Last year's teas - what happens to them ?

For general/other topics related to tea.

Moderator: EmilyH


Last year's teas - what happens to them ?

Postby skilfautdire » Jan 25th, '10, 06:26

What happens to last year's teas ? As we can see from many Respectable online vendors, they offer the current year's teas. Since I'm new to tea (from middle last year) I presume that at one point we will see these Honest vendors changing the advertised year for their teas to 2010. I also presume that these Honest vendors will not sell 2009 teas as being from 2010.

Some do happen to offer last year's tea at a lower price, but a lot do not. So what happen to these obsolete teas ? Why aren't they selling them at a discount ? They surely will not be throwing them away. Do they have a better price selling them locally ? Apart from normal consumption, are there any other uses for last year's teas in the tea industry ?

User avatar skilfautdire
Posts: 305
Joined: Nov 05, '09

Re: Last year's teas - what happens to them ?

Postby Chip » Jan 25th, '10, 09:30

This is a big reason why I shout from the rooftop, "show me the harvest info on your site!!!" Period. If they do not, I suspect they are for one reason or another not overly concerned about offering the freshest teas ... and may pick up some old tea cheap.

In Japan, I long suspected that when they clear out their cold storage warehouses, that they in turn would unload to any broker willing to buy for pennies on the dollar. I also suspected much of this tea found its way to domestic USA online vendors who do NOT specialize in Japanese tea.

So, buyer beware, do not buy w/o harvest info readily available ... PERIOD. I want it on the site, I do not want to have to contact the vendor about tea a,b,c ... x, y, z. Besides, if the info is on site, I trust it more than if someone in CS tells me it is "the newest harvest available."

User avatar Chip
Mod/Admin
Posts: 22821
Joined: Apr 22, '06
Scrolling: scrolling
Location: Back in the TeaCave atop Mt. Fuji

Re: Last year's teas - what happens to them ?

Postby gingkoseto » Jan 25th, '10, 10:45

For green teas, successful vendors would sell them out or almost out before the start of next harvest season. It's like a tea buyer should plan (hopefully :P ) how much green tea she should buy at one time, a vendor should also plan how much to carry each year.

User avatar gingkoseto
Vendor Member
Posts: 2141
Joined: Sep 24, '08
Location: Boston, MA

Re: Last year's teas - what happens to them ?

Postby sneakers » Jan 30th, '10, 03:32

I buy mostly locally from Silver Tips Tea (online it's silvertipstea.com,) and they can always tell me the harvest date. The staff will even call the main office if they don't know. There's always a bargain bin, but it's filled with blends that are leaving the catalog, not old tea. Maybe I'll ask them.

I thinking of buying online from Special Teas. Anyone know how honest they are?

User avatar sneakers
Posts: 174
Joined: Aug 24, '08
Location: Southeast NYS

Re: Last year's teas - what happens to them ?

Postby Chip » Jan 30th, '10, 09:04

sneakers wrote:I thinking of buying online from Special Teas. Anyone know how honest they are?
'
As long as you know you are buying from "Teavana."

User avatar Chip
Mod/Admin
Posts: 22821
Joined: Apr 22, '06
Scrolling: scrolling
Location: Back in the TeaCave atop Mt. Fuji

Re: Last year's teas - what happens to them ?

Postby Charles » Jan 30th, '10, 10:59

For vendors, trying to predict how much tea you will sell in a year is pretty much a loosely educated guess. Most large vendors are also wholesalers. At that point your accuracy depends on the purchasing (sometimes significant purchasing) of other retailers. Land a few big new accounts in a year and all your guesses go out the window.

Long story short, the customer gets upset if you run out of Sencha two months early, and gets upset if you still sell last year's Sencha two months longer than the competition. There is no easy answer, but it's certainly a fair question to ask and I completely agree with the "buyer beware" statement. Unscrupulous retailers and wholesalers will undoubtedly unload old stock on unsuspecting retailers and consumers.

Two final thoughts: First, beware the freshest teas at the start of the season. If the are shipped by air they may be 50% to 100% more expensive than they should be (or would be shipped by sea and arriving a month later). If they are selling for the same price, you may be getting a much lower quality tea!! No easy answers here either. Again, buyer beware.

Second, there is a big difference between "harvested this year" and received, packaged or blended this year. The gardens at source ALSO sell last year's tea at times. Come April, I can guarantee you that some retailers will be selling 2009 teas that were air-freighted to arrive in the US at the "height of freshness"! The retailer will be proud of themselves for getting a great deal. You'll be paying double for last year's tea. :)

Second,

User avatar Charles
Posts: 188
Joined: Oct 12, '09
Location: Chicago, IL
Contact Charles:

Re: Last year's teas - what happens to them ?

Postby Victoria » Jan 30th, '10, 11:56

I may be wrong, but I think the OP is asking what ultimately happens to expired tea. Even the stuff the unscrupulous seller is trying to still pass off, eventually they have expired tea even they are not selling. In general, what happens to tea that is not sold?

User avatar Victoria
Posts: 8186
Joined: Jan 08, '08
Scrolling: scrolling
Location: Southern CA
Contact Victoria:

Re: Last year's teas - what happens to them ?

Postby skilfautdire » Jan 30th, '10, 16:38

Basically I think it's fair to presume that no tea gets literally thrown away. So what happens to it ? I do not think that vendors always end up within a conservative range of unsold teas at the beginning of another season.

User avatar skilfautdire
Posts: 305
Joined: Nov 05, '09

Re: Last year's teas - what happens to them ?

Postby Zanaspus » Jan 30th, '10, 17:50

Victoria wrote:I may be wrong, but I think the OP is asking what ultimately happens to expired tea. Even the stuff the unscrupulous seller is trying to still pass off, eventually they have expired tea even they are not selling. In general, what happens to tea that is not sold?


It gets sold there or elsewhere for less. :shock:

Zanaspus
Posts: 87
Joined: Jul 22, '09

Re: Last year's teas - what happens to them ?

Postby Charles » Feb 4th, '10, 15:01

Hopefully the tea is discounted and sold for less. Though I've seen wholesalers and retailers sell tea that is two years old+.

One common use of old tea is to use it as a base for a flavored or blended tea. Not suggesting it's a good use, just that it's common. :)

User avatar Charles
Posts: 188
Joined: Oct 12, '09
Location: Chicago, IL
Contact Charles:


Today's Poll



Community

In total there is 1 user online :: 0 registered, 0 hidden and 1 guest