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Where did these come from?

So I bought this awesome tea sampler from Red leaf Tea: http://www.redleaftea.com/samplers/20-teas-sampler.html thinking yay! Lots of teas to review for my blog and I can see what I think of Red Leaf Tea’s teas. Wrong, these teas are not actually sold individually by them and I have no idea where they come from. Grr.

I have browsed around some and found this: http://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/TaiWan-DongDing-Oolong-Tea-Roast-Flavor-GaoShan-tea-Oolong-tea-120g-15Pcs/315220_620220536.html and more of the same on ebay and for the other teas. I want to know who produces these teas for a correct blogging (and in case I really like them) and was wondering if anyone has any ideas?

Definitely more incentive to learn how to read Chinese!

24 Replies
Lala said

Have you tried contacting Red Leaf to see where they sourced the tea from?

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yyz said

It looks like That Aliexpress store sells most of the teas individually and the brand name is listed. The only ones it seems she doesn’t have is the green tea. Perhaps contact that store?

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Nah, I have not contacted them (completely didn’t think of it either…such a derp) but will now.

I saw that DongDing was listed as brand name but thought they were just referencing the type of tea. I will give them a contact as well if Red Leaf Tea cannot help me out.

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yyz said

You right some of them seem to be just type of tea. All I noticed is that all of the Aliexpress stores that sold this particular version of a variety pack seemed to list Jenny’s store as the originator. If you look up different teas in the search engine it comes up with many different arrangements of this type. Some of them come up as well if you list samples.

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Dr Jim said

My question is whether the tea is any good. The Aliexpress prices look excellent and a sampler would be a lot of fun.

Have you tried any yet?

yyz said

I’m curious to. I’ve bought a dahongpao sampler that I’ve enjoyed from Fu Tea Store, this is a 20 piece one I’ve been curious about as well. http://www.aliexpress.com/item/Quality-20-different-taste-Chinese-tea/750723619.html

So far I have tried the Dan Cong, the Roast Gaoshan, and the Light Flavor Tie Guan Yin. They were not bad! I certainly have enjoyed them, especially the Dan Cong. I do not feel cheated out of my money so I call that a win.

Dr Jim said

That sounds like a less than enthusiastic recommendation. I would always hope to not feel cheated. What I’m looking for is good value.

I will let you know for sure after I taste them all but I really did enjoy the three I have tasted. I have certainly had better, especially with the TGY but it might be the best I have had for the price I paid.

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Well, I just got this back from Red Leaf Tea:

Hi,
I’m sorry but the distributor’s name is confidential. I hope you can understand that we do not want to share that information.
Is there a specific reason you are asking?

Hmm…maybe after I tell them it is for my blog they will let me know, but I doubt it.

Uniquity said

Hm. The only reason I can think of to keep the distributor confidential is to avoid competition getting in on the game but that doesn’t seem very practical or fair to the consumer. Maybe mention that half of Steepster is curious? They know us well. :)

Ha, I should mention Steepster, that might get them talking!

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I wonder if the confidentiality of the distributor is because the tea is of a lesser quality than they would have you to believe… ?

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Usually, tea vendors keep the distributor confidential because they are running a business, and they don’t know who you are … you could be a competitor.

Most tea companies … purveyors of tea … do not have an exclusivity contract with their distributors. Red Leaf Tea is based here in the states, and it’s a small business, owned by a guy named Robert, he’s a nice guy. He isn’t the tea farmer. He buys his teas probably from several different sources, and the supplier of the Oolong sampler that you purchased … probably also supplies to the other company.

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I understand not wanting competition, I had to deal with that a lot when I was running an artisan jewelry business and people wanting to know my gemstone suppliers. It will feel odd not disclosing more information on my blog, but what can I do? I will still browse around and see if I can find any more information about where these teas come from originally and keep you all posted if I have any luck!

I guess I have just been spoiled lately dealing business that are more than happy to give me all the juicy details about where the teas come from :) I did find out that there are only a few of the sampler packages left and that they probably won’t be getting more since they want to focus on their delicious flavored matcha.

Uniquity said

If they aren’t planning to carry the product anymore I can’t see the harm of naming the distributor. Ah well. I prefer transparency in the companies I deal with, and I wouldn’t want to fall in love with a product they weren’t going to carry anymore either, hah! :)

Transparency is great, especially if it is something I am ingesting! At least if I do fall in love with one of the teas I can get them on ebay/aliexpress!

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Hi,
It seems there is a much different point of view between the seller and buyer. Here’s a few words from the seller’s side:
1. On our website we have listed: tea names, Tea types, Tea origin and short flavor note as well as weight for each sample. At this point you know where it came from and who sold it to you. Does it really matter who else handled that product between the farm and us. It’s not like they added any value to it nor made it special in any way. I could understand asking for the info about the farmer, but distributor? What’s next, the ships name and picture of the captain?
2. The reason we do not disclose the info, even if we do not have any plans to carry that product any more, is that we are still using that supplier to purchase other types of tea.
3. Finding a good supplier is a big part of success for any business. It’s hard to find someone that offers high quality product, good price, and who is also dependable. My point is, it takes a LOT of time and we are not about to share it with anyone that just feels they should have access to any confidential information, especially if it will be part of public posting available to anyone including our competition. We do not ask our clients for their Social Security number and DOB. Some info is not for others to know.
4. While we are used to getting questions on how we blend our flavored matcha, who sells the flavors to us and even what is our cost of certain product, this is the first time we have been mentioned publicly for not disclosing that info. I can’t say I like the times where people think they are entitled to know everything about you and get upset when they don’t get it.

I apologize that my inquiry seemed to cause such a stir. I suppose asking for the distributor was not the correct way to go about it since what I really wanted to know was the tea’s origin, i.e. the farm/estate and such.

While I would find knowing all the little bits of information fascinating it is not really essential. Excuse me for using the wrong wording.

I will contact my distributor and get that info for you :-)

Thank you so much, I really appreciate it! Again, I really do apologize for not wording things correctly.

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