Our 2015 Fresh Chinese Green Teas are Arriving

NEWS FLASH – WE WELCOME THE 2015 TEA SEASON 09pie2The first of our 2015 fresh new Chinese green teas have arrived. What is here?

  • Long Jing
  • Longjing Dafo
  • Gan Lu

Also just in…..2015 Winter Frost Tea from Nilgiri, India. This is the first time in nearly seven years that we have had Nilgiri teas.

Click here to see all of our 2015 teas that have arrived to date as well as a listing of other 2015 spring teas that will be arriving soon.

Seasonal teas are wonderful because they contain fresh, vibrant flavors of the new season in their tiny tea leaves. While many who sell tea ignore the notion of seasonal tea production, we feel that it is vital to understand and explore the changes that occur in the taste and flavors of tea from one season to another during the plucking year.

Many tea producers in China will say something like: ‘The tea is not good now.‘ What they mean is that the tea has entered a season in which the taste is less than delicious. This is a weather-driven, size-of-the-tea leaves issue and one that arises in the early summer when the tea leaves have grown too large on the bushes to make ‘good’ tea. One must wait for another season to have sweet, good tasting teas again.

All of China’s Famous Teas and other early spring green teas (such as the above mentioned teas and many more that Tea Trekker will be receiving), are made only in the spring season. Chinese black and oolong teas will begin spring production soon (or have just begun) and some of these teas will have a second plucking season in the autumn as well.

Want to learn more? Please refer to the seasonal tea dating and source information on  teatrekker.com that we list for our teas. And, we discuss seasonal dating in both of our tea books: The Story of Tea and The Tea Enthusiast’s Handbook.

More new tea will be arriving this week – keep checking teatrekker.com for details and  announcements.

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.


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 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!

2013 Chinese Green Teas & 1st Flush Darjeelings

closeup of tea leafFresh Chinese and India Darjeeling tea from the 2013 spring harvest is pouring in through the doors. One of our shipments of Chinese tea was held for 10 days in customs, but was released in tact and delivered to us the following day. So other than excessive worry over the fact that we did not have possession of the tea, it all worked out just fine.

Each year, when it is time to order new tea from the samples we have been sent, we place different orders on different days according to what teas have become available. No matter how we do this, the tea gods always plot to have the tea arrive all at once, creating a happy chaos of boxes and bags.

What do we do when there is tea everywhere? First, we open the boxes and bags and visually examine the tea. Steep a pot and taste each tea to make sure the right tea was sent. Take photos of each tea for the website, price the tea, put the photos on our website, label a container for the store shelf, re-seal the bags and put the tea away in a logical place in the warehouse. Everything must be done ASAP for both for the web and store.

Please visit our website: www.teatrekker.com for information on all the new tea and for the latest updates.

So what new tea has arrived so far?

2013 China:

2013 Darjeeling, India:

Gathering Our Nuts

Are we to look at cherry blossoms only when in full bloom, the moon only when it is cloudless? To long for the moon while looking on the rain, to lower the blind and be unaware of the passing of spring – these are even more deeply moving. Branches about to bloom or gardens strewn with faded flowers are worthier of our admiration….In all things, it is the beginnings and endings that are interesting.” Yoshida Kenko (born c. 1283, Kyōto?—died c. 1350/52, near Kyōto?)

Like Yoshida Kenko’s keen observations about observing the transient beauty of nature, I like the days between the going and coming of the seasons. Lately, here in my corner of New England, these days are neither summer nor fall, but combinations of warm sunshine during the day and crisp, cool nights. This transition provides us with visual reminders that another turn of the wheel in the cycle of the seasons is upon us. At my local farmstand, I find the last watermelons displayed next to a basket of the first just-picked apples.The trees on my street are beginning to drop their leaves, littering neighborhood lawns and the street with colorful, parchment-like leaves. Grasses and tall weeds in the fields surrounding our house, once vibrant and green, are thinning and turning yellow. Corn fields are being cleared and flocks of migrating geese have replaced the squabbling hummingbirds. Pumpkin patches are being emptied and these colorful symbols of autumn are re-appearing on doorsteps and porches. Seed heads are forming where flowers once were, and, suddenly, the annual fall foliage spectacular in New England is underway.

This time of year I enjoy watching neighborhood squirrels scamper across our lawn, each of them carrying an impossibly large horse chestnut gleaned from a cache of nuts festooning the roadside just past our house. Sensing the impending change of season, these hard-working little animals scamper about with a heightened sense of urgency, each of them seemingly intent on finding the perfect burying place for storing their bounty of nuts. While they work diligently, I chuckle knowing that I will find horse chestnuts popping out of my flower beds and lawn next spring.

Similarly, on a morning stroll through nearby Amherst College campus, resident squirrels run hastily past me with acorns that have fallen plop, plop, plop from towering old oak trees. I often wonder if any of these nuts will be dug later by the squirrel who planted them. Or if nut-planting is a communal effort with the end result being that the nut goes to whichever squirrel later finds it. These industrious creatures seem hard-wired to plant as many nuts as possible, plain and simple, and I admire their individual efforts on behalf of the greater resident community.

Similarly, for we humans there is much to do now to prepare for fall and winter. We begin gathering winter-keeping foods such as locally-grown varieties of squash and potatoes and other necessities now in anticipation of the cold, dark winter months that lie ahead.

In our tea store we notice that our customers are purchasing more black, oolong and Pu-erh teas. As with food choices and other drinks we crave in hot weather/cold weather, our taste buds respond to the needs of our bodies according to the season. Dark tea for the dark season makes perfect sense.

Like the busy squirrels, we have been packing tea into our shop in advance of the cold months and the busy holiday season. (While we do not bury our tea, we are putting some tea aside to age……more on that in a month or so). Our supplies of black, oolong and Pu-erh teas are ample and we are happy with both the quality and the quantity of what we have. Our latest additions are:


Everest Hand-Rolled Himalaya black tea2012 Everest black
Nepal High Himalaya Hand-Rolled Tips blak tea 2012 Nepal High Himalaya Hand rolled tips black


Gold-Flecked Emerald Tips Green Wind in the Pines green Yangtze River Gorges green
Spring Hao Ya jasmine Fenghuang Dan Cong oolong – Baiye Fenghuang Dan Cong oolong – Zhi Lan Xiang
Mao Cha – Jinggu County Mao Cha – Yongde County  
Mao Cha –Zhenyuan County
Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong Tippy – black


Hojicha with Toasted Genmai  Genmaicha with Matcha

Also, we will be re-roasting some of our oolongs soon and will post those selections online as soon as they are ready.

Our China Yixing and Japan Tokoname teapots are in good supply, too. We are now photographing a stunning collection of one-of-a-kind Tokoname teapots that will be available on our website early in November. All of the artisan Tokoname teapots that we received in our July shipment sold quickly, so we anticipate a swift response to these new teapots. Remember that it is not too soon to begin thinking about the right tea gift for the tea enthusiast on your holiday gift-giving list.

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