Caucasus Tea Festival in Georgia

Nino ArvelaDZe

On 25th of October, in Tbilisi, at Shardeni Bambis Rigi St. has been held “Caucasus Tea Festival” organized by Georgian Ministry of agriculture and the association of tea producers.

An international organization “The Caucasus Business and Development Network”, British “International Alert”, and JS “Basis bank” were supporting the festival. For the first time Tea Festival was held last year. Now the festival is being held for the second time but with some novelties added. Tea growers from Caucasus region and the Republic of Turkey were participating in the festival.
Encouraging economical development of tea growing, implementing joint economical projects in the conflict regions, popularizing natural Caucasian tea and mastering the local market are the main purposes of the festival.
Within the framework of the festival, the unique sorts of the tea from Caucasus region have been presented, such as “Caucasian Black Baikhi tea”, “Caucasian green elite tea” and “Medicinal mountain tea”.
Within the bounds of Caucasian economical cooperation, by the initiative of “Caucasus Business and Development Network” are produced joint Caucasian tea brands.
Interview with Tengiz Svanidze – executive director of tea producers’ association.
– The festival carries several missions like supporting the implementation of joint economical projects in conflict regions, popularizing tea, and consolidating Caucasian tea growers in order to save and revive the tea-growing field in the region, entering new tea markets, mastering local market, preserving and developing tea-growing traditions in Caucasus. The tea festival held last year found a broad response in the society. Therefore, we have decided to establish a tradition and hold the tea festival annually every last Saturday of October. The organizers of the festival – “The Caucasus Business and Development Network” and British “International Alert” , an English non-governmental organization, which works under the aegis of establishing peace in Caucasus by means of economical relations, – have chosen tea as one of the vectors of their activities. This product grows in Azerbaijan, Georgia – Abkhazian region etc. Georgian-Azerbaijani-Armenian tea festivals have been held throughout the year in Baku and Yerevan. Armenia is producing herbal tea. The first congress of tea growers has been held in Baku with participation of Turkish tea growers. The “Caucasian Tea growers Association has been founded, the first president of which is Farman Guliev – the president of Azerbaijani tea growers’ association. Consequently, it has been decided to hold Caucasian tea festival instead of that Georgian one.
– Have you presented new brand of Georgian tea on this festival?
– We presented “Caucasian Tea” brand that was made by blending tea from all the regions in Caucasus. This is just a trial version of the brand. However, in case of success it would be possible to integrate Caucasian tea growers and finally create “Caucasian Tea” brand.
– How the Russian-Georgian war affected the Georgian tea-growing sphere?
– It has not affected negatively, as the Russia announced economical blockade earlier and Georgian tea export in Russia already was impossible by that time. Therefore, nothing has changed in that direction.