2014 New Harvest Tea versus ‘New’ Tea

This post is a re-post from last year. Because many new tea drinkers may not know how to evaluate some of the claims of ‘new tea’ that are being touted this time of year, we hope this will help. As well as be a good reminder to those of you who know this but need a little re-fresher on this topic.

Soon the earliest plucks of fresh tea from the 2014 spring tea harvests in China, India, and Japan will begin arriving in the US. In fact, Tea Trekker has already received 3 new 2014 season teas from Western China.

News Clip ArtConfusingly, it is also the time when some tea vendors add ‘new teas’ to their inventory that are not from the new 2014 harvest. So it is important for tea enthusiasts to understand what they are purchasing by paying attention to harvest dates. Some of you know this information, many of you may not, so it is worth repeating:

In the next two months, simply because a tea is advertised as ‘new’ to a store or website does not mean that it is new tea from the 2014 harvest, and tea enthusiasts should not fall into the trap of assuming that it is.

If the tea is not dated, it may be last year’s tea (or tea from anytime, really) that is simply ‘new’ to that merchant or tea vendor. Which does not mean that last year’s teas should be avoided – that is not the point.  Some of last year’s green teas are still tasty; but many are not.

But my point is two-fold:

  1. one should be an informed consumer and not assume that a ‘new’ tea is fresh, new harvest tea unless that tea is clearly identified as such
  2. do not  stock up heavily on last year’s green, white or yellow tea unless that is what you mean to do. Some of these teas will keep quite nicely for several more months or even a year if the weather in that place of production had all of the right elements going for it. But in general, one does not want to purchase large quantities of green, white or yellow tea when the new season teas are just around the corner.

It is helpful to know in what period of spring premium Chinese green, black and white teas are made:

  • a few teas are made from the end of March to April 5th ( pre-Qing Ming teas)
  •  most teas are made in mid-April (Yu Qian)
  •  some teas are made from the end of April to the end of May (Gu Yu and Li Xia teas) when the spring tea season is over

Tea production times follow roughly the same pattern each year with slight allowances for weather, and there is an order to when tea factories make certain teas. It most often depends on when the leaf is the right size on the tea bushes to achieve the characteristic appearance of the tea, and that the flavor components of the fresh leaf is properly developed.

So awareness of when certain teas are made will help tea enthusiasts determine if it is possible for a certain tea to have been made in the new tea season or if it must be from last year’s harvest (or older!) For instance, spring high mountain oolong from Taiwan is not plucked until May, so any spring tea of this type being offered now is from last winter or last spring as it is too soon for 2014 high mountain oolong from Taiwan to be in the marketplace.

Our 2014  eastern China teas ( a handful of pre-Qing Ming green, yellow and black teas ) will be arriving as early as next week, followed soon by an early round of 1st Flush Darjeelings.airplaneOnce the season is underway our tea deliveries arrive fast and furiously.To appreciate the absolute fresh goodness of these tea we will air-ship them to arrive at our store as fast as possible. (Watch your in box for email alerts that the tea has arrived – some sell out quite fast each year!)

Tea from the 2nd seasonal plucking (Yu Qian -April 6th to April 20th) of black, white and yellow teas, oolongs and Pu-erh will follow along as their production season arrives.

The 2014 green teas from Japan (with the exception of Japanese Shincha which will be available sooner) are still 4-6 weeks away from being harvested, depending on the region and elevation of the tea gardens. Weather depending, production in most regions will begin at the end of April or in early May. Which puts arrival of 2014 Japanese green tea to our shop about the middle to end of May. ( Again, watch your in-box for emails).

IMG_7473-1So plan your tea purchasing accordingly and make sure that you understand what you are purchasing regarding the dates of harvest. Tea enthusiasts who know what these dates and differences in freshness will end up with fresher tea than those who are unaware of what they are purchasing.

Hooray for spring and happy fresh new tea drinking!

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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.

More 2011 Tea to Arrive @April 20th

Next week we will received our 2nd round of 2011 early spring teas from China and some lovely winter pluck oolongs from Taiwan.  These teas are in the air as I write this, and we expect delivery to be about April 2oth ( plus perhaps a day or two for unexpected snags at customs, weather delays, etc).

Many of you are asking about certain teas, so this is the latest listing of what is coming on this shipment. When the tea is actually here we will post again to this blog and add the teas to the 2011 seasonal tea listing on the homepage of  www.teatrekker.com. And, FYI, more new teas will bee arriving after this shipment as well.

CHINA:

Green Tea
2011 Pre-Qing Ming Longjing Dafo
2011 Pre-Qing Ming Longjing Meijawu Village

White Tea
2011 Before the Rain Bai Hao Yin Zhen
2011 Before the Rain Bai Mudan

Black Tea
2011 Pre-Qing Ming Bai Lin

TAIWAN:

2010 winter pluck Sun Moon Lake Wild Black tea
2010 winter pluck Li Shan – farmer grown
2010 winter pluck Li Shan – lightly roasted, farmer grown
2010 winter pluck Li Shan – commercial gardens