Tea-ing Up Trends for The Future

By: Marion Chan, Trend Spotter Consulting

Marketing to Millennials using just the key marketing principles of price, product, promotion and placement, also known as the four P’s, just doesn’t cut it any more.  Ensuring these four principles are well received is only the tip of the iceberg.  All consumer trends today stimulate one of the four new principles:  exclusivity, engagement, experience and emotion which is arguably the key element in any consumer marketing strategy. It is particularly crucial for commodity based products that are ubiquitous, in varying qualities and formats, to understand and ensure these four new marketing principles are included in their strategies.  This can become the basis of differentiation of one black tea bag from another.

tea minimalism

The only way to do this will be to know your consumer.  Knowing your consumer isn’t just about their gender, age and household demographics.  It’s the things that will make them happy?  Or make them cry?  What do they they aspire to?  Their hopes and dreams.  If you can tap into these emotional areas, you will create an image either for the category or a brand that will have people coming back for more.


In Tea-ing up Trends for the Future, I will touch on some high level areas that will provide you with some insight into the trends that will set the stage for further discussions.  The first step will be to understand what the four E’s are and why they are important. The second step will be to learn about the relevant trends that are associated with them and how they relate to tea.  Finally, and most importantly, what actions can the tea industry, as a collective, take away to be able to resonate with consumers, particularly the Millennials, that will lead to overall category growth.

Join me at the North American Tea Conference, September 20-22 to learn more about how you can work together as an industry to make the trends work for you.

Marion Chan PicMarion Chan is one of Canada’s leaders in watching consumer trends and analyzing the relevance of those trends to brands and retailing. She can tell you what’s happening and why it’s happening, but more importantly how it can impact your business and why you should care. Marion provides you with context so that you understand the real marketing challenge and can make the best, most informed decisions about how to marshal your resources.

Education Update: International Expansion of TAC Tea Sommelier® Program

Exciting news! The TAC Tea Sommelier® Certification Program will be offered in Italy starting fall 2016!

The Tea Association of Canada and Italy’s Protea Tea Association unveiled a Strategic Partnership to deploy the recognized TAC Tea Sommelier® Certification Program in Italy for both professionals and consumers!

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“Today’s announcement with Protea is a solid step in our journey to expand the TAC TEA SOMMELIER® Program internationally, giving us strong local capabilities for the first time in Europe. Protea is the perfect partner to help us fully realize the international expansion strategy in Europe in the long term.”

– Louise Roberge, President, Tea Association of Canada

Criteria for the Sustainability Awards Has Been Released!

The Tea Association of Canada and The Tea Association of the USA are delighted to introduce the first Annual Sustainability Awards for the tea sector.  These Awards are in recognition of all the hard work being put forth globally across the tea industry to further the goals of sustainability.


Purpose of the Sustainability Awards

The purpose of these new awards is to:

  • Celebrate good work
  • Bring such work to the attention of the tea industry more widely
  • Encourage others to replicate good practice

We want to recognize the holistic efforts of companies in addition to specific projects. We want to celebrate companies and projects that are helping accelerate tea towards becoming a crop that not only delivers a delicious cup of tea, but also does so in a way that is socially just and has a positive impact on the environment.

Award Categories

For this inaugural year, we are inviting entries in the following two categories

  1. Best Social initiative of the year. This will award an initiative designed to advance social sustainability within the tea sector. The initiative can be focused on social conditions such as empowering women, improving the quality of life, and increasing diversity.
  2. Best Environmental initiative of the year. This will award an initiative designed to advance environmental sustainability within the tea sector. It recognises a company that advocates environmental benefits that may include reduced carbon emissions, waste or pollution, protecting biodiversity and ecosystems.

 For full criteria and how to take part in the Sustainability Awards, click here

Special thanks to our sponsors!

The Tea Association of Canada would like to take this opportunity to thank the generous sponsors for their continuous support throughout the planning of this conference.

Our partnerships with our sponsors are vital to the success of the Annual North American Conference and we highly appreciate their commitment to making this the most memorable tea event of the year.

Sponsors June 15



Higgins & Burke (Mother Parker’s Tea & Coffee Inc)



Harris Tea Company

Van Rees Inc

Martin Bauer Group

Universal Commodities Tea Trading, Inc

Tea Importers, Inc.

Bigelow Tea Company

Henry P. Thomson, Inc

Dr Pepper Snapple Group


Spire Tea

Caraway Tea Company

American Instants, Inc

Vitex Packaging Group

Satisfy Your Thirst with Tea

Did you know that after water, tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world? Staying well hydrated is so important to good health since losing as little as 1 to 2% of body weight from fluids can impair physical performance and our ability to think.[1] If you are like most people, about 80% of your total fluid intake comes from drinking water and other beverages.[2] Tea is 99.5% water and it counts towards your daily fluid intake. Tea is known for its many health benefits, so drinking tea is also good for you! Read on about how to satisfy your thirst with tea! [#TeaForYourHealth]
Easy Tea From A Teabag Versus Quality Brew

Healthy Hydration Benefits[3]

Your body is made up of nearly two-thirds water so it is really important that you get enough fluids throughout the day to stay hydrated.  Remember ‘fluid’ includes water and additional drinks that give you water such as tea and other beverages. You also get water from the foods you eat. On average most people get about 80% of their fluid intake form drinking water and other beverages, and the other 20% from foods.2

Be sure to get enough fluids to be at your best in these important areas of health and wellness:3

  • “Physical performance – under relatively mild levels of dehydration, individuals engaging in rigorous physical activity will experience decrements in performance related to reduced endurance, increased fatigue
  • Cognitive performance – dehydration changes some cognitive functions such as your ability to concentrate, alertness and short-term memory
  • Gut health – fluids can aid in digestion
  • Skin – the skin contains approximately 30% water, which contributes to plumpness, elasticity, and resiliency

How much fluid do you need a day? [4]

Your body loses water when you’re breathing, sweating and getting rid of waste. If you lose more fluid than what you drink and eat, your body can get dehydrated and you may feel tired, get headaches and not perform at your best. NOTE:  You can become dehydrated even before you feel it. That is why it’s important to drink fluids regularly, even before you feel thirsty. So you may be wondering how much fluid you need. Your fluid needs are influenced by a number of factors including your age, gender activity level and the weather! (Hot and humid weather can increase your fluid needs.) Healthy adults should consume between 9 and 12 cups of fluids every day. Here are general guidelines for fluid intake to keep your body hydrated.4 Remember fluids include water, tea and other beverages:

  • Aim for 3 L (12 cups) fluids for men 19 years old and over each day
  • Aim for 2.2 L (9 cups) of fluids for women 19 years old and over each day.

Daily Healthy Beverage Guidelines[5]

Beverages make up an important part of nutrition for Canadians. Men and women aged 19 to 30 obtain around 20% of their daily calories from beverages.[6]  The Daily Healthy Beverage Guidelines, published in the March 2006 issue of the Journal of American Clinical Nutrition, can help you make smart choices about the types of beverages you consume. The guide looks at the relative health and nutritional benefits and risks of various types of beverages. Under the guidelines, unsweetened tea is second only to water as a beverage choice and people can drink up to eight cups of tea a day as part of a healthy diet.5

Use the "Download" link below to learn more!

Use the “Download” link below to see more!

Download: Daily Beverage Guideline 2-Page Flyer (PDF)

Cool Drinks for Hot Days

On hot summer days what’s more refreshing than grabbing a cool drink? Enjoy hydrating with iced tea! Canada’s Food Guide suggests you satisfy your thirst with water as a great-tasting calorie-free way to help you stay hydrated. This is especially important in hot weather or when you are active.[7] Since tea is 99.5 % water, it can count towards your fluid intake for the day – plus it tastes great! Next to water, tea is the most consumed beverage in the world, which should be no surprise to Canadians – they drink almost 10 billion cups of tea each year![8]

Refreshing Iced Tea Recipe

Brewed Iced tea tips:

  1. Brew your favourite tea with hot water concentrated as usual
  2. Pour it over ice filled glasses and enjoy
  3. For extra flavour add a slice of your favorite fruit, such as lemon, lime, orange, or even peaches
What’s your favourite brewed iced tea flavour?

What’s your favourite brewed iced tea flavour?

Here’s to your good health!


[1] Liebermann HR. Hydration and Cognition: A critical Review and Recommendations for Future Research. J Am Coll Nutr 2007;26:555S-61S.

[2] The Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes: Water, Potassium, Sodium, Chloride and Sulfate. Washington DC: National Academy Press, 2004.

[3] Barry M. Popkin, Kristen E. D’Anci, and Irwin H. Rosenberg, Water, Hydration and Health, Nutr Rev. 2010 Aug; 68(8): 439–458.

[4] Dietitians of Canada, Guidelines for Drinking fluids to Stay Hydrated, Nof 27, 2014 http://www.dietitians.ca/Your-Health/Nutrition-A-Z/Water/Why-is-water-so-important-for-my-body-Know-when.aspx

[5] Popkin BM1, Armstrong LE, Bray GM, Caballero B, Frei B, Willett WC., A new proposed guidance system for beverage consumption in the United States., Am J Clin Nutr. 2006 Mar;83(3):529-42.

[6] Garriguet D. Beverage Consumption of Canadian Adults. Statistics Canada Health Reports, November 2008.

[7]  Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Minister of Health Canada. Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide, 2007.

[8]  Tea Association of Canada, Canadian Tea Fact Sheet & Trends 2014 :  www.tea.ca

Announcement: North American Sustainability Awards


In recognition of all the hard work being put forth, globally, across the tea industry, we are announcing the inaugural year of our annual North American Sustainability Awards. These will be held at this year’s North American Tea Conference, Fall for Tea (September 20-22 in Niagara Falls).

Awards will be handed out in two categories:

  • Best Social Initiative
  • Best Environmental Initiative

Submissions can be made from all aspects of the industry: growers, importers, packers, etc. More information on how to make a submission, to come.


What is good for the heart is good for the brain

In May we celebrate Mother’s Day and honour special women in our lives. In your family, as in mine, tea may have been traditionally part of many treasured times with mothers and grandmothers. Although thousands of years old, tea is experiencing a renaissance of sorts, as scientists continue to find evidence of tea’s healthfulness. Studies conducted with both black and green tea have yielded exciting results suggesting that natural compounds in tea called flavonoids may help to maintain good health.

There is an important distinction to make however, between herbal tea and tea. Oolong, white, green and black are considered “true teas,” as their leaves come from the actual tea plant camellia sinensis, an evergreen shrub native to Asia. Rooibos and herbal teas do not contain leaves from the tea plant but are infusions of other plants, spices or fruit. Since Herbal teas are not derived from the Camellia sinensis plant, tea experts refer to them as a “tisane.”

We already know that tea is good for the heart, and healthy blood flow is also important for the brain. Our expert, University of Toronto’s scientist Dr. Carol Greenwood connects these by saying “What is good for the heart is also good for the brain.” There is a unique aspect of tea and health research that also supports brain health and cognition.

Connection of heart and brain. Vector icon of heart and brain sy

Here are some of the studies from recent scientific findings:

  • A recent human study examined the effect of the unique tea amino acid L-theanine (-glutamylethylamide) on attention related task performance. Task performance was measured by electroencephalographic (EEG), or the measurement of electrical activity produced by the brain as recorded from electrodes placed on the scalp. The results suggest L-theanine plays a role in attentional processing in synergy with caffeine. [1]
  • A published randomized human clinical trial found that subjects given a daily supplement with green tea extract and L-theanine extracted from tea experienced improvements in mild cognitive impairments (MCI). In a test of attention and self-reported measure of alertness, subjects consumed two cups of tea (100 mg caffeine and 46 mg L-theanine) versus a placebo beverage. Results indicated that accuracy on the Attention Switching task was improved after tea as compared to the placebo, as well as performance on two of the four subtasks from the Intersensory Attention task. [2]
  • Caffeine and L-theanine in tea may offer cognitive benefits and improve mental clarity and work performance. A cross-sectional study showed that participants who consumed more tea felt less tired and reported higher levels of subjective work performance.[3]

beautiful young woman having tea with grandmother or mother

In celebration of mothers and all the special women in your life, host a tea party, maybe even outside!  There are so many varieties and flavours to choose from. Did you know there is a difference between brewing black and green teas? For black tea use boiling water and steep 3-5 min, for green tea use hot water and steep only 2-3 min. Different types of teas should be brewed at different temperatures for different lengths of time. Here are some tips to help to get you started:

Steeping Instructions

Tea Type Preparation
White 80°C / 185°F (Steep 2-5 min)
Green 80°C / 185°F (Steep 1-3 min)
Oolong 80°C / 185°F (Steep 2-3 min)
Black 100°C / 212°F (Steep 4 min)
Herbal 100°C / 212°F (Steep 3-6 min)

How to Brew the Best Cup of Tea

  • Start with fresh-drawn cold water and bring to a rolling boil and let sit to temperature suggested above
  • Warm the teapot
  • Use one teaspoonful of loose tea or one teabag per cup (6 oz. about 175 mL or ¾ cup) of water
  • When the water is at the correct temperature, take the kettle to the warmed teapot and pour over the tea
  • Cover and let steep for times suggested above
  • Strain tea or remove the teabags. Enjoy!

For more information visit the Tea Types & Steeping Instructions page.

[1]  Kelly SP, Gomez-Ramirez M, Montesi JL, Foxe JJ. L-Theanine and caffeine in combination affect human cognition as evidenced by oscillatory alpha-band activity and attention task performance. J Nutr 2008;138:1572S–7S.

[2]  De Bruin EA, Rowson MJ, Van Buren L, Rycroft, JA, Owen GN. Black tea improves attention and self-reported alertness. 2011. Appetite, 56: 235-240.

[3] Bryan J, Tuckey, M, Einöther S.J.L. et al. The relationship between tea and other beverage consumption, work performance and mood. Appetite, 2012. 58 (1), 339–346.