Friday, November 14, 2014

2006 Changtai Bird Feather Nannuo From Red Lantern Tea

Today I blanched a bit when I saw a bird feather embedded on this Changtai beeng. I don't mind hair, string, straw, pebbles, insect wing, or even live bugs. But a bird feather is one level below what I'm willing to tolerate. I know, I know. You are saying at least in wasn't a rodent tooth but if you have ever kept a flock of chickens- the offending feather looks to be a chicken down feather- you have real cause to be grossed out. Chickens and maocha should not mix.

When I requested to initiate a refund and an exchange, I was curiously assured thusly by Red Lantern Tea:

Dear Buyer,

First, we would like to say sorry for the inconvenience caused you.
The tea was from the ancient tea tree and it happens sometimes.
It is the same logic with bird nest swallow saliva which is sell thousand dollar.
Kindly no need to worry and we can guarantee you that the tea wasn't contaminated and won't harm at all. :)
If you noticed that most of aged pu-erh tea have tea bugs inside but that's not a problem at all.
Everything will perish by using boiling water (212F)
You can ask about this to some tea junkies on the tea forum as well.
Kindly let us know if you still have problem.

Best wishes

Red Lantern Tea does charge an extra premium on their prices which I presumed was for customer service. Including shipping, this 2006 Lao Chen Nannuo was $50, not cheap for what it is. This Changtai is not ancient tree as it tasted blended.   

Dear Readers, was I wrong to expect a different response?   I was taken aback to receive this lackadaisical reply when I clearly requested to replace the cake.  Such a reply is one sure way to lose a customer and I'm sure I'm not the first to have received those exact excuses. Surely this is a sign for me to stop buying this year.


  1. You might recall AllanK's post on teachat a few months back about a dispute with Red Lantern over tracking numbers. The issue was resolved, but Allan got a block from ever buying from them again. A refund via EBay is easy to get for any reason nowadays with Buyer Protection, but a block might be the end result along with the refund.

    I am certain vendors like Scott, TwoDog, or Neil from Tea Classico among others would be honored to work with you personally to find a tea that meets your requirements. They would even try off-the-shelf teas and make efforts to acquire whatever they can for you to try. That is the kind of service worth having. Just my opinion.

    My only nasty find so far was a pubic hair in a sample from another company than the ones I mentioned. The hair wouldn't have harmed me, but all the scenarios of how that hair got in the tea were unpleasant for me to think about!

    1. Dear Cwyn,

      Puerh is a tough product to sell with even tougher customers to deal with. I don't mind being blocked from a vendor who tries to hand-wave himself out of a situation. I think it's Red Latern's cavalier response that exacerbated the bad feelings.

      Maocha being processed under all manner of conditions- it's probably what we don't see that's probably grosser- like a rat's paw or tail. Who knows how much of a hairball that gets removed with good sorting.

      How did the public hair scenario work out with the vendor? How did you know it's pubic hair and not armpit hair (more likely in a hot region with short sleeves.)


  2. It's almost as though you should feel honored to have bird bits in your tea. It's medicinal!

    1. Oh Israel,

      I wouldn't be grossed out except for the fact that I kept my flock of chickens. It totally looks like a chicken down feather and chickens and maocha should not mix. You probably have seen the amount of shit laden dust that a single chicken flapping her wings can generate.



  3. I agree. My in-laws keep a mess of chickens and ducks and turkeys. It's not pretty. So, I'm curious, did you try the tea?

    1. I had the tea before I spotted the feather. It's decent but kind of pricey for what it is since I got all my 05 Lao Chen series for $11.

  4. Well, I'm sure the boiling water (212F) killed any wayward beasties.