Fu Shou Shan Winter Tea Interest Check

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Sep 18th 16 5:18 pm
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Re: Fu Shou Shan Winter Tea Interest Check

by kyarazen » Sep 18th 16 5:18 pm

Bok wrote: And even if one lives in Taiwan, most farmers have a price for Taiwanese and another for anyone else asking...
I think it is safe to assume that Western-facing or -run shops will always be at least double the price of what u pay in Taiwan. Then you have Taipei which is on average triple of what the rest of the country pays for tea.

In the end it is a business...
Good prices need connections and some luck

its more sophisticated.. especially when 2/3s of the tea in taiwan is all imported, leaving below 1/3, or approximately 30% being domestically produced.

i'm still all for the direct farmer to consumer interaction model for most teas, except the very very high end ones which will need a middleman with appropriate taste buds (i.e. hojo etc) to qualify them.

currently backing our direct consumer to farmer initiative's a strong group of new generation tea farmers, all in their 30s or so, having taken over their family plantations and all motivated to do things the traditional/right way, knowing that it will be many times more tedious, and the margins are not going to be as significant. we have superb farmers for lishan, shanlinxi, alishan tea, baihao oolong/dongfang meiren, but i'm going very very slow with this, because I still need to assess the consistency of the quality of teas from each of them and their honesty. and will need another half a year or 1 year of underground validation before some of these direct to farmer initiatives can be established for them. Chen was one of the first candidates that passed my tests and revalidations several times over. we're also digging into various other tea origins in china now but that's a lot more disappointing :)

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Sep 18th 16 5:35 pm
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Re: Fu Shou Shan Winter Tea Interest Check

by kyarazen » Sep 18th 16 5:35 pm

ricegeek wrote:Thanks for offering this again. I put my name down for a tin! Is there any noticeable difference in flavor/aroma between the spring and autumn harvest?
its considered winter harvest because the picking is in october++ which is into early winter.. its always a norm for high mountain teas, i.e. spring harvest is at least a month later than lower altitudes, same for winter harvest.

the winter harvest's leaf base is slightly thicker than spring, the 韵味 (flavour) is thicker and heavier. Spring is lush, green apple + a cushy citrusy (unlike the crispness of lishan/shanlinxi/cuifeng), winter is more grounded, thicker florals that both hover above the tea brew, within the tea brew, and at the base of the cup. the taiwanese love the winter harvest over the spring. but i find both unique and enjoyable.

Sep 19th 16 6:40 am
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Re: Fu Shou Shan Winter Tea Interest Check

by ethan » Sep 19th 16 6:40 am

kyarazen, Thank for these posts. Good for us to read what differences there are between winter & spring teas. (Also, I find your phrase "underground validation" mysterious, but my response is unimportant compared to what seems like an important effort on your side. My comments are not meant to diminish that effort.)
Consistency of quality that you look for, is I assume relative. Someone may bring the best that one Spring offers, but that Spring may have been a troublesome one resulting in tea inferior to the previous year's tea. I don't know that wonderful tea can be produced regularly. However, creating relationships & business models as you strive to do seems a great enterprise.
For an individual it is different. If something wonderful is not available, one can do without Spring this or Winter that......
Thus, I as a consumer still want to sample as much as I can & buy tea at hand that I love & leave behind what I don't love. I & others cannot get around year after year to do this. We wish you luck, kyarazen.

Sep 19th 16 12:46 pm
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Re: Fu Shou Shan Winter Tea Interest Check

by Bok » Sep 19th 16 12:46 pm

kyarazen wrote:[

its more sophisticated.. especially when 2/3s of the tea in taiwan is all imported, leaving below 1/3, or approximately 30% being domestically produced.
That is astonishing!
Makes the odds even worse than I thought that a Western facing shop sells the real thing, taking into account how much tea the Taiwanese consume themselves. They would also be less likely to fall for the fakes, as they are more familiar how the tea should be. Although there are still plenty who have equally no clue about tea...

To be fair a large part of those imported teas goes into the production of the omnipresent drinkshops in Taiwan. Those are fake for sure, does not make sense economically otherwise.

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Sep 19th 16 2:52 pm
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Re: Fu Shou Shan Winter Tea Interest Check

by Tead Off » Sep 19th 16 2:52 pm

kyarazen wrote:
Bok wrote: And even if one lives in Taiwan, most farmers have a price for Taiwanese and another for anyone else asking...
I think it is safe to assume that Western-facing or -run shops will always be at least double the price of what u pay in Taiwan. Then you have Taipei which is on average triple of what the rest of the country pays for tea.

In the end it is a business...
Good prices need connections and some luck

its more sophisticated.. especially when 2/3s of the tea in taiwan is all imported, leaving below 1/3, or approximately 30% being domestically produced.
That is a bomb of a statement, Kyarazen. Can you back this up with any hard proof that this is the case?

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Sep 19th 16 3:27 pm
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Re: Fu Shou Shan Winter Tea Interest Check

by kyarazen » Sep 19th 16 3:27 pm

Tead Off wrote: That is a bomb of a statement, Kyarazen. Can you back this up with any hard proof that this is the case?
its strange that people would think KZ is kidding :P KZ doesnt like to kid anyone, but anyway KZ isnt 1 person now but a team.. :) we're expanding.

if you've the time and patience you can pull the figures for yourself from : https://portal.sw.nat.gov.tw/APGA/GA01

figures pulled by a couple of my tea researching taiwanese friends in summary :
in 2013 :

taiwan imported : 30187.7 tons of tea
taiwan produced : 14718 tons of tea

in 2012

taiwan imported : 29906.2 tons of tea
towan produced : 14902 tons of tea.

taiwan tea producing land is shrinking in size, tea garden in 1998 is approx 20000 hectares, fruits take about 200,000 hectares, vegetables about 150,000 hectares. in 2014, you have approx 11000 hectares of tea land left.. its not lucrative to do tea as compared to fruits nor vegetables :D

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Re: Fu Shou Shan Winter Tea Interest Check

by Drax » Sep 19th 16 10:08 pm

I suppose given the size of Taiwan, it shouldn't be surprising they import more tea than they produce...

The problem happens when they re-sell the tea, claiming it was grown in Taiwan. Whoops! :mrgreen:

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Sep 20th 16 2:31 am
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Re: Fu Shou Shan Winter Tea Interest Check

by Tead Off » Sep 20th 16 2:31 am

kyarazen wrote:
Tead Off wrote: That is a bomb of a statement, Kyarazen. Can you back this up with any hard proof that this is the case?
its strange that people would think KZ is kidding :P KZ doesnt like to kid anyone, but anyway KZ isnt 1 person now but a team.. :) we're expanding.

if you've the time and patience you can pull the figures for yourself from : https://portal.sw.nat.gov.tw/APGA/GA01

figures pulled by a couple of my tea researching taiwanese friends in summary :
in 2013 :

taiwan imported : 30187.7 tons of tea
taiwan produced : 14718 tons of tea

in 2012

taiwan imported : 29906.2 tons of tea
towan produced : 14902 tons of tea.

taiwan tea producing land is shrinking in size, tea garden in 1998 is approx 20000 hectares, fruits take about 200,000 hectares, vegetables about 150,000 hectares. in 2014, you have approx 11000 hectares of tea land left.. its not lucrative to do tea as compared to fruits nor vegetables :D
Perhaps I mis-read or understood what you were saying. It's reasonable that the Taiwanese are importing more than they are growing, but for some reason, I thought the implication was that they are re-selling the imported tea as Taiwanese grown. I am not disputing that this probably happens, but are there any facts showing the Taiwanese are selling a substantial amount of tea over and beyond what they are growing? This is a factual occurence regarding Darjeeling teas and there are statistics somewhere on the web. I'd be curious if there were similar statistics concerning Taiwanese teas.

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Sep 20th 16 3:24 am
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Re: Fu Shou Shan Winter Tea Interest Check

by kyarazen » Sep 20th 16 3:24 am

Tead Off wrote: Perhaps I mis-read or understood what you were saying. It's reasonable that the Taiwanese are importing more than they are growing, but for some reason, I thought the implication was that they are re-selling the imported tea as Taiwanese grown. I am not disputing that this probably happens, but are there any facts showing the Taiwanese are selling a substantial amount of tea over and beyond what they are growing? This is a factual occurence regarding Darjeeling teas and there are statistics somewhere on the web. I'd be curious if there were similar statistics concerning Taiwanese teas.
you can pull it from the same site i have given. they are the official statistic agency of taiwan. there's also a trade website http://www.trade.gov.tw/ where you can get more information on vietnamese, thai, laos import of tea. (tip, vietnamese tea imports in 2014 leaped 7 fold, and the price is 1/4 of taiwan leaf)

i have the figures, numbers, we've been analyzing the trend for taiwan tea in production volume how tea land had shrank by more than 50%, its domestic production shrank more than half, whilst correspondingly import of tea increased by the same fold. in 2000s, the annual imported + local production of tea's around 40,000 to 45000 tons annually. to date it is still around this total number, probably abt 44000-48000 tons around 2010s. its just the proportion of import vs export ratio. we're still evaluating and the kz team may be writing an article on it than splash the figures on teachat now. we also have figures from the different regions of taiwan over the years.

i'll probably not comment too much on imported tea being resold as taiwanese tea, its not difficult to spot, especially when some teas's "raw material" can cost a lot to pick (i.e. 5x fresh leaf into final 1x product), and many are "able" to buy tea at prices lower than the maocha raw material, picking and processing costs. could that be possible that these leaves are really taiwan produce? how about mass taiwan production by large factories using the "tofu" machine that gives 1 step sellable tea leaf from raw leaves?

take baihao oolong/dongfangmeiren as an example, these teas you pay a premium to the picker due to the need for that critical selectivity of buds, per jin you will need a lot more picking actions and many more buds than other bigger leafed teas. this year's baihao prices went through the roof a little that i did not get any for myself, (probably due to the bugs biting less of oolong this year but more of jinxuan in some plantations?!)
the higher grades, where the muscatel and bug bitten aromatics leap off the brew surface and congruous to the base of the cup.. before competition it was asking for 19,000 NT/jin already. lower grades were asking around half that. and of course there are even lower grades that are now mixed with oolong red tea.. and the imported stuff as well. post competition if it gets a good grading expect prices to go up several fold.