Sip of Success Contest Winner Taylor Caldron Shares his Learnings about the Tea Business in Kenya, Sri Lanka and U.S.
New York, NY. August 8, 2011. Twenty-two-year-old Masters student Taylor Caldron is “steeped” in new knowledge and insights about tea and the tea industry, thanks to his once-in-a-lifetime internship in Sri Lanka, Kenya and the U.S. this summer, sponsored by the Tea Council of the USA.
Taylor’s creative video on the health benefits of tea was the winning entry in the Tea Council’s Sip of Success internship contest. The contest was designed to give a young entrepreneur a leg-up in the tea business by providing first-hand educational and cultural experiences on the tea estates of some of the world’s most iconic tea producers. As the youngest student at the University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and the Environment, Taylor is eager to apply his learnings to his study of sustainable business and a future career in the tea business.
Click here for Taylor’s Sip of Success winning video.
Taylor recognizes the significance of this opportunity and is eager to apply his new knowledge to his studies, “The skills and information I gained from this trip will be indispensable. Learning to adapt to new cultures on-the-fly and about complex tea industry processes will put me one step ahead in the tea industry. Seeing the entire process first-hand has given me an appreciation and understanding of tea that I could never have gotten otherwise.”
Sri Lanka. Taylor’s journey began in the beautiful tea growing area of Sri Lanka in early July, where he visited many regions from the low altitudes of the southern coast to the staggering heights of the central highlands. He drove through mountain ranges covered with tea estates, visiting various factories along the way. Taylor learned that the combination of the incredibly steep hills with the longstanding tradition of careful tea processing, has given Ceylon black tea the quality reputation it deserves.
Kenya. The trip continued in Kenya where Taylor learned how the industry is embracing new technologies and working to expand its market. He saw every step of the process - from the tea seedling nurseries, to making flavored blends, to packaging and shipping the final product. His journey took him through the cities of Nairobi and Mombasa, along with the calm, natural beauty of the Kericho and Meru areas. At the factories he watched tea tasters explain the quality of the green leaf, temperature of the tea dryer and even the moisture content of the final product, all with a single sip!
“Purple Tea”. With a focus on health and high-volume black tea production, Taylor learned that Kenyan tea producers are currently excited about a new development - "purple tea." This is a different variety of the tea plant that has been selectively bred to maximize anthocyanin content, the ingredient that makes red wine healthy.
White Tea. Although the vast majority of teas coming from these countries are black, Taylor also learned about the process of making white tea. A different variety of the tea plant with purple-tinged leaves is used. Just the tip is picked off and left to dry; no other processing is required.
According to Joe Simrany, president of the Tea Association of the USA, “Our members are delighted that we could offer this unique, life-changing experience to such a deserving student of tea. Taylor is knowledgeable and passionate about all things tea and he personifies where the industry is going…which is to create awareness of the extensive health benefits of tea and passion for its delicious taste among a new generation of consumers.”
“Further,” Simrany explained, “Tea is the most consumed beverage in the world next to water and its health benefits are proven. The tea business in the U.S. has grown from $1.84 billion a year in 1990 to $7.77 billion in 2010. With the lifestyle and consumption trends firmly established in the marketplace, it’s clear that the future for tea in the United States looks very hot!”
Taylor is currently completing his internship in New York City, under the tutelage of global tea entrepreneur Tracy Stern of SalonTEA, and with venerable Harney & Sons, where he will learn the retail and wholesale ends of the tea business, as well as the art of blending teas.
ABOUT THE TEA COUNCIL OF THE USA:
The Tea Council of the USA is a non-profit association that was formed in 1950 as a joint partnership between tea packers, importers and allied industries within the United States, and the major tea producing countries. It functions as the educational arm of the tea industry with a primary goal of increasing overall awareness of tea by providing information about its many positive attributes. One of the Council’s primary objectives is the dissemination of key scientific findings about tea to the public. The Tea Council does this in several ways including: funding scientific meetings to bring tea researchers from around the world together to share key information and identify next steps for future research projects; and working with health organizations and international scientists to disseminate information about potential positive health effects of tea consumption on a public level. Additional efforts of the Tea Council include outreach to the health professional community, support and monitoring of key scientific meetings internationally, and ongoing interaction with leading tea researchers.