First off, Brad, why do you have a beard? You scare me with that beard. The beard is only meant to intimidate and scare the bad guys. To all others, it's a sign of protection just as it protects my face from the elements. That and my three youngest would be freaked out if they saw me bald-faced as they've never seen me without it. :)
Why do you never mention what countries Andrew works in? We do this for security. His primary country is a communist nation with a history of spying. In order to protect him, we keep him out of the spotlight as well as the nations he works in. As you can imagine he's made a few enemies over time. People who would like to hurt him for "stealing their girls."
What is a non-fermented tea or raw Pu'erh? Raw Pu-erh (Puerh Sheng, Non-Fermented Tea): This is a tea that does not go through the piling process, which is called raw pu-erh, it is harvested and stored naturally. With this style of tea, it has a very fresh smell to it, it can be bitter but generally has a sweet aftertaste. Pu-erh tea is made from the Yunnan large-leaf varietal of Camellia Sinensis. It is typically processed into compressed cakes, bricks and balls. Pu-erh is particularly special because it can be aged for decades or longer, always changing and (in most cases) developing more depth and texture. Raw Pu-erh (生茶) is the traditional form of Pu-erh, and is sun-dried and compressed.
What is a fermented tea or a ripe Pu'erh tea? Ripe Pu-erh (Puerh Shu, Fermented Tea): This tea does go through a piling process which causes it to be a milder flavor. It has a very earthy smell, and it is a more mellow tea with a thick texture. Because of the fermentation process, the leaves actually present a reddish-brown color.
How is tea fermented? Ripe Pu-erh Tea is a sub-type of Pu-erh tea that has undergone a "wet piling" process. Wet Piling aka "wo dui" was originally applied to Pu-erh in the 1970s as a way to fast age raw pu-erh (sheng cha), making it more palatable and smooth like a fully aged raw pu-erh.
The process is accomplished by piling sheng pu-erh mao cha (uncompressed sheng puer) about a meter high in a covered clean space where it is kept wet and allowed to ferment for 45 days. The pile is often covered with large cloths to retard evaporation of the water and the pile is turned every few days so that the inner contents are not overly fermented, allowing a consistent level of fermentation for the entire batch.
The wet piling process has many other factors that impact the quality of the end product. The ambient temperature and humidity level in the immediate area where the wet piling is done can also impact the process. The size and turning of the pile must be well regulated and the frequency of the turning is largely determined by the "wet piling master" who oversees the whole process.
Are you misspelling Pu'er? No, there are several spellings for the name Pu'er, Puerh, Pu'erh, Pu-erh. You'll see me spell it a couple of different ways just depends on the day and the mood. :)
Are your teas and coffees organic? Yes and no. Are they certified organic? No, this is a very expensive certification to get so our farmer has chosen not to. Are they grown in an organic manner? Yes, because our teas and coffees are grown at high elevation they don't have the pest pressure they would if they were grown at lower elevations. Higher elevation = fewer bugs = less need to spray expensive chemicals. Lower elevation = more bugs = more need to spray expensive chemicals.
What is Route shipping insurance and how does it work? We chose to offer Route shipping insurance because of the value of the coverage it offers you as a customer in relation to the cost. Filing a claim is nearly instant with Route. You'll receive an email confirming that you elected to protect your shipment. A simple click on the included "File Claim" link in the email prefills your order info and a claim is filed. If your product never shows up, gets broken in transit, or is stolen from your porch, they cover it.
How long does it take for my order to ship? Our products are not drop-shipped (except for the t-shirts which are made here in Iowa) so your products ship almost immediately. Depending on the time of day your order is placed it will ship either that day (as long as it's a weekday) or the next business day. If for some reason we are unable to ship your order within this time frame we will apprise you of the situation as soon as possible.
How are returns handled and who do I need to contact? For any returns please contact us directly and we will get you taken care of. We can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via phone at (877)7TESHUA (877)7837482.
What is the Subscribe and Save program and how does it work? Our subscription program enables you to get your favorite teas and coffees delivered on a regular basis and save money. When you find a tea or coffee (or both) that you like simply click on subscribe and save and add it to your cart. You can also add one-time purchases to the order and then head to the checkout. It's as simple as that. If you set up an account at the same time you'll be able to log in and adjust the frequency or quantity of your subscription. You can even cancel your subscription if needed.
Are your teas good for kombucha? Yes! I strongly recommend using any of our green or black teas. I would not recommend the fermented teas like the Imperial Palace.