Article describing 'new' teas
I thought this was a very informative article regarding harvest dates and how some tea retailers use the word ‘new’.
Hmm, very interesting! Now every time I see that on a tea website, I will think of this article. There aren’t many tea retailers around me, and they hardly concern themselves with how “new” their teas are… xP
Where I live they do not bother to add “new” even for marketing purposes, probably because they don’t know that new teas are the best XD Obviously, the quality is usually horrible which is the reason I order online 99% of the time.
A year ago or so, I remember asking one of my local health food stores when they will get more of their green tea in, and I think she referred to the new ‘batch’ coming in within weeks. It was in the dead of winter, so I knew it couldn’t have been from the new harvest. I think I asked about harvest dates, and if I remember correctly, she was clueless. Now, I simply—uh, I don’t like using this word, but—assume, that those small shops like spice shops and health food shops that don’t specialize in tea don’t have a clue about harvest dates (of course, the more people that ask for this kind of information, the more likely they are to have it, such that eventually, some time down the road, they may surprise me). It’s a reason I buy teas exclusively online, myself. I like your choice to use the phrase, ’99% of the time", for you never know, there may be some unlikely reason you may sometime, somewhere, buy tea from some local shop, eh?
That’s a good article! It’s understandable not all importers/wholesalers/sellers can specify production date. But at least production year and season should be a must. Several years ago, I remember seeing a large company announcing their new arrival of tea in November (sort of around Thanksgiving and Christmas, about the same “new arrival” time as sweaters and boots in the mall) and that really puzzled me :-p
There is only one small thing in the article that I slightly disagree with. It says "the only teas available in US now are those produced before Qingming/Apr.4. In fact, some of my green tea produced on Apr.6 arrived 9 days ago, and today I’ve just received more tea, some of which were produced around Apr.9. With modern transportation, it really depends on how crazy you are :-p
I thought of you, too, Gingko, when I read it and thought, “Hey! LIT’s got plenty of teas harvested after the pre-Qingming festival in stock!” Still, if all of my research scouring the web for spring green teas that are available in the US was thorough, you may be the only retailer who has those teas available here; of course, even if you were the only one, you may not be the case now. : p
With my very scant understanding on how expensive having something shipped within days from China to the US is, my guess is that you are spending a pretty penny to get those teas so quickly. I, for one, am happy to share in the bounty. : – )
What’s funny too, is that you are both so close (in the same state, at least), and you both have some of the best teas, available the earliest, within the US (Yunnan Sourcing US was the only other US based tea retailer I found to have Chinese spring green teas out at about the same time).
I was just alerted to this site the other day
A site that claims to be selling 2012 high mountain formosa oolongs.
What people usually dont know is that even though early harvest green teas increase in quality the earlier they are harvested the same does not apply to high mountain oolongs. As the weather warms, low elevation gardens are harvested first and higher elevation gardens like lishan are harvested in late spring around May. These teas should not be available right now.
Interesting. I have been reading about the wonder that are high mountain formosa oolongs (and I have the opportunity to taste one, too), and how elevation helps to make them so. Makes sense that the earlier ones wouldn’t necessarily be as high a quality as the other ones.