Posts By: Austin Hodge

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…



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.




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


Qing Ming Long Jing 2011

Qing Ming Festival | Honoring the Ancestors

Qing Ming In Hangzhou   April  2011. Yesterday was Qing Ming Festival in Hangzhou. The day was cold and rainy but the tea harvest is well underway: it started late but, unlike last year, there wasn’t a false spring that resulted in a damaging cold snap that destroyed the new growth on the bushes. Harvesting… // MORE


Shamian Island pigeon on a plate

Late Tea Harvest Musings

Guangzhou, Late Tea Harvest, and the World Tea Expo   The spring is late in coming this year because it has been another very cold winter in China. Even here in the south it has been unseasonably cold. I have been in Guangzhou (Canton) for a few days researching changes to the Chinese export laws… // MORE


Brewing tea for hardcore tea drinkers

I was prompted to talk about brewing tea by a Twitter conversation with @michaeljcoffey and @joiedetea. I am kind of a part time lurker in the social networking world, and I’m often surprised by the level of sophistication in the discussions about tea. I think that is really great, and am thrilled to see it. That… // MORE




Da Xue Shan Sheng 2012

New Year’s Musings on Tea

Amazingly enough, I am sitting here on New Year’s Eve with all of my work done. It feels great. Everyone else has gone , their work done as well. I am drinking some remarkable puer, Da Xue Shan Sheng, a green puer that was transported for one week by mule…