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loose teas

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lucyis Jan 22, 2011 03:24 PM

Specialteas, from whom Ive bought loose tea for years is closing. Which tea resources do you suggest? I like to drink flavored black teas such as; vanilla, coconut, etc.

  1. liu Jan 22, 2011 08:53 PM

    Hello, lucyis.
    I don't see any coconut teas, but you might find something that appeals to you at Teavana:

    http://www.teavana.com/The-Teas/Best-Tea-Blends/

    This link will lead you to their tea blends, but also check out their other teas - and tea wares.
    _ _ _ _ _ _ _

    Teavana has several shops in many states; most of their stores are located in malls. Check here to see if any stores are near you:

    http://www.teavana.com/shop.axd/Store...

    1 Reply
    1. re: liu
      invinotheresverde Feb 12, 2011 12:54 PM

      (I'm not a "serious" tea drinker by any means, so take this rec with a grain of salt.)

      I love the Teavana mix of 1/2 Blueberry and 1/2 Lemon-Lime. It's caffeine free and so delicious.

    2. l
      Lixer Jan 22, 2011 08:55 PM

      We have a local store here in Austin, Tx that blends their own 100% organic teas that I absolutely love.
      You can order them online at www.zhitea.com. Definitely get their Ambrosia tea! It is a white tea with coconut and pineapple. Their coconut assam is nice too.

      Other than that, check out www.teaviews.com which is a collection of reviews for tons of teas and tea companies.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Lixer
        l
        lucyis Jan 23, 2011 06:43 AM

        Thanks, liu and lixer. I believe that specialteas is related directly to teavana. I have a teavana shop in my town but the tea I sampled there turned me off. I checked out the teaviews site and bookmarked it for future reference. Next stop will be zhitea. that Ambrosia sounds like something I would like.
        I am not a coffee lover and I rely on a good strong, and tasty, cup of tea in the morning.

      2. a
        AGM_Cape_Cod Jan 23, 2011 06:57 AM

        I buy my loose teas from Upton Teas. I favor a black tea flavored with raspberry. http://www.uptontea.com

        3 Replies
        1. re: AGM_Cape_Cod
          kattyeyes Jan 23, 2011 02:01 PM

          I'll second Upton (fun to personalize the label on your tea canisters/packets, too). Harney makes a lovely vanilla black tea. And if you like vanilla, please try their chocolate. Straight chocolate is delish, but I'm also partial to Florence (chocolate hazelnut) and chocolate mint.

          http://www.harney.com/Flavored-Black-...

          Oooh, and menage due Chamonix from Upton is another flavored black tea you should def. check out. What's cool about Upton is you can order just a sample of something to try it out before you pull the trigger on a larger amount.

          1. re: kattyeyes
            kattyeyes Jan 28, 2011 08:55 PM

            GEEZ, or Mélange de Chamonix, even, as it's properly called. Nice goin', Kat:
            http://uptontea.com/shopcart/item.asp...

            1. re: kattyeyes
              BobB Feb 11, 2011 12:33 PM

              Another big Upton's fan here. And my wife is Russian, so you know we take our tea seriously in this house!

          2. Ruth Lafler Jan 23, 2011 09:00 AM

            Murchie's has some flavored teas you might like: http://www.murchies.com/wwww/coffee.p...

            1. thew Jan 23, 2011 09:36 AM

              i order from adagio.com. love the quality and selection

              1 Reply
              1. re: thew
                h
                HillJ Feb 11, 2011 06:29 PM

                I enjoy Adagio.com tea as well; especially their sampler tins. Great way to try an assortment and decide what you truly like before buying a larger order.

              2. jmcarthur8 Jan 23, 2011 11:41 AM

                DH and I got some wonderful teas at Franklin Tea, in historic Franklin, Tenn. last summer. They have a website, www.franklintea.com.
                The woman who ran the place knew so much about her products, and made us feel welcome.
                I like to do business with independent shop owners, so we will definitely go back.

                1. limster Jan 23, 2011 12:14 PM

                  I'm in London, so my tea sources are probably not useful to you. But try a cooked pu-erh with chrysanthemum; you'll probably find at a good Chinese tea shop -- check with your local hounds.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: limster
                    jmcarthur8 Jan 23, 2011 12:24 PM

                    Pu-erh is one of the teas I purchased at Franklin Tea. Very nice. One of my college age sons is a tea snob, and I got it for him. He was pleased.

                    1. re: jmcarthur8
                      limster Jan 23, 2011 01:00 PM

                      Cool! I'm a big pu-erh fan too. I usually drink most of it during the colder months, simply because cooked pu-erh is brewed with near boiling water. I'm not particularly skilled at brewing teas, and cooked pu-erhs work well for me because of their robustness (not flavour but ability to tolerate a range of brewing times).

                      The raw green pu-erhs are trickier, since they're more apt to develop an astringent finish if brewed too hot or too long; but they also rewarding to drink, especially when they mellow out with age, darkening and intensifying, developing flavours similar to cooked versions (as you know, pu-erhs were cooked to mimick the ageing process), although an aged raw pu-erh can sometimes be more complex.

                      Just drank a 钓鱼台/dao yu tai/"fishing deck" cooked pu-erh in Singapore recently. According to what I read at the tea shop's menu, this tea is used for entertaining foreign guests of the Chinese government (the name comes from the guest house complex used to house said dignitaries).

                      1. re: limster
                        jmcarthur8 Jan 23, 2011 01:11 PM

                        I copied your post and emailed it to my son. He will appreciate knowing more about his tea. Thanks for the information!

                        1. re: jmcarthur8
                          limster Jan 23, 2011 01:55 PM

                          Get your son to come back with his info/opinions about the pu-erh he drank and other favourite teas. Will be great to trade tea info here, and I get learn more too!

                          The pu-erh that I drink most comes from a tea maker in Yunnan -- it's called Golden Damo, named after Damo, the the monk that brought Buddhism to China (have both cooked and raw versions). I haven't seen them in the US when I lived there, but have been able to get it here in London. I find this version slightly unusual in the robust fruity qualities; worth trying if you encounter it.

                  2. DonShirer Jan 23, 2011 02:24 PM

                    You might try Harney and Sons.
                    http://www.harney.com
                    They have many flavored teas listed on their site.

                    1. p
                      plantainchips Jan 28, 2011 08:50 PM

                      I'm missing Specialteas flavored teas as well, especially Rooibos Savannah, Almond Cookie and the small sample packs. If Teavana has taken over.. anyone know if their Almond Biscotti is the same product or similar to Almond Cookie?

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: plantainchips
                        l
                        lucyis Jan 29, 2011 04:43 AM

                        I love Almond Cookie. I'd like to know more about the Teavana line of products too. the prices online seemed higher than specialteas

                        1. re: lucyis
                          kattyeyes Jan 29, 2011 04:53 AM

                          Are you anywhere near a Teavana storefront? Some of them sell tea (brewed) in addition to loose tea, so you can give it a try. I've tried at least a dozen of Teavana's varieties and haven't been disappointed, but I can't compare to Specialties.

                          1. re: kattyeyes
                            liu Jan 29, 2011 07:04 AM

                            I think Teavana has improved over the past several years. If you know them from many years ago only, then give them another chance.

                            1. re: liu
                              kattyeyes Jan 29, 2011 01:42 PM

                              No, no...I like Teavana just fine...or did you not mean to reply to me? :)

                              1. re: kattyeyes
                                liu Jan 29, 2011 08:04 PM

                                Hi, kattyeyes!
                                My response about Teavana was general and not directed to you; you said they have not disappointed you. However, lucyis upstream said that she was less than thrilled with them:

                                "...teavana shop in my town but the tea I sampled there turned me off."

                                Although I have not liked all of their teas, they do have some very nice ones. Also, their wares offerings over the years have improved and some of their pots and tea cups are quite beautiful.

                                1. re: liu
                                  kattyeyes Jan 30, 2011 04:30 AM

                                  G'morning! OK, gotcha. I think there's something for everyone at Teavana if you sample enough. :) And their accessories are indeed beautiful.

                                  1. re: kattyeyes
                                    p
                                    plantainchips Feb 10, 2011 04:33 PM

                                    I stopped at a Teavana store and explained I wanted to just try a small amount of a couple of flavors. The salesgirl kept pushing me to buy a whole pound of tea to get a 10% discount. sigh. I really miss Specialteas and the tiny sample packets you could buy, and the one or 2 they would even throw in for free with your order.

                      2. s
                        sedimental Feb 10, 2011 08:29 PM

                        In Seattle we have Market Spice Teas at Pike Place Market. The Orange -cinnamon is really good. Easily purchased over the internet. Not expensive and really, really good.

                        http://marketspice.com/store/category...

                        1. h
                          HillJ Feb 11, 2011 06:31 PM

                          World Spice Merchants, known for their outstanding spice and spice blends also sells exceptional leaf tea. http://www.worldspice.com/teas/teas.s...

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