A customer today asked why our tea doesn't come stamped with expiration dates. This is a completely understandable question, so I wanted to share my answer, as follows:
All of our tea is packaged by the artisans themselves, and they do not add expiration dates. In fact, I've never come across a tea packet from such small-farm artisans with an expiration date, at least in that part of Japan.
I suppose they are behind the times in this regard, but on the other hand, the communities where their tea is primarily enjoyed have never pressed them for "best by" dates. These super-demanding tea consumers just assume that if the artisan is still doing things the old-fashioned way (which they often verify by visiting the farms to pick up their tea in person), then all must be well.
[In my original reply, I mentioned another tea company whose tea I had by coincidence just bought when I received this customer's inquiry and which did not come with expiration dates on it. Here, however, I would rather ask readers to comment themselves in general terms about the use of best-by dates by tea purveyors, especially those specializing, as we do, in tea from smallholder estates. — MM]
Stamping best-by dates is just not something that's widely done among smallholder growers, for better or worse. Rest assured, however, that our growers -- whose operations we also verify in person -- are modern in how they store their tea in special refrigeration units right up until they ship it to us. For our part, we have the tea sent to us small batches to assure freshness, too.
And of course we stand by our tea 100%, so if you're ever less than satisfied in its freshness, just send it back for a refund or replacement.
Feel free to ask any follow-up questions in the comments section.
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