Anyone want to share the cost of the New Harvest?
We are currently getting Spring harvest teas in from China. That means we are getting a lot of the same types of teas in from lots of different producers (estates) and tasting them side by side. Believe it or not, this is quite an expensive affair for such a small startup, so we were wondering if anyone would be interested to do the same kind of thing? Ie taste the spring harvest teas before they hit the market, compare them side by side. For example compare a few Long Jing teas from different producers, and get a good amount of tea in at the price the producers are selling them (plus postage). Just to put that into perspective… most tea companies add a 200% markup on top of the price of the tea (we are not the devil, we have to meet all the other expenses too :’)) So a tea which costs £18 on the market will cost you guys 6.
This is actually the way I learned about tea. I didn’t know about all these tea YouTube channels and so I was thrown in at the deep end. I think this is probably the best way to do it (because although sitting down with a 80 year old man in China is pretty cool, our taste preferences are usually different).
I think that tasting the teas side by side, deciding which one you like most, and then figuring out which characteristics make it so special is the best may to learn about tea and has given me insights that most people wouldn’t be exposed to.
Just to make it clear that we are sourcing the best tea available (not the one that’s going to make us the most profit like most companies do), so this is a great opportunity for you guys to try teas which can’t be easily found on the Western market.
The reason I am asking is because we are considering running this as a project. We wanted to know if there would be enough interest.
The reason we aren’t charging a premium (making a profit) is because we would have to pay the cost anyway and as we will know exactly how much demand there will be upfront, we don’t actually take on any risk, so we are happy to do so. And if you guys are still suspicious, we are also hoping that we will be able to get some feedback from you guys :). So our teas would have been chosen not by 3 guys running a tea company (like most places), but the tea lovers themselves.
We are actually currently working on a Kickstarter page to launch this project (here’s a preview of the unpublished page), it would be great to get some feedback from you guys!
I have to say I am very interested about partaking in this venture. My questions would be
Is this for all types of tea?
What would the overall cost be?
What would the overall quantity of tea be?
I understand you would not know the exact answers, but would a ballpark be possible?
The video actually answered most of my questions; this still may be helpful to people who don’t want to read the kickstarter and watch the video.
Thanks for the feedback Steven, very nice to hear that people would actually be interested!
1.We definitely will be looking to source all teas. We basically want to develop a collection of teas which have been chosen by you guys (tea lovers) and so want them to meet everyone’s tastes. So yes we will be sourcing all types of teas!
2. Overall cost;
So here’s an example of the cost. For those that don’t want to follow the link; Using Yunnan Gold as an example, 16g of 6 teas from different producers (that’s 96g of tea) would cost approx 59 Yuan. That’s about £6.90. You guys would then have to cover shipping costs. The price of the tea will of course vary depending on the producers we choose and the tea we are sourcing (a Long Jing would be expected to be more expensive than this, while a Da Hong Pao is likely to be cheaper). We will try to regulate the sample size in order to keep the cost below £10-15.
3. So, to launch the project we need the support of about 30 tea lovers. Why? The Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ) for most producers is 500g (if buying directly from them). If we split 500g into 16g sachets we need the support of 30 people to meet the MOQ. The more people jump on the bandwagon, the cheaper it will be (that’s the nature of buying in bulk).
4. Shipping Abroad;
So we are completely aware that a lot of tea lovers are situated in the US and Canada. So we are actively working to try to come up with a solution to the shipping problem (it’s quite expensive to ship from the UK- about £5). At the moment something we are considering is sending all the orders out as one parcel and then getting someone in those countries to distribute them using the domestic post system. This may lower costs. So if anyone is volunteering, that would be great! :’)
Ill put my name into the hat for US distribution if you are thinking about going that way. I have a non-traditional job where I end up working from home everyday, and end up weighing out a lot of things for sourdough baking, supplements, and the like. Shoot me a message in the future if that is the way it ends up going, either way I am in to share the cost of new harvest.
Awesome! Thanks Steven will see what we can do. That sounds like one crazy job :’) Will keep you posted.
That may not be cheaper, unless the amount of tea keeps the package a first class package. When I send tea in a swap it is usually less than 100g of tea and first class mail tends to be around $3 or $4. If it’s too heavy for first class then it goes priority and that can get expensive.
Okay got it. Thanks Allan! What do you think of the idea by the way Allan? I know you’re almost an exclusively pu’er man yourself. Will need guys like you to help us choose the producers for pu’ers (we’re not as experienced on that front), and pu’er tea being the industry of deceit that it is will need a lot of experience!:’)
Can’t actually work out how to reply to feedback on kickstarter, but thank you, your support means a lot!:)
well at L15 adding in 5, you would get 20 which would be about 30 US $’s Thats about the same price as most US based tea clubs, I honestly dont see a problem with it at that price for US customers.
Hi Sasha, as per our emails I’m certainly on board. Should be an interesting experience and I hope others think so too.
I have created a group so that we can start getting the sourcing discussion going. I have posted a poll on their with just a few teas on it, please add any additional teas which you would like to see.
Please guys, ask questions about the project, tell me all your concerns, let me know what you would like to see, and I will make this work for you guys.
I want to see interaction, tea talks, general questions about tea, T-blogs, everything. We are really just trying to create a tea community where we can connect you guys with the tea farmers of China.
One request, please be nice to each other. You guys on Steepster are a nice crowd, so I don’t think this applies as much to you (the guys on Reddit are terrible). Have respect for each other. You all have the same interest, this isn’t a place to assert your intellectual dominance.
I am currently in the process of creating a website, but I actually think that Facebook is a pretty convenient way of running this.
Here’s a link to the group;
Hope to see you there,
I was thinking about the shipping problem and an idea came to me.. Ship the international orders from China, epacket is going to be by far the cheapest international shipping you can find.
Hey Ken, awesome idea. I have thought about that a lot. The only problem is that I don’t have any friend in the US who could then split it up (as it will be about 500g) into sachets and send it out to everyone who wants some. So I have actually been considering asking Steven (snielson222) if he could help.
Is that what you were thinking, or did I get the wrong end of the stick?
No, I was thinking ship directly to the customers from china, instead of every sending it to England or the US, Epacket is very fast, and very cheap. This is why the sellers in China have been flocking to ebay the last few years.
So what you do is have your tea person who is in china packing the order, handle all the US orders and ship it directly to each customer, not to one person to distribute.
That sounds like a good idea. Have just looked them up. I had never heard about them before. The only problem is once again, that we have to have someone on the ground in China who can buy sachets, split the tea up into them, label them, and then send them out via Epacket. Usually we go through a shipping specialist who just forwards the post.
This seems like a pretty smart idea to me, so I will definitely see if we can make it work. I will see if there are any companies that would be willing to do that for us.
Thanks for your awesome idea!
Well Epacket is a US post office thing, I figured you might not be aware of it. IT was something created a few years ago, to help small vendors in china ship packages to the US at a relatively economical rate. Its meant for small packages of lower value under 200$ and under 2000grams weight. Perfect for small tea club posts.
I looked at the link. The link is a website of a vendor’s Tea Club. You are the vendor. You are creating a Tea Club and asking people to sub, masking it as a Kickstarter or business opportunity. By the time shipping is factored in, and the Pound Sterling converted to dollars, the price is higher than most tea clubs.
This is just another marketing of a Tea company trying to drum up business. In this case, the customers are being asked to buy the tea for the vendor before it is sourced, pay more for it, and do the work of shipping it for the vendor too!
Hi Cwyn, yes we are currently a tea company, and we are currently working on a new project. I am sorry you think that.
I am not asking you to subscribe to our website or pay a fee, just to like our facebook group and to vote on the poll (tell us which tea you would be interested in sourcing).
However, I am interested to see why you think we are asking you guys to pay more for the tea?
We will be selling it to you at the same price as we bought it from the producers. I know this sounds fishy, so I’m not going to ask you to trust me, but I hope that as you see the project come together you will be able to see that this is exactly what we are doing. I will be making a short Q&A video and blog post soon, as I don’t think I would trust me either :).
What I want to create is an opportunity for you guys to have access to tea farmers, to be able to source from them directly, and to choose your teas (at wholesale price). Yes, we are trying to create a tea club, but one that works in your best interest.
Keep the feedback coming guys, it’s the only way for me to see what you are thinking. It’s incredibly useful!
I’m suggesting it’s more because I can buy 50g each of six teas for less than $40 on my own. Tea clubs cost around $30, which is less than 36 Pounds sterling. Why would I want to buy from you, except to financially support your business?
Every snake oil salesman thinks he’s doing the customer a favor. Unless it’s free, it’s not really a favor.
Hi Cwyn, once again you have intrigued me. I am very interested to know where you are getting all of these figures from. None of those figures have been mentioned, and are far from accurate. If you refer to my example above, it will be a maximum cost of £15 (hopefully significantly less) for around 100g of tea (6 types).
I will once again mention that we are not making money from this project, so I am not sure what exactly you are objecting to.
“What I want to create is an opportunity for you guys to have access to tea farmers, to be able to source from them directly, and to choose your teas (at wholesale price). Yes, we are trying to create a tea club, but one that works in your best interest.”
“I will once again mention that we are not making money from this project…”
How will you stay in business with a model such as this? Verdant already does this at a fair price (http://verdanttea.com/teas/tea-of-the-month-club/), and to be honest, they already have the contacts and experience. I don’t purchase from them anymore, but when I did, I knew where my tea was coming from.
I think the idea is to get help from us serious tea heads to pick out good tea for their local business. It kinda makes senses depending on how their price to tea ratio works out.
The basic tea club price ratio is 30$ to 75g of tea. This is the formula Verdant, YS and White2tea all use.
While that’s not necessarily a bad thing, part of my point was if I could source directly from the tea farmer, why would I go to Eastcott & Burgess to purchase?
Because the shipping cost would be super high per tea per farmer if you order 1 tea from lots of farmers in China. Whereas Sasha is suggesting ordering many teas to 1 meeting point in the UK & sending on a bit of the tea from there to each person, so that way, you don’t have to buy a wholesale amount of tea, nor pay the huge shipping costs (circa £40 minimum from china to uk even for a free sample). For people based in the UK this would be a huge saving & they get to try teas from farmers with us. Is that what you meant? Yulia X
Also, you’d really need to speak and write one of the Chinese languages to get a genuinely wholesale price with no foreigner mark-up. But that’s not really the real issue – it’s the horrendous postage costs. We’re forgetting most people don’t try to order straight from the farmers.
After I’d tasted my 1st Chinese tea given to me by a rich client of a dear friend of mine 5 years ago, I’d realised this is the real deal so have been buying exclusively from farmers ever since. I’m happy to pay for the horrendous shipping, as tea is a passion love of mine. That’s how our tea company began – we’d realised we could share our finds with others and justify buying so much tea in wholesale quantities! :P
This is what’s in it for us: we all get to split the costs of the shipping, just like you do, and you get to join us on our sampling journey of hopefully some of the finest, 1st Ming-Qian teas, which is tremendous fun if you’re as into teas as we are – so it’s a win win.
Verdant tea and other tea clubs make a profit from this, whereas we won’t, because it’s a passion project of ours (mainly of Sasha’s) – we absolutely love our careers, we are both prusuing the careers of our dreams and doing super well at them actually so any profit made from tea will add little to ouor happiness, but tea is just a huge passion of ours. We are already benefitting by not making a profit on Sasha’s CommuniTea Club by reducing our shipping costs when trying teas from faremers by splitting them with you guys. Does this make sense?
It’s funny how people are so used to getting ripped off that when someone offers them a genuinely great deal, they think it’s fishy! :P Yulia X
But yes, also not sure why Sasha is being so generous and offering you guys to sell at wholesale prices when it turns out that this is so much effort to organise – maybe we should sell at a profit, we’ll think about it. :P But for now, it will be at whoesale prices, so I’d hurry up & accept his offer anyone who is interested before we change our mind! :P Yulia X
Edit from Sasha: I think Yulia is joking ahah :D Good one Yul!
First, I’m sure you probably don’t speak Chinese and might not be familiar with customs in China. Second, you assume I’m getting ripped off (and are reading way too much into my mention of Verdant, who I don’t even purchase from). Nothing in life is free, and I personally would rather pay for tea from a vendor I trust, than to get it from a farmer I can’t hold accountable. How do any of us know you won’t be taken advantage of? Very likely it could happen.
Second, I saw the first version of Sasha’s post that was deleted. I have it in my email that Steepeter sent. He’s admitted that your business is part-time and that neither of you have a lot of experience. Your initial goal was to sell tea as a gift to people who don’t know anything about tea and they basically wanted luxiourious packaging. That’s ok, but don’t try to hide it.
In my job I’ve worked with numerous clients over the past 11 years who had no real business plan. Your posts on Steepeter lead me to believe you don’t either, but that’s my opinion. Heck, you and Sasha are even contradicting each other now. The enthusiasm is appreciated, but you’ve left a really bad taste in my mouth. First by posting in the user trading forums, then uncouthly posting in 52 Tea’s weekly thread.
I’d be happy to dissect further, but that’s not my intention. Had you both taken a more honest approach and had more discretion in how you engaged on Steepster, I would be your biggest supporter here.
This is just how I feel and I’m putting it out there honestly. I’m not saying your goals and intentions are wrong or bad, or that you shouldn’t be supported here. I’m just done with this.
I sincerely wish you both the best of luck.
In the meanwhile, as I have told some of you, progress may be a little slow, as I am currently preparing for finals (my university exams), and having to write essays almost non-stop, and at the same time am trying to put CommuniTea together. But I hope that the whole thing will be ready, and will send out the first load of tea just after my exams in May or early June (as I handle the packaging and mailing – Yulia is at work while the post office is open).
I have replaced the previous reply with a slightly clearer well structured response.
I will write on my behalf.
I have talked to john-in-siam extensively on this topic. I completely understand that the E&B and the CommuniTea Club models appear to be contradictory. I want to make it clear that we are not trying to isolate the two and want them to work as one. CommuniTea Club is an E&B project. I know that we could make E&B a success in due time, but we are more interested in pursuing something that hasn’t been done before.
So far we had been focusing on selling high quality teas to a different audience. We have provided quality storage tins that actually did the job (something that few companies do), along with high quality tea, and a luxurious design. We were targeting tea buyers who not only were concerned with tea quality, but also the visual aspect.
This project aims to work in the best interests of the tea lover.
We will provide quality, cost effective packaging and will focus just on the leaves. We will save money where we can to make it cheaper for you guys. For example there will be no brochure which comes with your tea, instead all the information will be published online (to save on printing costs).
The main idea behind this project is to connect all tea lovers. I know that you guys would love the opportunity to try teas side by side as you will be able to differentiate them and learn a lot from the experience. This is how I learned about tea.
The reason I think this is different to other tea clubs is that you guys have the opportunity to curate your own collection of teas, and then buy it at wholesale price. Which I know everyone loves, because who wouldn’t want lower prices right?
I also thought this would be a really cool opportunity to connect the tea community. Eg you could have live tasting session over video, where everyone is tasting the same teas. This would connect all of us on a different level. You can discuss it, interact, that kind of thing. (That’s what I’m most excited for).
What I want to create is a platform for you guys to have the opportunity to buy from the best tea farms. With Verdant, although they are transparent you don’t have the choice of buying a Dragonwell from two farms.
I really believe that the tea industry is going to change and that people will be buying tea in the same way wine is bought today. Choosing between a large range of farmers and buying based on the feedback of fellow tea lovers rather than just ‘that’s the producer Verdant tea chose to buy from’. I think that this project is a step in the right direction.
Something important you need to understand;
The project is going to be very much community driven. I have already created a voting section on the CommuniTea Club website (not yet published). (We have not adapted our E&B website to this venture yet, so we have not yet merged the two). Here you guys will be able to vote on everything the company does. It will have a place for you to give recommendations and let us know what direction you want the tea company to take. Anything that’s popular or sounds reasonable will be posted for voting.
In response to the free tea comment;
If you really want the project to give out tea for free, it will, as it will work based on all of your votes. But bear this in mind. I hope you all understand, that if you guys vote to give out tea for free, the project will not make it to the next harvest.
If someone if giving you something for free, it’s because they know that they will get that money back… and then some. That’s the reality of the commercial world that all the other tea companies play in.
I also hope that you guys realize, that tea companies incur exactly the same expenses, but then add a profit on top of them. So if you see that Verdant tea is selling a tea for prices pretty much as low as the ones we will get, just know that chances are, they have simply gotten a lower grade and are not providing the same level of quality (most likely) or accurate information.
What’s the Benefit for Us?
This really is more of a passion project (as Yulia likes to call it). We are not looking to get financial gains from this.
We have decided that with this project, we are not going to try to make money, and instead we are going to accept it as a project that we can run for ourselves, that allows us to do what we love in our spare time. Create, feel good about ourselves, and drink tea. So we are going to just roll it out, try to provide something useful for the community, and maybe eventually someone will want to buy t-shirts :).
1. The first benefit of course is that we will not lose any money taking this on. We will be able to order amounts of tea from the producers based on the levels of interest for each tea. This means that we don’t take on risk.
2. The second of course being that we absolutely love tea, and want to make a transition into being part of the tea community rather than working for it. I love making videos about tea and I feel like every time I make a video I cannot simply focus on quality content. I think that this level of transparency will provide that. Not to mention that, what I really want to do is make documentary style video about each tea farm, and give each individual farm a voice.
With this project, I can put loads of tea side by side and I can tell you honestly, everything I think and know about it. I can tell you that the tea available on our website from farmer xyz is actually not worth the money, and that you would be better off buying the same tea from farmer abc. I think that would be the first time anyone who owns a tea company has ever done that, and yet its so useful. Right?
3. We are hoping it will run a bit like all of your tea blogs. We will (like some of you) provide quality content, not to mention prices and teas, and then do the same stuff as every tea blogger (release t-shirts for sale with some wacky tea quotes. Maybe one of you will buy them :D.
Just to make that clear… that’s not me saying that we will sell t-shirts, that’s me saying that when someone provides quality for the community and asks for nothing in return, usually in one way or another they get something in return indirectly. That may be experience, feedback, ideas, donations, anything. If not, it’s not big deal because we get to do what we love.
4. This summer, I am going to be going out into Bristol (the city I study in), setting up a little aluminium table and trying to sell our 2016 tea reserves as ready made tea drinks. I hope I will be able to open some people’s eyes, but that’s not the point. I would love to one day open a tea bar, and if I have a collection of teas curated by you guys, I know it will be the best. So tea lovers will be able to come in and know that they will be able to get really high quality teas from there. So we are very much playing a long game.
5. I absolutely love tea, and I see this as a great opportunity to learn more and more about tea. It will put me out of my comfort zone and help me try teas which I have never had before, all thanks to your votes. I would like to tell you guys that tea is a never ending learning experience. You will never be able to learn everything. The Buddhist Monks drinking Da Hong Pao every day are still learning for god sake. We all have so much left to learn, and I think that as a community we can do this a thousand times faster, and get so much more quality content from this.
I want to be as much a part of the community of tea lovers as you guys (and that company status is definitely not helping). The reason I really want this project to come together is that I know I will be able to get so much knowledge from it… about something I actually care about.
With E&B will be providing for, as we are now, people who are not solely concerned about just the tea. This may be people looking to buy the tea as a gift or who are looking for quality storage. While you guys will quickly finish a bag of tea before it goes stale, those who don’t drink it every day could benefit here. I think that although this project isn’t doing as well as it could at the moment, I think that once tea culture changes (which it will), it will be a success.
1. This addresses the changes which I think will occur on the demand side. People wanting to buy tea because influencers start to endorse it. It will sell CommuniTea teas at the same price, but will have options such as the tea caddies we sell at the moment. People will know that if they want to buy a quality tea (chosen by tea lovers), which is packaged nicely so that they can give it as a gift to their Mum, they can get it from here.
2. The benefit from this project would be that if we were to go to a luxury retailer such as Harrods in London, and they ask us why they should buy E&B teas, we can tell them that it is a CommuniTea Club spin-off and uses teas chosen by people who know what the hell they are talking about! Tea lovers. Not 3 guys who run a tea company.
While I wanted to combine the two companies, I think that the CommuniTea Club is more suited to tea lovers, so I think we will keep it separate.
Finally, if you guys are interested to know why we are adopting this model, it’s because we believe that the tea industry is going to change and become more transparent. So I would rather be on what I think will be the right side of history. Here’s a video I posted on the International Tea Chat group on Facebook on the subject;
I’m sorry this is so long, but this is effectively our whole ‘business plan’ and if we are planning to be transparent, we might as well start now.
If you got to the end, thank you so much for your attention! It really means a lot, and thank you so much for not simply dismissing the project. I really am so grateful for you guys and the support of everyone that has been willing to help so far. It means the world to both me and my sister (Yulia).
Let me know what you guys think! D you have any objections, or questions?
What do you love about the idea? Leave them in the comments below and I will answer them.