For those who don’t know me: I’m Jay Khilnani, aka jayinhk at TeaChat.com, aka TeaLife.HK! The name of this site actually came about as a typo in a conversation with a very bright friend of mine, who had just returned to California from Taiwan after spending time there learning how to work with clay from a talented pottery teacher. We both thought the typo was hilarious. I immediately registered droolong.com, and now, almost a year later, here we are!
The title of this post was inspired by a discussion on the new TeaForum.org about dancong tea. A vendor from Chaozhou has been hammering Instagram hard and offering up substandard, chemically fragranced dancong tea. Her ‘free’ samples actually cost far more than shipping and the cost of the tea she’s selling, which makes it a pretty good business tactic, and lots of people have taken her up on it!
She formerly worked in sales for a Chinese company that exported products to the West, and therefore was very familiar with the kind of persistent sales tactics used by Chinese manufacturers and trading companies. Her now infamous message to everyone she comes across is, “Do you like oolong tea ?”, complete with the Chinese space before the question mark.
I believe she messaged me on Instagram to offer me her Phoenix teas. She had a good story about a farm and a family business; whether any of that is true is debatable, as anyone can take pictures at a farm and even take you to a farm and introduce you to their ‘uncles’ on the Mainland. Perhaps I’m a little jaded, but I’ve been in and out of China for 17 years or so and I’ve seen it all out there, so I try to always be on my toes. I won’t get into any scam stories (in this post), but maybe I will in future!
I paid around $13-14 for samples that cost $6 to send. I was supposedly sent higher grade tea. It did taste good at first; then after resting some, I could see the tea wasn’t very high quality (it got bitter very quickly) and one even had a moldy taste under the fragrance!
I still have the samples in a tin, so maybe I’ll do a tasting (I’d really rather not)!
I recently got an e-mail letting me know the registration for this site was going to expire, and I knew I’d been sitting on this URL for too long. I knew it was time to set up this site, and the thread on TeaForum gave me the perfect title for this post! Interestingly I ended up paying for this WordPress account with PayPal funds which came in from the sale of some Three Stamp Shuixian on my site, so in a very real sense, this site is powered by oolong tea!
While I am a tea dealer, this site isn’t really a way for me to drive sales to my business, although that would certainly be nice! Long before I entered the tea business, I was a tea drinker, and oolong teas make up a large portion of what I drink through the year. I will definitely touch on other teas here, but I’ll try to keep oolongs as the focus of this blog!
Thank you for checking out my new blog and welcome! I hope to keep lots of great posts coming in the years to come!