Last Cuppa

Paula Goddard marks the closure of the London Tea Auction.

On June 29th, the London Tea Auction closes after 300 years of trading. Once playing a major part in Britain's tea trade, lately the auction has provided only a small proportion of the tea used to make the 185 million cups drunk each day in Britain. The rest is purchased direct from Sri Lanka, India, Kenya, Malawi, Indonesia and China, faster global communications make this a viable economic alternative.

Ilted Lewis, Executive Director of The Tea Council, sees the bad African harvests earlier this year as the 'final nail in the coffin for the London auction'. No tea was sent from Kenya to London, the small harvest being auctioned in Mombasa. As over 55 per cent of tea imported into Britain comes from Kenya, the London Auction operated at half strength. Its vulnerability and decline were dramatically highlighted.

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