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Coffee and Tea Reports from the Front Lines

Research Suggests Tea May Decrease Ovarian Cancer

U.S. - Women who consume two or more cups of tea daily, over a period of time, may lower their risk of ovarian cancer by 46% compared with women who never or seldom consume tea, according to new research published in the December issue of Archives of Internal Medicine. The study found that each additional cup of tea consumed per day was associated with an 18% lower risk of ovarian cancer in study participants. This is the most comprehensive epidemiological study to show an association between higher consumption of tea and lowered risk of ovarian cancer.

“This research calls attention, once again, to the potential role that tea may play in disease prevention,” says Joe Simrany, president of the Tea Council of the U.S.A. “An abundance of research suggests that tea may play a role in the reduction of risk of cardiovascular disease and various types of cancer. These new findings suggest that drinking tea regularly may help to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer as well. This is good news and points to yet another area where tea may have a positive effect on health.”

The study, conducted by researchers at the National Institute of Environmental medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden, examined the association between tea consumption and risk of ovarian cancer in 61,057 women 40 to 76 years of age who were participants in the population-based Swedish Mammography Cohort. Participants completed a validated 67-item food frequency questionnaire at enrollment between 1987 and 1990 and were followed for cancer incidence through December 2004. At baseline, 68% of the participants reported drinking tea (primarily black tea) at least once per month. During 15.1 years of follow-up, 301 women were diagnosed as having epithelial ovarian cancer. The researchers found tea consumption of two or more cups of tea per day was significantly inversely associated with risk of ovarian cancer.

Brazilian Coffee Farmers Celebrate Competition Win

Brazil - A select group of Brazilian coffee farmers are still celebrating their win at the most recent Cup of Excellence awards ceremony held in Pocos de Caldas on November 18, 2005. Only 36 coffees won the prestigious award out of over 550 that were entered. These coffees had been judged at least five times by different juries and had come out on top in every cupping.

A 32 member, international jury from over 12 different countries gathered in Pocos de Caldas to judge the semi-final winners during the last phase of the competition process. During the final top 10 ranking, the obvious first place coffee was described as being, “extremely sweet, almost like bing cherry or tropical fruit sweetness with round, complex, brightness and a smooth body.” Brazil’s finest coffees have been treasured historically for their sweet, soft acidity. Known for years as coffee that was especially suitable for espresso, many of the Brazil winning coffees are now loved by coffee connoisseurs as single origin drip coffee.

At the end of the ceremony over half of the final awards had been given to the ecstatic growers from the Carman de Minas region. The timing of the yearly rains in this region had enhanced the coffee so much that the number one winner received the highest score ever awarded in a Cup of Excellence competition. Francisco Isidora Dias Pereira, the young winning farmer, was smothered in the congratulatory arms of family members, and regional friends as he accepted his award.

This valuable coffee and all of the other winning Cup of Excellence coffees will be sold to the highest bidders during an international Internet auction held after the holidays on January 10, 2006, with the proceeds going to the winning farmers.

Tazo Tea Joins Ethical Tea Partnership

U.S. - Tazo Tea has become a member of the Ethical Tea Partnership, the non-commercial alliance of major tea packing companies working together for a responsible and ethical tea supply chain.

“We are pleased to join this organization which monitors conditions on tea estates that participate in the program,” said Steven Smith, founder of Tazo. He added, “It does this to ensure that living and working conditions for the workers comply with the relevant laws and union agreements in their respective countries. By joining the Ethical Tea Partnership, we along with the other members, pledge to buy teas only from estates which are monitored under the ETP programme.”

Dr. Gavin Bailey, executive director of the ETP, said: “We are delighted to welcome Tazo on board. They strengthen our international membership and bring a fresh perspective as supplier to a major high street outlet. With Tazo Tea, the Ethical Tea Partnership now has 18 member companies, which collectively cover more than 600 estates across seven countries where our monitoring programme is active.”

The Ethical Tea Partnership is a non-commercial alliance of major tea packing companies working together to promote social responsibility in the world tea trade and ensure the ethical sourcing of tea. It is funded by its membership, which together, invests more than £1.5 million per annum in its work.

First Official Estimate Brazil 2006/07 Crop

Brazil - The Ministry of Agriculture released their first estimate of the 2006/07 coffee crop and final estimate for the 2005/06 crop.

The estimates were made by 238 agronomists and technicians employed by CONAB, The National Supply Company.

Weather conditions and rain distribution were favorable during the growing cycle of flowering to bud formation in the states of Sao Paulo, Espirito Santo, Bahia and Parana. In these areas the flowering was considered good to excellent. In Minas Gerais, the largest producing state, conditions were favorable for a good flowering in the Cerrado and Zona da Mata zones, but in South Minas climatic alterations during September/October resulted in an irregular flowering. Cold rains followed by drought and above normal high temperatures caused an aborting of the flowers and a drying of the maturing buds. In November, conditions normalized giving two more flowerings but will create an irregular development of the cherries with defects and a general loss of quality.

CONAB reported a reduction of 3% in total hectares planted in comparison with the 2005/06 crop. The largest drop of 30.5% was observed in Sao Paulo where growers switched or rented land to sugar cane producers. On the other hand, plantings of Conilon (Robusta) coffees increased in Espirito Santo (2.6%), Rondonia (1.4%) and Bahia (0.9%). Although the number of hectares planted was reduced, the Brazil coffee park increased by 0.8% to 5.365 billion trees. This is due to the modern method of planting more trees per hectare.

The final estimate for the 2005/06 crop at 32.944 million bags was reduced by 1.15% from their third estimate of 33.328 million bags released in August. This was due to a verification of milling yields during the course of the crop.

The first estimate for the 2006/07 crop at a maximum of 43.581 million bags calculates Arabica production at 33.532 million bags (76.9%) and Robusta production at 10.049 million bags (23.1%).

Minas Gerais is the largest producing state with an estimated maximum production of 22.095 million bags representing 65.9% of Arabica production. Espirito Santo is the largest producer of Robusta coffees with 6.850 million bags representing 68.2% of Robusta production.

The survey estimates the average yield per hectare for the 2006/07 crop at 19.53 bags of 60 kilos. This compares with the final productivity yield for the 2005/06 crop at 14.86 bags.

The CONAB maximum estimate at 43.581 million bags is just about in line with the estimated yearly Brazilian offtake of 44 million bags, 28 million bags of exports (green and soluble) plus 16 million bags of domestic consumption which is growing at a higher rate than average world consumption.

Brazil Roasters Aim For National Market Share

Brazil - Brazil coffee roaster, Santa Clara and Café Tres Coracoes have formed a joint venture to contest leadership of the coveted Brazilian consuming market now held by Sara Lee Cafes do Brazil.

Santa Clara Industria de Alimentos, a family-owned firm located in Forteleza, Ceara, has four factories in North Brazil and is the dominant roaster in the area with several brand names. Tres Coracoes owned by the Israeli multinational food firm Strauss Elite with operations located in Belo Horizante, Minas Gerais is the leading roaster of the State and enjoys a large share of the market in the surrounding States of Central and Eastern Brazil. The two companies will divide control of the holding company, Santa Clara Participacoes with Pieter Polhuijs of Santa Clara as president of the board of directors and Pedro Lima of Tres Coracoes as president of the new company.

Sara Lee, the American multinational coffee firm first entered the Brazilian market in the 1990’s and now enjoys about 20% of total consumption estimated in 2005 to be 15.5 million bags.

The joint share of the new firm, Santa Clara Participacoes, is estimated to reach about 10% of the Brazil market.

The objectives of the joint venture as stated by Pieter Polhuijs are to transform Café Tres Coracoes into a national brand, invest in new factories including soluble, enlarge their network of distribution and, “fight for market leadership.” - by Harry Jones

Tea & Coffee - January/February, 2006

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