John Qin, the Regional Manager of ETP for China and myself were privileged to be invited by Heritage Group, one of the first members of ETP from Sri Lanka, to visit their joint venture tea blending plant in Guangzhou China last month.

Tea blending clenaing and processing facilityDuring the factory visit, John and I were impressed with the emphasis paid towards hygiene and cleanliness, which is way above any required international standard. The production, cleaning, and blending equipment is the latest version in its class. The tea tasting facilities were state of the art too, and during our walk around we were wondering whether we were in a space capsule or a tea blending plant!

My presentation to the management team was of ETP’s vision to create a thriving tea industry that’s socially just and environmentally sustainable, and of the benefits that being a member of ETP has.

John focused on the challenges and complexities of the China tea supply value chain and the ways ETP is helping to raise key social and environmental standards with producers supplying ETP’s international members. John’s presentation was an eye opener to the management team and was well received.

This was my first visit to China and I was amazed at the pace of development. It was also good to meet my colleague John in his home territory and learn first-hand about the largest single producer of tea in the world and the challenges faced towards tea sustainability.

Finally, I have to record our sincere appreciation to Heritage Group for their Sri Lankan style hospitality towards John and myself, which was of course excellent!