More 2014 Chinese Green Teas Have Arrived

Our store has suddenly become a whirlwind of boxes and air cargo deliveries of tea.
Tea, glorious tea – fresh and fragrant and newly born from emerging tea leaves in awakening tea gardens.

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Zhu Ye Qing

 

Several of the 2014 Chinese green teas that many of our customers have been waiting for are now here. These are Pre-Qing Ming teas meaning that they were processed before April 5th. This is what we have:

We announced the arrival of these teas on Sunday to our loyal tea enthusiast customers on our mailing list and several of these teas now have a big dent in the remaining quantities. So do not dally if you are interested in purchasing some of these very fresh and newly made teas.

Remember, that these teas are ONLY MADE ONCE A YEAR  (now) and WHEN THEY ARE GONE, THEY ARE GONE.

More 2014 spring China green teas are still to arrive as the spring unfolds and the teas come into production. But the teas mentioned above are made in the smallest quantity given the time-frame of their harvest dates (mid-March until April 5th).

 

 

2014 Longjing Tea Has Arrived

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This year we are quite pleased to announce the arrival of the first two of our 4 Longjing (DragonWell) offerings for the season. Our ShiFeng and Weng-jia Shan Longjing shipments arrived on Saturday and are ready for drinking.

These geographically-highly-controlled selections are made from pre-Qing Ming leaf (plucked prior to April 5, 2014) and represent some of the most elegant and sought-after teas of eastern China.

To read more about Tea Trekker’s Longing here or to place an order visit:

http://www.teatrekker.com/

Stay tuned for additional Chinese spring green teas arriving soon.

1st of the 2014 Chinese Spring Teas have Arrived !

What a nice surprise we had yesterday – the 1st of our 2014 Chinese Pre-Qing Ming Spring Teas arrived. On the 1st day of Spring…. so we take that as an auspicious sign of a good tea season to follow.

Yunnan Sweet Green Threads green tea

Yunnan Sweet Green Threads

This is what arrived:

All are sweet, fresh, vegetal, fragrant and delicious, just as fresh tea should be. Very satisfying with lots of straightforward, seasonal goodness in the cup.

Drink the Jingdong Wuliang now or put some aside in a storage container for a few years down the road.

Additional new 2014 PQM teas from Sichuan Province will be arriving in the next two-three weeks. Followed in April thru early May with tea from Anhui Province and other eastern tea producing regions.

Stay tuned for new arrival updates and drink heartily.

Yunnan Jingdong Wuliang Golden Threads black tea

Yunnan Jingdong Wuliang                       Golden Threads

NOTE: Pre-Qing Ming (MIng Qian) teas are the earliest teas plucked in China. Some tea producing regions in Western and Eastern China experience end-of-winter / early spring weather sooner than other regions. So bud-break comes earlier and tea production begins first in these regions. The earliest plucked teas hold a special significance among Chinese tea drinkers for their small leaf-size, tenderness and gentle sweetness in the cup. In order to be designated a Pre-Qing Ming ( MIng Qian ) the pluck and manufacture must be accomplished between middle-March until April 5th.

SALE…. Longjing Shi Feng

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 We still have some of the current season’s (2013) excellent Longjing Shi Feng PQM Grade AA on hand.

We like this tea for many reasons, one of which is that, unlike some other Longjing it does not ‘tire’ during the year. So we purchase more of it in the spring to last beyond the time when the other village teas are all drunk and gone for the season. Shi Feng is the go-to tea for Longjing lovers at this time of year.

Since we are starting to think about spring 2014 and the new teas that will be arriving then, we would rather have you be drinking and enjoying the ShiFeng Grade AA that we have now at a reduced price.

So, get ready for this: the Longjing Shi Feng PQM Grade AA will be on sale – while supplies last – for the ridiculous price of $24.00 per 1/4 lb (reg price is $40.00 per 1/4 lb).

This is the perfect opportunity to purchase both it and the Shi Feng Yu Qian 1st Grade and taste test the difference between these two seasonal plucks of one of the classic Famous Teas of China.

Longjing Shi Feng

Dragonwell
Grade AA
2013 Pre-Qing Ming

On Sale Now!
was: $40 per 4oz

now: $24.00 per 4 oz

Traditional Tea versus Commodity Tea

TRADITIONAL TEA

Our tea is exceptional. We sell traditionally-made teas crafted by experienced tea artisans. Not commodity tea grown by big business. So just what do I mean by traditionally-made tea and commodity tea? Please read on…..

   

Commodity tea is tea grown by large companies in newly-planted tea fields in areas of the world not usually associated with tea growing and that have no prior tea making history. Conversely, traditionally-made tea relies on well-established methodologies and techniques to do what tea workers and mother nature do best together – make distinctive tea. Traditional tea making utilizes the terroir of each place (soil, geography, climate, weather, etc) and local tea bush cultivars to show a tea garden’s best flavor advantage.

The process of traditional tea making utilizes hundreds of years of knowledge and experience in the crafting of fine tea. No two tea producing countries produce tea the exact same way, and for that we are thankful. It is differences both great and small that give tea a national identity – and many regional differences, too.

Our teas come from China, Japan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Taiwan where traditional tea is made by tea workers who are in harmony with the seasons of the year. They craft teas of exceptional beauty and elegant flavor. We select tea from small family tea farms, small village production, and tightly controlled tea co-operatives. In these gardens, the ability to make great tea is a point of pride for the tea makers, and generations of the same family carry on tea making traditions established by previous generations.

Traditional tea farmers/producers must be in tune with nature and understand the vagaries of weather, soil conditions, how to maintain healthy tea bushes, and how the keen senses of a skilled tea master (sight, smell, touch and hearing ) influence from start to finish the outcome of the finished tea. The livelihood of each family or tea village depends on knowledge of nature and the ability to wrangle with problems and situations that arise during the harvest times. For these people, tea is their life and their life is tea. This accounts for the care and respect they accord their tea.

Traditional tea production is sustainable on many levels.Traditional tea uses methods of pest control ( such as encouraging the presence of birds in the tea gardens and environs and the introduction of plants that discourage the presence of certain pests) and organic farming practices ( soil enrichment, worm production and natural fertilizers made from food sources and manure) that work with nature and not against it. A traditional tea garden does not make use of copious amounts of pesticides or chemical fertilizers.

A traditional tea garden is almost always small and is often broken up into patches of tea bushes located here and there. The elevation is high, away from the pests that plague low elevation tea gardens. The garden is comprised of mature tea bushes (which produce the best teas) that are well-adapted to their environment. In such tea gardens local varieties of tea bushes or tea trees will have been growing in that place for decades. This means that the roots of these tea bushes will be well dispersed under and throughout the soil, allowing healthy soil to nurture the bushes through the roots. Local tea bush cultivars add complexity and individuality to finished tea and keep the diversity of taste alive and well from region to region.

COMMODITY TEA

In comparison, commodity tea ( or industrial tea, agro business tea, etc ) is just that – intensively grown and frequently harvested leaf that is grown for high harvest yields, not for distinctive flavors or unique qualities. This tea is grown for wholesale packagers of commercial grade tea, flavored tea blends and bottled tea drinks. The goal for Industrial tea producers is low production cost and abundant yield, a combination that does not result in premium quality tea.

Commodity tea is grown in large industrial tea gardens in flat, low-lying agricultural areas in non-historic tea producing countries where tea growing is a relatively new industry. The techniques used are standardized and mechanized – typical of agribusiness agriculture.

Tea gardens such as these exist throughout most of Africa and parts of South America. Whereas most English and Irish tea companies once used China, India, and Ceylon ( Sri Lanka ) teas in their blends, these tea sources have been replaced in the last 20 years by teas grown in newly-planted tea gardens in unusual places. Part of this switch is based on simple supply issues ( there is not enough traditional tea in the world for large companies to use even if they wanted to pay higher prices ) and price issues ( these new modern teas can be grown and harvested at far less cost than traditionally-made tea.

Because there is no rich soil for the plants to depend on, large amounts of pesticides and commercial fertilizers are required to maintain such tea bushes. Because of this artificial condition, the roots of these plants mass together in a ball just under the surface of the soil, which means that what is nourishing the plants is the applied chemicals, not the soil.

There is no sustainability in this scheme – without the continued heavy application of fertilizers there is no ability for the soil to sustain the tea plants. And, there  is no diversity among the tea bushes – all the plants are clones of one type and genetically the same. So, there is no effort made to ensure layers of flavor or subtle differences in these teas.

And lastly, commodity tea has no history, culture, inherited knowledge, high-elevation location, cooling clouds and mist, or moisture-laden weather, seasonal differences, or other historical or cultural elements that are part of traditional tea making culture. It is business-grown tea, pure and simple.

Commodity tea is not the type of tea that we want to drink or sell to our customers. But it is the reason that we are committed to selling traditional tea and supporting the efforts of artisan tea makers who produce delicious, awe-inspiring tea.

So, given the choice, which tea do you want in your teacup?