Nov 27th, '16, 21:01
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Difficulty in changing habits & bad math

by ethan » Nov 27th, '16, 21:01

Yesterday I was at holiday sale as a vendor. I brought silk scarves that I had dyed & painted years ago & jade necklaces that I had strung in a jewelry-making class (fulfilling the requirement to be a crafter/vendor). I also brought some ceramic pieces done by others & tea from Thailand.

For my pleasure I had a large thermos of black tea from Taiwan. Thank God for that because the event was filled w/ vendors selling items from $2 - $5. My table was of little interest to almost all of the people.

I offered people small servings of the tea that I was drinking. People did appreciate the difference in quality between ordinary & special tea. They tasted that; yet, the same people did not buy the good whole-leaf Thai chai that I had on offer. At $10 for 100 grams, they balked. $10 for a pack of tea was too big a shock. Some of those people did not mind buying 50 grams of lemongrass tea for $8 or $1 or $2 worth of dong ding teabags at 25 cents each.

Today I looked at boxes of tea at a supermarket. I saw about the same size box holding less teabags than in years back. Price for fancy brands has creeped up & the amount of bags down, but the size of a box has hardly changed.

I only sell at an event one more day (December 10th). I will have tea for sale in for $5, $8, & $10. I plan to have the tea in identically sized packs regardless of weight of contents. Let's guess what gets bought, then see.

By the way, I am not any better than these people. I am just as habit-bound & irrational. This year I stopped being terribly stingy w/ the amount of leaf I use to prepare tea. (It took me years.) Now that I am willing to use more tea, I see I can be as stupid as I was cheap. I celebrated my new lack of stinginess; I enjoyed it; & I got tired of it sometimes. If the extra infusions possible w/ more leaf started to seem like too many infusions, I continued out of habit & it seemed economical to use a lot of leaf. Tonight, I took out my scale. I weighed what I was doing by sight. Until very recently I had been using 3.5 grams of tea for 3 rounds of infusions + 1 round of a blend of the 3 infusions = > 1 round per gram. For change I started using 8 grams of tea for 5 rounds of infusions + 1 round of a blend of the infusions = < 1 round per gram. So, for some days I have been drinking too many rounds of the same tea & spending more $ to do it.

It's not really important. But I have a scale & nothing's good on tv tonight. cheers

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Nov 27th, '16, 23:02
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Re: Difficulty in changing habits & bad math

by john.b » Nov 27th, '16, 23:02

I just ran across an interesting blog post that reviewed more than 50 individual Christmas tea blends:

https://tastethetea.co.uk/2016/11/21/xmastea16/

I'll make a Christmas blend for the second year in a row, as part of mixing cooking and drinking tea, but this is interesting more for seeing what is out there than related to what I drink. I drink plain teas, almost exclusively, not even blends of black tea versions mixed together.

This review and these vendors are in the UK, but it's still interesting for seeing pricing. These blends are generally inexpensive, more towards $5 for 50 grams than up towards $10, although pricing varies, along with packaging styles (some are tea bags).

It seems odd that people would watch that price level so closely given how many cups of tea 50 grams relates to. The quality or other character of the tea or blend would seem more relevant. I guess there is a market value to all things, a place supply and demand meet, with related competition in that range, but then marketing spin seems to place vendors on that spectrum in addition to what they sell.

It's also strange to me that someone wouldn't think twice about spending $5 on a cup of Starbucks coffee but would really think through that kind of expense for 50 grams of tea. But then maybe I'm talking about two different types of people.

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Nov 27th, '16, 23:22
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Re: Difficulty in changing habits & bad math

by jayinhk » Nov 27th, '16, 23:22

If everyone drank good tea, the prices would skyrocket. We've already seen that happen with Wuyicha and pu erh in China...prices are several times higher now that the Chinese have oodles of disposable income, so it's a mixed blessing that many people won't pay $10 for 100g. Selling 50g bags might well help you sell more, and if the packages are the same size, that'll help too. Good luck!

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Nov 28th, '16, 00:07
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Re: Difficulty in changing habits & bad math

by john.b » Nov 28th, '16, 00:07

I was just thinking something similar in regards to people being shocked that not everyone in tea drinking countries actually drinks tea, that coffee now becomes more fashionable than it had ever been.

It seems likely if that hadn't happened the demand would have pushed the price of Chinese teas much higher than it is now, and that it would be problematic to ramp up production of better teas to compensate. It seems quite favorable that things balance out as they do now.

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Nov 29th, '16, 22:56
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Re: Difficulty in changing habits & bad math

by jayinhk » Nov 29th, '16, 22:56

john.b wrote:I was just thinking something similar in regards to people being shocked that not everyone in tea drinking countries actually drinks tea, that coffee now becomes more fashionable than it had ever been.

It seems likely if that hadn't happened the demand would have pushed the price of Chinese teas much higher than it is now, and that it would be problematic to ramp up production of better teas to compensate. It seems quite favorable that things balance out as they do now.
I think what we're going to see is ever increasing demand in the West, and then demand for teas at home increasing as people in their home countries copy the trends they see overseas. I've seen this in other arenas/niches and I have no doubt it'll happen with young people and tea in China/Taiwan/Thailand/wherever. Just a matter of time!

Nov 30th, '16, 00:19
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Re: Difficulty in changing habits & bad math

by ethan » Nov 30th, '16, 00:19

Since I use more tea than I sell, perhaps I should not try to get more people to start drinking what I drink. If I make a dollar only to have what I buy for myself cost more (eventually), I will not profit.

I just had a great idea. On Dec. 10th when I retail, I will have 2 chairs in front of my table. If people are going to sample, then they must. How could I expect to change the habits of someone, who is not even sitting down w/ me?

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Nov 30th, '16, 05:10
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Re: Difficulty in changing habits & bad math

by jayinhk » Nov 30th, '16, 05:10

ethan wrote:Since I use more tea than I sell, perhaps I should not try to get more people to start drinking what I drink. If I make a dollar only to have what I buy for myself cost more (eventually), I will not profit.

I just had a great idea. On Dec. 10th when I retail, I will have 2 chairs in front of my table. If people are going to sample, then they must. How could I expect to change the habits of someone, who is not even sitting down w/ me?
I don't think the volume you're moving is going to have too much of an impact on global tea prices!

Letting people try teas with you is a great idea. Good luck!

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