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Shopping for Teas online

145 Replies

Upton does put in samples with their orders.
They also sell samples of any of their teas for $1

Cofftea said

A lot (if not most) of them are $1, but some of the more expensive teas are more. What I don’t like about UTI is that you can’t do reviews on sample sizes.

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I don’t have nearly the experience or sophisticated palate yet to go after just one kind of tea—I like to browse and read reviews. I read a lot of reviews, actually, since I do close to 100% of my tea purchases online.

Until recently, I drank mainly a Moroccan Mint in the morning, and chai or matcha during the day. I’m now pregnant, and wanting to drink less caffeine even as my interest in and taste for teas skyrockets—so I’ve become hooked on Rooibos.

The first online source for me was Essencha, and I would call them my first true love. Their prices seem fair and even competitive, and they ship their tea in tins. Their customer service has been swift and dedicated, to an impressive extent.

I also have a few new favorites from Teavana and Rishi.

I’m loving this site, and am feeling just short of overwhelmed with the new choices I’m learning about. I used to think this only applied to books, but I keep thinking, “So many teas, so little time!”

Cofftea said

I’d say matcha, even chai, requires a sophisticated palate. They aren’t for everyone. I know I couldn’t go 9 months w/o my morning bowl of matcha- that’s why I want a tea mill so I can make my own.

teaplz said

Welcome to the moneysink, Andrea! :) You could spend two lifetimes trying to taste everything you want to, easily!

I’d have to disagree that chai and matcha require a sophisticated palate, Cofftea. Matcha is had fairly regularly in Japan, and chai is a daily drink for a lot of Indians. These teas might be divisive for some, but they’re hardly sophisticated. Complex, perhaps… or maybe even an acquired taste.

Cofftea said

You have a point teaplz, “acquired taste” may be more accurate. But then again most of us here are not Japanese or Indian so they aren’t the norm.

teaplz said

True, true!

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PeteG said

I have very recently purchase some Pu Erh fm pu-erhshop.com and yunnan sourcing.com and I must say I am pleased with the customer svc….It is Christmas time…Canada Post is overwhelmed!!! I am so glad I have back up tea in my cupboard and tea drawer…

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Janefan said

Amazon is having a sale on grocery items, including some bagged, loose, blooming, samplers, RtD teas, and teaware. Kind of a mixed bag in terms of quality I’m sure, but there may be something interesting. There are about 300 items just in the tea category under “Manager’s Special.” I also saw a matcha bowl in there.
This link should go just to the tea sale category: http://www.amazon.com/gp/search/ref=sr_nr_n_1?rh=n%3A16310101%2Cn%3A52125011%2Cn%3A1266153011%2Cn%3A491297011%2Cn%3A16318401&bbn=1266153011&ie=UTF8&qid=1261668434&rnid=491297011

teaplz said

This is when I get angry that Amazon sells most of their stuff only in bulk. :( In packs of 2-5! I definitely don’t need THAT much tea!

Cofftea said

I agree teaplz! Almost all of my teas are sample tins. I have 4 that are 1oz, and 2 that are 8. I have over 50 different teas. I can’t imagine having all those in bulk!

Jillian said

Same here; the only way I’d be willing to buy that much was if someone was going halfers on it with me.

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Atacdad said

Up until last year I had only ever bought loose tea at a store once…and that was Twinning’s Lady Earl Grey, in a duty free shop in Heathrow International. Before that, I had been ordering exclusively online from Mark T. Wendell. I cracked the mold last year on a family trip to Seattle, while walking through Pike Place Market and stumbling across a little tea shop in a side alley. Steepster has caused me to fully smash the mold! Based on reviews here on Steepster, I’ve branched out and am ordering teas from places you guys recommend. Long experience has told me that I’m a black tea bigot…none of the fru-fru green, white, roobios, etc for me. I know what I like and I know it by general region. So when shopping online, I filter for black tea’s first and Ceylon (my favorite regional) second. Depending on what I find, I’ll look at traditionals next (English Breakfast, Chais, Earl Greys…), then other regionals (Assam, Darjeeling…), and finally flavored teas (Blackberrry, whatever…). I try to buy samples first and if its something I really like, I’ll buy more on a reorder. Those that I know and love I buy by the pound. I really like Adagio’s sample tins…nice neat and orderly and good for reusing.

Cofftea said

Now that’s one place I never even thought to buy loose tea… an airport!:) I don’t think I’ve ever even seen it there, maybe because it was England?

teaplz said

Interesting! I like blacks as well! Have you tried any dark oolongs? They’re oxidized at a lesser level than blacks, but fall closer to the black taste than the green taste. I haven’t really delved that much into oolongs yet, but I was just curious if you’ve dabbled in them.

Atacdad said

I haven’t sought out oolongs other than having them incidental in some sampler pack. From what I have tried, I would agree with your thoughts…some place in the middle. I have spent some time on Darjeeling’s and I can appreciate the delicate flavor, but its not what I like…too light.

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i was exclusively an adagio brand girl untill i stumbled into steepster! i just baught samples from both specialteas (which oddly enough is in the same state as me) and Golden Moon :D i always get samples first then usually get larger containers if i like what i have. i tend to like flavored black teas and blacks so ill take a peek at those first then move to flavored greens all the way to herbals, i gotta look at it all before i place my order :)

Cofftea said

I tend to only buy teas I drink very frequently in amounts larger than a sample or 1oz because I have only as much self control as my wallet makes me when it comes to tea lol. If I see a tea I want to buy, I buy it regardless of how much tea I already have at home. I’m getting better at this though- now I’m moving on to teawares:) If I bought large containers of everything, the tea would not be drank in a timely fashion.

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Atacdad said

For Christmas this year, I just said “Get me tea, any tea, in sampler sizes”. What a wonderful idea :-) I’ve got a bunch of new goodies and none of it is duplicates!

Cofftea said

No duplicates?! Nice. My aunt got me 1oz of Adagio’s white cucumber from our local tea shop, not directly from Adagio- she obviously didn’t consult w/ my mother because I have an 8oz tin of it that’s about 3/4 full.

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Just to note once again on Essencha’s customer service…

I placed an order this week for three items—two of which were listed as out of stock, so I expected to wait at least a week or so for them. My box arrived and everything was in it, except there was only one 8oz tin of something I’d ordered two of.

I e-mailed them right away and they’re fixing it immediately—so again, it’s their mistake but handled properly and swiftly. Still love them.

Cofftea said

I agree, while it stinks if you’re the one it affects, it’s good to know the company has good customer service- just as long as it’s not needed too often. I can’t wait to see what their in store service is like!:)

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Cofftea said

Tracking number availability is a must. If it’s not available w/ a certain form of shipping that’s fine, butplease make that information available to your customers before they place their orders.

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Cofftea said

As far as customer service goes, I have major beefs w/ Adagio, but they are back in my good graces and I thought I’d share the story w/ you.

I bought gifts for 3 people to be delivered Christmas Eve (unfortunately one ended up being delayed til the 29th- so much for the guaranteed delivery). Well long story short I found out that they were completely ungreatful and didn’t want them. So I went on the live chat on the 28th, explained the whole mess, and they said I could be refunded for one of the gifts, but not the other 2 (blends). I relayed that message to one of the ungreatful people and he said he’d just keep the teas or regift them and pay me back (hey at least he’s paying me back!). Well I get an email from Christine today and he ended up returning them anyway. So they are refunding all of my money! Praise God for kind, generous, compassionate, and understanding people. Now if they’d just give us those darn tea cookies and chocolates… grrr…

fcmonroe said

That is good customer service on their part. I’m sorry that you had to go through that.

denisend said

Teavana sells tea cookies and chocolate truffles…

Cofftea said

Shame on you denisend hehe;) Now I must go to Teavana=P

denisend said

I’ve never seen them in the store, but I just recently saw them on the website. They may just sell them online.

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