It is the natural inclination to act on your excitement when receiving tea in the mail by opening the package immediately and sitting down to steep it. If you happen to feel mildly surprised or disappointed that the tea is not “performing” as you had hoped, try letting it rest for a few weeks or more, then steeping it again. You will likely be rewarded.
Just as people can often feel a little out of sorts after moving homes or travelling long distances, tea can take some time to re-orient and settle after being jostled over miles of ground travel or pressurized at 30,000 feet during air transport.
I noticed this strongly with my recent shipment of Asian Beauty, which after five weeks of settling in my storage, now offers a rich, smooth, round body and soft mouth feel that were, shall we say, “struggling” when I first received it.
People whose passion is the study of tea will tell you that tea requires careful handling and rest when being moved from one storage space to another, even within the same town or village. Plants are extremely sensitive to change, and just as a person can suffer jet lag or mild disorientation when traveling or moving homes, tea can experience “shock” when being transported or changing venues, and is best left alone for a while to find its equilibrium.
I have experienced this with several teas, and noticed that some teas can take a few months of “regrouping” to reach their fullest potential, particularly when the tea has travelled from one country to another.
If you are willing to be patient and let your tea get over its jet lag, you will often be repaid with a bright, smooth tea that provides the resilience it has developed, as well as the rest and comfort as it has been given.