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.