Super-expensive boutique teas???


Completely off the Topic of Tea

Super-expensive boutique teas???

Postby Michael_C » Dec 13th, '06, 17:30

I've noticed lately, now that organic stores are getting fashionable, that may of them sell 50grams of tea in tins for $8-10. That's so expensive I wonder what the deal is - is this kind of tea really worth it? Likewise, I see bottles of unsweetened tea selling for over two dollars! What's the deal? I have almost never seen teas that expensive in asian countries unless they are sold with the name of the farm and the harvest date. But none of the tins I see at American stores show that information. are these hyper-expensive boutique teas really all that? Or is it just that Americans generally don't know much about tea?

Has anyone tried any of these $80-100 / pound American prepackaged teas? Are they really better than mountain grown $50 / pound Japanese tea?
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Re: Super-expensive boutique teas???

Postby Chip » Dec 13th, '06, 19:28

Michael_C wrote: I have almost never seen teas that expensive in asian countries unless they are sold with the name of the farm and the harvest date. But none of the tins I see at American stores show that information. are these hyper-expensive boutique teas really all that? Or is it just that Americans generally don't know much about tea?


I cannot really answer the questions you ask...BUT, you raise a point that I have been pushing for several years...harvest info...especially dates and origen. Sometimes I feel like I am banging my head against the wall...old tea is simply old...

I have no idea why most Tea Drinkers in the US continue to take this abuse. I guess we just as a whole do not know any better. I do not make a tea purchase without this info and have dumped all my previous tea vendors who simply do not offer this info. I now deal exclusively with vendors who readily offer this info.

My guess is that since they are only required to display expiration dates (set by the packager or vendor) by the FDA or some US governmental agency, the vast majority of tea vendors are not going to volunteer this very relevent info.
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Postby jogrebe » Dec 13th, '06, 23:13

If it is a fancy tin chances are a lot of the price is for the tin. In my experience the plainer the packaging the better quality the tea inside, as the vendors of better quality teas don't feel the need to dress it up.
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Postby teaspoon » Dec 13th, '06, 23:14

For organic tea, that's not unheardof (should that be two words?). The thing is, organic tea is more expensive because there is less of it. At the shop where I work -- er, used to work, now I have a "real" job -- I'd cringe every time I sold a $5 glass of custom iced tea. But if the owner was going to make any profit at all, he had to mark up the price to anywhere from $4.50 an ounce to $13 an ounce. Sad but true.

~tsp
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Postby Michael_C » Dec 14th, '06, 14:33

What prompted this was at work last night (I work with some fashionable socialite types) someone was drinking a bottle of 'teany' tea - and the bottle said "White tea with pomegranite and natural flavors". My first reaction was 'why would anyone want to add anything to white tea aside from water?' followed quickly by 'three dollars - and you don't know how old it is, or where it's from??' It's sort of amusing how tea is becoming sort of 'hip' now, with prices to match. I'm guessing that lots of people think it's 'healthy', so they drink one between diet sodas - but that's another topic.
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Postby jogrebe » Dec 14th, '06, 17:00

teaspoon wrote:For organic tea, that's not unheardof (should that be two words?). The thing is, organic tea is more expensive because there is less of it. At the shop where I work -- er, used to work, now I have a "real" job -- I'd cringe every time I sold a $5 glass of custom iced tea. But if the owner was going to make any profit at all, he had to mark up the price to anywhere from $4.50 an ounce to $13 an ounce. Sad but true.

~tsp


Wow that is outrageous. I know some people claim that organic tea is better for you but unless you only eat 100% organic I don't think drinking regular non-organic tea will make much of a difference in the long run.
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Postby heatwaves » Dec 14th, '06, 18:29

An important note is that "organic" doesn't necessarily equal "better" or "safer" or fresher" with tea or any other produce item.

And here's an eye-opening quote from Dan Glickman, the Agriculture Secretary of the USDA, "Let me be clear about one thing. 'Organic' is just a marketing tool. It is not a statement about food safety. Nor is 'organic' a value judgement about nutrition or quality."
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Postby sjschen » Dec 14th, '06, 23:22

jogrebe wrote:Wow that is outrageous. I know some people claim that organic tea is better for you but unless you only eat 100% organic I don't think drinking regular non-organic tea will make much of a difference in the long run.


I'm not sure paying more for good quality organic is a bad thing though. I've visited a few tea plantations in Taiwan and I have to say that I was a bit overwhelmed by the amount of pesticides they spray. Although these chems are designed to photodegrade, sometimes the tea plucking may begin even before the levels have dropped down to an acceptable level due to, for example, weather conditions (say 80% chance of first spring rain in 2 days). I say for pesticides, the less you take in the better, always.

That being said, I do agree that too often "organic" is used as a marketing tool and an excuse to jack up prices, even when the quality of the product does not justify it.
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Postby diffuse » Dec 15th, '06, 13:24

heatwaves wrote:And here's an eye-opening quote from Dan Glickman, the Agriculture Secretary of the USDA, "Let me be clear about one thing. 'Organic' is just a marketing tool. It is not a statement about food safety. Nor is 'organic' a value judgement about nutrition or quality."


i don't trust what the govt has to say about food safety. they are v. much influenced by agribusiness (most of which has it in for organic products, although less so now that there are corporate organic food lines). & note what a good job they've done keeping e.coli out of the food supply, & in keeping meat untainted (note sarcasm!). to give this quote serious shrift is, to me, laughable.
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Postby Madam Potts » Dec 26th, '06, 11:26

It is only worth it if it is worth it to you.

Ther are so many factors that go into pricing, that it's hard for us to respond with anything more than a hypothesis of what made it that expensive, or if you're being taken for a ride.

I know that when I visited the Chopra Center in NYC, I gasped at the $15 boxes of bagged tea (only 10 bags at that). But tea is a commodity like anything else and higher profits is the aim of capitalism (even the spiritual can be commercial).
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