Dethlefsen & Balk
There was a discussion about authenticity of teas when I accidentally found out that most known tea shop in Slovenia (Cha – http://steepster.com/companies/cha) is actually just a repacker of Dethlefsen & Balk teas – http://dethlefsen-balk.de/. Then I did a couple of Google searches for some teas that they sell and found out that there are a lot of companies that to exactly the same: Joy’s Teaspoon (http://steepster.com/companies/joys-teaspoon), Wiseman (http://steepster.com/companies/wiseman-tea-company), ESP Emporium (http://steepster.com/companies/esp-emporium), AC Perch’s (http://steepster.com/companies/a-c-perchs), Drink T (http://steepster.com/companies/drink-t), The Tea Table (http://steepster.com/companies/the-tea-table),…
And that is just those who were lazy enough not to change tea name – if they would do that it would have been nearly impossible to trace them…
Maybe it’s just me, but I think that kind of rebranding shouldn’t be allowed…
There are a few tea wholesalers who source many of the tea vendors out there. I am sure I could add a few more to your list. Now that you know what to look for, you will probably be able to spot most of them. And I am pretty sure there is still a chance that all of the teas in the listed shops come from a few different vendors.
I really appreciate it when a tea vendor is transparent about where they source their tea. This way, you can either find a better source for a favorite, or not have to sample something you have sampled in the past. I usually stay away from rebranders these days. I also appreciate them not changing the names so at least I might be able to figure it out.
As far as it not being allowed… Isn’t that kind of how the retail market works?
What I would love is a list of tea wholesalers and what their offerings are like. I know only a few…..
They also produce a lot of blends for a local store (Empório do Cjá). I was excited when i found out, I was desesperately looking for a particular blend of theirs which I could no longer find elsewhere.
I am grateful for their work – they produce good tea and let retailers sell it and build their own shops, and atmosphere. If shop is claiming to blend it themselves, that is of course wrong, but if they are not, I think there is nothing wrong with not providing the supplier´s name and repackaging things a bit.
BTW for comparison, usually these D&B blends are around 60€ a kilo in that retailer I am thinking of. A bit lower for some. How much do you pay?
The red fruits oolong is very good. The black tea with thingies and goji berries is very nice, and so is the sencha with champagne, strawberries and chamomile.
Here its 3€ per 100g for regulars and up to 30€ per 100g for specials. No, they claim it’s their own, that’s why I was so upset :)
And I just remembered, we can do something, which is create a listing for each blend and their correct blender and on description copy the D&B description and list what retailers sell it. Might be useful to all of us, we can find more easily things we want to try!
Many companies do this … D&B is not the only wholesale company out there.
The thing is, is that with many wholesale companies, they do not sell retail, so the only way to get these teas is through someone who resells them. There is nothing wrong with that – so long as the company is honest about what they are doing.
I worked for a couple of years in the prescription drug industry, and pharmacies do not purchase their drugs direct from the manufacturer. I know, because I worked for the “middle man” so to speak. The company I worked for purchased the drugs in bulk, repackaged them and sold them to the smaller guy. If the pharmacies had purchased the drugs directly from the manufacturer, they couldn’t afford the drugs because to purchase them in a smaller unit size would have been too costly. And… we did not package these drugs as our own. They kept their brand name, but we made them available at a smaller unit price that was affordable to the retail store.
It’s not so different from tea. With most wholesale companies, they deal with their minimum sizing, and most of us don’t want a two kilos of any one type of tea. These tea companies purchase the large sizes and break it down into consumer sized packages. In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with that, so long as the retail company is honest about what they are doing.
I do not like it when a company repackages something as their own, saying they source directly from the farm. That’s dishonest. Or if they claim they flavor and blend the teas themselves. That’s dishonest. That is one of the reasons I got out of the business is because I found it so disheartening that companies would repackage teas as their own and sell their teas for lower than I would sell mine, because it took a whole lot more time, effort and cost for me to blend and flavor my own teas.
Totally agree with everything you’ve said. It’s not the action of repackaging/reselling, it’s the dishonesty. If a tea company were to honestly label where their D&B blends came from, I would be more likely to buy the D&B blends I like from them.
This is definitely a pet peeve of mine. I have ranted about it in tasting notes before. Blends from Monterey Bay Spice Company and Metropolitan Tea Company also show up again and again at different retailers. Like SimplyJenW, I prefer it when they don’t change the name because I have been burned by ordering the same tea (that I hated) from different companies that repackaged it under different names. Now I not only check names but blend ingredients, (easier with unusual blends), before ordering.
I tend to find myself avoiding resellers in favor of companies who I know blend their own tea, partly because I’ve been burned so many times (not just on retrying a tea, but on quality). Of course, sometimes a company will have their own blends side by side with these wholesale blends, but don’t distinguish them, which makes things all the more tricky because I may like one of their own blends and then get burned on one they’re reselling. I actually have yet to come across a company that transparently says that they are reselling wholesale tea, and most of them imply on their website that they are blending it themselves. Yes, I am really, really annoyed by this.
At least D&B’s (and MBSC’s) catalog is online, so you can see what blends are theirs… Metro doesn’t allow non-retailers to view their catalog, so there could be a number of Metro blends out there that I don’t know about. Again, like SimplyJenW said, most of the places you listed don’t only wholesale from D&B, they also wholesale from other companies as well, which is why you might not find all of their blends on the D&B site.
I saw one online retailer that specifically stated on their website that they source some of their teas from Metro. Of course I bought from them because I knew what I was getting. They also had some other things that I am certain were not sourced there. Angelina’s Teas in Winston-Salem, NC. They list their main suppliers on their FAQ page which I seriously appreciate. More vendors should do the same.
I don´t mind if they not list source – and dunno, maybe it is a small market thing, but I think people can get secretive about sources, in fear of copycats or their profit margins sometimes. I notice there can be a lot of markups depending on style of the reseller. But just not claim to blend it themselves, or lie about the ingredients (sometimes I think that is just bad translation).