| And conversely, if a tea seller has few or no testimonials, well, that kind of speaks for
itself, too, don’t you think? (Unless, of course, they’re a brand new company).With so many teas available today, the problem becomes choosing what you want to
buy. I always advise buying small amounts of any new tea. Some companies even offer
small sample packets so you can do a taste test on several different teas inexpensively.
New advances in technology such as vacuum packaging, and air freight, have given us
China, Japan, and India, delivered fresh to our doorstep.So don’t be afraid to try new teas often, or you’ll be missing out on so many delightful, flavorful, and
Cleanliness – Next to Godliness
|For years buying tea meant grabbing a box of Lipton black tea bags from the
shelf of your local supermarket.But today it’s a different story. We have nearly unlimited choice of not only
loose leaf teas, but a variety of styles and flavors of bagged tea as well, all
available from specialty tea shops, online tea sellers, and by mail order.
|Unfortunately with the myriad of choices,
comes the dilemma of what to buy and how
to know what you’re getting is good, fresh,
quality tea.Although there’s no surefire 100% guaran-
tee, I have a few tips and suggestions on
what to do and look for, both in person and
online, or by mail order, to help you get the
best teas possible.
One of the first things you should do before
Get an idea of what the tea should look like.
|gunpowder tea, one of China’s oldest tumble dried green teas? Or are you searching for Bai Hao
Yin Zhen or Silver Needle, one of China’s white teas, that gets its name because it is covered
with soft silvery hairs and rolled needle thin.You may also want to check on what the tea’s growing cycles are, for
example, is it a spring or fall harvested tea. You also shouldn’t see stems
or debris in the tea, (with the exception of kukicha tea) and the leaves
should all be of a similar size and shape.
Smaller pieces of leaf
brew faster than larger, so all tea leaves should be
type of tea you’re shopping for.
|If shopping in person, take note of the clean-
liness, assortment, and staff. Are you greet-
ed with a smile, and does the staff seem eag-
er to help you? At first glance, is the store
clean and does the merchandise pop, or does
it look tired, and dusty?Is there a smaller assortment of well
tended teas…or a huge assortment of
musty looking packages that look as
though they’ve seen better days? A
large assortment of teas in which to
choose from is nice, but if it’s not turn-
ing over and current and selling well,
with steady buyers, it’s just a big waste
And, while we’re on the topic of freshness, as a rule of thumb, proprietary brands – tea
Now, moving on to mail order and online tea merchants.
Whenever I order online or by mail order, I like to call and talk to a “live” person the first
First off, is the staff friendly and seem genuinely interested in helping
But you should feel free to ask about anything and get a clear an-
grading terms, or