Several articles in this special issue deal with a common theme - family. We travel around the world, visiting family-owned companies in the U.S., Ireland, Colombia and Spain. Over the years, all of these families have played a major role in the tea and coffee industry as it exists today.
Correspondent Reg Butler visits Barry’s Tea and Lyons in Ireland and reveals the adoration and attention lavished upon tea and coffee products by these families. It is through each generation that the company expands, product-wise - but mostly, service-wise. Attention to the consumer is always pursued and fulfilled. Barry’s helped introduce Kenyan tea to the consumer. Dennis Aylmer has devoted 40 years to Lyons and has watched the company and tea-drinking products evolve through the decades.
Jane Pettigrew writes about the Bigelow family and how son, David, daughter-in-law, Eunice, and grandchildren are continuing the tea legacy Ruth Bigelow started in 1945. David Bigelow remembers when the company’s first employees were his mother and father and a local boy who came to work for them after school every day. David walked deliveries of tea to customers like Bloomingdale’s. She also highlights the Henry P. Thomson Co., run by a New Jersey family whose third-generation continues to attend to the needs of the tea packers.
In Spain, second-generation owner Diana Casado supplies tea products and encourages consumption throughout this coffee-drinking nation. She tells us how her innovations included introducing flavored tea into the Spanish coffee bar scene.
Luis Sempner writes about the largest NGO in the coffee industry - the Colombian Federation’s Coffee Committees, which are in charge of helping hundreds of communities deal with weather and crop disasters, rebuilding farms, wet mills and infrastructure, and addressing other special needs. We follow Luis Alfonso Serna on a three-hour journey to the scheduled bimonthly meetings so he can make sure that the needs of his fellow farmers in the region are addressed. “They are all my family,” he tells the Tea & Coffee Trade Journal.
Never in any industry have I seen such family devotion. We should all be proud of each other and what the tea and coffee industry has achieved over the years. These are rocky times for some but we have accomplished a lot. Families make us strong…families help us survive.
Editor & Co-Publisher