It's not good news for any of us, tea drinkers, tea merchants, and tea farmers. Snow storm wiped out 30% of the tea farms in China. 10% tea trees are frozen to death. Green tea productions will be delayed by almost a month. First crop will be on market by mid March, where previous years first crop were available shortly after Chinese New Year, right about now. Prices are expected to go up 30% for Spring 2008. Current market is made up by last year stock, price has already gone up 30% as well for last years crop. However, quality of 2008 Spring teas are expected to be higher. There's at least one thing to look forward to.
Consumers have many choices: pay more for quality teas, pay the same and drink less quality teas, switch to Indian, Ceylon, African or herbal teas, drink less tea or stop drinking tea.
Tea farmers will raise price to make up for lost productions.
Tea merchants can raise prices, the consequence is fewer buyers. Keep prices low, the consequence is can we pay rent and expenses?
US tea merchants: USD to RMB is down 40 cents in just 4 months, shipping is expensive, government departments are thieves, minimum wage went up in January, even supermarket prices have gone up 30% to 50%.
China inflation rate is 7% for 2007, 2008 will get worse, USD at more than 1% depreciation rate per month, plus 30% higher price, I will have to stop drinking tea myself.
Want to cry!