Announcing the Global Tea Tasters Club

August 5, 2011 — Kyoto, Japan — The International Tea Farms Alliance (ITFA), a new non-profit organization based in Kyoto Prefecture, Japan, is officially announcing today its Global Tea Tasters Club, a membership service in which members receive tea leaves directly from ITFA tea farmers in various regions six times per year.

Members of the Global Tea Tasters Club (GTT Club) can join for a fee of 20,000 yen (approx. US$250) per year or 1,900 yen (approx. US$24) per month (payment for the first two months are lumped together for 3,800 yen). Every shipment will feature a minimum of 150 grams of tea leaves cultivated by farms from a specific geographic region beginning with Japanese farms in August, Taiwanese farms in October, and Indonesian farms in December.
Correction: Originally, the above listed tea Indonesian farms in October and Taiwanese farms in December. Please accept our sincerest apologies for the mistake.

In addition to the tea leaves, members of the club will receive information about the tea farmers themselves as well as about the tea that is included with each shipment. The ITFA will also be working with farmers to provide short video greetings on its website, www.teafarms.org, available only for GTT Club members. Those GTT Club members who are not already registered members on ITFA will be automatically registered to the website.

The funds raised through this service will be utilized by the ITFA to both translate information about farmers (including farmer blogs) as well as educate farmers about consumers around the world. The aim of this effort is to bring tea lovers closer to the farmers by sending them samples of the tea leaves, and to bring farmers closer to tea lovers by providing market insight into consumer markets in different cultures and regions.

Benefits

  • Tea: Minimum of 150 grams of tea in each shipment (actual amount may vary)
  • Frequency: Shipment every even month (6 times per year)
  • Info on each tea farm and each tea including suggested steeping methods
  • Video Greetings: The ITFA will also be working with farmers to provide short video greetings available only for GTT Club members. Those GTT Club members who are not already registered members on ITFA will be automatically registered to the website
  • Supporting ITFA activities: Member subscription funds will be used to enhance understanding between tea farmers and tea lovers by translating and providing market insight

More information and sign-up to the Global Tea Tasters Club is available at
www.teafarms.org/globalteatasters. Photographs and inquiries can be directed to the ITFA’s PR agent and consultant, Ian Chun, at ian@mlatte.com.

About the International Tea Farms Alliance

The International Tea Farms Alliance was started by the farmers at Kyoto Obubu Tea Plantations, Akihiro “Akky” Kita and Yasuharu “Matsu” Matsumoto, with support from tea farmers in Japan, Indonesia, India, Hawaii, and Korea. The farmers officially launched the organization at this past June’s World Tea Expo in Las Vegas, North America’s largest tea industry trade show, with Japanese tea farmers at the official ITFA booth and farmers from Indonesia, India, Hawaii and Korea at their own separate booths. (Photos available.)

The primary objective of the organization is to bring producers (tea farmers) and consumers (tea lovers) closer together utilizing web technologies as well as in-person events, trade shows, and conferences. By increasing awareness of each other, the ITFA seeks to simultaneously support consumers by increasing transparency in the tea industry and enhance the value for tea farmers and their tea products.

The organization also seeks to raise interregional communication between tea farmers, and is planning a tea farmers conference in Kyoto, Japan, in March 2012. The ITFA believes that a lot can be learned by farmers as they share information about agricultural techniques as well as market knowledge, shipping logistics, regulations, etc.

In addition, the ITFA hopes that the availability of farm information will aid both smaller tea retailers looking for a direct supply source as well as larger distributors by creating brand value for the tea leaves sold. Currently, the ITFA itself does not operate as a distribution cooperative other than the service provided by the Global Tea Tasters Club.

For more information about the ITFA and ITFA farms, please visit www.teafarms.org. Photographs and inquiries can be directed to the ITFA’s PR agent and consultant, Ian Chun, at ian@mlatte.com.


Acknowledgements

The ITFA would like to thank the following organizations for their help and advice over the past few months as we set up our non-profit organization and service: World Tea Media, International Tea Cuppers Club, Japan Brand Project at the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Industry and Trade, and countless volunteers.


Questions

What if I register after the 2oth of a shipment month? Or on a non-shipment month such as September?

While we do not require you to purchase one entire year of membership, our guarantee is for 6 tea leaf shipments in each full year of membership. Of course, we hope that our relationship will be a long and continuing one, and we hope that you will take an active part in helping the ITFA grow to help farmers and consumers around the world.

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