Posts By: Austin Hodge

Organic Asssam Green Tea

Standards For Specialty Tea — Processing

Element 8 – Processing – Along with recognizing the tea maker as a person who is important in the valuation of a tea due to his or her skilled decisions in the tea’s manufacture, it reasonable that those decisions should be identified as well. This brings us to the element of processing. In looking at the… // MORE


Yancha Tea maker in the roasting room

Standards For Specialty Tea — Tea Maker

Element 7 – Tea Maker – Tea making is difficult and skilled work. So it follows that some tea makers are better than others, and variations between the products of two tea makers, even within the same factory, can be dramatic. This is because tea manufacture, especially when performed with traditional methods, involves tacit knowledge… // MORE


Leaves from a Qi Lan Wulong Tea Cultivar with notes

Standards For Specialty Tea — Cultivar

Element 6 – Cultivar  – It should seem obvious that the genetics of a tea bush have significant contributions to the final character of a tea, however, identifying bush’s cultivar (or lack thereof) is rare in the sales of tea. The influence of tea bush genetics is so underplayed that there is even the erroneous… // MORE


Plucking young tea leaves in China

Standards For Specialty Tea — Harvest Date

This post was authored by Austin Hodge as part of a series on defining standards for specialty tea. It was originally published by the International Specialty Tea Association. Element 5 – Harvest Date When was this tea plucked? The answer to this simple question tells us many things, not the least of which include:    The expected… // MORE


Tea Bushes in Wuyishan National Park

Standards For Specialty Tea — Origin

This post was authored by Austin Hodge as part of a series on defining standards for specialty tea. It was originally published by the International Specialty Tea Association. Element # 4 – Origin Disclosing origin is essential to authenticating a tea. So it follows that a specialty tea’s origin should be clearly labeled. As with wine, a… // MORE


Yellow Tea Field Notes

Standards For Specialty Tea — Plucking and Leaf Uniformity

This post is part of a continuing series of writings by Seven Cups founder, Austin Hodge, for the International Specialty Tea Association. The aim of this series is to detail twelve elements that can be used to authenticate and value specialty tea. The previous post, on the condition of the tea leaf, can be found here. Element… // MORE


Anji Bai Cha Tea Bush

Standards For Specialty Tea — The Leaf

  The first element in evaluating quality in specialty tea is the finished tea leaf. The examination of the leaf tells many stories. With few exceptions, a well-processed tea leaf should be completely intact, unbroken, pristine, with wulongs being one of the exceptions. This element is the first to consider because it establishes the skill of… // MORE


TieLuoHan Picking Standard

Minimum Quality Standards For Specialty Tea-Part One

There is no definition for specialty tea. The dictionary defines specialty as “ a product of a special kind or of special excellence”. The tea industry uses the word as a descriptor for tea that has no relationship to quality. The tea industry uses the word quality with just as much ambiguity as the word… // MORE






The Price of Longjing

A Major Error In The Reporting of Longjing Prices and What the Real Prices Were in 2014 Every year there is much talk about the price of Longjing, 2014 being no exception. Most of the talk is hype, reporting the extraordinary prices that some Chinese businessman or government official has spent for Longjing. However, these… // MORE


Seven Cups Tea Blog Evolves

“Seven Cups Tea Blog Evolves” sounds like a pretty weighted title — as if to say some mutation has happened. It’s a challenge to think up a good title. There is no mutation, but rather evolution characterized by progress. Seven Cups is a lucky company in so many ways, and one of the most significant… // MORE



Austin in Yiwu 1237

My Tea Blog is Ten Years Old

November 2013 was the tenth anniversary of my tea blog. When I first started the idea of blogging was relatively new. There were just a few political blogs, and many of these were focused on reporting.



Yellow tea waiting to be processed 1237

Tea Trends 2013

I have been able to travel a lot this year, and talk to a lot of people, from consumers, to producers from a number of different countries, to tea educators, to small tea business owners, to tea journalists, to corporate tea executives. It is been a log time since I have written a blog because… // MORE


WithSummerSolticeWitch (1)

Lucky to be in the tea business

Since the middle of May I have been on the road, traveling in China, the US, and Europe, and for Zhuping it was three months in China. Finally we are enjoying our sanctuary in Tucson, with a lot of welcome home cooked meals.



LongjingMaster

Chinese Tea Mysteries

It has been twenty years since I first became obsessed with Chinese tea. It has not lost any of the magic pull for me throughout these years, in fact I am probably even more obsessed. Although I have had other obsessions in my life, Chinese tea is probably longest running one. I think it has to do with mysteries.Mysteries are always rooted in questions and problems to solve.




LuYu-Transparency

Transparency In The Tea Industry

Transparency has been a core value for our company from it’s beginning. We remain the one of the very few companies in the world that has a completely transparent supply chain from producer to customer. It is an important value for the tea industry to adopt in the future, and provides for solutions to issues related to quality, safety, and fair trade.


Andrea in Youle

Origins Tea Tour 2012: Youle

Our Origins Tea Tour is underway and I am receiving updates daily in the form of short videos. The first is from Youle, one of the ‘Famous Mountains’ In the Xishuanbanna region of Yunnan. Andrea, our famous interviewer is on the tour and is sending stuff via Zhuping’s iPad



Austin&Joao 1220

Tea trends in 2012

When I think about tea trends, I am thinking over a ten year period and extending what I see going ten years into the future. Things have changed a lot in the past ten years from when we began our business. Twenty years ago getting any good Chinese tea was virtually impossible in the US. I had to get mine from a Chinese friend whose family was from a tea-growing region in China.



Rosy Faced Tea Pickers

Fair Trade Tea In China

Fair trade certification has always been pretty meaningless when it comes to China. With the new split between Fair Trade USA and the European FLO as reported by Dan Bolton in the World Tea News, Fair Trade USA has increased the gap between the original core values of the founders of the Fair Trade movement, and the marketing focused business that fair trade certifying has become…


Lincang-8-2011 1219

Yunnan Black Tea and the Middle East

I first came to Yunxian in 2005 after a trip to Dubai. I was invited to Dubai to become a member in the newly formed Dubai Tea Trading Center. Dubai wanted to become the hub of tea distribution and was providing remarkable incentives for companies to set up business there.