On 18 November last, samples of Komaen tea won the gold, silver and bronze medals, as well as the “gourmet” distinction in the “Sundried green tea” category at the international “Teas of the world” contest, organised in Paris by the Agency for the Valorization of Agricultural Products.
This tea, grown by family farms, is produced in Phongsaly province, in the North of Laos, and comes from an exceptional terroir – some tea plants are more than 400 years old. Today, it has a Geographical indication , supported by Agence française de développement as part of the regional project for the “Promotion and recognition of geographical indications”. Conducted by GRET, ARTE-FACT, Cirad, Iram, Certipaq and REDD, in coordination with the Department of intellectual property in Laos, this project focuses on valorisation of Komaen tea.
GRET and its partners, who are supporting the Association for the promotion of Komaen tea, changed the specifications for the Geographical indication. The objective was to improve methods for processing tea leaves, achieve constant optimal quality, and define the taste profile of this tea, in relation to its environment. The association is also being supported to strengthen control of practices, and of the quality and traceability of the product. Lastly, the project partners are conducting actions to promote Komaen tea and provide it with new options to enter market channels, as the added-value of its origin enables producers to increase their income.
The results obtained at the “Teas of the world” contest demonstrate the capacity of the Association for the promotion of Komaen tea to uphold high quality standards and comply with the Geographical indication requirements. These distinctions will have a positive impact on the reputation of Komaen tea internationally, and will contribute to attracting attention to Laos from the world tea sector.
 A geographical indication (GI) is a distinctive sign used to identify products with a particular geographical origin that possess qualities or a reputation based on this origin.