Monday, March 16, 2009

Buying tea on the internet

The internet is an important resource for the tea enthusiast.  It provides information about tea, provide a forum for the tea drinker to air his views and also acts an avenue to buy and sell tea worldwide.

I buy tea from the internet due to a few reasons but mainly
-  the tea is not available in my area
-  the tea may be more expensive in my area 

There are lots of tea and tea stuff for sale on the net.  It is therefore important that before you plonk your money in your internet purchase that you consider a few points; the reliability of the seller, the tea/ or teastuff you are buying and the price.

The reliability of the seller is important in that you get the actual product you are buying and getting it (good packaging) within a reasonable time.  Its also important to get quotes for the shipping rates on your items ordered so you can ascertain the true costs of your order after factoring the shipping costs.  I usually order my stuff using air shipping as it reduces waiting time to less than 3 weeks as surface mail may take up 3 months for the stuff to arrive.  An example would be it costs me US$15 to air ship 5 pu erh cakes (averaging 2 kg for the whole package).  I would then allocate the air shipping costs of $3 per tea cake.  So if I purchase a tea cake costing $20, the true cost is then $23(as I order about 5 tea cakes per order).

I mainly order my tea from 2 dealers on the net; Awazon tea and Yunnan Sourcing LLC (YS).  Both are located in Kunming, China and it is not surprising that they sell a wide range of pu erh tea. These 2 tea dealers also represent themselves selling tea on ebay.   It is also noted that Yunnan Sourcing (YS) is operated by an american Scott Wilson, while Awazon is operated by a local chinese Mr Zhang.  Both dealers have good ebay ratings and good reviews on the various tea forums.

I have ordered my tea from both dealers on many occasions and are pleased with the tea I have received from them.  YS carries a much larger range of tea and tea accessories.  I have purchased 2 teapots from YS and they have arrived in good order.  Both accept payment via paypal which makes the purchases very convenient. YS allows the buyers to purchase small samples of about 25 gms of a tea so you need not commit your funds in a whole cake or brick. Awazon do sometimes include a complimentary sample of a tea that is sufficient for a teapot brew.

It is interesting to note that both carry their own house brand of pu erh tea.  The pix (2nd pix) of the round tea cake is that of 2008 raw 357 gram raw tea described by Awazon as "Awazon “Jinmai Ancient Tea” raw cake is made of pure ancient tea tree leaves from Jingmai ancient tea mountain. Only top grade early spring tea leaves and buds from over thousand year old ancient tea tree are used as raw material for making this raw Pu-erh tea cake. This is the best choice for Pu-erh connoisseurs and collectors. Please note that only ancient Pu-erh tea can last over 15 infusions, which is a very important factor to judge if it’s real ancient Pu-erh or not. For this Awazon “Jinmai Ancient Tea”, the brewed liquor becomes much better from the 3rd infusion on. You will feel a very good sweet aftertaste in deep throat and full mouth with lingering orchid aroma. This is a unique flavor of ancient Pu-erh tea from Jingmai and Mangjing ancient tea tree. What surprising is this flavor will be getting stronger and better after years of aging. And this feature makes our Awazon “Jinmai Ancient Tea” raw Pu-erh tea cake much more valuable for collection." - retails at ebay at us$38

The tea brick (1st pix) is a 500 gm raw tea carried by YS.  He describes the tea as "2008 * Wild Tree Raw Pu-erh tea brick of Dehong * 500 grams -An incredibly fantastic raw Pu-erh made from Pu-erh tree leaves that have a purplish tinge when picked. The resulting brick is darker. The quality of the leaves and the meticulous processing ensures excellent storage and aging potential. At the same time, it is one the best 2008 raw Pu-erhs to drink. The infused liquor is golden and is almost completely without bitterness. CLARITY, CLARITY, CLARITY! This tea brick is composed of entirely spring 2008 raw material from the exact same area as the 2005 production. This year Yunnan Sourcing is proud to be the exclusive producer and distributor of this very special tea! We have produced exactly 460 bricks in total!" - retails at ebay at us$25

There are many things to buy on the net......words from an unwise one...."spend wisely"

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