Do you ever wonder where the price tag on your tea comes from? In the world of loose leaf tea, there are many moving pieces that come together to push that price up or down. It all starts at the farm with the labor of the producers, and continues through to packaging, brokerage, shipping, warehousing, marketing and supporting the structure of the business that sells the final product. Every tea supplier has a slightly different way of getting tea leaves from the field to your cup, and each model changes the price you pay, and the quality of the tea you drink.

Whatever path tea takes to get from the farm to your tea cup, you as a consumer deserve to know the full story to understand the final price you pay.

Start at the beginning, with our overview and summary of Transparency in the Tea Industry.  Our broadstrokes summary introduces each factor, pulling back the curtain before inviting you to consider and explore each question in detail.

This questions include:

>Why is transparency important, and why does should you care?
>What is the cost of tea’s raw materials: land, water and air?
>What is the cost of the labor involved in tea?
>How do brokers and exporters influence the price?
>How does tea get shipped from China and how much does that cost?
>How does domestic Chinese demand drive pricing?
>How long does tea sit before you buy it?
>What costs does the final seller have to build into the retail price?

Our Sourcing Process

Verdant has always been committed to raising the bar for quality in the tea industry and setting a new standard for what direct-sourced should mean. Working with 10-15 acre family farms on small productions, our goal is to share something truly unique, fresh and beautiful. This has always meant shouldering greater expenses, employing staff in China to coordinate each harvest, paying for direct air-shipping for the freshest tea, and allowing the farmers to set the price they need to keep growing and innovating rather than bargaining down price at the expense of trust and future collaboration.

Our goal is to share what our farmer-friends do with a wide audience, while honoring the trust of our customers with the same generosity the families we work with show us. Because of this, we think long and hard about price. Our farmer-partners are humble people, but because of the unique way we source tea and the unfortunate downward pressure on quality and price, their beautiful teas are often less financially accessible than teas produced on factory farms but sold as ‘high end’.

Our Lowest Pricing Ever

We have committed to re-structuring the entire way we import and sell tea to bring down the prices on our friends harvests as much as possible without paying the farmers one cent (or even .01 yuan!) less than we already do. We are excited to announce lower prices on all upcoming harvests than anything we have ever been able to offer before. This is possible for a few key reasons:

We have found better, faster and cheaper shippers.

We work closely with our shippers here and in China to find the most efficient ways to bring tea fresh from the farm, right to you.

We opened our first brick & mortar tea house.

By founding a teashop in Minneapolis to share our expenses, we don’t have the burden for profit from our tea retail business to pay all the bills. This lets us keep up with our sourcing, web development, and fulfillment without having to raise prices to pay for key staff from tea sales alone.

We’re prioritizing you – our retail customers.

This autumn, we are officially discontinuing our looseleaf tea wholesale program, which has recently drained our inventory faster than our farmer friends can restock. With the pressure of wholesale off of our collection, we are extending the discounts we applied to our wholesale clients to you, our online customers.

We’re becoming a tea farmer marketplace

These factors are allowing us to come closer to our dream of  Verdant as a long-distance tea CSA. As customers, you support our farmer friends through your purchases, allowing them to grow and thrive. By cutting out all the steps of brokers in between, we want to honor that relationship by giving you wholesale client pricing. Our hope is that this makes teas from the He family, the Li’s, Master Han, and Master Zhang more affordable, and accessible.

Transparency in the Tea Industry

By seeking creative ways to trim the process between when the tea leaves the farms in China and when the tea arrives on your doorstep, we are hoping to start a dialog about transparency in the industry. As a consumer, you deserve to know not only who picked your tea, when it was picked and where it is from, but to truly understand what goes into the price you pay. When tea is too expensive, the sourcing process is too convoluted and certain parties along the way are taking more than is needed to support their own businesses. When a tea is too cheap on the other hand, either you are getting cheated with tea of a lower quality than stated, or a farmer is being cheated. You deserve to know the whole process, from what a farmer gets for their labor to basics like how to know if a tea is overpriced or underpriced.

To that end, we will be publishing a series of blog posts giving you the full story on:
>Why is transparency important, and why does should you care?
>What is the cost of tea’s raw materials: land, water and air?
>What is the cost of the labor involved in tea?
>How do brokers and exporters influence the price?
>How does tea get shipped from China and how much does that cost?
>How does domestic Chinese demand drive pricing?
>How long does tea sit before you buy it?
>What costs does the final seller have to build into the retail price?

When we are done, you will be empowered to know what is behind the tea you sip and know that you paid a price that is sustainable for the farmer and importer but fair to you as the customer.

Continue on to part 2, or skip to the full summary and explore from there!

In the mean time, shop our pre-order fresh harvests that reflect our new process and lower pricing.   Shop Now>>

4 Responses to “Transparency in the Tea Industry: Pricing Your Tea”

  1. Joe (SimpliciTEA)

    This is something I have been wanting for a long time. Thank you David and the staff at Verdant Tea for taking the time to inform us about the process. I am looking forward to future posts!

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