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The 5th Boseong World Tea Forum Strives to Promote Local Premium Teas.

Held in Gwangju, South Korea, 14-17 September, the 5th Boseong World Tea Forum aimed to bring locally-grown teas to the world tea stage. With around 200 exhibitors, the booths ranged from highly traditional Buddhist ways to state -of-the-art technology and modern packaging design.

The Republic of Korea produces just below 5,000 metric tonnes of tea, mainly for domestic consumption. This tonnage is shared out between more industrial teas from the island of Jeju at 40 percent and premium small estate teas from the South of the peninsula, the counties of Boseong and Hadong, at 60 percent, according to Professor Keun-Hyung Park, head of the Korean Tea Academy and chief tea judge. Owner of the Chunpa Tea Garden, a five hectare (ha) tea estate in Boseong, he is aware of the constraints weighing on the producers, and explained that the first spring harvest is usually picked by hand, for ultimate quality, whilst the second and third flush are harvested by mechanical tools.

Although treasuring the tea's deep roots in Buddhist traditions, there is keen awareness of the need for marketing to millennials and for more transparent communication, both for attracting young consumers and foreign buyers. This explains the close affiliation of the monastic world, with several monks actively involved in the tea market's business strategies, such as the Tea Venerable Yeo Yeon, who is part of the Tea Forum's Organizing Committee.

The Boseong tea gardens were granted a PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) in 2005 by the Korean Ministry of Agriculture and there is a pLan to have them all named, charted and localised, following the concept of the famous Darjeeling Tea Estates in India. Rating, ranking and award-giving is carried out regularly during the formal evaluation and tasting sessions that are scheduled at the various tea conventions and the awards are highly treasured by the estate owners. Pyeong Sik, also known as Charles Moon, owner of the Cheonbo tea garden, whose fragrant black teas have been reaping gold medals for the past several years, organized Boseong tea's first booth at the 2017 World Tea Expo in June in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Following the WTE, they all felt that bringing their teas to the outside world may be even more rewarding than inviting the foreign visitors to their country. Aware of the ever-growing coffee consumption by the young generation, and observing the same trends in Japan, the tea producers acknowledge the need for more proactive promotion. They also invest in RTD teas and plan to diversify strongly into tea and herbal blends, underlining the many established health benefits of such cups. Professor Mina Choo, CEO and driving force of the Boseong Tea Fair, has more projects focusing on the enhancement of the premium teas from Korea.

Next year's fair will take place in October 2018.

Caption: Judges at the 5th Boseong Tea Forum

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Title Annotation:NEW & NOTABLE
Comment:The 5th Boseong World Tea Forum Strives to Promote Local Premium Teas.(NEW & NOTABLE)
Author:Dufrene, Barbara
Publication:Tea & Coffee Trade Journal
Geographic Code:9SOUT
Date:Nov 1, 2017
Words:472
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