Customs and Tea Shipments

For general/other topics related to tea.


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Jan 6th, '17, 23:28
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Customs and Tea Shipments

by stevorama » Jan 6th, '17, 23:28

Customs has inspected 3 or more of my tea shipments to the US in the past year and a half. Once was Chinese customs and the rest were US customs. I live in California and US inspection only happens when the package goes through Los Angeles and with SAL. Unfortunately the inspection involves cutting into the tea, tong or packaging. Obviously this causes some minor damage.

Anyone else have this happen?

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Jan 7th, '17, 00:01
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Re: Customs and Tea Shipments

by jayinhk » Jan 7th, '17, 00:01

stevorama wrote:Customs has inspected 3 or more of my tea shipments to the US in the past year and a half. Once was Chinese customs and the rest were US customs. I live in California and US inspection only happens when the package goes through Los Angeles and with SAL. Unfortunately the inspection involves cutting into the tea, tong or packaging. Obviously this causes some minor damage.

Anyone else have this happen?
I'm pretty sure it happens all the time, but I don't think any of my shipments to the US have been inspected (yet). Hopefully Hong Kong packages are less of a target for inspection than Mainland packages.

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Jan 7th, '17, 00:07
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Re: Customs and Tea Shipments

by victoria3 » Jan 7th, '17, 00:07

So far no inspections for Los Angeles SAL deliveries but then I've only ordered from Japan & Taiwan.

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Jan 7th, '17, 00:10
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Re: Customs and Tea Shipments

by jayinhk » Jan 7th, '17, 00:10

China is a source country for meth and steroids, and I believe both show up as 'organic' on the X-Ray, just like tea. US Customs are just trying to stem the flow

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Jan 7th, '17, 00:27
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Re: Customs and Tea Shipments

by stevorama » Jan 7th, '17, 00:27

I would think the source country matters. I've had it happen with packages from China and Malaysia.

So they X-Ray the packages too? I've wondered what they do after cutting open the tea, if they just visually inspect, takes samples or swab.

Jan 7th, '17, 05:39
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Re: Customs and Tea Shipments

by ethan » Jan 7th, '17, 05:39

Anything can happen at any time w/ government officials or custom brokers who find ways to make us miserable.

Latest trouble for me was not from that sector. TSA ripped open a pouch that could have been opened & closed at the zip locks. Why someone could not take 2 seconds to avoid the tea spilling out into my luggage is a ? that leads to thinking ill of human beings. The same person smashed a ceramic server & dented 4 of 6 tea tins. (Perhaps because they were taped & that was some way of testing them?) Glass jars holding grains were left alone. In the future I want everything carried & shipped to be visible.

Anchorage Alaska had the worst customs officials that I ever encountered. One using UPS, FedEx, etc., should learn where there planes get goods inspected to avoid the troublespots.

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Jan 7th, '17, 05:52
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Re: Customs and Tea Shipments

by jayinhk » Jan 7th, '17, 05:52

ethan wrote:Anything can happen at any time w/ government officials or custom brokers who find ways to make us miserable.

Latest trouble for me was not from that sector. TSA ripped open a pouch that could have been opened & closed at the zip locks. Why someone could not take 2 seconds to avoid the tea spilling out into my luggage is a ? that leads to thinking ill of human beings. The same person smashed a ceramic server & dented 4 of 6 tea tins. (Perhaps because they were taped & that was some way of testing them?) Glass jars holding grains were left alone. In the future I want everything carried & shipped to be visible.

Anchorage Alaska had the worst customs officials that I ever encountered. One using UPS, FedEx, etc., should learn where there planes get goods inspected to avoid the troublespots.
TSA is out of control. In a knife group earlier today, I was reading about how collectors are mailing their knives to their destination or driving instead of flying since theft of custom knives from baggage is such a big issue now.

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Jan 7th, '17, 05:54
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Re: Customs and Tea Shipments

by jayinhk » Jan 7th, '17, 05:54

stevorama wrote:I would think the source country matters. I've had it happen with packages from China and Malaysia.

So they X-Ray the packages too? I've wondered what they do after cutting open the tea, if they just visually inspect, takes samples or swab.
Pretty sure they're just visually inspecting to make sure nothing is concealed inside the bricks. Down here in Hong Kong, pot is commonly smuggled and sold in small vacuum seal tea pouches, complete with tea markings, which sucks if you're into tea!

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Jan 7th, '17, 11:58
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Re: Customs and Tea Shipments

by stevorama » Jan 7th, '17, 11:58

TSA. Not an organization I'd trust with my security or valuables. Which is a funny thing to say! As a basic rule I never put anything obviously valuable in my checked luggage. Thankfully I've not had anything damaged by TSA like Ethan has!

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Jan 7th, '17, 12:02
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Re: Customs and Tea Shipments

by stevorama » Jan 7th, '17, 12:02

jayinhk wrote:Pretty sure they're just visually inspecting to make sure nothing is concealed inside the bricks. Down here in Hong Kong, pot is commonly smuggled and sold in small vacuum seal tea pouches, complete with tea markings, which sucks if you're into tea!
That's good to know. I've read that in the past opium was smuggled in the hollow of tuo cha. But I'm not sure if that's 100% true.

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Jan 7th, '17, 13:39
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Re: Customs and Tea Shipments

by jayinhk » Jan 7th, '17, 13:39

stevorama wrote:
jayinhk wrote:Pretty sure they're just visually inspecting to make sure nothing is concealed inside the bricks. Down here in Hong Kong, pot is commonly smuggled and sold in small vacuum seal tea pouches, complete with tea markings, which sucks if you're into tea!
That's good to know. I've read that in the past opium was smuggled in the hollow of tuo cha. But I'm not sure if that's 100% true.
I've never heard that, but that's interesting. I had Hong Kong Customs open and inspect a tea package that was shipped to me from Kunming by surface mail last month. HK Customs just opened it to look, really. In the past they've unwrapped an antique sword and didn't wrap it back up correctly, and the handle got damaged. :( The sword was in great shape for 70 years, and then poor bubble wrapping by Customs meant the very end of the handle got chipped. I was pretty sad about that.

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Jan 7th, '17, 15:04
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Re: Customs and Tea Shipments

by stevorama » Jan 7th, '17, 15:04

Yeah, that's a bummer. Damage like that is my main issue with the customs inspection. Specifically when they cut into tea packaging (like a tong) meant for longer term storage. No real option for compensation!

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Jan 7th, '17, 23:04
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Re: Customs and Tea Shipments

by jayinhk » Jan 7th, '17, 23:04

Just part of the nature of the game unfortunately! :cry:

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Jan 8th, '17, 16:47
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Re: Customs and Tea Shipments

by entropyembrace » Jan 8th, '17, 16:47

Sometimes Negan even takes all your mattresses just to burn them next to the highway.

Same thing right?

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Jan 8th, '17, 17:03
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Re: Customs and Tea Shipments

by jayinhk » Jan 8th, '17, 17:03

At least they aren't taking half of our tea. :lol:

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