Shincha news (4) is here:
Crazy tea drinkers order $400-per-500g pre-QingMing (harvested before April 5) Shi Feng Long Jing as if it were free. Year after year, the fever never cools down. I am staying up till 2am ordering Shi Feng Long Jing for a group of American tea drinkers, because no one knows if it will be out of stock tomorrow.
The pre-QingMing Shi Feng Long Jing will not be out of stock in Gong Brand, a brand-name Long Jing company that sells it for about $1000-per-500g. It will not be out of stock in Wu Yu Tai, Ten Fu, or Zhang Yi Yuan, reputable tea houses that sell it for over $800-per-500g. Compared with these price tags, $400 sounds like a good deal. It's just slightly higher than the price a big tea company would pay to buy tea from farmers. Personally I think $400 is still a lot of money to pay for 500 grams of tea, but it's somewhat understandable why people are buying like there is no tomorrow.
If you don't plan to join the luxurious craziness of Hang Zhou Long Jing (Shi Feng, Meijiawu, and West Lake), then remember there is still other Zhejiang Long Jing (harvested about the same time), there is still Huang Shan Mao Feng (high mountain harvest started last week and large scale harvest will start in the next a few days) and numerous other green teas.
Due to the early March cold current, Tai Ping Hou Kui's harvest is predicted to be around April 20, which is said to be "a week later than the past years". (To my knowledge, traditionally Tai Ping Hou Kui's standard harvest time used to be April 20. But from who knows what year, it became earlier than April 15!)
Xin Yang Mao Jian's harvest started from yesterday, April 3 in China. Xin Yang Mao Jian suffered a lot more than Long Jing and most Fujian oolong (except for Feng Huang Dan Cong which suffered the most) from the early March snow and frost. The price will increase a lot. However, because it's not a current "hotspot" tea varietal, price will not likely increase to the extent to cover tea farmers' economic loss.
Tie Guan Yin and Ben Shan are slightly affected by the March cold weather, and their harvest will be slightly postponed to after May 10. But there is always oolong from last autumn!
Huang Jin Gui (golden osmanthus) is an early harvest cultivar, compared with most other Fujian oolong. Its growth and harvest has been dramatically impacted by the early March snow and frost this year. Personally I've given up spring Huang Jin Gui of this year. But the tea from last autumn is pretty good. Besides, I've stocked up some Huang Jin Gui from the past winter season, which many people believe is the best season of a year for Huang Jin Gui.
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