While Tea Trekker began receiving certain Chinese green teas in March of this year, the wait for our Korean green teas has been long. South Korea is located about as far north as tea can grow. Subsequently, the tea harvest in South Korea is subject to the late arrival of spring weather ( as it is in much of Japan, too ). This means that Korean green teas come to market several months later than many green teas from Yunnan Province, China, and a good month after than the eastern China greens from Zhejiang and Anhui Provinces. Spring unwinds slowly in South Korea, teaching us all a little patience in the process.
Tea Trekker is proud to have new harvest supplies of the Korean green teas that we introduced in 2010. ( Alas, no Ujeon this year). Our tea is from an organic tea cooperative composed of over 60 tea farmers located in the Hwagae Valley ( the best place!). Each grower must comply with rigid organic standards, and at harvest time each may set the price of their tea. The final selling price of the tea is determined by the cooperative based on many factors, including total crop yield for that year.
Spring 2011 was a very tough year for tea growers in the Hwagae Valley. Thousands of tea bushes were killed by winds and severe cold. A few producers lost as many as 80% of their bushes, while for others, the bushes suffered severe damage but did not die. And yet for other growers, overall damage was minimal. Individual situations depended on the location of the tea fields, as some fields were destroyed or protected from the worst of the weather simply by the good fortune of their physical location in this area.
So while the 2011 spring season yielded devastating plant loss, it was not the catastrophic loss as some have reported.
There have also been reports of wildly high tea prices for Korean green tea this year because of this situation. This cannot be said across the board with such certainty.
Despite the fact that most of the tea cooperative members suffered varying degrees of loss to their tea bushes, the group decided to sell 2011 spring tea to Tea Trekker with only minimal price increases over what we were charged last year. It is important to note that while this year’s bad weather affected the quantity of tea produced, it did not affect or compromise the quality, flavor or mouth-feel of these wonderful and unique teas.
We appreciate this gesture of good will by the growers.
In kind, we are adjusting the prices of these 2011 teas by only $1.00 per unit to reflect nominal cost increases in packaging materials and shipping rates. The remainder of the small price increases we are absorbing.
We are proud to sell some of the best organic Korean green teas that money can buy at very reasonable prices!
These teas arrived a few days ago, just in time for our summer Master Class in green tea. We added the Jungjak as a surprise addition to the tasting that evening and it really made the comparative tasting of green teas complete. Everyone was excited to taste this fresh and vibrant tea which we virtually tore right out of the air cargo boxes, and we were thrilled to give them the opportunity.