This morning I have a very serious question for you. I’ve been a bag tea drinker most of my life. Except for the time I lived in Russia, where tea was always loose leaf. In US, my life got busy and I switched to the bags.
A few weeks ago, I bought white tea on a whim from HEB, our local grocery store. It came in little pyramid bags and it was unexpectedly delicious. I want more tea like that, but I have a problem with the pyramid bags because they seem kind of plastic. So I have purchased a cute tea pot on Amazon. I’ve selected it very carefully. I wanted it to hold about two cups, I wanted it to have an infuser, and I wanted it to not spill my tea all over.
The cool thing about this teapot: the infuser has a little handle so it’s easy to remove and the lid fits on the tea pot with or without the infuser and it’s nice and snug. So you can take the infuser out to control the strength of your tea, and the tea will sit in the teapot nice and hot. The description says it’s stove-top safe. I can’t testify to that. I boil the water to the right temperature in a metal electric kettle and then pour it in there.
Having obtained the right equipment, I decided to buy tea. Ideally I would like to find the site I like, order a sampler, and then figure out which tea I would actually enjoy drinking.
Me: Loose tea?
Google: 50 million links.
Me: Best place to buy loose tea?
Google: Article from Serious Eats on tea buying.
Beware the chains. I don’t need to name names, but you know the ones I’m talking about. You see them in malls and major tourist shopping districts. They carry more chocolate chai or lavender-lemongrass blends than straight tea. By and large, these chains just don’t carry quality tea. They buy leaves in vast quantities through middlemen brokers, then add so many spices and herbs to their blends that it’s often impossible to taste the tea underneath (see here for more thoughts on flavored tea versus flavorful tea). The straight tea these chains do sell tends not to be particularly great, either. Better than teabags to be sure, but hardly first-rate stuff. You can do better.MAX FALKOWITZ
Okay. So I clicked on some of the smaller tea shops linked in the article. $36 for 4 ounces of tea.
So help me out. Where do you buy good tea at somewhat reasonable prices? I prefer green tea, possibly fruity tea, and English Breakfast blend. Not a fan of Earl Gray. Also not a fan of flowering teas. You know, the ones where it’s a tightly wrapped bud of tea that blooms into a flower when you brew it? I’ve tried a few of them and they taste awful.