Closed (for a few weeks)

We’re on the way. Today was the last day of trading in the UK for us. Most of our personal possessions are already boxed up and in storage, now comes the task of boxing up all of our teas and putting everything in a shipping container bound for Malaysia.

Our 2014 teas are pressed and about to begin their journey from China to Malaysia, and Kathy will go to Malaysia in a week or so to begin setting up our house and business there, while I spend the next month or so tidying up the last of our things in the UK. It’s a lot of work moving house and business, but things seem to be progressing relatively smoothly so far… it’s all underway!

Break in shipping

Due to our relocation to Malaysia, we’ll have a break in shipping of orders from the 30th June to early August while our stock is being moved to Malaysia. After this date, all orders will be shipped from Malaysia.

Please feel free to place an order or get in touch before the end of the month if there’s anything you’d like shipped from the UK.

The year ahead & 2014 Puerh teas

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I’ve just arrived back in England after spending the past three months in Asia. A lot has happened since we left for China in March. We’ve found and pressed four puerh teas, which should be available in around a month & also found a few aged puerh teas and received some more Yixing teapots, kettles and tea jars which I’ll be listing online in the next few days.

Our big news is that we’ve decided to move house… to Malaysia!

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Over the past few years we’ve been appreciating more and more the effect that the climate in Malaysia has on ageing puerh tea. The high temperature and level of humidity seems to provide an excellent climate for ageing puerh tea at a good speed, while allowing the tea to retain it’s vitality and character. The resulting Malaysian stored tea seems to exhibit a complexity and depth that is rarely found in Taiwanese, Hong Kong or Mainland China stored tea.

We’ve long thought about renting a storage unit there to age our puerh tea, but while visiting this Spring a few conditions came together and we decided that we’d like to live there… for a few years at least.

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So… I’ve arrived back in the UK and over the next couple of months will be boxing up and shipping our possessions and tea in a container to Malaysia. For our personal lives this will be a big change, and quite different from living in Cornwall. For The Essence of Tea, it will also be a big change. We’ll be much closer to China and be able to make more regular trips, but also we’ll be able to spend more time finding and exploring the aged tea available in Malaysia and Taiwan. Hopefully this will bring a lot more diversity and many new offerings to our website.

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The shipping of our teas will be done from Malaysia. For those in the UK, the shipping will be a bit more expensive and the wait will be a little longer – hopefully the increased selection of teas will compensate somewhat for this. For those in Europe, the US and the rest of the world hopefully the shipping price will be comparable (we’ll subsidise it a bit) and the delivery time will hopefully be somewhat comparable.

We’ll ship our 2014 Puerh teas directly to Malaysia and hopefully make these available and begin shipping orders from Malaysia around the beginning of August.

It will be a big change for us. In the meantime I’ve got a lot of packing to do!

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How puerh tea cakes are pressed

I’ve posted photos before showing the process of pressing puerh tea, but I thought why not post some more! I took these photos a couple of weeks ago while in a factory in Menghai arranging the pressing of our 2014 puerh teas.

This is the cleanest and most professional factory we’ve come across. We’ve used them for many of our pressings over the past few years. The pressing has always been perfect. Moreover the people are really nice – there’s a real family atmosphere around the factory. The workers are conscientious and happy. Everyone is trying to make the tea as good as it can be.

We also took some video of the process in this factory, but we’ll have to wait until I’m back at a faster computer before I can edit it properly. Hopefully we’ll be able to share the video in the next few months.

Cakes resting after steaming and pressing

  • Weighing Puerh Tea
  • Weighing and steaming puerh maocha
  • Forming steamed maocha into disk shape
  • Forming steamed maocha into disk shape
  • Forming steamed puerh maocha into disk shape
  • Forming steamed maocha into disk shape
  • Stone presses
  • Stone pressing puerh tea cake
  • Pressing puerh tea cake
  • Removing puerh cake after pressing
  • Stone pressed puerh tea cakes
  • Carrying pressed cakes to drying racks
  • Puerh Tea cakes drying in shade
  • Wrapping Puerh tea cake
  • Wrapping bamboo tong on stack of puerh tea cakes
  • Wrapping bamboo tong on stack of puerh tea cakes

Break in Shipping

We’ve decided to extend our trip in China… probably for another month or two. This should let me get some treatment from a Chinese doctor for a problem with the bones in my neck and also give us some more time to explore and hunt for some more teas.

Ben, who has been packing and posting orders for us while we’ve been away, had planned to take a holiday around this time. Since we had planned to be back from China at this time, it wasn’t going to be a issue, but since we’re still in China there’s going to be a break in our shipping of orders.

Between the 21st May (am GMT) and 7th June, there’ll be no shipping of orders. It will still be possible to place orders on our website during this period, but they’ll be shipped on the 8th June.

Apologies for any inconvenience this may cause. Hopefully you’ll have enough tea stored away to get you through!