specialteas.com is gone?!?!

I recently discovered that specialteas “merged” with teavana. This is absolutely an outrage. The quality and selection of specialteas far exceeds teavana, while maintaining consistently lower prices. As of now, I don’t see any of specialteas’ products on teavana’s site.

Do you all know of any alternative places to buy fine teas? I know of adagio.com, but that’s it. Thanks for any help!

79 Replies
52teas said

You can always check us out. We create a new limited-edition, hand crafted artisan tea blend every week, 52-weeks-per-year (hence we are 52teas). http://www.52teas.com

We also offer free shipping to the US and Canada.

Yes, and sometimes, they actually create a tea that I can resist. Not often, but sometimes!

52teas rocks! Great customer service and great teas. :) I highly recommend!

52 teas is quickly becoming my everyday indulgence:)The honeybush is to die for!

It was not a merger, it was a buyout, and the teas were totally different

@TeaBlender1 yes, the teas were totally different, BUT SpecialTeas still made them, they just were exclusively Teavana teas.

@LiberTEAs – That is correct. SpecialTeas blended their teas for them. There was once upon a time when you could buy some of Teavana’s blends wholesale from SpecialTeas, but they ended that a few years back. Any proprietary blends that Teavana had them make, were only sold to Teavana, but SpecialTeas still had a lot of teas that Teavana didn’t carry. From time to time, Teavana would start to use some of those blends, and then if they were popular, Teavana would ask them to stop wholesaling them or selling them on their web site.

I have to agree with Fayaaz. Specialteas was my go to place. consistently the best quality at the lowest price. I hate Teavana! I haven’t found an equally good supplier yet.

I just learned that Specialteas is gone. What a tremendous loss to the tea community. Teavana is simply a retail outlet, and not a very good one at that. I am very disappointed that Specialteas would abandon us like that. Specialteas had 20 different kinds of Darjeeling, Teavana has ONE and lower quality. Very sad. Where do we go now?

There are many different purveyors of Darjeeling, you just have to keep your eyes open. What kind of Darjeeling are you looking for?

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Actually, the quality of specialteas didn’t really exceed teavana, because they were one in the same. Now, they’ve just “officially” merged.

Oh… and PS: I don’t consider Adagio to be quality teas. They are decent teas at decent prices. If you want good quality teas, there are MANY others to choose from that are much better quality than Adagio.

do you know if specialteas products will be continued onto teavana?

also, if you don’t like adagio, what places do you recommend?

It all depends on what you’re looking for.
Might I recommend SororiTEA sisters website? They have a lot of companies there that they recommend whom they’ve had experience with. LiberTeas is one of the contributors, and so I’m sure she can send you the link….

Thank you Shinobicha! :)

You can find SororiTea Sisters at: http://sororiteasisters.com

Fayaaz: I think that at least some of SpecialTeas blends will be continued on as Teavana, but they may be under a different name.

Companies I recommend: just off the top of my head, for delicious, inexpensive and unique blends, try 52teas.com (http://www.52teas.com). Some other good companies with unique and flavorful blends (but cost a bit more than 52Teas), are Lupicia (http://www.lupiciausa.com), Art of Tea (http://www.artoftea.com), Tao of Tea (http://www.taooftea.com), Element Tea (http://www.elementtea.com) … the list just goes on and on! There are many wonderful teas out there!

I recommend visiting the SororiTea Sisters website, we have a tea company page that you can read a little bit about some tea companies plus you can read tea reviews on some of the teas we’ve tasted… maybe that will help you make a more informed decision!

Kristin said

And Harney & Sons
http://www.harney.com/

Some other tea companies you may want to try
arbor teas
persimmon tree tea
chicago tea garden
and if you want really different – mad pots of tea

Spot52 select said

Den’s is great for Japanese Greens.
Teaspring has some affordable quality Chinese teas.
Floatingtealeaves has some great teas too.

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Chi of Tea said

we are building up our 2011 inventory! www.chioftea.com

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I’m pretty bummed about Special Teas too. I’m currently in the process of finding online Tea Shops, but I have a fairly nice list going so far of all the places I’ve found that I like. You can find all of them here: http://drinkmoretea.squarespace.com

Hope that helps you find what you need!

lavushka said

Thank you for the upton tea link you gave below! I’ve checked it out and the selection (and prices) seem comparable to Special Teas. of course, now we’ll have to order and taste to check it out more, but so far it seems promising and the loss of Special Teas not so upsetting!

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stuartl said

Can anyone recommend a site that has comparable malty black teas, similar to their Ceylon Kenilworth, East Friesan, Assam House blends, Ceylon Vithanakande, etc? Most of the companies recommended here seem to specialize in flavored teas.

Thanks in advance for any help.

Kristin said

Harney’s has a lot of really good quality black teas that are unflavored.
http://www.harney.com/Black-Tea/departments/2/

Also check out this site. They have everything you mentioned. And awesome prices.

http://www.uptontea.com/

RonaldDad said

Same. I’m looking for robust black teas such as SpecialTeas Assam, Ceylon and African teas, in quantities of 1/4 to full pound. SpecialTeas spoiled us with variety and price. Teavana is not a replacement as best as I can tell.

upton teas appears to have a comparable selection to specialteas, along with very reasonable prices. many thanks, johnnysasaki.

Try Drink T: http://www.drinkt.com/

Also Zhi Tea: http://zhitea.com/

TeaVert: http://teavert.com/

Tao of Tea: http://taooftea.com/

and Arbor Teas: http://www.arborteas.com/

Canton Tea Company: http://www.cantonteaco.com/

auraTeas: http://aurateas.com/Default.aspx

(the list just goes on and on!)

stuartl said

Thanks everyone for all your help. I’ve placed an order with Upton and also one with the Tea Stop. I’ll probably experiment with some of the others you’ve mentioned until I find a new home (or 2 or 3 :-).

I’m an old Harney fan, but switched to Special Teas because Harney’s selection is little more limited.

I hate to sound like I’m only promoting the brands that we carry, but we really do carry quality Ceylons, Assams, Darjeelings, etc. from different brands of teas. check it out: http://www.theleafmethod.com/black.html

You can also check us out for our selection of teas as well www.totallytealiciousteas.com Good luck to you with your search.

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raven said

We carry some interesting blends at http:// BlueRavenTea.com
Please give us a look:)

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Thats a bummer. They also got rid of there Wholesale operations.

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I know Teavana and SpecialTeas intimately. I was general manager ofa the first and only franchise Teavana store in Peachtree City, GA. The owner of the store was the original GM for Teavana who built both their first stores in Lenox and Phipps Plaza malls in Atlanta., back when they were called Elephant Tea Co. But right as I first started to work for the franchise store, Teavana got some venture capitalist looking to invest into the Teavana brand. But there were some issues with the franchise store since they didn’t have full control over us. To make a long story short, we broke away from the franchise due to the fact that we discovered Teavana had never formed a legal franchise, so they let us go clean. But Teavana told SpecialTeas, which was our biggest wholesaler, that if they wholesaled to us, they would pull their business from them. So they blacklisted us and would no longer sell to us. We had to scramble and find new wholesalers and we lost some popular blends like Rooibos Macadamia and Rooibos Tropica , which they ended up just selling to Teavana.

In the mean time, the investors invested $50 million into Teavana and they opened over 80 stores nation wide. Once they became that large, they became SpecialTeas largest client by far and eventually wanted rights to all their teas, thus the merger was inevitable.

We had blended a signature tea blend which became our most popular tea. We blended it for a friend of ours that had developed breast cancer in 2001. We called the tea ToLife Blend, because we use to sit around with her and say, “L’Chaim!” before we drank the tea with her. But people began to go into Teavana stores requesting the tea, but they did not carry it. So they sent someone down, bought the tea from us, matched the ingredients, and then went behind our backs, trademarked the name ToLife Blend, and then sent us a cease and desist letter, telling us to remove the brand and stop selling it or they’d sue us. They stole our tea out from under us. Drat! Oh, well. Just though that was an interesting story to tell.

Cheers!

This tale reminded me of the daring Robert Fortune.

Jude said

That is intense. Thanks for the inside story, Daniel.

What a bunch of dirtbags.

Jillian said

Yup, that sounds like Teavana – I’ve heard all sorts of horror stories about how they deal with customers and how they treat their employees. They don’t have any stores here in Canada, but if they did I would boycott them in a heartbeat.

Yeah, I hate bad mouthing other tea companies. I like other tea companies, and I even promote some of them, especially if they have good customer service and some great teas that I don’t carry. But when people start doing under handed stuff like that, I think it’s only right that the consumer knows what kind of company they are dealing with. It’s not fair that companies like that succeed while good moral companies fail.

And yet, that is the world we live in. The wicked flourish while the righteous suffer. Yet who is truly “righteous”, anyway? Ok, I’ll get off this non-tea-related topic!

Indeed, Shadow Warrior of Tea. I don’t expect perfection from anyone, but it’s nice to at least see someone attempting to be good to others. The outright scheming is what gets me, you know?

I very much agree. One likes to deal with companies who have true heart, an attitude to do right. After all, business is about much more than making money.

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These are my two favorite places to order tea:
http://drinktheleaf.com/
http://www.goldenmoontea.com/
Both have Excellent customer service.

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