Saturday, January 03, 2015

High-end tea retail sales slump as market tastes change

High-end tea retail sales slump as market tastes change

Workers from Xieyuda Tea Co select freshly picked tea leaves in Huangshan, East China's Anhui province. [Photo provided to China Daily]

The taste for high-end tea has been drying up this year, as prices have been under pressure from the government's austerity drive and anti-graft campaign in addition to a slowing economy.

Many companies that sell high-end tea, such as Yunnan Taetea Tea Industry Group, a leading Pu'er tea company, are vying to lure more customers by offering lower prices. Taetea has lowered the prices of its most popular products by more than 50 percent since March this year.

Total domestic tea output this year was around 1.95 million tons-relatively flat compared to last year-but sales of gift sets and group-purchasing dropped, and the market was expected to be filled by growing demand for mid-range tea products, according to a recent report by the China Tea Marketing Association.

Many premium tea brands saw constant slides of their prices under state control. A type of the finest Pu'er by Chinese tea brand Dayi saw its price drop from 24,000 yuan to 10,000 yuan a kilo.

"Earlier the tea market was filled with speculative bubbles, most Chinese tea products boasted overly-high prices," said Wu Jing, editor-in-chief of teatalking.cn, the website of the China National Tea Museum Tea Club.

"Tea prices are going to bounce back to become more rational. Brands need to stand out by utilizing their regional competitive advantages in production and providing tea products that are highly cost-effective," Wu said.

Guangzhou province, a main production region for tea, saw the sales of high-end tea at local large tea companies decline, with many wholesalers and distributors closing their stores.

Wu estimated that nearly 30 to 40 percent of the merchants had closed their businesses.

At Fangcun tea market, the biggest trading market for tea in Guangzhou province, most retail shops scarcely see any customers. Every seventh or eighth store was empty or closed and waiting to be sublet.

Group orders used to account for more than half of most retail merchants' sales, but now sales mostly come from individual buying, 21st Century Business Herald reported.

Deng Zengyong, manager of Sunriver Tea, an Anhui-based tea company that focuses on black tea in Anhui province and Pu'er tea produced by Yunnan province, said the new market for tea places higher demands on the production, management and marketing of a tea company.

To excel against competition, it was essential for a tea company to provide highly cost-effective products and services, he said. A tea company would only be able to set consumer-friendly prices through the strength of its products, along with large scale production and high yields.

Meanwhile, online shopping for mid-range tea emerged as a new platform for tea consumption, buoyed by the burgeoning of e-commerce.

November was often considered a low season for shopping, but with the advent of arguably the country's biggest shopping day of the year, "Single's Day" on Nov 11, tea products saw their sales on Alibaba's Tmall website reach 4,854,822 items, surging 54.6 percent compared to last year.

More than half of consumers bought mid-range tea products.

"There are more and more young people paying attention to lifestyle and the quality of life, and young people prefer online shopping. Tea companies are developing their online sales approach as the major tea consumer group is becoming gradually younger," Wu said.

Sunriver Tea introduced a great many of its tea products on e-commerce website Tmall.com, in addition to its traditional retail sales.

"The tea products online carry the same price tags as at retail stores across the country. We rarely have sales promotions, the online sales tend to help with visualization and branding," said Liu Shan, business specialist of the marketing department at Sunriver Tea.

High-end tea retail sales slump as market tastes change

Tea in NW China

Tea fields in NW China village

Women pick tealeaves in Jiangbang village of Xixiang county, northwest China's Shaanxi province, March 24, 2014 . Xixiang county is the northernmost tea producing area in China, owning 287,000 mu (about 19,133 hectares) of tea fields so far. [Photo/Xinhua]Tea fields in NW China village

Tea fields in Jiangbang village of Xixiang county, northwest China's Shaanxi province. [Photo/Xinhua] .. full story in China Daily

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Black Tea with Milk/Cream–re-blog

Ceylon – Darjeeling black tea….
My granny (maternal grandmother) Goddess of all things tea!

There is NO debate, there is only “The” way to have milk in tea. Milk in LAST!
All must be made ready:  
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Milk in Last! Milk or cream must be added in a specific manner.
Infused tea is poured into the cup.
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A tea spoon is placed into the infused tea, this draws some of the heat. The spoon is pulled out with only 1/4 of the spoon-bowl immersed, back facing up. DSC03049
The milk is then slowly pored over the spoon bowl and allowed to fuse with the tea. DSC03050
This method introduces the cold milk to the hot tea with no ill effects (on the milk/cream).
Adding sugar, well we won’t even go there!

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Private Packaging

In Huang Jang town an enterprising business man funneled a lot of cash into a personal passion .. Tea Shops .. Empereur Tea Company see my Dec 2013 posting: http://chawu.blogspot.com/2013/12/new-tea-shop-opens-in-huang-jiang.html  and March 2014: http://chawu.blogspot.com/2014/03/a-quick-look-around-new-tea-shops-rooms.html

This custom cake / brick tea production site: Menghai Zhenmanluanhui

Company Name:  Spring Sea Meng Hai tea factory .. Packaged on May 16th. 2012

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The subsequent brew proved to be first rate. A clean dark brew, deep smooth taste covering the gambit. No sour notes, pleasing after-taste.  These two cakes were a truly welcome gift, from the local “business man” back in December 2013.

Friday, August 08, 2014

August – Death of a Tea-Cake

Manufacturer: Guang Feng Ning-er Tea … Tea source info: “Yunnan Menghai tea trees, selection of raw materials, Yunnan big leaves drying green Maocha, contributed to a modest artificial fermentation system ripe cake! Soup red, bright yellow, mellow taste sweet, Chen Yue Xiang of features, its wonderful creation of nature, to have a charm”

Packaging manufacturer details:  NAME: High long-fiber products Weifang Jie Technology Co., Ltd.  LOCATION: Weifang City, Shandong Province Linqu Dongcheng Subdistrict cow mountain.  DESCRIPTION: 1 food paper packaging food packaging (Ⅲ type common food packaging)

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This is a new tea for me, a gift from a friend in Chang Ping back in 2013.   A pristine “inner ticket” .. not imbedded into the cake surface .. the ticket, a little large, is a reduced pictorial representation of the outer wrapper .. both of these plus the “machine / pressing” of cake are a little off.  The cake has the edge shape of a stone mould, not the usual machine mould vertical edge.  So far, I get the feeling this cake of Shu Pu is not what it should be.aug tea2 (1024x614) (2)aug tea3   I opened and separated some tea to make an infusion.  Again a few items did not ring true when inspecting the cake composition.  A few too many inconsistences in the layering.  On to the “Proof of the pudding” .. Everything about this brew missed the mark: colour too dark, flavor more Sheng than Shu, sour aftertaste.  Just too many negative points so I’m going to vote this off the stack.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Drinking a new tea

This afternoon we (Jean and I) infused the 2009 Meng Hai, Shu Pu.  Jean is surprisingly fastjmt (1024x603) Glad to report improvement over the initial tasting back 2010 in Dongguan.  No disappointment, Rich-Full body Shu Pu .. The infused tea has the rich deep colour of ebony-mahogany with a long after taste that lingers on the palate with no mouth drying.

Only down side, I only have this one cake.  I’ll arrange to have more ready for me when I get back into Dongguan.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Some new 5 year old tea to try

Meng Hai, 2009-June 6th.  Shu Pu .. a gift from the owner of my favorite tea shop in Dongguan City.  Today after watching the bike racing it was time to open and prepare this cake.  I opened the cake and put the pieces into a wooden caddie. I’ll let it sit for a day, just to; air and settle before infusing tea.mh3 (1024x898)

A good looking cake, nothing special to set it apart, except a prior tasting back in 2010, when I commented that it was “Fair and did not leave a dry mouth feeling”

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2014 Tour Finale and First Chinese Rider

tdfflastJuly 2014, Sunday in Paris, Tour de France winner: Vincenzo Nibali. TFFFfinale Bringing up the rear of the pack: the “lanterne rouge” 红灯  Hóng dēng.  Cheng Ji,  first rider from Mainland China to ride the tour, 6 hrs. behind the winner. tdffcj1

PARIS (AFP) — Chinese rider Ji Cheng said he wants to get away from cycling for a while after completing the Tour de France on Sunday. Ji was a visible member of the peloton over the last three weeks, relishing his role as the “breakaway killer” for his Giant-Shimano team.  And although the 27-year-old did not set the world alight with his performances, he did gain cult status over 3,659 kilometers of racing around France.

But he’s had enough for this year.

Asked what he would do now, he said: “I have no idea. I will try to relax because I got married but 20 days later I came back to Europe for a training camp and then racing and it’s been eight months now since I’ve been home. “That’s really long, I will try to relax and not think any more about cycling.”

It’s not been easy for Ji, who was expected to ride at the front of the peloton day after day to control breakaway groups and ensure his Giant team would be able to reel them in later so sprinter Marcel Kittel could finish off his work.

Kittel won four stages in total while another German sprinter, John Degenkolb, finished second in two others in which the lumpy run-ins weren’t suited to Kittel’s raw straight-line power. But Ji’s also had his own challenges to overcome, having suffered from a knee problem.

“The hardest moments were just the first week and the last week,” he said. “The first week had more sprint stages and we had more chances for victories so I was working hard to control the group and working hard on the front. That was a hard week.”  “And the last week because I was injured in the left knee. Already I wasn’t looking forward to the mountains because of my injury which was so painful. “But the second week was nice for me, I had more time to enjoy the race.”

Enjoyment would be a curious word for a race that lasted more than 90 hours. And in Ji’s case, he rode for more than six hours longer than winner Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), in so doing managing the biggest gap between first and last since 1954.

Ji, who was 164th, also finished more than 50 minutes behind the second-to-last finisher and crashed on the final stage on the Champs Elysees, even suffering the ignominy of being lapped by the peloton as it completed eight circuits of the famous avenue. But every day, Ji managed to get inside the time limit. And it’s not the first time he’s completed a grand tour.

He finished 175th (last place) at the 2012 Vuelta a Espana, although sickness prevented him from completing last year’s Giro d’Italia.

While the native of Harbin in the northeast of China may be the Tour’s “lanterne rouge,” the rider who finishes last, he at least finished, which is more than what 34 other starters managed, among them defending champion Chris Froome, Alberto Contador, and Mark Cavendish.

All three crashed out and Ji says that’s one of the risks in cycling.  “In cycling sometimes dangerous things can happen like a crash, or you can get sick or have a fever,” he said. “It’s normal, last year at the Giro the same thing happened to me. I got very sick before stage five and couldn’t start it.

“It’s really sad but it’s like this. Maybe next year I’ll have this situation. I was pretty lucky really, I didn’t crash or get sick or anything.” Having made history as the first Chinese rider to compete in the Tour, Ji said he hopes to be a pioneer for his countrymen, but said it will take more than just him to change things.

“I hope so but a cycling project in the country cannot be one man like me,” he said. “Maybe I can show them something but I cannot change anything.

“I hope they can see it’s possible to build a team or train riders to be top professionals. That’s what I hope.”

Friday, July 18, 2014

Tour de France – Quantum of Solace stands at Zero

With temperatures hovering at 40c (104F) racers try to cool down after crossing the finish line.tdffafterrace During the race you seek solace in any form.tdffcoolingoff

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Tour de France – Picture Postcard Day

En-route south from Bourg-en-Bresse to Saint Etienne, Located near the French  - Swiss / Italian  borders at the western base of the Jura mountains.tdffbeauty

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Tour de France – Post Rest Day

With the early exit of the “Top” names in Professional Cycling and various others pulling out of the Tour in pursuit of personal goals, we are left with an uninspired peloton.  Despite the efforts of; Tour organizers and various interested factions .. This Tour has lost its Panache ….

A rider questioning where his wages will come from (? your name here)tdffsponserx 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Tour de France–“Rest Day” Anticipation

Rest Days are anything but Restful .. A full agenda faces all connected with the Le Tour ..

A mixture of; Rumors, Conjecture,  Facts and Fiction.

The worlds Press work every available angle to dig dirt and inside stories. 

I anticipate an interesting story surrounding Condador’s crash and broken bike frame.  A cause or result ??tdffacbike  By Caley Fretz Published Jul. 14, 2014:  “Contador’s bike broke in the lower third of his down tube and on the top tube just in front of his seat tube. Both tubes were broken clean through, with just a few fibers holding the two pieces of the frame together.”

Tour de France --- Major Departure

Stage 10 claims Alberto Contador, crashing and sustaining a severe knee injury. Now the top two contenders, Froome and Contador,  for this years Yellow Jersey  have crashed out!imageimage  Tomorrow is a “Rest Day”. .. Much speculation and strategy changes will abound .. We now have the potential for a Wide Open race.  Many will endeavor to gain their stripes.  I cannot remember a TdF with so many major contender losses in the first 10 days. 

Can Vincenzo Nibali, 2014 Italian champion and 2013 Giro d’Italia winner,  take the 2014 TdF ? .. Seen here wearing the Magli Rosa in 2013..

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Sunday, July 13, 2014

Tour de France – Profile of a “Ballbuster”

Stages 9 and10 .. Pictorial definition of a: “Ballbuster” … All in a days’ work for the Pro Rider.  Stage 10 on: La Fête Nationale (Bastille Day, July 14th.)tdff4image  "The Storming of the Bastille" by Jean-Pierre-Louis-Laurent Houel, the arrest of: Bernard René Jourdan, m de Launay (1740-1789)tdffart

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Tour de France … What is Road-Rash???? + Update

Last Years winner, Chris Froome lands in France, HARD !tdff1  Road-Rash .. When the moving meets the unyielding roadtdff2 Chris took this fall on Stage 4. Next day ,on the wet and treacherous roads of stage 5, Chris would crash two more times and had to abandon the race.tdff3

Sunday, July 06, 2014

2014 Tour de France–UK stages

This news feed picture conveys the sensation of a road race: ( Haworth, West Yorkshire)tdfuk1   Best Route Map: (stage 1)tdfuk2  Team Lotto-Belisol, reconnoiter the road ahead:…. abroad in the Yorkshire moorstdfuk3  Lotto-Belisol .. 2014 TdF team:
Lars Bak (DEN)
Bart De Clercq (BEL)
Tony Gallopin (FRA)
Andre Greipel (GER)
Adam Hansen (AUS)
Greg Henderson (NZL)
Jurgen Roelandts (BEL)
Marcel Sieberg (GER)
Jurgen Van den Broeck (BEL)

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Friday, June 27, 2014

Selecting some tea

After breakfast, Jean decided she needed more tea and new tea-bowl:

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Thursday, June 12, 2014

New Tea-Master apprenticeship programme

Jean sets-up her Teapot and other essentials. At 15 months, her acuity for understanding the process steps along with the names of the tools is simply amazing. Her absolute fascination and sheer joy when we brew tea makes the experience so much better:….

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