Mount Vernon, Illinois - February 6, 2007- Sylvana Levesque, a consultant for a business development firm in Paris, was given a unique project: find top tea products that had potential for success in the United States. She immersed herself in the world of tea and eventually became convinced that America was ready for organic, traditional, Japanese green tea. As fate would have it, in the height of her search for the best tea in the world, Sylvana was invited to an afternoon tea party where the Parisian hostess served unique green teas, green tea chocolate and green tea candies.
Today, her company, Levesque International, enters the, $6.16 Billion U.S. tea category with authentic, organic, shaded Japanese teas and tea products. U.S. organic food sales are growing by 17-20% per-year. Levesque sees this as an added boost.
“It was an ‘awakening’,” explains Sylvana, a 20 year green tea connoisseur who now brings the KEIKO brand of green tea products into the U.S. noting its 10 year success in Europe “As soon as I tasted the tea, I knew I would leave consulting and take the very green tea I was tasting to America … especially the healthy line of green tea sweets and chocolate.”
Sylvana’s passion is to impart ancient knowledge and tradition about green tea to North Americans and she bets on the fact that the interest in organics will add to the success of the line. Also, the fact that traditional Japanese green tea is picked at different times of the year is just one of the fascinating aspects of real green tea the Shimdozomo family, Kagoshima, Japan, has enjoyed an over 100 year history of excellence and currently grows 30% of Japan’s green tea, so the timing to import into the U.S. is right.
Black and herbal teas have enjoyed interest in America in the last few years, yet Americans know little of the specific science and tradition surrounding green tea harvesting and processing. In particular, little is known about the practice of “shading” tea bushes so that the light conditions of wild tea bushes are simulated. This practice increases production of more of the active health substances and creates the unique, fresh aromatic scent of KEIKO teas.
The body of research surrounding green tea and its active components continues to grow. Antioxidants, including polyphenols and EGCG are only a few of the components making their way into the news concerning green tea.
“The quality and variety of green teas is comparable to fine wines. Like wine, flavor, quality and even aroma, are influenced by the location of the growing area, the quality of the soil, the weather variables, and the timing of the harvest, KEIKO products satisfy all these variables – this is very rare and why I decided to bring these specific products to North America” explains Sylvana. “I believe that like wine, the culture around green tea will become as popular. American’s are looking for healthy, yet sophisticated products.”
The teas are available in fine tea shops, natural, and gourmet stores, nationwide.