If you had the option what would you do?


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If you had the option what would you do?

Postby infamouswb » Apr 4th, '11, 22:04

I am curious and wondering if you called your tea distributor and they told you that the new black tea batches are coming in about 45 days for the new 2011 batch and they are sill selling 2010 batch would you either:

A) Wait to order.

B) Order just enough up to that date the new batch is available.

C) It does not matter.

And why you would choose so e.g., would the new 2011 batch taste much better (flavor wise)? Or between the two batches you wouldn't notice a difference?

Thanks for your input!
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Re: If you had the option what would you do?

Postby Chip » Apr 4th, '11, 22:17

Most Chinese blacks are fine for up to several years. I would not have a problem ordering.

Darjeeling and similar teas, that is an entirely different story, I would wait.
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Re: If you had the option what would you do?

Postby Tead Off » Apr 4th, '11, 23:53

infamouswb wrote:I am curious and wondering if you called your tea distributor and they told you that the new black tea batches are coming in about 45 days for the new 2011 batch and they are sill selling 2010 batch would you either:

A) Wait to order.

B) Order just enough up to that date the new batch is available.

C) It does not matter.

And why you would choose so e.g., would the new 2011 batch taste much better (flavor wise)? Or between the two batches you wouldn't notice a difference?

Thanks for your input!


Depends if you want the first flush, exclusively. 2nd flush and Autumnal can handle several months of storage. I just had a great Autumnal.

Or, you can order first flush Nilgiri tea right now.
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Re: If you had the option what would you do?

Postby AlexZorach » Jun 14th, '11, 18:28

I've found that even among Darjeeling first flush, some of them keep better than others, and some of them keep quite well. Occasionally you can get outstanding deals on last years' batches...but it's hit-or-miss. I find it's best if you can sample the old batch before buying it in quantity.

With most other teas though, the old batches are usually fine, so long as they've been packed and stored properly.

See if you can get a discount...many companies will gladly discount the old batches to get rid of it. If you can, I'd jump on the deal.
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Re: If you had the option what would you do?

Postby sherubtse » Jul 9th, '11, 20:42

AlexZorach wrote:See if you can get a discount...many companies will gladly discount the old batches to get rid of it. If you can, I'd jump on the deal.


Yeah, I'd agree with that, provided you trust the vendor and the quality of what he / she stocks. Buying last year's tea (esp. blacks) from high-quality vendors is OK, due to the quality of the tea stocked.

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Re: If you had the option what would you do?

Postby Tead Off » Jul 9th, '11, 23:46

sherubtse wrote:
AlexZorach wrote:See if you can get a discount...many companies will gladly discount the old batches to get rid of it. If you can, I'd jump on the deal.


Yeah, I'd agree with that, provided you trust the vendor and the quality of what he / she stocks. Buying last year's tea (esp. blacks) from high-quality vendors is OK, due to the quality of the tea stocked.

Best wishes,
sherubtse

I don't know how western tea sellers store their tea or when they buy them from India, but, I can tell you the Indian sellers who are operating online or from shops, do not store their tea in a special environment. They are just sitting there either on the shelves, packaged in 100g bags or loose in large sacks waiting to be bagged. None of it is kept cooled or in vacuum bags.

Most Darjeelings would be considered delicate compared to other blacks. You can see that many are not fully oxidized. I would say based on my own experience that most Darjeelings, if not all, lose their power after a year. The teas I have that are a year and more are not bad but don't compare with what they were. After all, isn't that why they are discounted?
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Re: If you had the option what would you do?

Postby sherubtse » Jul 10th, '11, 07:14

Tead Off wrote: The teas I have that are a year and more are not bad but don't compare with what they were. After all, isn't that why they are discounted?


There is undoubtedly some loss of quality with the passage of time. Is the buyer then OK with this reduction in quality? Great teas can still be quite good after a year.

And what is the price is in relation to this "old" tea? The price may be so attractive that it easily offsets the loss in flavour.

As to why sellers discount old tea .... Yes, it may be due to the loss in quality. Or they may just want to get rid of it. Perhaps it is more a question of an over-stocked inventory (due to the arrival of new teas) than a need to be rid of poorer quality tea.

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Re: If you had the option what would you do?

Postby Tead Off » Jul 10th, '11, 12:59

A great fresh Darjeeling tea is often not a great tea anymore after a year. How do you offset loss of flavor by paying less money? This notion only appeals to someone who may not be able to afford luxury teas, not to someone who wants to drink a great tea. We all want a bargain but usually you wind up spending more money trying NOT to pony up for a tea at its prime than taking a back route and hoping to find something in the bargain bin. These are not Armani 2nd hand clothes that have been worn a few times but can be cleaned and made to look like new. There is no rationalization for a tea that has lost its original glow. But, to each his own way of looking at things.
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Re: If you had the option what would you do?

Postby sherubtse » Jul 10th, '11, 17:51

Tead Off wrote:A great fresh Darjeeling tea is often not a great tea anymore after a year. How do you offset loss of flavor by paying less money? This notion only appeals to someone who may not be able to afford luxury teas, not to someone who wants to drink a great tea. We all want a bargain but usually you wind up spending more money trying NOT to pony up for a tea at its prime than taking a back route and hoping to find something in the bargain bin. These are not Armani 2nd hand clothes that have been worn a few times but can be cleaned and made to look like new. There is no rationalization for a tea that has lost its original glow. But, to each his own way of looking at things.


For some (many?) tea drinkers, what they want is a good or very good tea, not necessarily a great or superlative tea. Yes, it does sometimes come down to money. For some, there is usually a price point at which they are comfortable, and, like many things in life, that point is trade-off between price and quality.

Not all tea drinkers can afford the great teas. Instead they opt for the good or very good teas and get real enjoyment out of them. And I would imagine that even for some who *can* afford the great ones, they choose the very good ones and put the difference to another purchase.

But as you say, Tead Off, "... to each his own way of looking at things."

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Re: If you had the option what would you do?

Postby Tead Off » Jul 10th, '11, 22:55

But, you were the one that mentioned the term 'great'. I was just responding to that. We all have a cut-off point at what we are willing to spend. I agree with everything else except the perception that you are getting a bargain because someone is discounting a tea after it begins to lose its essence.

In Korea, the fresh green tea of the season is very expensive. Sometimes hundreds of dollars for less than 100g. No one would pay this amount a year later but also, no one would buy that tea if they had the choice. It is not the same tea after a year and people are buying it because it's got something special. Luckily, you can get other fresh teas much more affordably that also have something special. But, nobody is discounting their tea before that 'specialness' is gone unless they are in a financial bind.

In most cases, fresh tea is the best unless you are buying tea that has been carefully aged and that CAN be aged to produce something special. I don't think Darjeelings fall into this category but I may be wrong.

Personally, I try to buy the best tasting teas I can find. Sometimes they are exceptional and sometimes I have to settle for something lesser as either I don't have access to special or it is just too expensive.
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Re: If you had the option what would you do?

Postby sherubtse » Jul 11th, '11, 12:18

Tead Off wrote:But, you were the one that mentioned the term 'great'. I was just responding to that. We all have a cut-off point at what we are willing to spend. I agree with everything else except the perception that you are getting a bargain because someone is discounting a tea after it begins to lose its essence.

In Korea, the fresh green tea of the season is very expensive. Sometimes hundreds of dollars for less than 100g. No one would pay this amount a year later but also, no one would buy that tea if they had the choice. It is not the same tea after a year and people are buying it because it's got something special. Luckily, you can get other fresh teas much more affordably that also have something special. But, nobody is discounting their tea before that 'specialness' is gone unless they are in a financial bind.

In most cases, fresh tea is the best unless you are buying tea that has been carefully aged and that CAN be aged to produce something special. I don't think Darjeelings fall into this category but I may be wrong.

Personally, I try to buy the best tasting teas I can find. Sometimes they are exceptional and sometimes I have to settle for something lesser as either I don't have access to special or it is just too expensive.



Yes, I did use the term "great tea". I also said "There is undoubtedly some loss of quality with the passage of time. Is the buyer then OK with this reduction in quality? Great teas can still be quite good after a year."

My point, which perhaps was unclear, was that buying year-old (for example) teas may be quite OK. if a tea *initially* was great, it will still likely be fine after a year. (This may not be the case with all great teas, as you noted re Darjeelings).

Your statement "But, nobody is discounting their tea before that 'specialness' is gone unless they are in a financial bind. " is interesting.

In any case, thanks for the discussion. It has been very helpful in forcing me to think about these issues. :)

Best wishes,
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