JAPAN TEA MAY COST MORE. ~ There's a Scarcity of the Good Article in the Orient.

September 17, 1908

There's a Scarcity of the Good Article
in the Orient.

Here's bad news for the tea party ladies. The price of Japan tea will be higher this year than it has ever been before. To be sure, the low grade teas may be cheap, cheaper later on than ever before, but the good cupping teas -- the quality tea -- is scarce, according to Dudley Warner of Tokio, the representative of a Japanese tea manufactory who was her last night.

Mr. Warner explained just why this condition would obtain. He says that the Japanese farmer has been devoting more and more of his attention to the silk culture and has neglected the tender tea shrub. Consequently, the tea farmer is asking more for tea.

"The situation is not at all encouraging," Mr. Warner said. "If, because of the high price of good Japanese cupping teas, the consumers go on drinking the Ceylon tea, they will never go back to the light liquoring tea of Japan. The Ceylon teas are fermented before firing and the taste, once acquired, is lasting. This condition will assist the tea farmers of Ceylon, Java and China to get into the American market. Heretofore, the United States has taken 75 per cent of the Japanese production. Now Java is growing tea, and the coffee tree is becoming an exception.

Mr. Warner arrived in San Francisco a week ago on the steamship Siberia, direct from Tokio. He is an experienced tea man, having spent several years in the Orient. He is tester and buyer for a large tea firm of Tokio.