Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Nitrogen flushing

Someone emailed to ask whether Mellow Monk tea is packaged using nitrogen flushing. I replied "No." This person then asked if I thought that not using nitrogen flushing sacrificed the flavor of the tea. Again, I replied "No."

The reason why the Nagata family, our tea supplier, doesn't use nitrogen flushing is twofold: it's an expensive proposition for a small, family-run farm. And it's not necessary in the first place, because of the speed with which Mellow Monk tea is processed after harvest, packaged, and shipped to the consumer. Here is some of what I wrote in my response:

I honestly doubt that the absence of nitrogen flushing (which didn't exist in the first 2,000 years of tea history) is too much of a detriment to our tea. After all, our tea is vacuum sealed on site and doesn't sit in warehouses as it makes its way from one broker to another. We buy it right from the grower, and so our customers get our tea a lot more quickly after harvest than is the case with most other green tea retailers, I believe.

Nitrogen flushing might make more sense for a large-scale operation in which the tea sits in warehouses for months. But that isn't our operation at all. Great tea bought straight from the source -- that is our secret for freshness!

—Mellow Monk

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