I hope I don't turn this thread into advertisement for online tea
websites, but I'm looking to buying my loose leaf teas online. I just
can't trust the tea and herbal shop near me since the turnover of
their bulk teas is not that high. Whole foods market has a pretty
good selection, but I've seen better prices on Amazon.com
However, I've noticed teaspring.com has harvest dates which is great
information to provide in my opinion. I"ve also liked Adagio. Other
attributes like customer satisfaction, online security, and product
consistency are preferable. Thanks for your help.
I've ordered from adagio, uptontea.com, specialteas.com and
inpursuitoftea.com. I really liked adagio's oolongs. Both upton
and special teas have very decent inexpensive teas like assams,
keemuns, etc, but they also have more expensive teas as well.
Upton in particular has several hundred types of tea to offer, so it
can be a little intimidating when you're trying to pick something,
but there are reviews and you can get samples.. Lately I've been
buying from inpursuitoftea.com and the teas are amazingly good,
especially golden yunnan and yinzhen silver needles, both are
beyond description, but both are expensive. These are the more
expensive teas I've bought so far so it may be that similar offerings
from other stores are as good or better, but I can at least guarantee
that these are top notch. You can search this group and there
were many discussions about this.. In particular there is an
imperial tea court that's well regarded and they offer samples, too,
unlike inpursuitoftea. I've been eyeing puerhshop.com lately because
I want some puerhs but haven't got anything there yet.
I've stayed with Upton for awhile, and most of the tea I order is
organic. I've had a problem with my local shop also, and I have three
Japanese greens from there, but I think they're all stale. They kept
them in glass jars and scooped from the middle of the pot. Upton's
teas have always seemed fresh., and come in air tight envelopes.
I'm basically right with Shen there, although I've never used Dragon
Teahouse. Teaspring is in my opinion a mid to high grade vendor and
the prices are perfectly in line. HouDe and Jing are certainly very
high quality and again the prices are in line. Yunnan Sourcing is good
for a few specific items and not much more in my book, but for some
they would be fine all around.
Adagio is off my list completely. Upton's is still around my radar
occasionally and for some of their lower priced offerings. O-cha and
Hibiki-an for some Japanese greens since I'm not totally with Chinese
greens yet. Beyond that I sometimes buy tea from a local shop who as
in your case doesn't have the high turnover, but is fairly priced and
never poor quality or stale.
At the risk of being a SpaceCowboy :) now for a totally unrelated
aside. I brewed some Kona coffee in my Gaiwan today and it worked
perfectly. It was just one of those moments when I wanted a cup of
coffee but we have no office coffee pots and refuse to buy the garbage
Its a genuine site offering Black (CTC, ORTHODOX) , Green, White, 100%
Darjeeling, 100% Organic (Darjeeling, Darjeeling Green & Assam CTC),
is ISO 9001-2000, HACCP and NOP - NPOP - USDA certified.
I was homeroasting for a while a few years ago using a popcorn maker
with a crank handle. Recently I bought a new supply of green beans
and an electric popcorn maker for roasting. It's a million times
and I always make freshly roasted/ground coffee now. Can't recommend
it enough. Coffee is not nearly as good as the best teas but it works
better with milk and is an interesting diversion sometimes. I use a
plastic cup filter holder, put it above a carafe and pour water over
It's a decent way to make coffee.. a french press is a step up and
a vacuum maker is perhaps the best way to make coffee..
I like finding websites not mentioned here for rare Chinese teas in
the sense nobody else seems to carry them. If the vendor can send me
the Chinese characters for the tea name and takes PayPal I'll take a
chance. I'm not a repeat customer. There are plenty of teas on sites
mentioned here I've also never ordered. I still enjoy the hunt like
my 'forever young' from SF Chinatown. It's the teas you don't know
much about that taste the best. Pedigree is preferable but not a
prerequisite in my case. I've also noticed if one vendor is charging
that much more than another its not worth it. There are many
intangibles like it may be a year old, but last year was better. My
final advice if you can't speak to the owner don't even bother.
Hi to all,
I have bought tea online from all the afore mentioned as well. Also
depends on whats your cuppa...
Shanshui teas have very nice very quality teas, limited but a little
bit expensive.. really good.
Grand tea has some wonderful offerings seasonally as well as a web
page, Yunnan sourcing seems to be well liked by most and me too,
Tea Source fast good quality,
Tea Embassy also fast and good quality,
Holy mountain anything you may want
and my very first chinese tea vendor..Kam at fun alliance with every
tea pot you could ever want (china style).
Of course Jings, high quality,
and teaspring ofen recommended.
I bought some very nice oolong from teafromtaiwan,
And who doesnt love hou de...
Wow. I've never heard of some of these. Gotta go check them out. I'ld
like to add a couple of sites, though their tea quality is only ...
average. And, these are some VERY commercial sites to boot. But they
do have some interesting offerings. The one that introduced me to the
widest variety of teas in the beginning of my tea explorations was
Later I found teavana.com, tazo.com, and
infusion.com. In fact, I have local Infusion and Teavana stores (they
also have brick-and-mortar) where I stop in to smell teas and try pots
of new (to me) varieties, and occasionally purchase from them. Also,
some Republic of Tea cannisters can be found at Books-a-Million,
Borders, and Barnes and Noble (though selection is now usually limited
to flavored teas, rooibos, and herbals mostly in bags).
I also visit a local Asian quarter (Little Saigon) in Orlando. There
are several Asian grocers, but many of these teas are, well, cheap
with strange flavor additions. Beyond the ginger, jasmine, and ginsing
I'll put in a plug for Sevencups.com. I've never bought from them mail-
order since they're in town, and I haven't spent much time comparing
prices, but I trust the owners and staff and that goes a long way for
me. That is, I believe I'm getting what they say I'm getting.
Shout out to Yunnan Sourcing on ebay!
Two good vendors that I haven't seen mentioned yet:
Theteatable.com - They sell by the ounce at reasonable prices and with
every order, they will give up up to five free samples (or a very
nominal charge for the pricey teas- like white).
Enjoyingtea - Excellent prices, even though they don't sell anything
less than 4 oz. They send them in air-tight, opague resealable bags.
They also send various gift with certain purchases.
And while I haven't ordered from them, yet, I've heard wonderful
things about dragonwater, too. The tea shop I goes to likes and uses
them often. I plan to order a bunch when I get the chance.
Why are some people hating on Adagio? I was pretty impressed with
their service and products.
I wouldn't say hate, just that Adagio is simply outclassed and
outperformed by many of the sites listed in this thread. They are a
mid-grade vendor with prices that are mid to high. It's not a reason
to hate them, and in some instances and niches they are viable, but
just not for me and the tea and accessories I buy. I have also had
down-right terrible teas and tisanes from them, so that combination
means I can (and do) better elsewhere. That's all.
Also, just an FYI, Alexa rankings are basically useless outside of the
SEO crowd/fad. A high Alexa rating is probably the best way to *rule
out* serious tea vendors. Real tea is not what the average (non-
teabag) person is seeking and buying online. They range from the
cureall/health nut tea believers, to the trendy types who believe
expensive and fancy websites equals "the best" tea... but not so much
the true enthusiast. You'll never see Yunnan Sourcing, Houde, Jing,
etc. on Alexa...
I order lots of tea online - I find that local places frequently don't
have the freshest tea.
My favorites and more:
Ito-En - good size but not huge selection of high quality teas of all
types, not cheap but always good quality. It is always fun to visit
their store in NYC too.
Well known, supposed to be very good, some teas very expensive
though. I haven't tried them
Imperial Tea Court (San Francisco based)
ShanShui - good Japanese and Taiwan green teas
Hou De - very good oolongs and sheng (green/raw) pu-erh
TeaMasters - based in Taiwan so good oolongs
Upton - huge selection, all price ranges. I find that while some of
their Chinese greens are very good, they have many just ok teas (but
reasonably priced). Can't beat their selection and quality/price
ratio. Only once out of at least 30 teas did I get one that I thought
was a bit old.
In Pursuit of Tea - looks interesting but haven't tried it.
Jing Tea - this is based in the UK and is different from Jing Tea Shop
They have good organic greens and their teas meet EU standards which
are more stringent in terms of allowable pesticide residues than US
requirements. Just received an order from there but haven't tried it
I must declare an interest - which I do with pride - as it is my
daughter's site. However, it has some interesting and unsusual teas
(all loose, all orthodox) some of which I have had a technical
involvement with the development of - and at last count it had more
than 150 Camellia teas and herbals from 19 different countries/
regions. Nothing But Tea sells globally and is FDA registered (in
fact the USA is our third biggest market). Worthy of a try.
Nigel at Teacraft
Is there a particular vendor that you feel is comparable to Adagio but
with better prices? One thing about Adagio that I like is that they
get their teas directly from the region. While there are other
websites that do this, they charge a LOT more (like Rishi Teas).
And with the exception of Adagio, I agree with the comment about the
top-ranking tea websites on Alexa. There are a lot of websites that
unfortunately people have to find word of mouth. A lot of those
popular vendors have a lot of presence in the marketplace and on
grocery store shelves; something these internet-only places can't get.
Just like real coffee drinkers probably don't buy coffee at Starbucks.
Heck, I try to avoid that whenever I can. Unfortunately, as they are
buying up more places, this is becoming increasingly more difficult.