June 10th Update on 2012 Tea Arrivals

Tea, tea and more tea. We are thrilled to announce our first-round of new teas for 2012. The second round is on the way, so keep checking teatrekker.com for new additions.

This year the green tea harvest was delayed throughout eastern China by unseasonable weather conditions. In some areas long periods of colder than usual weather lingered as winter retreated and spring approached, and in other areas incessant rainfall and cold delayed the start of leaf plucking. But despite the rocky start and the plucking delays, our teas from this season are excellent in flavor, aroma and appearance.

Because of plucking and production delays our Chinese teas arrived later than usual this spring ( Darjeelings from India, too!).  Last year most of our Pre-Qing Ming teas were in our store by April 5th (a herculean feat in any year and last year was an extraordinarily cooperative year), but this year schedules had to adjust to accommodate the weather. The quantity of China spring green tea produced in 2012 was much smaller than usual, so we are happy to report that we received just about everything that we wanted with minimal (if any) price increases.

For us, this delay coincided with our decision to re-locate our store. Which meant that much of our new tea began to arrive as we were beginning to pack up for the move. That is not the way we would have liked it to be, but whenever the tea arrives safe and sound we are happy.

From late April until the middle of May new tea poured into the store pretty rapid fire. We carved out time to list some of these teas on teatrekker.com; others were offered only in the store. Now that we are happily in our new storefront, all the new 2012 teas that we have are now listed on the website. Not everything has complete information (that will come soon!) but you will find listings and prices in place.

As always, we are happy to answer any questions about availability and what’s in the pipeline.

Here is what we have –

2012 China Green Tea

  • Xi Hu Longjing: Meijiawu Village (Pre-Qing Ming)  – sold out! 
  • Xi Hu Longjing: Meijiawu Village  (Yu Qian)- in stock!
  • Xi Hu Longjing: Shi Feng – in stock!
  • Xin Chang County Longjing: Dafo Village ( Pre-Qing Ming) – in stock!
  • Buddha’s Tea (Jui Hua Shan Fo Cha) ( Early Spring ) – in stock!
  • Huang Shan Mao Feng ( Early Spring ) – in stock
  • Kai Hua Long Ding (Pre-Qing Ming) sold out!
  • Kai Hua Long Ding  ( Yu Qian ) – in stock!
  • Lu Shan ( Pre-Qing Ming ) – in stock!
  • Gan Lu (Sweet Dew) ( Pre-Qing Ming) – sold out!
  • Gan Lu ( Sweet Dew ) ( Pre-Qing Ming Grade A X-Fine Pluck ) – in stock!
  • Tiamu Snow Sprout ( Pre-Qing Ming ) – in stock!
  • Tiamu Spring Beauty ( Pre-Qing Ming ) – in stock!
  • Yunnan Spring Buds  (Pre Qing Ming) – in stock!
  •  Zhu Ye Qing  (Pre-Qing Ming)sold out!

2012 China Red Tea ( black tea )

  • Bai Lin Gong Fu (Pre-Qing Ming ) – in stock!

2012 China White Tea

  • Bai Mudan ( Yu Qian ) – in stock!
  • Fuding Wild Curly Leaf ( Pre-Qing Ming ) – in stock!
  • Yunnan Bai Mudan – in stock!

2012 China Yellow Tea

  • Mengding Mountain Huang Ya ( Pre-Qing Ming ) – in stock!

2012 Japan Green Tea

  • Hashiri Shincha – in stock!

2012 Darjeeling, India

  • 1st Flush, Castleton Garden, SFTGFOP1 CH – in stock!
  • 1st Flush, Goomtee Garden, FTGFOP1, Organic – in stock!
  • 1st Flush, Makaibari Garden, SFTGFOP1, Bio-Dynamic, Organic – in stock!
  • 1st Flush Margaret’s Hope Estate, FTGFOP1 – in stock!

Coming Soon –

  • China red teas (black)
  • China oolongs – Anxi & Dan Cong
  • Japan greens ( old favorites ) and new offerings
  • Taiwan gao shan oolongs

2012 Japan Shincha has Arrived!

Our Position on 2012 Japanese Green Tea

With great joy we will be supplying our shelves once again with spring harvest green tea from Japan. Among these new 2012 teas, look for old favorites as well as tasty new teas from Uji and several regions on Kyushu Island (Kagoshima and Kame).

As fans of our Japanese tea know, we immediately cancelled plans to import our usual supplies of Japanese tea last spring when news of the disaster at the Fukushima Daichi nuclear power plant became known. Instead, we quickly arranged to purchase as much tea from the 2010 harvest as we could. Because of the good keeping qualities of Japanese tea, that decision served us and our customers well.

Our actions, as it turned out, may have been somewhat premature, as much tea from the 2011 harvest tested negatively throughout the year for contamination. But, as this was a serious matter we believed that caution should prevail, and we did not waiver from our original decision.

Now, a new tea season is beginning, and we look forward to expanding our selection of safe and clean Japan green tea. We have contacted our suppliers, made our initial choices, and will receive tasting samples once the teas are harvested and manufactured (this will be around the end of May until the middle of June depending on the location of the tea gardens). At the same time we will evaluate the testing results for those teas that we are interested in.

Our growers and producers are confident that their upcoming teas will pass the test with NO CONTAMINATION DETECTED. The majority of their teas tested well in 2011, and the numbers should be even better this year. We will rely on Japanese testing to be our guide in these matters. Why? Because Japanese standards are MORE STRICT than those set forth by the US.

For example, test results for cesium radioactivity in food is expressed in becquels per kilogram (Bq/kg). Japan bans the sale of food products emitting more than 500 Bq/kg. But testing conducted in the U.S. according to Food and Drug Administration regulations permits foods registering up to 1,200 Bq /per kilogram to be sold.

We will make our final tea selections from among those teas that test NEAR or AT ZERO for contamination. The first tea from the 2012 spring season is our HASHIRI SHINCHA from Shizuoka Prefecture. Its test results are very clean – less than <2BQ/kilo – which is about as close to AT ZERO as we think it is possible to attain.

We promise to do the best we can to provide transparent information – all of the test results from our 2012 Japanese green tea will be posted on-line and available in the store for those who are interested.

Of course, purchasing Japanese tea is a personal matter and we respect each customer’s decision. We will do our best to help you make an informed decision, and to feel comfortable purchasing Japanese tea from us.

2012 Longjing Dafo & Longjing Shi Feng have Arrived!

Two additional 2012 new harvest Longjings have arrived – just in time as our stock of Longjing Meijiawu has already sold out for the season.

We have:

  • Longjing Dafo (Pre-Qing Ming or Ming Qian, 1st plucking season)
  • Longjing Shi Feng AA ( Early Spring or Yu Qian, 2nd plucking season)

Both are authentic, tasty and in high demand.  We have a shorter supply of the Longjing Dafo Village than we wished for,  so to avoid disappointment please do not wait to order.

Visit our website – http://www.teatrekker.com – for more information or to order.

http://www.teatrekker.com/teas/china/all/green-tea

It’s springggg…..the earth is giving forth fragrance in tea and flowers. Shake off the winter doldrums and celebrate this inspiring sweet season with  fragrant new tea.

2012 Pre-Qing Ming Meijiawu Longjing & Gan Lu have arrived!

The first of our 2012 Pre-Qing Ming ( Ming Qian ) teas have arrived from eastern China. The beginning of the tea harvest was slowed in many regions by the vagaries of weather that makes established plucking-times and ‘market-date’  cycles in our modern times a bit unpredictable. However, these sheer deliciousness and goodness of these new teas have been worth the short delay.

Longjing is one of China’s Ten Famous Teas, and it is the most sought after of the pre-Qing Ming teas (tea plucked from the end of March until April 5th).

It is comprised of a classic two-leaves and a bud pluck, and the appearance is that of a carefully made, hand-shaped, pan-fired tea. It possesses a signature taste combination of toastiness, nuttiness and delicacy that is unique. From the first sip of the initial steeping right through to the lingering taste of the final cup,Longjing always fills the palate with sweet, satisfying flavor.

The origin of authentic Longjing is the vicinity of West Lake ( Xi Huregion ) in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province. Longjing is a protected tea
( protected against counterfeit  ‘Longjing’  made somewhere else in China, or anywhere) and can only legitimately come from one of the places located within the National Designated Protected Zone.

(Our Longjing is ‘authentic Longjing’ which means that the tea is made from Longjing #43 tea bushes. Some early pluck Longjing being sold in the US  this year is made from Wu Niu Zao cultivar, which has an appearance similar to Longjing but is not true Longjing and should not command Longjing prices).

This zone is a scant 168 kilometers in area, and all Longjing tea manufactured there is sold under the name of the region or village in which it was plucked. The original production zones were called Lion, Dragon, Cloud ( Meijiawu Village), Tiger, and Plum.

Today, the names have changed, but the most important harvesting areas for production of authentic Longjing in the Xi Huregion remain the same:

Shi-feng Shan; Longjing Village; Meijiawu Village; Weng-jia Shan

Our 2012 Pre- Qing Ming Meijiawu Village Longjing is complex in aroma, and we think, quite spectacular. We are pleased to share this lot with our Longing-enthusiast clientele.  Supply is very limited!

This spring our 2012 Pre-Qing Ming Gan Lu is comprised of the tiniest baby tea leaves – the smallest we have ever seen! The leaf is covered with the characteristic white pekoe that signifies the tea is comprised of very early season buds, just as this tea should be. In the high elevation area tea gardens of Mengding Mountain in Sichuan Province, the sweet spring buds yield a refreshing, slightly-earthy tasting tea punctuated with high-notes of delicate sweetness. This very appealing quality has earned this tea the name, Gan Lu, or sweet dew.

Mengding Mountain Gan Lu is cultivated in the vicinity of Gan Lu Si Temple, where Wu LiZhen is reported to have planted the first tea bushes around 53 BC. This tea was enjoyed by Song dynasty Emperor Xiaozong ( r. 1162-1189), who gave Wu LiZhen the title ” Master of Sweet Dew.”

This batch of Sweet Dew is small – once this lot is sold we will have a slightly later plucking from the Yu Qian or Before the Rains plucking season, April 5th to April 20th, weather permitting!  Order now !