Dxniel said

Has anybody ever bought "fresh" tea that was actually 1 or 2 year old tea?

I am asking, because I have noticed some online stores, like Dragon Tea House, changing all their tea descriptions around early spring to “2014 harvest” all on the same day. This includes teas that the new harvest is usually only available from around August. This seems a bit suspicious to me. What do you guys think?

Heres a story of mine.
I wanted to drink some 2014 black tea that I had ordered from a store I really like (package was still unopened). I poured the tea out into a tin and wanted to remove the sticker from the package to place on the tin, so it would be easy to keep track of which tea is which. When I did this, I saw that there was ANOTHER sticker underneath, which read “2012 July”. I was quite upset, as I felt like I was being deceived by one of my favorite tea stores. I even took a picture of it, but I’d rather not post it in case they have some kind of explanation for this. I have sent this particular store a message with a link to the picture, asking for an explanation of some kind. If they won’t have any explanation, won’t have any apology or simply won’t care, then I’d be happy to post the picture, as I would want others to be aware of what this tea store might be doing.
But then again, I am waiting for a reply. Until that time I won’t assume anything or make the picture public (I wouldn’t want to damage their reputation over what might be some kind of weird mistake).

EDIT: I received a response to the message I sent this tea store. Just like a bunch of you suspected, they were just using pre-stickered bags that they recently found when they moved from warehouse and they didn’t want to waste them as they were in good condition. So the tea that they sold me really was 2014 harvest and not 2012 like the sticker underneath the 2014 sticker said.
I am glad this is the case, because they are one of my favorite (if not my favorite) tea stores.

7 Replies
Cwyn said

How does the tea taste? Does it taste stale or have very little flavor? A lot of fresh black teas have a floral scent, do you smell anything?

I can see how it might be they have leftover bags that were previously labeled and they are just using up those bags.

Dxniel said

I have yet to try it. I had myself some Da Hong Pao instead, but I will try this black tea later on.

Your theory does seem very possible. But I will wait for their reply before I draw any kind of conclusion.


Yeah, it wouldn’t surprise if they just had left over bags.

It wouldn’t surprise me though about some tea companies! I mean the BB date on most teas that I’d buy in the grocery store give it a 2-3 year range…

Buy tea from whom you trust, its really all we can do. :/

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Angrboda said

It could just be an empty pouch that hadn’t been used in the originally printed year, kept and corrected and then filled with tea this year. If you know what I mean. It doesn’t necessarily mean that old leaf has been re-labelled.

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Dr Jim said

I have intentionally ordered tea that was older (and on sale), and have also sometimes left unopened packages in my stash for up to a year, and they aren’t nearly as stale as an opened package would be. I especially like the vacuum-packed tea.

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AllanK said

I have never gotten an old tea from an online vendor, but Sun’s Organic Tea Shop in New York City, Chinatown sold me some definitely stale rooibos. She refused to admit there was a problem with the tea. Her problem may have been premature staling. She stores her teas in glass jars, and clear ones. The tea may simply have been exposed to too much light and lost its flavor.

I bought some tea in Oakland from a shop that stored it in glass jars. It tasted fine after I got it, but I did wonder how long it was stored there.

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