Updates from Roy: Tea Farm, Then Off to China

Winter is usually a mellow season on the tea calendar, a time to tidy up loose ends from the past year and prepare for the new cycle. All of that changes dramatically in March, when the arrival of spring heralds a fast-paced season of picking and processing the new crops that come one after another: first green tea, then white tea and oolong, then jasmine, then more oolong, and so on until next winter.

With the official start of spring just days away, we're on the threshold of a new year in tea and all of us in the teahouse can feel the excitement starting to mount. Roy reports that he expects to close the sale on his California tea farm property (pictured above) later this month, then he'll immediately leave to oversee the spring tea harvest in China. As always, he'll provide extensive reports and photos from his travels here on the blog.

2009 was a year full of unusual, delicious green tea, from the fantastically delicate and flavorful Imperial Lotus Heart Dragonwell, to the enormous Tai Ping Monkey King, to the wildly popular Organic Purple Bamboo. Other great teas from 2009 (now mostly sold out) included a delightful High Mountain White Peony white tea, the huge-leafed Monkey-Picked Tie Guan Yin (the best crop of our signature tea that we've had in years), and a host of delicious and unusual varieties of Wu Yi yan cha, particularly the Bai Ji Guan and spicy Ye Cha.

Part of the fun is that no one knows what unexpected treats 2010 holds. The story will start to unfold in just a couple of weeks, and as always, we'll share full details here on the blog.