This trip to China was specifically to be on site for the jasmine flower harvest and to supervise the scenting of our jasmine teas with the fresh blossoms. But the weather did not cooperate with my flight plans.
After ten days of continued on and off rain, jasmine production practically ground to a halt. Factories typically do not accept flowers during the rain due to excess moisture content. They prefer to wait until warm, sunny days where flowers develop the maximum amount of fragrance. So I tried to make the best of things and took the opportunity to get all my personal business done elsewhere.
|Teas are test-scented in small batches prior to scenting large quantities.|
Prior to departing to Guangxi where the jasmine tea factory is located, I gave instructions to get my base tea materials fired and ready for cupping before scenting.
I returned after a hard day of travel, where I only had time for a quick lunch, skipping both breakfast and dinner. Those of you who know my now pear-shaped body know that I don't like to skip meals! I arrived my hotel at 1 am with the town shut down except for some road side food stands. At that point, I decided maybe one less day of food may not be a bad idea after all. And I was excited to get back to the factory to work on our new jasmine teas.
The next morning I arrived at the factory and found it clean and in good order. I walked into the cupping room and started cupping all the teas we planned to scent this season. But, starting with the base tea for our Yin Hao Jasmine, I was disappointed to discover that it wasn't quite right.
I met with the factory boss and asked what the hell happened?? Finally, it was determined that some one accidentally blended my material with some inferior tea! I almost blew a gasket upon hearing this, I travel thousands of miles with lots of expense and now we don't have the material we had been promised.
Anyway, people tend to stay away from old, white haired, overweight guys when they get angry. So the factory put in a rush effort to sift out the material an select the quality leaf we want. And after a hard days work both by hand and machine, we were able to produce 50 kg of quality material for a first sample scenting. For the first time in years, I was mad enough to stay at the factory until really late at night and then rush back early in the morning to make sure there were no more mishaps.
Stay tuned for more updates from this trip!