Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Internet And Chinese Tea

As we hunker down to sit out the pandemic, the term 'social distancing' should not be misinterpreted during this time.  We should keep a physical distance but socially we should continue to 'socialise' in many ways with each other.  We should keep in communication with family and friends through the internet or the old fashion telephone.  This is especially important when we have older friends, family, neighbours or people with disabilities.  We must check on them frequently and help out whenever we can.  It is the right thing to do.  

Back to the internet.  We do many things on the internet - for work or for play.  We communicate, work, buy and sell things, send money, invest and even learn and unlearn while we are online.  I myself find myself watching movies (Netflix) and listen to music (Spotify) while I stay home during this time.  I am sad that many small businesses; those physical shops run by sole proprietors, are struggling to stay afloat and many would 'go under' during these difficult times.

When it comes to Chinese tea, many of us buy them online.  It is understandable that the internet give us more choices in terms of brands, storage and prices.  There may be a Chinese tea shop downtown but there is so much that a teashop can offer.  Many of these physical tea shops may fold up during this pandemic.  In the tea wholesale centre of Fangchun in Guangzhou China, a number of teashops and small wholesalers have closed their business permanently.  Many such businesses do not (as you can understand) put aside cash to 'tide over'  3-6 months of almost zero sales, while at the same time facing fixed expenses like rent and upkeep of a shop.  There may be rebates given to such business but they would not be enough.  This dire situation applies to other types of business as well.

The outlook for Chinese tea for the next 12 months would be challenging for the tea business.  A looming recession might make tea buying not high on the 'to do or to buy' list. There is a strong possibility that the majority of Chinese tea prices would be cheaper.  Tea businesses require cash flow while tea collectors might have to lower prices to sell their tea if they need the cash.  

For me, I would not be able to travel, for some time, to continue my tea adventures.  I would think the earliest I can travel would be nearer the end of the year.    Meanwhile, time to stay at home after work and drink from our stash of tea.  To all my readers, please stay safe.    


J-P said...

Stuck inside 'hunkering' here in Montreal, Canada and I'm a relatively new reader to your blog. It's a sad reality that lots of small businesses will be hit hard.

It's also irritatingly true that there aren't many decent local sources of Chinese tea here. I buy almost exclusively online. I have been putting in orders to my regular vendors (regardless of how long I'll have to wait for the shipments of tea to arrive) to support them as much as I can.

Now is definitely the time to sit indoors and sample through the collection of various cakes that have been ageing on the shelves.

I'll join in drinking some XiaGuan 'Jin Si' tuo tonight. Mine are all from 2007, a fine and sweet-smelling spring production. All of the very best wishes.

Unknown said...

At least in Montreal you have Camillia Sinensis tea shop! I've been there and had great fun. I can only wish that I had a local teashop... but fortunately there are excellent online Pu'erh shops online. I'm sure the author of this blog can help in that respect :).