Letter from Mr.Devan Shah
Tea, the most romantic of all beverages, has certainly come a long way in the United States. Just look at Chai – who would have thought that India’s everyday drink could ever become hip in the US? But just as “Slumdog Millionaire,” a movie about a chaiwalla from Mumbai, deserved every Oscar it won, Chai itself deserves an Oscar for driving the entire specialty tea market in the US over the past decade. Chai is helping America become a tea-consuming society.
Putting the final touches on this catalogue (just after we finished most of our work on The Tea Dictionary!), I felt joyfully emotional and tears ran down. I flashed back some 20 years to how I felt starting this business in the US hoping to sell single estate teas. At that time that it was hard to find teas to buy in smaller quantities of 2 to 5 pounds. I was so keen to establish a tea business I started ITI to cater to this market for small quantities.
These challenging times represent the first test for America’s tea business since our Tea Renaissance began in the early 1990’s. I strongly believe our Specialty Tea Industry will weather these rough times with comparatively little rattling and damage. Tea as a beverage has seen steady growth year over year for the last 15 years. As its market has expanded, tea has earned a reputation of being the beverage of choice of the informed: “Tea is a smarty’s drink.” Late last year I took the knowledge of the business that I have gained in the US back to India and opened the first Tea Kiosk in Mumbai, and a second kiosk at the Prestigious Phoenix Mills shopping center and others soon to follow. Present-day India also has a growing class of informed people who realize the world of teas extends far beyond their everyday CTC chai. ITI’s teas will help their numbers grow.
Dear friends, as long as I have been in this business I have always tried to support any activity that expands our circle of informed tea drinkers. Our businesses will continue to be successful as long as we all do our part in expanding this clan of ours. President Barack Obama also belongs-it should lift our spirits to know that the White House refrigerators are now stocked with bottles of ready-to-drink tea. Every effort he makes towards fixing our economy now seems to me likelier to be smart and successful. Let us add our efforts to his! To do our part in helping the economy and helping you, our valued customers, I am making this special offer:
Until the Dow Jones crosses 10,000 points, all orders that are pre-paid either with a check or credit card will receive a 10% discount.
Founder, International Tea Importers