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Red Leaf Tea - Online in Rolling Meadows, Illinois
5/5
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CHAroma rated this place
5/5
and said Edit

Red Leaf Tea has some of the best customer service around. And by “some of the best”, I mean THE BEST!

I ordered four flavored matcha from them, all robust flavoring level on the classic (basic grade) green matcha base. I did the “buy 3 get 1 free” deal, so all in all I paid about $63. That’s quite expensive for tea in my opinion. It’s not that expensive for matcha, but it’s expensive for tea. The pro is they offered U.S. flat rate shipping (3-8 days) for free!

Anyway, I opened three of them right away and was enjoying them for about a month before I finally opened the fourth package. Unfortunately, there was a mistake with my order and the fourth tea had a white matcha base. I contacted the company via e-mail and they immediately sent out a replacement to me. When it arrived, I was shocked to find that they had sent 60g!!!! That’s twice what I ordered! Talk about making up for the inconvenience!

When I went to place my second order months later, I found a discrepancy on their website. The advertised price was different than the price that showed up once I added the tea to my cart. It was about a $10 difference, and in the wrong direction! (As in the tea was $10 more expensive than advertised). I contacted Red Leaf through their e-mail again, and what did they do? They apologized for the error, explained the price had been accidently advertised wrong, and then gave me a coupon code for 20% off my order (which equated to $20 off)!!! Who does this??! These people are AWESOME!

As if that wasn’t enough, Red Leaf also has a great Discount for Reviewers program. It has recently been revised. They were basically just giving away free matcha all the time. Now the program will give you a $15 credit that can be used to cover 30% of your next matcha purchase, which means you can get $50 worth of matcha for only $35. That’s pretty awesome!

I have thoroughly enjoyed 98% of the flavored matcha I’ve tried from Red Leaf. Only a couple have been misses for my palate, and the vast amount of stellar hits has more than made up for it. Their quality product, excellent customer service, and wide range of yummy, creative flavorings (none artificial) earn them 5 gold stars in my book!

Butiki Teas - Online in Hamilton Township, New Jersey
5/5
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CHAroma rated this place
5/5
and said Edit

This is a long overdue review. I first placed an order from Butiki Teas when they released a special deal for Black Friday/Cyber Monday. It was something like buy $40 of tea and get an additional $20 of tea for free. I couldn’t resist!

Even with the crazy amount of orders Stacy must have received, she packaged my teas in four days and then shipping took three days. That’s pretty fast considering it was the busiest shopping weekend of the year! The second time I placed an order, it took two days to package everything and two more days to arrive at my door. I was quite pleased!

With both orders, everything was packaged very nicely and arrived safe and sound. Each tea has detailed steeping instructions right on the label. My only complaint is that the bags the teas come in aren’t airtight. You just fold over the top and secure it with a wire clip similar to a twist-tie. I definitely prefer airtight, re-sealable packaging.

But on to the teas themselves…Wow! I’m so impressed with Butiki Teas! I’ve tried sixteen of their teas to date. The lowest rating was 72. The average rating was 86. Six teas have scored in the 90s, and one tea even got a 100! Every tea I have tried is of the highest quality. She also has some very unique teas and blends that I haven’t come across anywhere else.

Since discovering Butiki Teas, I’ve scored some seriously delicious teas! I have a few new favorites and one that I simply cannot live without: Almond Indulgence. YUM! Go get some Butiki Teas right now. Seriously, you will not be disappointed. Flavored or unflavored. White, green, black, or oolong. They’re all amazing!!

DAVIDsTEA - West Village in New York, New York
5/5
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CHAroma rated this place
5/5
and said Edit

The staff in this store is AMAZING!! So knowledgeable and soooo nice! I was blown away. It was definitely a highlight of my trip to New York City, and I’m very happy I decided to go.

DAVIDsTEA is quickly becoming my new favorite tea company! These people know what they’re doing when it comes to crafting delicious teas. Almost everything I’ve tried is a hit. If you’re in NYC and have time to stop by the Bleecker store, I highly recommend them. Although they’ll give you 3 free samples with any online order, I don’t think there’s a way to specify which teas you want.

By going into the store, you can buy small sample sizes of anything they have in stock! I ended up spending about $60 buying 12 good-sized samples and a Noble Glass Travel Mug. A little on the expensive side, but waaay worth it! Each sample had about 3-4 cups worth and averaged $1.96 each.

My only complaint is that DAVIDsTEA doesn’t have more locations in the U.S. I believe they’re mostly found in Canada. I would love the convenience of having one nearby. It’s one thing to have great teas; it’s another to have such polite and kind employees. I truly had a memorable experience at this store and can’t wait to go back!

ESP Emporium - Online in Carol Stream, Illinois
3/5
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CHAroma rated this place
3/5
and said Edit

I lucked out because I had a special coupon on my Kindle for $35 worth of tea for $15. So, I essentially got $20 worth of free tea in my order. The coupon is what prompted my purchase. I’d never heard of this company previously. I couldn’t use the coupon on shipping costs though, which I had originally planned to do. I ended up paying about $8 in shipping, which was more than I would have liked.

I was only slightly disappointed with the packaging. It looks nice and includes steeping suggestions and an ingredients list. But it has a folded over twisty top thing going on, similar to Starbucks coffee bags. So, I’m a little concerned that air can get in there quite easily and suck out the flavor. I don’t have any airtight containers large enough to stuff these bags into. They’re sort of an odd, long, skinny shape. So, maybe I shouldn’t fault them on that and I should be responsible for having the correct teaware to house it. But it was a minus in my mind that there wasn’t at least a ziplock or something.

I also wish they had more reasonably priced samples. The smallest sample I could buy was 2 ounces, and all their sampler sets were waaay overpriced. I could buy larger amounts of all the teas in the sampler for less money…so what’s the purpose of the sampler then? Why spend more money for less tea? It’s completely counterintuitive.

But let’s get on to the pros! They shipped my order 2 days after placing it and sent me a 10% off coupon to use on my next order. I don’t recall getting a coupon like that before just for buying some tea. So, that was pretty nice of them. They also included a neat laminated chart with information for brewing different varieties of tea. I’m definitely holding on to that!

The tea itself was yummy. A couple of the teas weren’t what I expected them to be. Chalk that up to bad descriptions of the flavor profiles I guess. One of the teas definitely had low quality ingredients/additives. But I still enjoyed four out of the five teas I ordered, which received ratings from me in the 80s.

I might order from them again because I do really love their China Rose OP Tea. However, I’d really like to be able to buy smaller samples. Therefore, I’m not sure if I’ll buy any other new teas from them that I haven’t tried before.

Ovation Teas - Online in Federal Way, Washington
3/5
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CHAroma rated this place
3/5
and said Edit

I don’t know if it was the free shipping offer I took advantage of, or the fact that they blend each tea to order, or a combination of the two, but I thought my tea would never arrive! It shipped 9 days after I purchased it. NINE DAYS!!! And then it took another 4 to reach me. So, yeah, I wasn’t too happy about that. The pro is that it was shipped by USPS, so I didn’t have to go pick it up from the UPS store (my apartment only accepts USPS packages for whatever dumb reason).

Still, I would have appreciated some sort of disclaimer when I placed the order that there would be such a large delay before the product shipped. I double-checked the receipt, and it said it would be shipped within 7 days. If I had noticed this sooner, I probably would have called the company to see what was going on. Two weeks is a long time to wait, and it kind of killed the excitement generated at the time of the purchase.

Nonetheless, the teas were packaged nicely and included steeping instructions, a description, and an ingredients list. The first one I tried knocked me out of the park! Every subsequent tea fell below expectations. I’m not sure if it’s just that they don’t blend green teas as well as they blend black teas (the one I loved was a black tea and the other three were greens) or if I just didn’t do a good job selecting teas I would ultimately enjoy.

Their redeeming quality is that the prices are pretty hard to beat: only $6 for 2 ounces. And with the free shipping offer it was a no brainer! But I do wish they offered sample sizes so I could avoid buying 2 ounces of a tea just to find out that it’s not to my liking.

Overall, I’d rate them 3 out of 5 stars. I’m going to hold on to these flavored greens for a while in hopes that the flavors will develop more with time. But I have already waited 8 weeks…

CHAroma rated this place
3/5
and said Edit

Hmm, I’m not sure how to rate these guys. Their customer service is definitely 5 stars. I’d give them 6 stars if I could. Their creativity and fun level is also 6 stars. How can you not love their playful descriptions and lighthearted advertisements?

But I’ve only ever purchased one tea from them, and it was a huge disappointment. The reason I was disappointed is that I had extremely high expectations of falling madly in love with that tea. I’ve had samples from generous Steepsterites of some of their no longer available blends and was blown away! So, I kept watching their site and patiently impatiently waiting for them to release a new blend.

See, they’re kind of like 52teas in that they have limited quantities available and they never re-stock them. So, when a tea is gone, it’s gone! They’re very different from 52teas because they don’t create new original teas themselves. I think they just find good teas and repackage them. Honestly, I’m not completely sure where they get them. I guess what I’m getting at is that they may blend several different types of tea together, but they don’t flavor the teas themselves. They also don’t release a new tea every week like 52teas does. Now in that arena, they could definitely improve by mimicking their competition.

Anyway, when they finally released a new tea offering, I quickly snatched it up. Then when I finally got it and brewed it up, it tasted…off. It tasted a lot like a variety of black tea that my taste buds can’t appreciate. I was sooo sad!! But when I wrote a not-so-enthused review of them here on Steepster, A&D contacted me and offered a full refund! It completely caught me by surprise, and I ended up declining their kind offer because it’s not their fault my taste buds didn’t like their tea. But it was a fairly pricey little tin, so all in all it wasn’t the best tea experience.

Still, I hold out high hopes for these guys because the other two teas I tried were soooooo phenomenal! But I do have to dock them 2 stars for hardly ever releasing new teas and not re-stocking old ones. I would buy several tins of the series 7 and about a boatload of the series 6 if they at least re-stocked old blends, but it doesn’t seem like that’s ever going to happen.

The bottom line: I don’t really watch their site for new releases anymore since they seem to be about a year apart. That’s about 11.5 months more than I’m willing to wait around. Sometimes I wonder if they’re even still in business…I’m sorry if this review seems overly harsh. It’s just my opinion that they need to make some improvements to be truly great.

Samovar - Online in San Francisco, California
4/5
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CHAroma rated this place
4/5
and said Edit

Samovar offers very high quality teas at somewhat high prices. But the money you spend is not wasted.

They have some of the more professional packaging I’ve seen. I think it was the descriptions on the packages that I was so impressed with. It was quirky, inventive, and fun. Not your standard, “This tea tastes like ______.” They also gave very detailed steeping instructions, which is always a pro.

I’ve been a little disappointed with their ability to keep the teas stocked though. There are some teas I really wanted to try sample sizes of that I had to wait literally months for. And of course by the time it came out, I had already purchased the other teas I wanted. So, it’s not worth the shipping cost to buy one small sample.

Then another time, there was a tea I knew I wanted to buy in bulk that had completely disappeared from the website! If it’s out of stock, I’d rather see that written next to it. If it’s nowhere to be found, I can’t tell if they’ve decided to stop carrying it entirely or if it’s just out of stock for the time being (which, again, could be months).

For this reason and their steep prices, I’m a little less impressed with Samovar. But almost every tea I’ve tried has been scrumptious!

Adagio Teas - Online in Naperville, Illinois
4/5
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CHAroma rated this place
4/5
and said Edit

My Adagio experiences have been mixed, but this is mostly due to my taste preferences.

I’ve really enjoyed some of their teas, while I’ve really not enjoyed some others. I’ve only really loved a couple teas, but even then I don’t die if I run out of them.

Overall, I give them high marks. They have a great website that’s very easy to use and is aesthetically pleasing. I’ve never had a bad experience in terms of receiving the right teas, quality packaging, affordable prices, and reasonable shipping rates and delivery timeframes.

But I’m not overly wow-ed either. They aren’t my go-to tea company when I’ve got some extra cash. I’m afraid I can’t really articulate my feelings in any other way. Although I can’t say exactly what or why, they leave something to be desired in my book.

However, do not let me discourage you from placing an order! They have,
by far, the fastest shipping I’ve ever received on a tea purchase and offer a wide selection of flavored teas and original blends by Adagio fans. I think it’s pretty cool that you can make your own tea blend and order it, but other people can too! They also have a frequent cups rewards program.

So, even though they don’t carry my favorites, Adagio is definitely worth checking out.

Lupicia Fresh Tea - Online in Hayward, California
5/5
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CHAroma rated this place
5/5
and said Edit

This was one of the first tea companies I discovered once I embarked on a loose-leaf tea journey. They remain in a special place in my heart.

I absolutely love the diversity of their tea offerings, which includes over 400 varieties of teas. They offer everything from flavored to unflavored, puer to honeybush, loose-leaf to bagged, and even a full range of teaware and accessories!

They have very reasonably priced sampler sets (although these are only available in bagged). Their packaging is always classy and “tea-conscious.” Their customer service is fantastic, and they really do go out of their way to make sure you’re a happy customer.

Furthermore, a one-time $30 purchase gains you a free year subscription to their monthly tea magazine! This magazine includes a free tea sample, recipes, and other information on the history of tea, etc.

I can confidently recommend Lupicia as a quality tea provider. Check out what they have to offer, and you’ll be glad you did!

52teas.com - Online in Wichita, Kansas
5/5
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CHAroma rated this place
5/5
and said Edit

I am in love! 52teas has been a tea roller coaster adventure! Every week of the year, they release a brand new, limited edition, completely original tea blend.

The blends are unique and delicious, and the Weekly Subscription is very cool. At only $9/week, you get the tea shipped directly to your door. That’s like one trip to Starbucks, but instead I get a month’s worth of tea! (Well, two ounces of tea takes me a month to drink).

I’ve shopped around for monthly tea subscriptions, and most are vastly overpriced. 52teas is just right. Plus, you can choose to have the tea shipped to you on a weekly basis instead of monthly! Talk about convenient!

I’ve liked the vast majority of the blends I’ve received. Only a few have been misses in terms of my personal preference for flavors or tea bases. But this is a high quality company that turns out a great product week after week.

No other tea companies come close to matching the extreme level of excitement I get when ripping open a package from 52teas! What will next week bring? :)

Profile

Bio

Entering the sweet blissful world of tea aromas!

Having discovered this website at the end of July 2011, I’m so excited to share my tea adventures with all of you! I grew up with my grandmother serving Twining’s English Breakfast with cream and sugar.

But on a trip to Seattle in 2010, I stumbled into a Chinese teashop and tried my first oolong tea. I was forever changed! I embarked on a startling new love for green and white teas.

With a world of teas to discover, I was inspired to keep a tea journal to record my thoughts and new favorites. Let’s get brewing!


My ratings are completely subjective and 100% my opinion. All ratings are given in relation to each other (ie. teas are rated in the order of my enjoyment of them). Therefore, my ratings will constantly change as I try more teas.


I love swapping!!! If you see something in my cupboard you’d like to try, just send me a message. If you’d like to trade, anything on my shopping list will do or feel free to send something else entirely. I’m willing to try almost anything (although I’m not really a fan of honeybush, red rooibos, pu’erh, Lapsang Souchong, & banana-flavored teas).

Location

Maryland, USA

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