Poor quality tea from Tea Emporium
Hello, I have had time to think about this and have decided to post a brief warning about ordering 2nd flush Darjeeling tea from Tea Emporium, an India based company. I spent 70.00 US and ended up with one OK Tea and two poor quality teas. I emailed and to their credit they emailed back and said I could get one free tea with my next order. I won’t order again so that does not help me. Their defense for the 2nd Flush quality was that it was the best they could get under the circumstances (the Darjeeling strike this summer). My point was that I ordered what I thought was quality tea at quality tea prices and did not get that. I ordered one other time from them in the past and had very good first flush tea so I don’t condemn them totally. In this case I am not happy with their solution and dropped the pursuit of compensation after a few emails going back and forth. Now my intent is to let others know not to take a chance on their 2nd flush Darjeeling. Thanks, Ron
There really isn’t much around. I had a wholesaler tell me to wait for first flush. I agreed that was a better idea! Now that said, if you were sold crud, that’s a good reason not to go back.
This was one reason I did not source any Second Flush teas for my shop. There were ridiculous bids for suspect quality tea which meant I would end up charging customers a pretty penny for potentially sub par tea.
Here’s the thing – tea that was produced prior to the strike (a very small amount) should have been perfectly fine quality wise. Once the strike started, there was no production. Once the strike ended, the Second Flush had ended, and with the estates overrun by un-pruned plants, there couldn’t have been any production. From what I hear, tea was produced in the Autumn, but my sources tell me the quality was undesirable for the most part.
Unfortunate you had that experience, but frankly I am not sure why the strike would have affected the quality of tea if it was procured prior to the strike starting…
I’m curious as to what made them poor quality? Did they come from a single estate or a blend?
Hi Jillian, The teas I ordered are Rohini, Goomtee Muscatel and Gopaldhara Clonal all 2017 2nd flush. These are not blends to my knowledge. They come from single estates. I will have to taste them again to be specific about what makes them poor quality. The Goomtee is the only one that is drinkable which is not a recommendation. The other two tasted old. I would have to try them again to be more specific about their problems which I would do only if someone was really interested. Also, I have ordered teas from these estates from other sources in the past and they have been very good.
If you say they taste old, they may genuinely be old: last year’s tea possibly. This is a trick a vendor in Nepal used to dispose of old stock. That isn’t necessarily what’s happening here, but it could be…
Goomtee and Gopaldhara are very renowned. I myself stock a FF Goomtee that is quite exquisite. So the problem is not with the estates.
I don’t know Tea Emporium, so not sure how they source. The issue this year was that very little stock of SF Darjeeling tea was available, that too at exorbitant prices. So “knockoffs” for the lack of a better term became quite common. Especially Nepali teas being passed off as Darjeelings due to similarities in taste and appearance. I’m not saying that is the case here, but is a possibility.
The other possibility is last year’s SF teas being passed off as this year’s produce. That would be pretty unscrupulous and one hopes no tea vendor does that, but truth be told, I have seen it happen. Once again, not saying that this is the case here.
I would rule out Goomtee and Gopaldhara producing a poor tea. I think that is the least likely cause.
Certain teas actually sell for more with some age! Aged black tea is a thing, as is aged pu erh, oolongs and white tea, but if you’re sold something as 2017 and it isn’t…that’s pretty bad. The tea industry certainly isn’t immune to that kind of thing