Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Reaching Beyond Wholesale

We have mostly described Kopius Teas as a resource for resellers, that is wholesalers and distributors who purchase our bulk teas for resale. In reality, our market also includes institutional food service and federal, state and local governments who may use our bulk teas, herbs and spices for culinary and quick service dining. Some of our core capabilities in this area include the following:

1. Bulk tea bags. We can now produce food service, bulk pyramid tea bags directly in our facility. The advantage of this step is the avoidance of shipping charges to a third party for packaging. Our clients select their teas, the weight per tea bag, and the number of total tea bags. The pyramid bags are manufactured and bagged in bulk (without wrappers) and sent directly to our clients.

Not only is this helpful in reducing the carbon footprint for individual wrappers, but it also gives our clients the flexibility to take a single order of pyramid tea bags and use them in a combination of retail repackaging, wholesale distribution, and food service tea preparation.

2. Pre-packed institutional pouches. Food service bulk distribution of loose tea need not carry the same polish as finished, retail packaging. We have many coffee roasters and tea distributors who simply want 1-2 lb bags of bulk tea labeled with the name of the product, lot number, date, and weight. This goes on generic packaging, which is often less expensive than pre-printed foils. We offer this as a more cost effective way to ship volumes of tea to different elements of the distribution channel.

3. Filter and cello tea packs for iced tea. Iced tea continues to be the most popular form of tea consumption in the US. We can manufacture 1 - 3 oz bags of tea for use in automated iced tea brewing machines, such as Fedco, Curtis, and Bunn. 1 oz typically produces 1 gallon of iced tea.

4. Formulation services. All of the above can begin with our formulation services which are specially designed to create a finished product that has a predetermined leaf appearance, taste, texture, color and price. Whether we are designing an artisan blend with flowers, fruit, tea and spices, or a simple tea bag cut blend for high volume, low cost targets, our master blenders devote significant energy towards constructing a recipe that is both consistent and scalable.

Optional formulation considerations include ingredients that are Organic, Fair Trade, Biodyamic, and Rain Forrest Alliance certified.

5. Documentation. We continue to see greater demand among our larger buyers for documentation of quality and food handling. This includes Certificates of Analysis, Product Specifications, and sometimes third party laboratory testing.

Kopius Teas can now accept GSA Smartpay and GSA Smartpay 2 credit cards with the VISA or Mastercard logo. We continue to support federal, state, and local governments with the ability to conveniently purchase our products in bulk or tea bag formats. Kopius Teas is registered as a Certified Small Business by the United States Small Business Administration and the State of California. Government institutions and Prime Vendors are invited to contact us for a formal capabilities statement, including potential bids for subcontracting of GSA or non-GSA procurement.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

EarthFair on Earth Day 2011

What a beautiful day in San Diego to walk the EarthFair. In the age of the internet, it was a wonderful experience seeing a broad range of community booths, all providing excellent information on helping to protect our planet. I think the highlight for me was learning about all the local organizations dedicated to park preservation and the restoration of our natural habitat.

Even though I don't know much about bugs and species of native plants, many experts were available for a quick consultation.

If your city or county has a Earth Day celebration, I encourage you to get out an get involved.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Current crisis in Japan

More than in our hearts and mind, we pray for the victims and families of the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear crisis in Japan right now. Even as we watch the youtube and media coverage of live and historical footage of the devastation, we know we cannot really comprehend the extent of the damage, both at present and to be realized in the near future. Residents of Sendai and surrounding regions have been exposed to such a multitude of natural and unnatural hardships - shaking, water, waves, fire, cold, radiation, lost family, lost friends, lost homes, lost businesses.

One only needs to view the USGS website to get a sense of the continual shaking. Since March 12, there have been over 159 earthquakes of magnitude 5.0 or greater. Our relatives who currently reside outside of Tokyo are living in constant fear, often unable to sleep and weary of potential radiation fallout.

The world is connected, not just in information, but in trade. We have already heard inquiries into the safety of tea we are currently importing from Japan.

First of all, our last shipment from Japan arrived Feb 22. Secondly, it originates from Shizuoka, Kyoto, and Yama. The closest region, Shizuoka, which produces over 50 percent of Japan's tea, is over 250 miles from Sendai. I spoke with the US office of the Shizuoka producer company this week and will visit with them next week.

As we continue to gather more information into any potential disruption of shipments, we will post it to this blog.

Please take a moment to consider a donation or additional donation by texting REDCROSS to 90999

Friday, January 14, 2011

SpecialTeas Substitutions / Replacements

As many of you may have heard, SpecialTeas is closing down their wholesale and retail web site. We enjoyed their teas and we wish them much success in their future endeavors.

For those of you who don't know us, Kopius Teas (www.kopiusteas.com) is a business to business distributor of fine teas and herbs. We offer the finest selection of Certified Organic and Fair Trade teas and blends, all shipped direct from our blending and packaging facilities in Southern California. In addition, we stock an abundance of conventional products as well.

We thought it would be helpful to create a quick chart of SpecialTeas equivalent teas to see how many we could match. The traditional unflavored teas should be fairly close in character. The blends will vary slightly based on the percentage and nature of the flavoring used.

In researching the SpecialTeas list, I was quite impressed by the range of teas and non-teas they stock. Of course, we're not Kopius (Copious) Teas in name alone.

Here's our initial view. It's slightly over 75 at first glance. Not too bad. If you're a business in need of a replacement for a SpecialTeas tea or tisane, you can use the chart below to find our closest equivalent. If you're a retail customer, shoot us a message, as we may still be able to assist you.

We'll try to update this list when we get a chance - this is a preliminary view. Do you have a favorite that's not shown below? Let us know...

SpecialTeas Product / Item Recommended
No. 249 ASSAM TGFOP-1  Assam FOP
No. 220 MALTY FBOP Organic Banaspathy GBOP
No. 317 KENILWORTH OP1 Kenilworth OP
No. 318 DIMBULLA OP Kirkoswald Full Leaf
No. 311 KOSLANDA OP    Koslanda BOP
No. 316 LOVER’S LEAP B Lovers Leap Pekoe 1
No. 304 NUWARA ELIYA B Mahagastotte FBOP
No. 321 VITHANAKANDE F New Vithanakanda Extra Special
No. 319 VITHANAKANDE F New Vithanakanda FBOPF Special
No. 310 PETTIAGALLA FO Pettiagalla
No. 502 KEEMUN IMPERIA Keemun Black OP 1276
No. 501 KEEMUN SPECIAL Keemun Black Superior
No. 515 SUPERIOR TI KU Organic Tie Kuan Yin Oolong Ex Special
No. 511 FINE TI KUAN Y Tie Kwan Yin K103
YUNNAN FBOP Yunnan Black 6112
No. 507 YUNNAN IMPERIA yunnan Black Needle
No. 135 SELIMBONG FTGF Selimbong
No. 104 JUNGPANA FTGFO Jungpana
No. 882 DECAF ENGLISH  Decaf English Breakfast
No. 871 DECAF CHAI WIT Decaf Rockin Chai
No. 895 DECAF SENCHA G Decaf Papaya Green
No. 928 RASPBERRY WITH Berries & Rose
No. 908 ALMOND COOKIE  Fortune Cookie
No. 916 GINGER PEACH A Ginger Peach
No. 927 PEACH WITH PEA Ginger Peach
No. 915 COCONUT WITH C Hula High
No. 917 SWEET LEMON WI Lemon Drop
No. 919 MANGO WITH MAN Mango Swirl
NO. 933 WILD CHERRY WI Persian Delight
No. 867 GREEN TEA GREE Apple Pear Green
No. 940 GREEN TEA SWEE Lovely Lemon Drop
No. 946 MOROCCAN MINT* Moroccan Mint
No. 771 GREEN TEA ORAN Orange Spritzer
No. 712 SWEET CRANBERR Crimsonberry
No 725 Lemonade Sonata Lemonade
No. 755 GREEN ROOIBOS  Cape Carnival
No. 750 PURE GREEN ROO Green Rooibos
No. 976 AFTER DARK Chamomile Blend
No. 987 LEMON VERBENA, Lemon Verbena
No. 977 PEPPERMINT, CU Peppermint Organic
WHITE PEONY (PAI MU TA Bai Mudan Ex Special
No. 655 GENMAI-CHA genmaicha
No. 700 GYOKURO SUPERI Gyokuro
No. 654 HOJI-CHA Hojicha
No. 591 BOLD-LEAF PU-E Organic Pu-erh #2
No. 551 China Silver N Silver Needle White Down
No. 800 ENGLISH  BREAK Venture English Breakfast Organic
No. 705 MATCHA 30g tin Yame Matcha
LAPSANG SOUCHONG ORGAN Organic Lapsang Souchong
No. 966 MATE TIRAMISU Chocolate Vanilla Mate
No. 963 MATE ROASTED Roasted Yerba Mate
No. 960 MATE GREEN Yerba mate
No 350 Himalayan Golde Organic Gurance SFTGFOP1
No 354 Himilayan Tips  Organic Gurance SFTGFOP1
No 351 Himilayan Mount Organic Gurance SFTGFOP1
No. 331 TIGER HILL OP  Chamraj FOP
No. 952 ROOIBOS CHOCOL Chocolate Mint Rooibos
No. 760 ROOIBOS CHAI ( Herbal chai
No. 950 PURE ROOIBOS,  Rooibos Short Cut
No. 763 ROOIBOS WHITE  Rooibos White Chocolate Melange
No. 956 ROOIBOS SIMBA  Safari
No. 562 JASMINE ORGANI Jasmine #4 DZS
No. 565 JASMINE PHOENI Jasmine Pearls
No. 569 CHINA ROSE CON Rose Congou
No. 522 CHINA CHUN MEE Chun Mee 9371
No. 533 LUNG CHING (DR Dragonwell Extra Special
No 547 Superior Lung C Dragonwell Extra Special Organic
No. 520 GUNPOWDER SPEC Gunpowder
No. 527 PI LO CHUN SEL Organic Bi Luo Chun
No. 618 TUNG TING JADE Organic High Mountain Oolong
No. 614 FORMOSA POUCHO Paochong

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Reordering Wholesale Teas and Herbs

We recently posted a video on how to quickly reorder products from the Kopius Teas website. If you order from us frequently, give it a look. We're sure it'll save you much time and energy.

3 new organic flowering teas

We just added three NEW organic flowering teas to the menu.

Personally, I like the presentation of the Solstice the best.  We'll be loading some videos of the flowerings opening to the www.kopiusteas.com site shortly.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Contract Tea Formuation Services and Ingredients

Sometimes people view our range of different organic and conventional teas and tea blending ingredients and forget to note that Kopius Teas (www.kopiusteas.com) and its partner QTrade Teas & Herbs are also in the business of contract formulation and manufacturing. In fact the main reason why we even offer our vast selection of herbs spices flowers and fruit pieces is because we use those ingredients in our own contract blending operations. The tea blending ingredients we show on our website are, in fact, only a small portion of the ingredients we actually maintain in our inventories.

Why don't we show all of our inventory for sale? The two main reasons are availability and price stability. Some ingredients may be subject to large price fluctuations based on crop size, climate, and overall demand. In addition we may need to reserve inventory simply to fulfill ongoing, manufacturing commitments.

The other component we do not show on the website are our flavorings. Most of the flavors we use are liquid-based and are shared across the manufacturing of multiple flavored teas. Tea is normally a naturally hydroscopic ingredient, which absorbs and retains applied liquid flavors quite readily.

Now that we know there are many ingredients and flavors to choose from, we can begin to address how new and novel blends are created.

Like many things in life it, product development begins with an idea, a concept. These may be variations of things that we've already tasted, or they can be completely new. I like to think of one company that's brought this to life most recently and that is Jelly Belly. Jelly Belly innovates and introduces completely new and interesting concepts in jelly bean flavors. Buttered popcorn, bubble gum, peanut butter, etc.

You can think of the range of flavors to be at this extreme and even further. Although you may immediately reject the idea of drinking a peanut butter flavored beverage, some of these concepts became immediate hits, just because someone had the foresight and courage and determination to see these items to market.

That same originality can be applied to contract tea formulation. We start with an idea, and build from there. We try different ideas and remain open to variations and subsequent new avenues for pursuit.

As a business, our wholesale custom tea formulation services are geared at working with your ideas and defining a range of alternative recipes that fits your specific pricing needs. We generally offer a series of different alternative sample blends for consideration. Tasting these samples under a range of different steeping conditions is the best way to understand how the product may be accepted by your clients.

Once the formula has been finalized, the manufacturing process then returns to one of sustaining quality and availability.

I should end by noting that not all formulation projects entail the use of flavors. Some of our largest contract formulation projects revolve around the proper blending of pure, natural teas. This is where our expertise in sourcing and cupping becomes paramount. A well balance tea blend, whether served hot or iced, needs to exceed a set range of criteria for flavor, aroma, texture, color, strength and freshness. Tea, being a natural product subject to seasonal variations in rain, moisture, wind, sunshine, soil, and processing, can introduce new considerations from lot to lot.

Seek a business partner who will take a personal interest in the size of your project and can make a commitment to developing and maintaining the resources needed to both formulate and manufacture according to your volume requirements.

Most contract blenders will start with a minimum size order of 50 - 100 lbs of tea. Of course, you may also wish to check how your vendor can accommodate a dramatic increase in scale, should you develop the next blockbuster product in tea and obtain a distribution contract with a large grocery store chain or big box retailer.

Lastly, if you are building an organic tea recipe, you should inquire about Organic Certification with your vendor. This documentation trail is necessary to support the US National Organic Program requirements for use of the USDA Organic Seal on the package label. Similarly, if you are seeking other certifications, such as Fair Trade or Kosher, be sure to mention these to your vendor early on so you select ingredients that maintain these standards.