yshuto wrote:I am not opposed to buy tea at different retailers so I might try Tea Emporium. One question I have is, when I went to their website, their selection was limited. Is this always the case? Also, the price for Margaret's Hope is not that much different. It's the exotic and first flush teas where the price becomes quite expensive. Sometimes it's worth it, sometimes it's not. Like Brumes D'himalaya. I tried it but in my opinion it was not worth the price of 120 euros for 100g. The store manager agreed with me. Yet there were plenty of consumers willing to pay the price and they sold out their stock within a week (Tokyo Mariage). They have more Mariage shops in Japan then they do in France.
I have returned from Darjeeling recently where I searched all of the tea sellers in the town, asked many, many, questions about all aspects of the teas and was quite surprised at how many good teas were available that are not sold through the websites or are not publicized with undue hype like Makaibari and Castleton. Not that these producers have bad tea, they are just better marketers of their product and are big producers selling directly into the big German/French/Japanese distributors. In Japan, prices are high for everything.
Buying direct from Darjeeling via website is also more expensive than buying the same teas in person. There was 1 shop I bought some teas in from 1 person and a few days later I returned and bought the same teas for less money from another clerk. Go figure. Nothing is fixed in India. Everything is negotiable. The exotic teas will always be more money and are harder to find. The question in this case is how much more are the non Indian vendors marking them up. The most expensive tea I saw in Darjeeling was 1500 Rupees/100g. This is US$33.50. I can't imagine paying 120Euros/100g for a Darjeeling. Someone is making a lot of money on those and I can guarantee there is equal quality to be bought online from vendors in Darjeeling for a whole lot less.