Friday, November 15, 2013

The more things change....

A friend of mine put this image of a tin of Formosa Oolong from John Andrews of Boston, probably from the 1880s, on Facebook (more info). It "commemorates" the Boston Tea Party. As I was searching for information on this brand, I stumbled across this droll Consular Report on the Amoy Tea Trade:


I can report much more activity in the tea market at this port than prevailed in the trade one year ago. Prices in New York are much more satisfactory.

Up to the 24th ultimo 1,314,286 pounds more of Formosa oolongs had been exported from Amoy to the United States than at the same date last year, and 162,294 pounds less of Amoy oolongs. Of new teas of the present season 8,120,821 pounds have been exported to the United States to date of September 24.

It is estimated that the season's crop of Amoy oolongs will be 40,000 half-chests less than that of last year, and it is ciurently anticipated that the present year's supply of Formosa oolongs will be from 15,000 to 20,000 half-chests short of the previous year's crop.

The quality of the Formosa crop is claimed to be a full average, while the grade of Amoy oolongs this year is said to be rather more vile than that of previous years, when it was quite bad enough.

Nothing can be said in commendation of Amoy oolong at any time. But little of it is exported elsewhere than to the United States, where, I surmise, it is largely mixed with teas of better quality, thereby toning the one down and the other up in quality, and so a tea that is too miserably bad to venture into the markets of the world is pushed into the United States and imposed upon consumers there in order to satisfy the greed of exporters here and of importers in the United States.

The statute against the importatioin of bad and adulterated teas into the United States is quite sufficient, and if carefully enforced at the ports of entry at home would justify the exclusion of a very considerable percentage of the Amoy oolongs which are annually imported into the United States and imposed upon American consumers. — Amoy, October 7

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Love your blog, really.
Some histories Taiwanese people don't even know they exsited.

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