Over the weekend we sold out of yet another tea. Admittedly our stocks levels now somewhat resemble the shelves of a Soviet era supermarket so, I thought I should perhaps explain why our online tea shop seems to have so little tea!
The most honest would be that we're a small company that's growing rapidly. This will be our third springtime harvest and by now we have a far better idea of what our customers like, what sells, and how much we should order.
There are certain teas though, like our bestselling Silver Needle White Tea, which it would appear no matter how much we can buy, we sell. We sold out of this a couple of months ago and I frequently receive enquires as to when we're getting more back in stock. It's always possible to buy more tea however, I pride myself on the fact that our teas taste fantastic, and that I only buy our silver needle from one source (because it’s the best).
When it comes to young teas - which are at their finest when drunk fresh - rather than buying 10 month old stock I've always felt it better to hold off and wait for the new harvest. To me this seems preferable to buying teas that I know are likely to be improved upon in a couple of months time. The reviews, feedback and word of mouth endorsements we receive also seem to suggest that others think this is worth doing too.
It's around now that the springtime harvests take place. Already many new Indian teas have become available however, the majority of the tea we sell comes from China and Taiwan. This year, due to adverse weather conditions, many of these harvests have been delayed. Additionally heavy frosts have damaged many of the high mountain Chinese green teas that we buy, such as our Huang Shan Mao Feng. This will result in a smaller harvest and the price of these teas will rise. We deal with smaller farmers and family run suppliers so are happy to pay more to support them however, this will be a tough year for many farmers in China. Who knows how many may move on to more stable and profitable crops next year*?
Despite these delays I have started sampling some of the first of the new teas and this process will continue over the next month or so. This is without a doubt one the best part of what I do! The reality of my job is I spend a lot of time writing emails or on Skype with various people around the world (while drinking tea obviously).
I hope by early May we'll start to receive our first new harvest orders and get these on to the site, which should roughly coincide with the launch of our awesome new website!
*This is a real problem however, I’ll save that for another blog.