In terms of Dragon Well this year, never has the saying "pick three days early and it is treasure, three days late, it's worth just as much as grass" been so true! I've just finished cupping every Dragon Well and early harvested green tea I can get my hands on. I lost count after a couple of hours, I am only thankful that much younger people are making life easier for an old dude like me. I cupped like royalty here. People set up the tea for review, weight, cup, and time. When it's ready I try to walk up to the cupping table and act like I know what I am doing: slurp, spit, make mental notes, and move on.
In my twenty-some years in the tea business, I can't remember an instance where inferior quality can fetch such high prices. Chinese consumers are buying Qing Ming green teas at record prices. Our Putuo Compassion Green sells well and it's a good quality tea, but this year they were asking 4,000 yuan (about US$585) per kilogram! After spitting out as much of the bad tea as fast as I can, I approved a 15 kg lot of Putuo Compassion. After much back-patting and arm-twisting I was able to get my tea at same price as last year. Once they agreed, I gave them the bad news: now I want them to finish and sort the tea to my standard! You'd think they'd know me by now, but then again, maybe they're just letting me think I am ahead a bit today.
Due to the cold weather and rain, most of the high-grown greens that we need are not ready yet. What little has been harvested does not meet my standard and has been rejected. I don't remember the last time I had to say no so many times. This just makes me mad as hell and more determined. I am staying until I am done!