As co-owner of JAS-eTea, I feel obliged now and then to present some of my thoughts about tea and the general business of tea. Plus sometimes there are lots of bits and pieces of tea news that don’t need a full article. Here are some of them. Steep up your favorite tea and enjoy as you read.
Westernizing Fine Teas Is Possible
I constantly hear from people that they don’t have time to sit down with their tea table, Yixing pot, chahai, cups, etc., for a full gongfu tea time. And that is a very valid concern. To truly enjoy a fine tea, you need an hour or more, depending on how many infusions you do. Several devices have come along, though, that make tea preparation not only simpler but also capable of achieving taste results close to that full gongfu experience. And we push to put out the information there that will help you prepare and appreciate those teas in whichever way you choose – western or eastern.
Darjeeling Tea Gardens Get Their First Rain
Well, folks, the first flush of Darjeeling tea got it’s kickoff with some much needed rain after an colder than usual Winter. My thought here is how we fuss so much about the variations in temperature and rainfall that occur naturally on a planet with a fairly complex weather system. It’s pretty normal, I guess, for an agricultural product such as tea and one that so many people there and elsewhere depend on for their livelihood. Plus, when the rain falls and the amount of rainfall can affect how the teas taste, so just like wines this is definitely something to watch. I just see a bit too much upset over those normal weather fluctuations. Time to stay calm and make the most of what comes our way.
The Future of Tea
The market definitely seems to be stuck with those “flavored” teas, with the trend being toward more flavorings and fewer tea leaves. So we continue to source the best we can find and that are mostly tea leaves. How do you appreciate the taste of tea if you can’t taste it? And it was that taste that got us involved in this whole business in the first place. Helping you explore the many options available is part of our mission.
The market also seems trending toward those “millennials” and younger, with sleek tea bars (yes, one large company closed some, but others are thriving) and sleek tea steeping devices. Gimmick teas such as those pressed into “drops” (as the maker calls them) and teas that are bottled (basically, you are buying water) and concentrated (a quick way to have a fairly decent cup of tea at that coffee shop or restaurant) also are gaining market share. But a chunk of that market devoted to the types of fine teas we sell is still growing. Many who start with the flavored, pressed, bottled, and concentrated teas stay with them, but enough make the transition to loose leaf that sales have been growing. We’re happy to be part of it and continue our dedication to offering you the best.
Getting Attached to Teas in Stock
Our teas, especially the pu-erhs, need proper storage and handling, and occasionally turning and rearranging to assure even aging, etc. So in a way, they remind us of the days when our kids were little and needed that tender loving care. It might seem a bit silly to some, but we get a bit attached to these teas. Our stock deserves this care, considering the hard work that goes into producing them. And when you order from us, we are just as careful in our packing to assure those teas arrive safely (we cannot, of course, control a mail truck running off the road or some other such event). We send them off to their new home with the wish that you will enjoy them and care for them as we have.
Saving this item for last. I had posted a news story on the company Facebook page shortly after the news broke and my feed filled with alerts from friends in Taiwan saying that they were alright. A day or two later, I posted another news article about the fatalities and injuries. We are proud to carry in our online store tasty teas from this wonderful island nation and feel closer to them every time we enjoy some of those teas. This isn’t about selling, but about how you can feel connected to people far away. Taiwan sits on a tiny part of the Ring of Fire (the San Andreas fault in California is also part of that ring) and so has no doubt experienced such occurrences in the past. We hope they will be building more quake resistant structures in the future to stay safe during that next quake.