Tea Developments, Monthly Report March 2013

Here’s a quick look at some tea developments that may not necessarily be new but are still not in the mainstream of tea drinkers’ awareness.

First Flush Darjeeling Teas Coming Soon

First flush Darjeeling (Photo source: The English Tea Store)
First flush Darjeeling (Photo source: The English Tea Store)

The first time of patience for tea drinkers (when the plants are dormant but then start to grow that first time) is almost at an end for this year. Some vendors of Darjeeling teas brought some first flush teas to market already (some small amounts of teas that were trials of new cultivars), but the higher elevations will not be harvesting until probably April. Keep an eye out for announcements. Those of you who can’t wait will want to pre-order so that as soon as the teas are available, they will be sent to you.

Trending Toward Loose Pu-erh

I have been finding more and more pu-erhs available in loose form instead of in compressed cakes of various shapes. This is supposedly an attempt to make this style of tea more attractive to a market that got hooked on tea bags, has ventured into returning to steeping loose leaves, but can’t deal with having to chop some leaves off of a hardened cake. While there are a number of techniques posted on how to loosen up the cakes, for many who are trying to enjoy a nice steeping of some fine tea while rushing through life with kids, jobs, and other activities, taking time to squeeze a bit of such knowledge into their brains is pretty much impossible. The solution of selling pu-erh already in loose form is therefore a stroke of genius… or at least rather innovative.

Twinings Finally Gets Around to Their Own Versions of the Classics

Russian Caravan, gunpowder, Taiwanese high mountain tea, oolong tea, Darjeeling green tea, chamomile flowers, and jasmine pearls have been around a long time but are just now being added to Twinings’ line-up. Believe it or not, this development actually made headlines recently. The results of a busy public relations person? Actually, the headlines were in an Indian paper. To them, this is news indeed. To you and me it’s a matter to shrug about.

That’s it for this month. Will see what next month brings.

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

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