Recently there have been a couple of mediocre reviews about some of our teas on the biggest online review sites. Writing this post may just seem like sour grapes - or stewed tea perhaps - but I stand by every tea I personally source and select for driftwood and feel these reviews are not representative of our teas generally.
Of course I only want good reviews however, I do accept opinions and tastes vary. I generally choose not to respond to any online reviews, good or bad, trusting that most are written in good faith. I know some other online tea shops do respond which of course they are entitled to do so.
With these most recent reviews I feel somewhat aggrieved as I don't think they're particularly accurate. The teas being reviewed were: sent over a year ago; are unlikely to have been stored as we store our teas; and have already been replaced by a new harvest's stock.
May of our teas, such as Bao Zhong, are a delicate natural product, that if not stored correctly will quickly go off.
Sending out teas to bloggers and review sites is one of the first things we do upon receiving new stock. Our slogan is 'Taste Fresher Teas'. Teas are obviously at their freshest just after harvest which is when ideally they should be drunk and we do our utmost to retain that freshness and flavour.
In the past two years we have invested heavily in a specialised vacuum storage system. All of our teas are double vacuum sealed when stored here: First in mylar (foil) bags to protect them from light, moisture and scent. These are then sealed again in larger heavy duty plastic storage bags with oxygen removing sachets. We additionally store our teas in a temperature controlled room within light protective crates.
Teas stored this way lose very little of their flavour and are removed from this environment only when being sent to customers.
driftwood tea now has an established customer base, and good brand recognition, which has of course been helped in no small part positive independent online tea reviews. We do see this as an important component of our ongoing publicity strategy but realise in the future we will perhaps need to put 'Review By' dates on all the samples we're sending out!