Back in 2009 I walked into Postcard Teas for the first time as a customer and asked to try Master Xu’s Rou Gui. At the time I didn’t really know what it was but I had read somewhere that this was the tea to try, and I thought that I might as well start my flirtation with speciality tea by trying something expensive just to see how good it could be. Tim was working that evening and to my surprise refused my request and told me because it was near closing time it would be a shame to try just one infusion as its something that should be enjoyed with time to spare and over many steeps. Instead he made me something else and gave me 6g of Rou Gui to take home with me. Later that evening I made a pot of Rou Gui and it was probably the best tea I had ever tried. I then threw the leaves in the bin.
My moment of wastefulness aside, that interaction stuck with me for a long time – both the unexpected respect shown to what I had assumed would just be a regular cup of tea, and the unexpected generosity of giving me the leaves to make the tea myself – and I think it represents a certain attitude which most tea people have. Bearing that in mind, when someone comes in who is interested in trying great handmade Wuyi teas or dancong or Long Jing, we want to make it as easy as possible to try by not making the tasting price prohibitive while at the same time respecting that these are special teas and explaining why they cost what they do.
We’re lucky that we have a physical shop where we can do this and offer tastings, but despite putting samples in every order we’ve felt for some time that our online customers have been somewhat neglected in comparison, and we’re aware that not everyone can make it to our shop even if you live in the UK. We’re trying to remedy this in two ways; firstly since the end of last year we’ve been offering a selection of our most popular teas in bulk sizes for our online customers who want a great tea to drink everyday at a good price. For example 500g of our Family Tea on our site costs just £10, which is almost competitive with supermarket tea bag prices and much cheaper than trendy pyramid bags. We’ll be adding more bulk options in 100g, 250g and 500g later this year. Secondly we’ll be offering 6g sample sizes of our more expensive teas for people who are interested in trying them, which we hope will address the advantage that our shop customers currently have over our online ones. These are teas by tea makers we are privileged to work with, and we think everyone who loves tea should be able to try them at least once. We chose 6g because we use exactly 6g in the shop when we brew Wuyi or Phoenix oolongs in a gaiwan and this will be enough for one session of tea brewed gong-fu style, or two sessions brewed Western style.
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Our 2014 Wuyi oolongs are back in stock and we will be trialing the 6g sample sizes with them first, along with some of the 2013 teas we have left. As I have mentioned in the descriptions we think that 2014 has been an exceptional year for Master Xu’s teas so if you haven’t tried his yancha before we think that this is an excellent opportunity to try our favourite style of oolong from one of China’s best producers. This year we have bought five different teas made from four cultivars and grown in three locations in the UNESCO protected Wuyi Scenic Area, and we hope to add to this selection later this year. The first ten customers who buy any Wuyi teas will also receive 6g of a very special Wuyi oolong from Master Xu which we bought a very small amount of. All of this year’s Wuyi teas can be found below:
Lastly, if there is anything else you would like to see on the website (apart from photos – we’re working on it!) just give us an email or tweet and we’ll be happy to oblige.