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Online Tea Merchants - Who Are You Ordering From And What?

Since there are so many teahounds on Chow, I thought I would start a new topic to see which online tea merchants people like and what they are ordering.

Here are the ones I have ordered from recently, or in the past, and my comments:

Teance - www.teance.com. Ordered Competition Grade Baochong Oolong Tea Wen Shan and Honey Dan Chong Water Immortal Oolong Tea. Haven't tried the Honey Dan Chong yet. Hated the Competition Grade Baochong Oolong Tea - I found it very cloying. But I admit there was user error in ordering it - the description, which I didn't read closely enough, clearly said it was sweet and had overtones of gardenias and lilacs. I hate sweet and flowery teas, so I can't say I wasn't given fair warning. . .

I like the way Teance packages their teas in resealable foil bags and I like the way that each bag states the correct amount of tea to measure, the correct water temperature and the correct brewing time.

Red Blossom - www.redblossomtea.com. Recently ordered Dragon Peal Jasmine Supreme and Heirloom Lisham - Spring Formosa Oolong. Haven't tried the Dragon Pearl yet. Liked the Heirloom Lishan - no sweet tones. Not sure if it the ultimate oolong of my dreams, but I did like it. Red Blossom doesn't package in resealable bags, so you have to transfer the tea to an airtight canister. No brewing directions on the bags.

Rishi Tea -- http://www.rishi-tea.com/store/home.p...
Ordered a number of Japanese teas from them recently. In the past, they have been a reliable source for Japanese teas and for darjeerling. All but one of the teas I ordered from Rishi recently have been good, but they are all blending together in my mind at the moment, except for the Ume Shiso green tea, which I hated (I thought the plum and shiso flavors overwhelmed the tea). I also ordered a bunch of teaware from Rishi that I love. I think Rishi has the best selection of Japanese teapots on the Web at an English-language site.

Upton Tea - http://uptontea.com/shopcart/home.asp. I haven't ordered from them recently, but I plan to put in an order soon. I like the fact that they sell samples of tea so you can try a small amount before committing to a pricey tea and I like the fact that they let customers rate tea on their website (a la Amazon), so it gives you a little more information before ordering.

Ito En - http://www.itoen.com/leaf/ I like their website in particular because you can sort teas by flavor characteristic (which allows you to avoid sweet teas - or to find them if that is the kind of tea you like). I get my matcha from Ito En and I like that they have a fairly wide selection of matcha and I have always found it to be good quality.

Todd & Holland - http://www.todd-holland.com/ I just got their catalog in the mail, I think because I probably ordered from them in the distant past. The catalog looks like they have some interesting selections, but almost all of the tea is only sold in a minimum quantity of 4 oz (unlike many other merchants who sell samples or who allow 2 oz orders). Most of the teas that I was interested in were priced from $60 to $90. I am sorry, but I am just not going to spring $60-$90 for a tea that I have never tasted and that I am not sure I am even going to like. You would really think that at those prices, they would allow smaller orders. Has anyone ordered from them recently?

So where are you ordering your tea from?

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  1. I have never ordered online for tea so far. I did like the Nantou Oolong from In Pursuit of Tea when I picked up a small package at Whole Foods in NYC a while ago.

    Because of your post I went to their site for the first time. They have this tea club deal that sounds interesting. I'm thinking if I run out of tea in LA, I might order from them. I only browsed through but thought that there were good informations to be read ...

    1. i have ordered from some of these included todd & holland. however, i did know exactly what i wanted and was happy to pay for it at the time.

      1. I have ordered pre-Qing Ming Longjing from Todd-Holland in the past, because I knew Bill Todd personally travels to Hangzhou in the Spring to vet his sources. That was before I discovered Red Blossom Tea locally, one of whose principals does the same thing, and which offers the same grade of tea at a much lower price. Fortunately, I live a short stroll from their shop so don't have to go the mail order route.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Gary Soup

          yeah i buy from red blossom too. good stuff. my current stash must last me another year before i can afford another shipment but yeah, good stuff.

          --i'm drinking a bag of the dragon pearl white tea from red blossom that a friend gave me to try. yum.

        2. I have ordered form Harney and Upton and I am strictly and English and Irish breakfast tea kinda guy. I am not really into other teas. I like my tea bold and strong and lots of oomph!

          10 Replies
          1. re: javaandjazz

            What are your favorite oomph! teas? Sounds like exactly what I crave in my breakfast teas...Please share....

            1. re: fauchon

              HI,
              For my regular during the week work tea I like tetley british blend or a tea I get once in awhile when I see from England called LifeBoat(very strong). From Harney's and Upton I just got their losse English and Irish Breakfast Blends. I probably put too much tea in the pot but I prefer my tea very strong. I also like The Dublin Company Irish Breakfast tea(found at Stop & Shop and most stores. I also like a blend form Canada called Typhoo.

              1. re: javaandjazz

                We really should have a whole separate discussion for people who like strong black teas.

                Personally, I just can't get into green teas, white teas, etc. Great oolongs are wasted on me (I've tried them, just don't care for them).

                The tea I've enjoyed most was some Mariage Freres French Breakfast tea someone gave me. Damn, that's some good tea!

                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                  Here is a source on the Internet where you can order Mariage Freres French Breakfast tea for $12:

                  http://www.porterouge.biz/product.asp...

                  You can also order French Breakfast tea for $75 (!) from Market Hall Foods in Oakland
                  http://www.markethallfoods.com/index....

                  For your $75, Market Hall Foods packages French Breakfast with something called The L'Opera (which is green tea flavored with vanilla - sounds absolutely dreadful IMHO) and something called Nil Rouge (which is caffeine-free and "lemony"). Apparently, French Breakfast is supposed to taste like chocolate.

                  Do you know how French Breakfast compares with a good cup of Assam? I occasionally like a bracing cup of Assam in the morning.

                  1. re: omotosando

                    All flavored teas are dreadful, IMHO. Almost as bad as flavored coffees.

                    1. re: omotosando

                      Thanks! That's the best price I've seen, so I ordered some.

                    2. re: Ruth Lafler

                      Since this thread has been resurrected, I'll just laugh at my five-years-ago self. The five-years-later self drinks white tea almost every day. I don't know what I was referring to when I said I didn't like white tea, but jasmine silver needle is my regular morning beverage -- the very low caffeine level is perfect for Ms. Caffeine Sensitive!

                      I still don't like green tea (too vegetal) and great oolongs are still wasted on me. And I still like flavored black teas -- I just can't drink them very often because two cups in one morning will make me hyper, and one cup more then two days in a row will start disrupting my sleep patterns. So flavored black tea is a special treat!

                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                        "I still don't like green tea (too vegetal)..."

                        Ruth, perhaps you would like some of the "light" green Chinese teas; they are low in caffeine as well. I might suggest a Long Jing or an An Ji Bai Cha. They do not have that "Japanese vegetal" thing going on and some of the Chinese greens are very interesting and distinct from one another. Brew them quickly and lower your stewing temperature.

                        You might also like a Roasting Sejak, a Korean green, from GoodGreenTea.net. It has a lot of flavor and warmth, similar to a Hojicha (Japanese roasted tea), and it, too, is very light on the caffeine. You can sip this one at night!
                        _ _ _ _

                        Now I am editing my post here. I just saw upstream (five years ago!) that you like the Mariage Freres teas. Perhaps everything I said above is now useless; I am NOW thinking that you like more of a fragrant tea...perhaps with some pieces of fruit or flowers. If so, then what I have recommended will be too flat for you.

                        1. re: liu

                          I like scented teas, and sometimes tea with flowers. Fruit, not so much! Peach, mango -- yuck!

                          I pulled this thread back up because after back-tracking on not liking white tea, I now have to back-track a little on oolongs. I had a couple of Living Social vouchers to Aroma tea shop in San Francisco. I went in thinking I would just check out his white tea selection and buy some tea-ware, but after he did a tasting for us, ended up with one white tea and two oolongs (one unflavored, one with osmanthus flowers). I don't remember if I mentioned anywhere on this thread that I'm very sensitive to bitterness (as well as caffeine) but these were really, really smooth. Going in, my friend had said "we're really going to spend $80 on tea?" Uh, yeah, try $108!

                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                            www.mariagefreres.com
                            www.lepalaisdesthes.com
                            have good scented teas as well as
                            www.camellia-sinsenis.com
                            www.houdeasianart.com

                            you might also want to checkout yahoo group- teamail

              2. I order from several different places including:
                www.shanshuiteas.com
                www.imperialtea.com
                www.jingtea.com
                www.thefragrantleaf.com
                www.houdeasianarts.com

                my favorite teas are baozhong,korean green tea, green oolongs
                i also enjoy scented teas from:
                www.mariagefreres.com
                www.lepalaisdesthes.com

                1. I'm a long time tea drinker (more black teas than green) and have ordered from many places over the years. The favorites I return to over and over again are
                  www.uptontea.com
                  and
                  www.specialteas.com

                  Both Upton & Specialteas offer sample packs for a dollar or so & I always include a few samples with my orders. Both have excellent customer service, elegant & practical packaging and my tea arrives quickly. Also, both give explicit brewing instructions. Needless to say, quality over many years has been top notch.

                  I also like Ito En and Harney...Ito En has marvelous green teas & Harney is very good for gifts.

                  I love Mount Everest breakfast tea and Vithanakande Ceylon from Specialteas. From Upton, there are so many...what comes to mind are Bond Street and Russian Caravan for afternoon teas, their Black Dragon Lapson Souchong and a variety of oolongs tasted over the years....

                  1. The things I've been drinking recently are:

                    - From Teance: high mountain light roast oolong, cold summit (Tung Ting) oolong, Japanese sencha
                    - From Red Blossom: Dragon Pearl Jasmine Supreme, Dragonwell
                    - From SpecialTeas: Dragonwell (I don't like it as much as the Red Blossom one, but the price is much more reasonable)

                    Somehow I didn't like any of the samples I ordered from Upton, but maybe the Taiwanese / Chinese / Japanese teas are not their strength.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: nonaggie

                      Hello, nonaggie. The Teance high mountan light roast oolong has moved to the top of my Teance list; however I was not very successful with multi-steeps of this rather delicate tea. It is really smooth and light. Their high mountain dark is also nice, with a very complex aftertaste.

                      I have ordered from most of the above-mentioned tea stores, and agree with everyone's observations and individual store strengths. At the moment, I am enjoying my relationship with Alyce at Teance. I have found her to be extremely attentive and knowledgeable. She even emailed me today, Sunday, because I thought I had received someone else's order. She not only assured me that the order was mine, she included a couple of new teas to try, AND she gave me a tea education about their Honey Dan Chong.

                      I like to search and browse the tea shops online, but when it comes to the actual order, I prefer to call it in so that I can discuss my preferences with someone who knows their own teas. This also allows me to stretch a little and try new teas that the purveyor might recommend that I might not know to order online.

                      1. re: liu

                        LOL, Alice had time on her hands today because, strange as it seems, tea-tasters are apparently also football fans (or maybe their SO's dragged them to the nearest sports bar for the Super Bowl). She even had time to swap Chinese restaurant gossip with me; it's rare that I enjoy that luxury these days, because RB is increasingly busy with walk-in tea-tasters -- Alice and Peter's fame is spreading.

                        Liu, you should get up to SF and schmooze with Alice in person. She's as generous with the tastings as she is with her knowledge and advice, and is NEVER, ever, condescending.

                        1. re: Gary Soup

                          Gary Soup -- I am so happy to hear this about Alyce...this is everything I KNOW about her! " As you stated it so well, she has been extremely generous with her time and with her amazingly vast knowledge of tea. Both her personality and passion come through in every communication. I would love to meet her, and next time we are in that direction I will make it a point to do so.

                          "Strange as it seems..." Yes, I would have thought that all the tea drinkers of the world would have been posting on Chowhound during the Big Game, so it is interesting that you mention this...ha-ha!

                        2. re: liu

                          I haven't had the high mountain light roast for quite a while (they seemed to be out of stock for quite some time). I just got the new shipment today, so I'm looking forward to having it again!

                          About the multiple infusions, I think I usually did at least 4 steepings. I seem to remember that the tea changed in character quite a lot after the first one or two, but I liked the flavor of the later infusions, too. I'll have to try it again soon and see if that's still true.

                      2. omotosando -- I love that you started this new topic! It lets me peek-in on other serious tea lovers and learn what they are sipping.

                        It also exposes the names of some of the best tea purveyors in the States and confirms that we are, indeed, finding some of those really good teas available to us.

                        1. Check out:

                          www.divinitea.com

                          1. so, I am going to be brave and ask that the Celestial Seasonings and Lipton greens aren't a favorite with the tea drinkers? I literally just got 3 boxes in a giftybaskety thing the other day and I drank a cup of CS white tea with peach. It was okay, I suppose, but I was raised on good old lipton with milk and sugar! Should I pitch them? Are they garbage? Any suggestions in the lower price ranges to try?

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: chelleyd01

                              chelleyd01 -- Many of the merchants mentioned offer small sample packets to try, some only a few dollars each. Call a few and ask what they can offer in a taste close to what you like, or just ask for a few packets of a wide range of teas. Do tell them what you have enjoyed in the past, and most will be anxious to please -- within whatever budget you state. For $20-$25-$30, you will be able to sample quite a few.

                              Alternatively, you can shop at specialty stores in your area and try a few new ones each time. The disadvantage here is that most stores will not offer the sample-sized packets that the tea purveyors might.

                              1. re: chelleyd01

                                if you like it, keep drinking em. personally i'm not a fan of the fruit flavored teas but i'm also not a fan of wasting money so i'd probably use them for iced tea or something. people seem to like the fruit flavored teas if they're iced.

                                I think if you’re curious about good green teas and such, those little sampler packs from a reputable company are kind of cool. if you’re lucky enough to have tea shops in your area then of course you have them weigh out however much or little you want. Actually if you’re a lipton fan (which is black tea), you might want to branch out into other black teas like darjeelings rather than greens, although who knows, you may be an instant convert.

                                speaking of darjeelings, if you want to try it, lipton has some in various er, strengths (for lack of a better word). I like the green label, 8 oz (this is a lot of tea) costs me about $3.50 at the local Indian shop. there’s also the red label and yellow label, but green label is the mildest, which I like, because normally I’m a green tea drinker. This is not the most premium ever Darjeeling but who cares, it’s $3.50 and fun to play with.

                              2. This whole topic raises another question in my mind. Do people think there is an absolute price to quality ratio with tea? For instance, as I said above, many of the teas at Todd & Holland range from $15 to $22.50 an ounce.

                                Selecting out for style and taste (i.e., doubt I would appreciate the world's highest quality sweet floral tea because I just don't like those tastes in my tea), is a $20 an ounce tea really going to be that significantly better than a $10 an ounce tea?

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: omotosando

                                  This is a first response to an important question, omotosando, that I, too, wonder about all the time when I think about ordering new teas to try.

                                  Tea is so much about personal tastes...as is most everything we consume. However, I have found -- in my limited experience -- that some of the more expensive teas do have a complexity that I do not find in the less expensive teas. I have just begun to notice an ethereal, lingering aftertaste in some of the finer, more expensive teas that I have enjoyed. It is almost as though the tasting experience with each sip lasts longer and has more levels of flavor; whereas, with some of the lesser expensive teas, a sip is exactly a sip and there is nothing more to write about. It is this very complexity that I am now chasing, along with -- needless to say -- the flavor that I prefer.

                                  Do you get this? Is this something you have experienced with tea? In this sense, then, I feel like I get what I pay for because the experience is just that much richer.

                                  1. re: liu

                                    imho-i find that most good teas are more expensive-
                                    i usually do not purchase large amounts of tea at anyone time.
                                    i also purchase sample sizes .

                                  2. re: omotosando

                                    If the question is "is todd & holland worth all the extra cash i'll spend over buying from another company" the answer may be yes or no depending on the tea. however, if the question is "do higher grades of tea really make a difference in the taste?" then the answer is generally yes for the reasons that liu stated. that said, i've learned to be (relatively) happy with tea that costs me $6 for about 4 ounces that I got from 99ranch.

                                    1. re: omotosando

                                      I personally think T&H has artificially inflated prices, to put it politely. I'd like an explanation as to why their (Xi Hu?) pre-rain Longjing is $90 for 4 oz. and Red Blossom's Xi Hu pre-rain Longjing is $14.50 for the same quantity. There certainly can't be that much variance in quality among the tea from the four West Lake "appelation controlle" (as it were) regions.

                                      1. re: Gary Soup

                                        i have to admit i haven't bought from t&h in a while because of the prices which are pretty friggin high. i haven't gone through all that much of red blossom's wares but so far so good.

                                    2. I've been ordering from http://stashtea.com/ of late. I like the assortment and the quality is good. I like the packaging - resealable 'pouches' in either 4 or 8 ounce.
                                      The descriptions are accurate and they seem to have a good variety.

                                      1. Adagio Tea - www.adagio.com as was recommended by a friend and bought several varieties of Rooibos teas - all delicious and nice, reusable packaging.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: sassygirl

                                          Yay! Another Rooibos fan? I just started drinking the stuff the other day, after I found a box I bought over the summer stashed near the bottom of the big basket 'o' tea. I adore this stuff!

                                          Which Adagio Rooibos blend is your favorite? I read over their site and really wanted to try some but I've never purchased tea online so I was a little hesitant. So far I've bought unflavored, vanilla, and a spicy chai rooibos from the grocery, but I'm really tempted by the Adagio caramel apple rooibos -- fruit-y just seems like it would go really well with the natural taste.

                                        2. I've ordered a lot of stuff from Tealuxe...and they do have the small sizes so you can order a taste of something expensive to see if you like it. www.tealuxe.com

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: LT from LF

                                            Seconding Tealuxe, I've ordered from them over the years. I especially like the very small portions one can buy to sample.

                                          2. I've ordered or sampled teas from most of the places you've mentioned above. My favorites are Rishi, Palais des Thai, Red Blossom, and In Pursuit of Tea. Teance also has some nice teas, but I haven't gotten into them much.

                                            I'll add Silk Road Teas and Tao of Tea. Both carry a wide range of high quality and unusual teas. I haven't ordered from Silk Road yet, just tried their teas at a trade show, but I was impressed by the quality and flavor of their teas. Tao of Tea has amazing pu-erh and the owner, Veerinder Chawla, is passionate about his teas and educating consumers about them as well.

                                            In terms of paying more for certain teas, I find that high-end loose leaf teas can often be steeped up to five times (some say ten, but I've never made it that far), with different nuances of flavor developing in each steeping. Can't do this with lower-quality teas.

                                            http://www.taooftea.com
                                            http://www.silkroadteas.com

                                            1. I've been ordering from Tea Rex ( www.tearex.com ), a tea shop my wife and I used to frequent in Charlotte, as well as Upton. The selection at Tea Rex isn't huge, but the tea quality and the staff are great!

                                              From Tea Rex, our regulars include Supreme Silver Needle, Fanciest Formosa Oolong, Dragon Phoenix Pearls, and Jade Spring. Some teas aren't available online, so it never hurts to call. We also love the Snow Pear when available as well as the Magnolia Oolong.

                                              From Upton, I've sampled lots of teas and particularly enjoyed the Assam White and Poobong Estate Darjeeling Oolong.

                                              I should note that I enjoy "sweet" teas, so that's definitely reflected in some of the favorites I list here.

                                              1. I've ordered from Adagio Tea and Upton Tea Imports. I like them both though lately I've been more impressed with Upton Tea's selection and prices. I almost exclusively drink black tea (and almost always with milk), and I'm a fan of Yunnan and Ceylon teas. I love their Yunnan Harvest Time Golden and their Kenilsworth Estate Ceylon.

                                                I was raised on bagged Lipton as well, but I find that any loose tea will be a major improvement over most bags. The quality and depth of flavor are just much better. Its like going from Sanka to freshly ground coffee.

                                                1. I love www.specialteas.com.
                                                  I especially like the flavored black teas. My current faves are almond cookie and winter blend. I was also raised with bagged tea, and the bag was routinely saved, dried in a saucer and used at least once again! Loose tea has much more flavor and complexity than bagged tea, but I travel with tea bags.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: lucyis

                                                    I second specialteas. They have excellent quality teas, an amazing selection, and fantastic customer service. packaging is simple and no nonsense, and it's just all about the tea. i love white tip earl grey (best i've ever tried--see the reviews!) and margaret's hope darjeeling. i live in paris and often go to mariage freres and palais des thes and can say that specialteas sells the same EXACT teas for half the price--please cross reference and you will see--same estates, same quality.

                                                  2. I just received my order from Imperial Tea Court-
                                                    www.imperialtea.com
                                                    superior green oolong
                                                    imperial green oolong and my favorite
                                                    orchid oolong
                                                    there is definitely a difference btw cheap tea and quality tea

                                                    1. I mostly use www.adagio.com as they seem to have a great balance between cost/quality. The sample-size tins are a great and inexpensive way to try new varieties.

                                                      1. If you're looking to try lots of different types of teas, I definitely recommend Upton. They sell samples of teas from all around the world for $1. I've already found 3 teas that I love from their samples. And I think they're considerably cheaper than Adagio, IMO. But you can't lose with either site.

                                                        1. i adore www.seattleteacup.com. great shop in seattle, and they are great at shipping too. good selection, and if you are ever lost, call them and they will be more than happy to help you with correct brewing times, etc.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: mcgillfoodie

                                                            Guessing from your screen name that you know Montreal. How's Camellia Sinensis in the Quartier Latin as a teahouse? How's their selection for purchase? I usually stay in the Quartier in Montreal, and always seem to notice it on my way somewhere else. Is it worth a leisurely stop?

                                                          2. It is a great place to have tea-
                                                            I have been there several times when visiting pq

                                                            1. i also received order today from jingtea in uk-
                                                              rosebuds
                                                              and jade oolong

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: jpr54_1

                                                                I also placed an order with www.jingteashop.com yesterday-
                                                                they are located in Taiwan-

                                                                1. re: jpr54_1

                                                                  Thanks for the suggestion of Jing Tea Shop, another vender with whom I was not previously familiar. Looks like they have some nice Yixing pots as well. So little time, so many tea vendors!

                                                              2. Why from the UK? Any isues with customs?

                                                                1. truthfully i don't know why the tea is coming from the uk-

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: jpr54_1

                                                                    Jing Tea is located in the UK, no?

                                                                    1. re: Gary Soup

                                                                      yes-jing tea is located in uk
                                                                      jing tea shop in taiwan

                                                                  2. for Chinese teas my is sugest

                                                                    tenren.com

                                                                    Great selection and quality.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: chazzer

                                                                      thanks for this -- I've been looking for their chrysanthemum tea since I had it ages ago!

                                                                    2. Well, I like Chai tea bags, and I recently decided to buy Tazo no more! Too many bad batches that I had to throw away.

                                                                      I read this thread and ordered chai from a number of places. They were okay. But I found a place on my own that sells it either bagged or loose, and I'm really thrilled with the flavor. It's Peet's Tea: http://www.peets.com/shop/tea_indiabl...&

                                                                      The chai is stong-flavored and not anise-based. I love it.

                                                                      1. Thanks for the source puppy. I never was happy with Tazo either and I am a new fan of chai blends. I found that the Trader Joe chai tea bags are good for when I don't have time to brew a pot of tea.

                                                                        1. I order from Upton regularly, because I like their prices, service, website, reasonable shipping, and variety. In fact, there's nothing I dislike about them. I used to order from Harney, but only buy gifts there now. I mostly drink assams, because I like eye opening tea in the mornings. Mornings are my tea "routine," but I do buy greens and whites and blends for afternoons. I just am not in the habit of brewing every afternoon, so less of those. I also buy flavored tea for my mother, who was introduced to Constant Comment when she married and moved to VA at eighteen. I haven't yet found one of her flavored tea I could drink, though. They all taste decidedly weird to me, some of them downright disgusting. I usually taste the paper when I've used teabags, so I brew looseleaf, and have for years now. I was raised drinking Lipton and Celestial Seasonings herbal teas, and am so glad I've moved on! I forgot to mention I also drink iced herbals in the summer--Upton has some very nice rooibos, superior I think it's called, and a blend called rute grutze, with lots of hibiscus and rosehips, that are good cold.

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: amyzan

                                                                            I am going to ditto Amyzan's Upton comment. I really like them as well. But I'm a plain tea drinker and don't like anything but black.

                                                                            I also like a couple of english teas - one is PG Tips and another one is in a green, gold and black box that I can't recall the name of - but now those UK teas seem to be available a lot more places, so can find them locally.

                                                                          2. I received yestersday my new order from www.shanshuiteas.com
                                                                            baozhong-premium winter 2006
                                                                            shuixian-premium winter 2006
                                                                            alishan jinxan-premium winter 2006
                                                                            yinya-winter 2006

                                                                            I made the yinya this morning-light floral-it is a bit stronger than the baozhong

                                                                            1. I received yesterday my order from www.o-cha.com - premium matcha and premium sencha.
                                                                              This was my first order from O-Cha.com. They are based out of and ship from Japan and I was quite pleased that my order arrived more promptly than orders I have received from many U.S.-based merchants.

                                                                              1. My favorite online tea vendor is teavana.com
                                                                                While I do like their decaf English Breakfast and can appreciate the nuances in good quality looseleaf tea, it's hard for me to resist the almondina biscotti. MMMMMM (this stuff is dangerous as I'm not supposed to have caffeine! :} ) For those posters who disprove of flavored teas, keep in mind that there are teas flavored with real ingredients- cinnamon sticks, vanilla pieces, etc as opposed to just oil sprays. (However, I assume that the way teany's lychee tea is flavored is with spray and it is delicious- thus I do not have a bias) Personally, it's not too common that I meet a flavor I don't like. (Though I have not been able to acquire a taste for rooibos or yerba mate- they both have an aftertaste that I do not like and yerba mate also is very strong in caffeine)

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: NicoleFriedman

                                                                                  If you like "flavored" tea, you might like rooibos with black cumin seed from African Red Tea Organic (I picked it up at Whole Foods). I like it much better than regular rooibos. Everyone who I have given it to has enjoyed it as well. I think the black cumin seed is supposed to be good for you to boot.

                                                                                2. I have tried flavored rooibos- but I still detect an aftertaste that is not pleasant to me. But that flavor sounds interesting- we forget how easy it would be to make our own herbal tea. My favorite is boiling fresh ginger with honey and cloves.

                                                                                  1. I use teavana.com and tealuxe.com- I have to admit I do more tea buying by going to their stores here in Boston than over the internet. I love to go and talk to the people behind the counter and tell them what I am looking for and they point me in the right direction. Some times they will even make me a tiny cup of special blends for tasting. I do seem to be drawn to the berry infusions especially in the summer for iced drinks...

                                                                                    1. I've been ordering from MarketHallFoods.com lately, getting my fix of Mariage Freres' Alexandra David-Neel. I got it as a gift over the holidays. The service is great - fast shipping and all. Expensive, but I think you guys know what that's about!

                                                                                      1. I've recently ordered from All About Tea, an online tea store in the UK and they were amazing! I ordered some superb flowering teas (Jasmine Snow Lotus) as well as some very different Chinese green teas. They apparently have over 150 speciality teas and deliver worldwide. I received my parcel in 5 days and the tea also came with individual tasting notes - very impressive. The service was very good and seemed very personal. Highly recommend to all you teahounds out there.

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                                                                                        All About Tea
                                                                                        47 Clarendon Rd, Portsmouth, Portsmouth PO5 2, GB

                                                                                        1. Historically I've been either a tea or coffee drinker as the mood struck me, but as I'm now married to a Russian it's tea 99% of the time at home. It took us a while to find one that we both really like, as I tend to prefer stronger-flavored teas, she more delicate ones. The winner: Upton Tea's Wu-Yi Golden Monkey. It's a Chinese Congou tea, #ZP80 in their catalog. It's about $23 for 200g, which is not bad. We've tried much more expensive Congous and found them enjoyable but not really worth the extra money, this one is a great value.

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                                                                                          1. re: BobB

                                                                                            We order from http://uptontea.com/ and find that they consistently have great teas and great service, they fulfill orders very quickly, and their newsletter is packed with interesting history and information. Their newsletter is where we learned about decaffeinating tea by pouring boiling water on it for thirty seconds and then draining it, refilling the pot with boiling water, and steeping it for the recommended time. We bought a teapot and infuser from them that we've also been very happy with, and have made gifts of the same and their teas to others. We like a wide variety of black and green teas, and their samples are a great way to find things you like without a lot of expense.

                                                                                            And in response to the much earlier question about whether Celestial Seasonings and Lipton green teas are bad, I don't know about Lipton but have never liked the flavor of their teas much. I do however live near the Celestial Seasonings plant and have been on their tour and so I feel I can vouch for the freshness of their products. It's all a matter of taste, but they make some nice, high-quality tea blends if you like the herbs and flavors that predominate in them.

                                                                                            1. re: BobB

                                                                                              Another SpecialTeas fan here. I really like the Fine Lung Ching and Rose Congou. I've had so many wonderful green teas through them...