1. What size are the tea samples?
Our Tea Trekker sample size is a generous 14 grams. We recommend using 2-3 grams of tea per each 6 ounce portion of water, so the sample will yield approximately 5-7 standard measures of dry leaf. Sample sizes are fun and will allow you to taste an unfamiliar tea before stocking-up, or experience a tea that you only want to have once-in-a-while. Samples are not a good value for everyday tea drinking. We hope you enjoy making friends with new varieties of tea from exotic places of origin.
Tea Trekker packs your 14 gram sample(s) when your order is filled, at the same time your larger purchases of tea are packed. We pack samples in a small acetate packet so that we use a minimal amount of resource for this tiny amount of leaf. The tea will stay fresh for a short period of time while you investigate the new leaf. You will however want to use the sample size pack more quickly than our regular 3-ply zip lock bags.
Another way to procure a smaller amount of tea is to purchase the 2 oz size. This size is also charged at a small premium above the normal pricing used for the standard sizes at 4 oz and larger, but the upcharge is less.
See Tea 101 - Steeping Tea for more steeping information.
2. Can I purchase a gift certificate as a gift?
Unfortunately TeaTrekker.com does not offer Gift Certificates for on-line use at this time.
We do offer printed Gift Certificates in various denominations for use in our brick-and-mortar retail store in Northampton, MA; however they may not be used for on-line or phone orders.
TeaTrekker.com does welcome orders of tea and teawares as gifts for the tea lovers in your life. We enjoy the opportunity to help our clients select the products that will be appropriate for your needs.
3. Does the Price of Darjeeling Tea Increase Every Year?
The price of 100% pure Darjeeling teas normally goes up a little each year for a variety of reasons.
This is not something particular to Tea Trekker but to all tea vendors who purchase premium 100% pure Darjeeling 1st Flush and 2nd Flush teas each new season. We do our best to keep the prices as low as we can, and in some years we do not purchase teas that we have had in the past from certain tea gardens because the asking price is higher than we like.
But why the price increases?
- 1. the prices are determined by the weather, which is responsible for how bountiful or not the seasonal crop is. Weather in Darjeeling, as in most tea producing countries, is being affected by global warming, which does not mean the weather is hotter there, but that it has become un-predictable and erratic. This year, for example, the 1st Flush harvest began later than usual because of very cold weather and a lack of rain in the crucial months of Jan, Feb and March. As a result, the yield of 1st Flush teas was delicious in flavor but small in quantity. Because of the delay in the 1st Flush harvest, the 2nd Flush teas had a shorter pluck time too before the weather became too hot for producing good leaf.
- 2. worldwide demand, especially in the West for premium, 100% pure Darjeeling tea is greater than ever. At one time high demand came exclusively from Europe, but now sales in the US are bumping up demand. And when demand exceeds supply, the price goes up. No other tea on earth has the same crisp flavor and striking bouquet as Darjeeling tea. These characteristics are shaped and influenced by the unique terroir ( soil, weather and climate ) of the Himalaya zone where the Darjeeling tea gardens are located.
- 3. last year, 100% pure Darjeeling tea was granted a protected product status from the European Union so that cheaper, fraudulent teas can no longer be sold in the marketplace as ‘Darjeeling’. This action is beginning to stem the reduction of less expensive teas (produced in Nepal and other Himalaya regions of India ) that in the past had duplicitously been sold as ‘Darjeeling’ tea. You can read more about why this action is a good thing on our Tea Trekker’s Blog. This is the link to that post: http://teatrekker.wordpress.com/2012/01/10/protected-origin-status-granted-to-darjeeling-tea/
- 4. politics and issues of social justice have brought about increases in workers’ wages. Worker strikes and strikes against the tea factories from political groups looking to rally the tea garden workers to their cause have increased the price of the tea ex factory.
- 5. many Darjeeling tea gardens are reducing pesticide use in response to demand for more organic or traditionally-grown teas, which is changing the customary yield and making cultivation in the fields more labor intensive than in the past.
All things considered, these price increases are small and we feel strongly that the seasonal, 100% pure Darjeeling teas that Tea Trekker selects from specific tea gardens and estates are a tremendous value and a much better alternative to generic, non-dated tea blends.
And, calculating the cost per cup of tea based on approximately 50 cups from a 4-ounce quantity of loose leaf tea, it places premium Darjeeling tea in the category of good value for money spent. For more economical purchases, please consider other excellent black teas that we have from Nepal and Sikkim.
4. Do You Wholesale Your Teas?
Unfortunately, we do not wholesale our teas. The reason is severalfold. First, most of our teas are shipped to us directly from the country of origin, which means that we have to act fast when the samples arrive – usually placing the orders the day after we taste the samples. Secondly, because we like to have as many seasonal teas as possible, we order in quantities that we project will last us for a season or a full year. Often we run out of tea before the next season's crop is available. So there is never any large quantity for us to draw upon for wholesale.
We appreciate that you love our teas and would like to sell them, but because direct ordering can have its dicey moments, we do not feel that we can make any promises to anyone else as of yet. Perhaps in a few years time we will be able to bring over larger quantities of certain teas to split with others.