Duration: 1 hour
Broadcast on BBC Two, 11:20PM Tue, 28 Jan 2014
Adventurer and journalist Simon Reeve heads to east Africa to uncover the stories behind the nation's favourite drink. While we drink millions of cups of the stuff each day, how many of us know where our tea actually comes from? The surprising answer is that most of the leaves that go into our everyday teabags do not come from India or China but are bought from an auction in the coastal city of Mombasa in Kenya.
From here, Simon follows the tea trail through the epic landscapes of Kenya and Uganda and meets some of the millions of people who pick, pack and transport our tea. Drinking tea with the everyone from Masai cattle herders to the descendants of the original white tea planters, Simon learns that the industry that supplies our everyday cuppa is not immune to the troubles of the continent - poverty, low wages and child labour.
Duration: 1 hour
Broadcast on BBC Two, 8:00PM Sun, 26 Jan 2014
Adventurer and journalist Simon Reeve heads to Vietnam to uncover the stories behind the nation's morning pick-me-up. While we drink millions of cups of the stuff each week, how many of us know where our coffee actually comes from? The surprising answer is that it is not Brazil, Colombia or Jamaica, but Vietnam. Eighty per cent of the coffee we drink in Britain isn't posh cappuccinos or lattes but instant coffee and Vietnam is the biggest supplier.
From Hanoi in the north, Simon follows the coffee trail into the remote central highlands where he meets the people who grow, pick and pack our coffee. Millions of small scale famers, each working two or three acres, produce most of the coffee beans that go into well known instant coffee brands.
Thirty years ago Vietnam only produced a tiny proportion of the world's coffee, but after the end of the Vietnam war there was a widescale plan to become a coffee growing nation and Vietnam is now the second biggest in the world. It has provided employment for millions, making some very rich indeed, and Simon meets Vietnam's biggest coffee billionaire. But Simon learns that their rapid success has come at a cost to both the local people and the environment.
Press reviews for the TEA TRAIL and the COFFEE TRAIL:
Picks of the Day in the Daily Mail, Observer, Sunday Times, Independent, Mail on Sunday, Sunday Telegraph and more
Daily Mail: “Pick of the day…4 stars…terrific”
Observer: “Pick of the day…absorbing, topical journalism”
Guardian: “Pick of the day…illuminating…occasionally scary travelogue”
Daily Telegraph: “Pick of the day…fascinating…Reeve doesn’t shy away from tackling the moral quandary surrounding the industry – life remains tough for millions of plantation workers”