Please pardon me for restating the obvious, but when people share common interests they have a tendency to gather together into groups to explore those interests. Tea people are no exception, mind you, and the same for those tea people that are in the business of producing and/or selling tea. Rather than being a comprehensive list of tea associations, what follows is merely a look at a few of the better known ones, as well as a few that are probably not so well-known.
As a resident of those good old United States of America, I guess I’d be remiss if I didn’t start at home. With the Tea Association of the USA, which also is affiliated with the Tea Council USA and the Specialty Tea Institute. As they say in their mission statement, they are “comprised of companies who are dedicated to the interests and growth of the U.S. tea industry. The Tea Association is the creative catalyst and vigorous voice of the industry in the pursuit of these goals.”
For a more regional take on this sort of thing there’s the Mid-Atlantic Tea Business Association, or MATBA. The group was founded in 2005 “to advance the knowledge of tea through networking and educational opportunities for the tea entrepreneur in our primary member states: Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.”
If you guessed that the enthusiastic tea drinkers and sellers in the United Kingdom had a tea association devoted furthering their interests you guessed right. That would be the UK Tea Council. Among their projects, The Tea Advisory Panel, which was “created to provide media with impartial information regarding the health benefits of tea,” and The Tea Guild, “a prestigious and unique organisation that represents and encourages those outlets who are dedicated to both brewing and serving tea.”
Of course, let’s not forget our neighbors to the north, in Canada. Like us Yanks, they don’t really drink or grow much tea, but as I’ll be exploring in an article in these pages soon, the premium tea industry in Canada is on the rise. Find out more about it with the Tea Association of Canada, an organization that has been doing their thing since 1954. As they say, they are “a not-for-profit association representing the entire tea industry in Canada from the bush to the cup.”
They do grow a lot of tea in India and are well into their second century of doing so. They also drink a fair amount of stuff and are generally credited with giving us the spicy black tea-based brew known as masala chai. Not surprisingly, there are various associations looking to promote the cause of Indian tea. At the national level there’s the Tea Board of India, which is more than a century old. At the regional level, the Darjeeling Tea Assocation promotes the interests of what is arguably one of the most famous tea-growing regions in the world.
What many people, even a lot of avid tea drinkers, is that Africa is a significant producer of the world’s tea. Much of it comes from the eastern region of the continent and industry people in many of the countries there have banded together to form the East African Tea Trade Association.
See more of William I. Lengeman’s articles here.
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