Hello 2018! It is time for the yearly Oolong Owl tea stash report! For some, it is the yearly reference material to show to your significant other that your own tea stash isn’t that bad. For others, a case study of an owl’s hoarding of tea.
Here is a template of my Tea Stash Spreadsheet! Save a copy and start keeping track of your stash. Do it before your tea stash gets out of control!
2017 was a crazy year as I had a big DIY kitchen remodel that ate up more than a month without a good working kitchen and filtered water. I also had months leading up to it being busy planning, buying, and estimates. November and December were also big dental months for me which cause me to drink less.
Oolong Owl’s 2017 Tea Stash Data
First off, yes I count everything. Every single flavor tea bag and 4 gram sample of teas. 2017 Drum roll….
First, let’s talk total numbers. I slightly reduced my stash and never went past that initial 709 teas. January and June I did big stash purges, the first one to get me under 700. My lowest stash count was June, at 581, which I did a big purge to get ready for the World Tea Expo. After WTE I took home 69 teas which got my count back up. I sat mostly in the mid 600 count for the year. My biggest hauls were over the Summer (World Tea Expo again and 2017 puer orders) and December (the arrival of Black Friday orders).
In terms of tea types, there was a shuffle. As predicted, my green tea stash shrunk and my white tea stash doubled. What isn’t reflected in my number is volume as I have been buying my white teas in bigger sizes than my other teas, which has started to become a space problem for loose material.
303 (practically half) of my stash is now puer. Seriously, once you go puer you go down the rabbit hole and it gets worse. Puer seems to cut into my oolong purchases. I bought a lot of puer this year, especially sample sizes. I was on a quest to find awesome 2017 puer… which I still haven’t found one I’d tong yet. However, I still haven’t gotten through all my 2017 teas. I am surprised that I have way more sheng puer than shou and that delta keeps getting bigger. I don’t know why I have that many herbal teas, and now that I am looking at it, I should toss some as a couple of them are from 2014.
Current Tea Stash
Not much as changed appearance wise, though my pumidor is with the rest of the teas. Here is my stash as is January 2nd 2018 and I didn’t get around to cleaning up for the photo.
Yes, I am a clutter bug. There was some shuffling around as I had all my kitchen stuff in this room during the renovation and I still haven’t recovered.
I did like that I set up a permanent tea tasting space next to my tea stash. I find having a dedicated space makes tea drinking more relaxing yet productive. What I found that has been amazing is keeping my clay pots out in the open – it has helped me get into the habit of using them more, which in turn is better for the tea pot.
I have a small separate stash upstairs that I keep a rotating a variety of daily drinker grandpa style oolongs and blacks that I drink every day while working.
Oolong Owl’s 2017 Tea Consumption
Similar to previous years, I tracked how much tea I drank per day by grams used. I found tracking grams the most optimal over cups or serving.
- Average tea per day = 15.4 grams
- Average tea per month = 468 grams
- Most teas drank in a month = 687 grams in January 2017. Like previous years, I seem to freak out and try and drink down my stash after seeing how bad my stash is.
- Least tea drinking month = 375 grams June & November 2017. I had a number of zero days due to World Tea Expo in June. November was the bulk of my remodeling which also had a couple zero tea drinking days.
- Total Tea Consumed for 2017 = 5616 grams / 12.4 pounds!
In 2016 I drank 6222 grams. Sadly, in 2017 I drank less tea due to being busier. Drinking 12 pounds of tea is nothing to sneeze at. I think my drinking of La Croix in the evenings has cut into my guilty pleasure hibiscus agave teas. Leaving Southern California didn’t help as that was my cheap source of hibiscus, plus more hot weather for drinking iced teas.
2018 Tea Goals, Predictions, and Observations
The yearly tea purge – What is killing me going into 2017 is all those puer samples. I got way too many single serving samples and they aren’t getting any better sitting around in tiny plastic baggies. I also am due to run through my spreadsheet and toss whatever herbal and fruity stuff that is now too old.
Buying quality or unique teas – I am happy that for the 2017 puer spring haul I bought more expensive tea samples. I find I have plenty daily drinkers and I don’t need anymore as of right now. There was a number of situations of me trying 2017 teas thinking, “I got 2015/2016 puer that is just as good purchased for same or less.” I did buy around 20% less in 2017, and I bought 30% less in 2016. I’m on a roll for making better tea purchasing decisions that I want to continue doing.
2018 Stash – I did acquire tea more than I drank, gifted, and tossed, so I hope to even that out. I figure I will continue to collect more white tea to age. I can see my black tea stash shrinking a bit as well. I haven’t been buying many black teas and I have been in the habit of drinking a grandpa style black tea every morning. I got a large amount of oolong in a strange state of I bought it fresh years ago, it is still unopened, and I might as well leave it unopened for aging. I don’t see my oolong numbers changing drastically as I am not sitting on too many sample sizes.
My stash of flavored teas has changed a lot. I bought around 6 interesting flavored teas this year, but half of them were buying old favorites. The longer I’ve been in the tea world, the more apparent flavored tea doesn’t seem to evolve. Unflavored teas have seasonal shifts, different processing, roasting, storage, and other variables that are of more interest to me. Plus, I have a hard time justifying paying a similar price per gram on a small-batch artisan blended tea as a good puer or oolong. Unless something game-changing in the 2018 tea world (why did no one pick up the 2016s turkey stuffing puer?), flavored teas are going to continue to be phased out of my tea life.
Revisiting teas – I have slowly started re-reviewing, aka “ReHoots“, teas that have been in my stash for awhile. Maybe finding new gems will curb some of my buying, but also it has been fun to see my palate and tastes change, as well as noticing my teas age.
I always enjoy writing my yearly stash article and summing up the tea things I’ve been up to. Let me know if you have been tracking your tea habits and what things you have learned.