New Idea to Take an Old Favorite to the Next Level

I went to the jasmine tea factory early this morning and called a staff meeting. Everyone showed up at 8 AM sharp. The office girls served tea and we got down to business by cupping all the teas on order for this year. Due to the continuous rain in southern China, scenting has to be stopped as flowers are losing aromatics and opening before being picked. Today is the first day the sun has come out and it is already hot and steamy!

The cupping consisted of teas that were scented to various different stages. After cupping every single one I started to address the group. Everyone expected my usual lecture and complaint about sorting, flavor, color and aromatics, but I surprised them all by starting with work safety and cleanliness. I was armed to the teeth with regulations and specifications, due to fact that I am planning a new factory in our upcoming tea farm in Shaanxi. I launched into food/tea handling and the importance of moisture and temperature controls, explained about why non-porous services and reflective paints are important, and related some more general food safety issues. Although the factory is certified by the government, there is a lot they can learn.

When I felt that I really had their attention, I revealed the real reason I wanted them to listen to all this information: I want to change our usual jasmine making method. As mentioned in my book, a final process called ti hua mixes fresh flowers and tea together for a short time to add external fragrance. This process adds floral aromatics but also introduces a bit more moisture, which can cause the tea to lose its scent a bit faster. I want to skip ti hua but do more scenting and make each scenting time shorter, so we can go to 6-7 scentings with fewer flowers and slightly less time. Usually, too much scenting can cause the tea to darken or turn red and, in severe cases, ruin it, but with less time, fewer flowers, but more scenting, I hope to saturate the tea to such a degree that it won't need the final ti hua and will still keep its usual color and flavor.

Everyone dropped their jaws and said, this is going to cost more money! My thoughts are exactly the same, but to me, this is an opportunity! If everyone is cutting short on quality due to prices, we need to do an extra-good job to show our customers that we are going to be here no matter what the circumstances, and maybe a few who weren’t our customers will see the light and move towards us.

I've always thought that men learn to be more tricky after they get to 50 and lose many of their physical abilities (at least in my case). Now that I am 54, maybe I'll learn to be a bit smarter as well...