Posts By: Austin Hodge

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


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.



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.




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.



Chinese Tea Trends in the Market

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.


The Facts You May Not Know About Fair Trade Practices

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…


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.


Plagiarism and Tea Ecommerce

Last week a fellow tea entrepreneur emailed us with a question.  We had never spoken before, so he wasn’t sure how to approach us about a very sensitive issue. He had been searching for a map of Shi Feng Mountain and noticed that some of our photos and content appeared to have been lifted from… // MORE


Leadership in the tea industry?

Since it has been a few years since I have attended the World Tea Expo, I was curious about any changes that the expo might have undergone, so I briefly interviewed several of the attendees that I happen to know. I know I would have been better informed if I had just gone myself, but… // MORE


Why am I writing this blog?

I was looking at our archives, and I have been writing something on a pretty regular basis since 2003. Of course it hasn’t been all me; there have been others that have contributed. In the beginning it was just monthly emails, and the actual blog didn’t come into existence until around 2005. Still, that is… // MORE



Jingmai, Shui Alcohol, and a Princess

I got an email yesterday from a friend who asked me what had happened to the rest of the Yunnan Tour blog postings.  Well, I have been home just for a couple of days and am just starting to get back in the swing of things after recovering from killer jet lag. Better to post now… // MORE





Dealing with Tea Plant Myths

Does All Tea Really Come From The Same Plant? One axiom that is typically taught to new tea students is that “all tea comes from the same plant.” If these students continue to learn about tea and study Chinese tea in any depth, they will discover that this statement is almost as wrong as the… // MORE






2015 Tea Tour Mo Gan

The Seven Cups Tea Tour Becomes Local News

This morning headed to Moganshan to watch some yellow tea being made. It is the rarest of Chinese yellow teas. It is virtually unknown outside of Dejing country, which is about 30 minutes north of Hangzhou. In 2010 the tea had a surprising spiciness and I am hoping that will be present in this year’s… // MORE


Visiting The Anji Mother Bush

Anji County & Deep Fried Larvae

It is the second day of our tea tour and we are in Anji County. It is a lovely spring day but it was a little chilly when we left this morning from Changxing. I hope that if you are following our posts you check out the Google links at the top of the posts.… // MORE


80 year old tea picker's hands

Lu Yu Tribute Tea Factory Museum & Yixing Pottery Museum

We started off this year’s green tea/wulong tea tour on a beautiful spring morning. Our first stop was the Lu Yu Tribute Tea Factory Museum. During the Tang Dynasty there were 20,000 people involved in the factory, and all of the tea produced was for the consumption of the court. Production only lasted for about a month.


Buying Gu Zhu Zi Sun

Purchasing Tea: Gu Zhu Zi Sun This is the favorite part of my job: buying tea. Guzhu Zisun (Purple Bamboo Shoot) is a very special tea; it was the first tea to be distinguished as a tribute tea during the Tang Dynasty, and was produced under the watchful eye of Lu Yu, China’s tea saint,… // MORE


Lincang County Yunnan Black Tea

A few days ago I was in Lincang County in Yunnan taking a short trip before the first tea tour begins as well as seeing about the Dian Hong black tea harvest. The good news is that a pre-harvest rain has come, thus avoiding a repeat of last year when drought conditions left the spring… // MORE


First stop to get to 2011 black tea crop

Kunming April 2011… I am hear to get a first had version of the weather, and visit Lincang county to see the first grow and assess the coming crop. Some of the best black tea that is produced in China comes from this area, and it is one of our best selling black tea