UC Davis Tea Colloquium: From initiative to institute 

The 9th Annual Global Tea Colloquium at the University of California, Davis further marked, what began as an initiative, a programme that worked to bring tea and scholarly research together. That initiative has transformed into a full-fledged institute at UC Davis. On 25 January 2024, board members, featured speakers, and members of the global tea community gathered to focus on the year’s topic: Tea In a Changing World. 

Participants convened on the campus of UC Davis for a full-day schedule of speakers. Topics included a socio-cultural comparison of tea ceremonies from East Asian cultures. Dr Shuenn-Der Yu looked at the distinctiveness of the Taiwan Tea Art Ritual. Dr Richard Bruno of Ohio State University presented findings on the role of green tea for heart health and the promising research being done in that field. Lou Thoumann shared the history and cultural impact of yaupon on North American cultures and beyond. Yaupon was used among Native American cultures and is the only known caffeinated plant native to North America. Dr Richard Chalo Muoki of the Kenya Tea Research Institute showed the work of Kenya in developing new tea varieties that can better withstand the strains of climate extremes while producing healthy yields. 

The colloquium included a panel event of tea industry members Rona Tison (Ito En), Peter Goggi (Tea Association of the USA), Michael Ham (Wild Orchard) and me [Jason Walker, Firsd Tea], who shared our perspectives on the tea industry’s work in advancing sustainability on both global and domestic levels. And while the tea industry does have its challenges, the consensus of the panel was optimism about the future of tea and the industry’s ability to rise to the occasion. 

Between sessions, guests enjoyed sampling teas provided by sponsoring tea companies, and board members gathered to plan for the next year, which will mark the tenth anniversary. Dr Katherine Burnett, founding director of the Global Tea Institute, closed the day’s events with appreciation for the continued success of the colloquia and the contributors who make them possible. 

For more information about the Global Tea institute or the 10th Global Tea Colloquium, visit: globaltea.ucdavis.edu/. 

  • Jason Walker is marketing director of Firsd Tea North America. He may be reached at: [email protected].

Related content

Leave a reply

Tea & Coffee Trade Journal