Tea Trekker is Now Retired

October 1st, 2021

On Aug 22, 2021 I celebrated my 47th anniversary selling tea to enthusiastic tea drinkers.

Many of you who have been customers through the years have seen us refocus our business entity from The Coffee Gallery (our original coffee, tea, & spice shop) to our expanded specialty foods store Cooks Shop Here and then to our current, tea-specific store and website Tea Trekker.

However, the common denominator from Day One has been providing premium tea to tea lovers, every single day of those 47 years!

So now, after all these many years of selling tea, it is time for me to retire.

It ‘has been quite a run‘, as some would say; and while at various moments during the last year or two I have been tempted to continue until the business’ 50th anniversary (in 2024), I have determined that now is the time to make this change; so ’47 years plus a little‘ will be my ‘lucky number for tenure’ as a day-to-day working food professional.

I am very grateful to be closing the business and moving on while everything concerning the business is at ‘the top of its game‘. The last few years have been very busy and rewarding for my tea farmers, for me, and for my customers. During the pandemic years that have occurred so far, with their new challenges, customers have ultimately been able to have a wonderful choice of tea, thanks to the people involved in my chain of supply, who have worked so hard to make that happen. I honestly was not prepared for the growth surge that happened from late 2019 until now. The pace of 2019 was perfect, and I probably would have continued for a while longer at that pace, but it is just too busy now for me to continue, as I do not want the business to falter, which it would have if I were to try to keep up this pace. Too much business is like too much rain, it is unsustainable.

 – We have now shuttered the website to new sales –

…but we are leaving the website up on the web as an information resource. You will also be able to log into your account and see what you have ordered in the past, read about the teas, and see their descriptions and origin information … everything except make a current or future purchase. We will be editing it and making changes to it over the next several weeks and months to make it more of a resource and less of a commerce site, while retaining the character that it has had.

I will be sending out several Newsletters during Oct, with interesting information and hopefully some helpful suggestions to guide you in your search to find other reliable tea merchants.

In the Tea Trekker Newsletters of Aug 15th and early Sept, I asked you to let me know of any tea merchants that you particularly like to work with; and I have received a pretty good response. That dialogue is still open, so send in your recommendations today! I will also be working with a few of my suppliers to help with this, but of course they will not be providing me with their client list – that would be unethical! But hopefully this tea-sourcing discussion can continue as we all find new ways of tea.

After the necessary several months of shutting down the physical plant, I am expecting to continue with the TeaTrekker Blog in the early winter, and also participate in some of the other educational aspects of the tea world, at least periodically.

I think that ‘tasting’ is in my blood, so I may become an itinerant, professional taster, wandering from beverage-to-beverage, and food-to-food…looking for edibles to scrutinize!! After all, I will be continuing with my radio show ‘Around The Pantry‘ on Thursday mornings, so I need to keep my palate in shape!

 

– A Huge Thank You to All –

I attempted to ‘stock up’ a bit on the teas that I expected would be popular during this final period by consulting our sales history for the period from mid-July through Thanksgiving for both 2019 & 2020, which were both very busy times. Of course there was no way to know who would want what tea this year; but I tried to base my inventory on historical record rather than hunches! I also had additional inventory of some popular teas arrive during this final period, and a few new teas…I cannot help myself when a great new tea is offered to me!!

So it was a bit frenzied here mid August …but we all survived and I hope that most (or all) of you were able to order and receive the teas that you most wanted to be able to drink ‘just a little bit longer‘. We are very sorry if we ran out of your favorite(s).

Are you wondering about the proper storage of tea, in case you stocked up a little? (as I did too!)

Here are several guidelines to help you:

 – The shelf life of tea –

Black Tea: 1-3 years (often longer)

Spring Green Tea (open leaf with significant surface area exposed):
6 months to 1 year.

Country Green Tea ( later-harvest green tea with a meaningful twist or roll)
12 months to 18 months.

Oolong: these vary tremendously from 1 year to 10 years.

White Tea: 1-10 years (some tea enthusiasts do not even start drinking white tea until it is one to five years old!)

Scented Tea (includes Earl Grey, Jasmine, Lapsang, etc):
scenting will dissipate steadily from the moment that you purchase these, so two years is usually the point at which a noticeable change in flavor occurs.

(That being said…I once tasted a 100-year-old Jasmine tea that had been sealed in an unopened tin for the whole time, and it was delicious…so always taste any tea that you discover lurking in the back of the cupboard before composting it or using it for vegetable stock!! However, eventually, some old tea does need to be disposed of, so do not hesitate to eliminate any tea that is not drinking well any longer.)
 
 – Best Storage methods for tea –
 
  • airtight is generally good (but open the container occasionally to freshen the trapped air)
  • out of direct sunlight is important
  • a steady cool temperature is preferred (for long-term storage)
  • ceramic, glass, zip lock bags, etc are all good vessels
  • humidity is the enemy, so keep tea dry