We haven't seen tea price increases trickle down to us yet (http://www.minimus.biz/Tea.aspx), but often there is a delay as the price increases take time to go from raw suppliers to the brands to the distributors/wholesalers.
I am Asian Indian, and I enjoy a good chai or tea. I make chai at home much the same way as my grandmother (in India) taught me. Yes, the various stores like Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, and even Wal-Mart charge a hefty price for the tea. I tend to buy my tea elsewhere, in the following kinds of stores:
Indian markets...go to Patel's on Devon if you are in Chicago...Patels has started to franchise across the USA, and there is one in Nashville (on Nolensville Road) also.
Various other Indian markets, some real hole in the walls
Also, look at some of the food sections in Big Lots and related. Often times you can find the same exact brand and kind of tea you find at Whole Foods, just a lot cheaper. Yeah, they are perhaps there because they are rejects elsewhere, or closer to their expiration date, but many of them are still good.
Also, I tend to look at Indian brand names:
Remember Tetley Brand of UK? It is now part of Tata Group India. Look at some of the brands by Tata. You may find them just as good, but cheaper. Tata Tea is part of the huge Tata conglomerate in India.
There are many brand names like this also. If you can find an established brand from India, chances are that it is perhaps okay. Everybody has their opinion though.
Wanted to add...look at Kenyan (African) tea also.
Tea is so good! I love it! I only drink tea and will most likely pay more for it if I had to. Think about if they raised the prices on soda everybody who is a soda drinker will still buy it and after some time the complaints about the higher pricing will go away just as it will about the tea.
I have a whole (small) cabinet of tea, so not going to worry for awhile until I drink up what's here.
Great tea grown right here in the lowcountry, hard to find though...
Was just at the Charleston Tea Plantation last week. It was great! More people need to know that we can buy good American grown tea!
Tea drinkers are everywhere. I drink tea everyday. There are so many teas that I can always find one for the mood I am in. Coffee is for the weak of mind and consitution
I am wondering if avid tea drinkers are not from Africa. I remembered vividly, as I was growing up our breakfast consisted of only a cup of tea and a loaf of bread from the bakery house. One can easily notice how tea drinking is a vital social gathering in all cafes in every corner of the big cities from Cairo to Johansburg.
Well, this news article specifically focused on tea drinkers buying the expensive, specialty teas. The people who are buying those are going to keep buying without much of a grumble about the price.
You make a really excellent point, though. It would be much more interesting to explore how the rising tea prices will affect those for whom tea is a staple, not a luxury.
Ceylon tea (from Sri Lanka) is the best!!
Good tea is expensive no matter where it comes from, especially good quality loose tea. But since I am an obsessed tea drinker, I am willing to pay...and believe me, I have.
Agreed. Tea drinkers know the good stuff is expensive and will pay for it, even if it does go up in price. However, I've found that if you can find a hole-in-the-wall Asian or Indian market (Not a chain like Global Foods), you can usually find really good tea for a fraction of the price. Big tea places know that tea drinkers will pay and keep the prices high. Smaller places tend to give you a lot better prices, and some of them like to bargain as well.
I find excellent prices on many things in ethnic groceries. For example, the same American name-brand canned veggies that go for $1.19 at Safeway are 69c at an Asian supermarket in the Vietnamese enclave in town. They also have both American brands and imported brands of tea, and 50-lb bags of rice much cheaper than I'd pay for the same amount elsewhere. Ditto, some things that are on the expensive side in my neighborhood, same brand, same item, 25-50% less in the Mexican supermarket in the barrio.
Actually, your best bet is to find a tea vendor that caters to the Chinese. Supermarket tea is supermarket tea, regardless.
What's "expensive" is very relative; what's expensive to the majority of Chinese is still very cheap to us. Good tea sells for prices that are still cheap to us. American vendors put absolutely ridiculous markups on tea; especially "whole leaf" tea. If you're a serious tea-head then you can find sources for tea that's much better than most of what you can get here for a fraction of what you'd expect to pay.
American vendors could very easily absorb a 100-200% price increase, and if they did pass on the increase you would probably think it's inflation.
"All that tea in China?" China imports much of its tea from India now. China is no longer the big tea producer it once was. When I visited China I naively asked if we were going to visit a tea-processing center. We were told they do exist but they're just set-up for the tourists.
Chinese tea and Indian tea are vastly, vastly different. Any tea drinker worth their salt could tell the difference between a Chinese and Indian tea in a heartbeat. Teas have their own terroir, or characteristics defined by their region, much like cheeses or wines.
Nobody is importing Indian tea and trying to pass it off as Chinese tea. There are PLENTY of tea fields and factories in China, trust me, it's a huge industry for them – they are still the birthplace of fine tea. (And yes, I have been there too, as well as most of Asia.)
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