It was 24 years ago that the first issue of the Upton Tea Quarterly was published. In that issue we listed only 26 teas, most of which were purchased from a London source that sold teas to Harrods. Looking back, prices were relatively high in that issue, partly due to our source, and partly due to the cost of shipping small lots of tea by air. Over the years, we have added hundreds of teas to our list.
With increased volume came economies of scale that allowed us to keep prices fairly constant. For many of our standard teas, we were able to avoid price increases for over a decade. For example, our basic China Jasmine (TP70) was listed in our first newsletter at $3.90 for 125 grams, and that price remained constant until August 2011, over two decades after introduction!
In recent years, prices of quality teas have been increasing at a brisk pace. A combination of factors has contributed to this trend including increased worldwide demand and justifiably higher wages. Our basic China Jasmine sold at the same packet price for over two decades, but we have had to raise the price every year since 2011.
For this particular tea, however, the price per cup is still below our 1989 price, when adjusted for inflation. Using the Bureau of Labor Statistics CPI inflation calculator, $3.90 in 1989, when adjusted for inflation, would equate to $7.36 in 2013, compared to our latest price of $5.60.
The cost of shipping is another expense that has risen sharply since 1989. Over the years, we have modestly increased our shipping rates but these increases have not kept up with our costs. As a result, larger packet discounts have been trimmed in recent years.
Some of our customers want the very best teas that we can obtain, even if budgets are tight in other areas. We also serve a number of customers who want value-based quality teas that may not be best in class, but are great everyday teas at budget prices. We remain steadfast in our efforts to offer good value at every price point.
Happy tea drinking, and best wishes for the holiday season!
"Upton Tea Imports was founded in 1989 with the objective of providing the North American tea drinker with
the finest teas available. We purchase teas from reputable brokers and estates worldwide, dealing only with
sources who are capable of providing top quality teas. We sell directly to the consumer, thus ensuring the
freshest product and fairest pricing."