indian spices, and consists of natural ingredients. Then, we also have infusions, which are served in tea bags, but they aren`t tea. Within infusions, we have flavours like apple cinnamon, cranberry apple and chamomile infusion. Q: The tea market is rather stagnant in India growing at just 2-3 per cent per annum. Don`t you think it will be difficult for an upcoming brand like TE-A-ME as the market itself isn`t really growing at a high rate? SP: When we talk about tea market in India, we mostly refer to the bulk packet tea and that is growing at the rate you mentioned. But, the tea bag segment is growing at 5o per cent plus rate annually for last 3-4 years, and TE-A-ME is present in the tea bag segment. The total tea market in India is upwards of Rs.30,000 crore but that includes loose tea, bulk packaged tea, tea bags, etc. Tea bag is a newer concept in India. It is a Rs.500-600 crore market in India, all brands put together. As consumers are getting busier, the tea bag is becoming the format of convenience for them. And, a bulk of this tea bag segment is led by green tea. The younger generation out there wants a quick cup of tea. Besides, a tea bag gives a consistent taste with every cup of tea. Q: So, are you only present in the tea bag segment in India? SP: Yes, we are, as of now, only in tea-bag segment in India. Over a period of time, we would definitely look at the packaged bulk tea segment, but we will always stay with our company ethos of offering unique, flavourful value-added products for the young Indian population. Q: How do you position yourself in terms of pricing in the tea bag segment? Other brands like Twinings are quite expensive for an average Indian consumer. SP: I`d say that we are in the economy plus segment in India in terms of price. We don`t want to be only an affluent segment product. We are a tea drinking nation and tea originated here, so our products are relatively more affordable. We are proud to be a made-in-India brand. We are not a multinational brand. In fact, we have made our brands and launched them in the international market. We don`t have tea estates. We buy tea from all over the world as that allows us to select the right kind of tea, which will eventually suit the palate of our customers. We buy tea from India, Kenya, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Zimbabwe and many other countries. Q: You are targeting young consumers, but they love having coffee these days. SP: I have a different opinion there. It`s not really the coffee they love, but rather the format and the place where coffee is served. To my mind, it is the lifestyle which comes along with having coffee in a café, which is making coffee very popular. We are a tea drinking nation. We should have chai cafes. I am not saying young population doesn`t like coffee, but it is really selling coffee through cafes which has resulted in a sudden growth. Tea is also beginning to gain popularity among young people with brands like us making efforts. Q: There is a huge lack of awareness in the tea market. People have their own perceptions. What can companies like you do to tackle this? SP: You are right. There is a lack of awareness in this market. We are making efforts to deal with it. Unfortunately, on ground, India is a very fragmented market and the cost of reaching out to such a vast spread-out population is very high. But, we think over a period of time it can be handled by our initiatives like wet-sampling, wherein we make people have our teas at sampling kiosks and flavour station. We believe that when they taste our product, they will realize the difference.
Officials from Madhu Jayanti, a Kolkata based tea company recently visited Goa to launch TE-A-ME flavour station. In a brief interview Sunil Parikh, India sales head for TE-A-ME talks on range of issues. Tea is for the young drinkers and companies needs to enhance the experience of drinking tea, he says to Shoma Patnaik Q: Tea is the traditional beverage of India and drunk everywhere but what is the future of it since gen next has a big thing going for coffee? I would say that more than liking coffee generation next likes the ambience that coffee is drunk in. They love the smart outlets and ambience of chilling out with friends in cafes. The tea industry has to be smart about what present generation wants and present itself in a better way. We need to enhance the experience of drinking tea by giving huge variety to customers. Coffee is not a threat to tea and both beverages can co-exist is my opinion. Q: What is the structure of the tea Industry in India and what are the growth areas of the future? The Indian tea market is plus Rs 30,000 crore annually in size. It includes loose tea served out of bins, the bulk packaged teas, the tea bags. It is a very fragmented market and the cost of reaching out to different geographies is difficult and very expensive for a company. The bulk packaged tea segment is growing at two-three per cent annually. But what is showing increase is the tea bag segment that is growing by 50 per cent each year. Q: That is a big increase. What is the driving growth in this segment? Because as consumers are getting busier with their lives tea bag is their format of consumption. Bulk of the tea bag segment growth is led by green tea. India is a young country and the population is getting younger than what it was previously. The younger generation has either no kids or less number of kids. They are working couples who want a convenient cup of tea. And the thing is that tea-bags give the consistent taste for each cup. There is no guessing whether it is made properly or whether it is kadak or weak. That could be another reason for the popularity of tea bags. Q: In what segment is your company in? Madhu Jayanti is a Rs 500 crore turnover company. About 85 per cent of our sales is from exports. In India we are in different segments. We are very strong regionally with Lal Pan brand in Karnataka and Saraswati brand in Maharashtra. TE-A-ME is in the tea-bag segment. Over a period of time we will definitely look at leaf teas or packaged tea but always value-added products for young population. We are in the economy plus segment and very clearly proud to be a Made in India, home grown brand. We are rot an international brand or brand from an international showroom. We have taken our brand and gone international. Q: How many tea estates does the company have? We do not have tea estates. We source our tea from estates all over the world. Because that benefits us to buy a variety and grades of tea. Kenya, Sri Lanka, S Africa, Zimbabwe are some of the countries where we buy from. We sell in retail shops, online portals, tea flavor stations. We are available in all format to be able to satisfy the needs of different kinds of customers. We are also present in Goa market where we retail from Magsons and other stores. Q: How do you plan to popularize tea? We do a lot of sampling to customers, either dry or wet sampling. The tea flavor station launched on Friday in Panaji is also another way to popularize tea. We have taken initiatives to break the myth that tea is a common drink. Madhu Jayanti international Limited with experience of over seven decades In sourcing, blending and packaging teas, today has the largest tea bag manufacturing capacity in India and Is amongst the top exporter of value added teas from India. Incorporated in 1950, It caters to the uniquely different tea palettes of over 42 consuming countries. Sales are 11,000 tons of tea per year which adds up to 10 million cups a day. The company turnover is Rs 500 crore annually. Madhu Jayanti operates its business under two models viz. company-owned brands and private labeling With offerings in packaged tea (loose/packet) and tea bags. it blends using real ingredients such as real spices, real fruit and flower pieces, sometimes with 100% natural Flavours, Instead of using artificial extracts and flavors and this continues to differenti-ate the brand on me quality front. The manufacturing and blending is car-ried out through its five state-of-the-art units in, India, Russia. Markets wherein It has a significant presence include Russia with mainland Europe, Australia, Middle-East and very recently West African countries where It is experiencing double digit growth in an otherwise flat tea economy. In Me private labeling business it supplies to aver 100 domestic and international brands several of Which are multinational chains like Cafe Coffee Day, Fresh & Honest (Barista Lavazza), Metro Cash &Carry and now moving on to Aditya Birla, Hyper City & Costa coffee.
TE-A-ME launches its first tea flavour station in Goa (Left to Right): Renowned tea taster Ravi Kidwai, India Head of TE-A-ME Teas Sunil Parikh and GM of Taj Vivanta Jaikant Shroff at the launch of flavour station. PANAJI TE-A-ME launched its first tea flavour station at Taj Vi-vanta in Panaji. Sunil Parikh, India head, TE-A-ME Teas, said, "This is the first such flavour station in India. It`s a mobile tea-cart, which will be kept at a restaurant or a café at Taj Vivanta and guests will be able to have a variety of teas depending upon their mood" Parikh informed that TE-A-ME has 17 variants of tea in Indian market and 3 more are in pipeline. Guests at Taj Vivanta will have such a variety to choose from when having tea. TE-A-ME belongs to Madhu Jayanti International, which is a leading tea company in India and in exports market as well.
Time for tea It was a tea lovers delight, Friday afternoon, as the TE-A-ME Flavour Station was launched at Vivanta by Tai, Panaji. In addition to learning more about the wonderful world of flavoured teas and infusions that compliment different moods from Ravi kidwai, Renowned Tea Taster, Specialist and Auctioneer, guests also got a chance to experiment from a whole range of teas on offer.