Profile: Alveus Premium Teas, Hamburg, Germany
As reported in the recent profile of Paper & Tea, there’s a European trend for consuming quality teas. This can only benefit kombucha brands, that market to the same consumers. During my recent visit to Berlin for the Kombucha Summit, I took the opportunity to travel to Hamburg (a 90-minute train journey north) and check out the warehouse HQ of Alveus Premium Teas, where I was given a tour by Sales Manager Nic Standaert.
Alveus is a premium tea wholesaler with a massive warehouse outside Hamburg in northern Germany.
They boast the most extensive inventory of tea and infusions in the world. The company was founded in 2006 when Daniel Trenk decided to turn his passion for tea into his career. In the following years sales grew, allowing them to expand their facilities, purchase larger volumes, and blend exclusive teas and infusions for their customers. By 2012, they prepared more than 1,000 blends of teas and infusions. Today, their catalog contains more than 1,500 recipes.
Their warehouse is a cornucopia of teas, herbs, and aromas that are sourced from around the world, packaged, and shipped to tea stores, restaurants, and cafes in over 70 countries. They also have offices in Málaga, Spain.
The teas are sold in small, fresh batches. The majority of their sales are blends. Each tea is selected, blended, and packaged by hand. These blends, carefully weighed and ready for mixing, form attractive mandalas.
Pure teas for kombucha brewers
They sell pure (unblended) teas to several European kombucha brewers. Among the teas that might interest brewers looking for creative OG options are unique organic offerings such as their Black Golden Snail 1st grade (“A firework of the senses in terms of taste, nutty-sweet notes in combination with a finely tart finish”). Or the South Korea Green OP (“…roasting nine times and grinding nine times in order to extract as many tannins from the leaves as possible. The result can be seen and tasted: small hand-rolled leaves that envelope the aroma of the entire tea plant.”) Or Himalayan Snow Mountain white tea (“This unfermented, extremely rare tea, features buds that are largely covered in white fluff. The tea itself will tickle your taste buds with its unusually mild and slightly sweet flavor. These delectable leaves are harvested 1,600 meters above sea level in the Ilam Valley in Nepal.”)
Kombucha brewers can request free samples of their teas.
German Tea Association
Alveus is a member of the German Tea Association, founded in 2020. It represents German-speaking areas (Germany, Austria and Switzerland). Their annual report highlights consumption trends. In 2021 around 50 billion cups of tea were enjoyed in Germany. Of these, just under 19 billion were black and green tea, alongside over 31 billion cups of herbal and fruit infusions.
Sales of organic quality teas, herbal, and fruit infusions surged in 2021, with 15.9% of all teas sold bearing the organic label. The proportion of organic herbal and fruit infusions also rose by 10.4% from 2020 to 2021, reflecting a growing shift on the part of consumers to more sustainable approaches. Although loose-leaf teas continued to hold sway, preferred to teabags at a ratio of 55% to 45%, the latter option is becoming increasingly popular, reflecting how solutions of practical convenience are now the priority.
The German Tea & Herbal Infusions Association and its members can look back on 2021 as an exceptionally good year despite – and even thanks to – the global pandemic. As COVID-19 took hold, the year saw German demand for teas, herbal and fruit infusions soar, with almost 95,000 cups drunk here each minute. Meanwhile, the already high annual per capita consumption rose still further by 1.5 liters to 71.5 liters in 2021. Over half the total, 42.7 liters, was herbal and fruit infusions, with black and green teas making up the remaining 28.8 liters and crossing the 20,000-plus tonne mark for the first time.Tea Report, 2022
A little-known fact (outside Germany) is that residents of East Frisia lead the way in tea drinking. And not just nationally, but globally. An impressive annual consumption of 300 liters per capita (compared to 28.8 liters Germany-wide). Indeed, the 475,000 people in Ostfriesland drink an average of six cups of black tea a day, exceeding per capita totals for Ireland (222 liters) and Great Britain (177 liters). Blimey!
Sales Manager Nic Standaert shares more details about Alveus Premium Teas in this podcast interview.