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specialteas.com is gone?!?!

79 Replies
Tea_d-off said

Thank you! Yes, it was the black tea with dried raspberries and raspberry leaves…sooo good! I’ve tried a couple since I ran out and haven’t found one that even comes close. But I’ll give Upton Tea a try.

lavushka said

no problem, hope you like theirs! we’ve found this specific tea – and the general selection – quite comparable to SpecialTeas!

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Newbie here. Just found this site! I too am distraught over the demise of SpecialTeas. Teavana doesn’t carry the same flavors that were my favorites and the prices are outrageous. I’ve ordered from Upton for years and love their single estate teas but have not thought their flavored offerings were as good, at least for my taste. BTW the Special Tea store in Victoria BC is not related to the online company SpecialTeas. They carry lots of Rooibus teas.

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I am equally disappointed with Special Teas gone. I am going through the lists of all the stores that everyone was nice enough to put up. Thank you for such a great starting point in this search. I am really going to miss the Russian Samovar blend with the white or green FOPs, the Russian Caravan Blend, the the sheer variety of Oolongs that Special Teas had. I am going to especially miss the time I called them to check my order and had a person answer on the 2nd ring and not have to transfer me. That absolutely blew my mind and I will feel bad changing my loyalty.

Has anyone tried http://www.specialtea.com? It is a Canadian site and since the loony and dollar are within 1.5 cents it is no big deal to convert. I am going to try a $30 order and hope the best. Their variety looks good, hoping the best for their quality as well.

Also I have found a low cost medium quality fix for Sencha, Genmai-cha, and Hoji-cha. Tea Yamamoto Yama. Their “Family Pack” is 7 oz for less than $4. I drink at least half a pound of Genmai-cha a year. It is not the best I have ever had, but for the quantity I drink it is an excellent deal, especially compared with $6 an oz from other folks. My favorite part is it has a wide distribution and I can get it online, at the corner asian market, and even Epcot Japan (Still less than $4 per 7 oz in Disney!!!).

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T-Wren said

I too was very sad to see Specialteas go…and to Teavanna of all things !
Silk Road Teas provided Specialteas with some of it’s competition grade teas.
Silk Road personally inspects & imports mainly from China-black,green,pu-er , white & oolongs. You won’t find any flavored blends , however, and they do sell out . Check their website to see current offerings.

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Drink T said

I wish I had the opportunity to try some of Specialteas teas. However, I would like to let you know that I also personally cup, select and import my teas direct from the source. I also personally hand-blend small batches of tea. Some of Specialteas customers have come to me because I carry a very good quality PiLoChun. My website is www.drinkt.com

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joelbny said

Oh good, a SpecialTeas grief support group! I miss them so much. The quality, price, and consistency was second to none. Where else could you find so many types of quality Chinese Green and Black and Indian/Ceylon estate teas in the same place?

Maybe they supplied Teavana, but look at Teavana’s website and inventory, it is a joke by comparison to SpecialTeas… ST catered to connoisseurs. And they had those cool free samples, the perfect way to try new varieties! Oh well… whoever ran ST should restart a new high-end US tea importer, the economy is turning around again so now is the time.

For now I’ve been using http://www.theteastop.com and https://www.itoen.com/loose-leaf-tea.html has some good chinese and indian as well, although of course their specialty is Japanese.

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drlesley said

I am happy to have a support group for SpecialTeas grievers too. I am a charter member by dint of my addiction to their Gyokuro. Since my supply was cut off I have been bereft. It seems as though they had used a blend because even the really top quality expensive Gyokuro I have tried as a replacement isn’t the same. SpecialTeas blend had a kind of barley genmaicha taste but it was labeled “Gyokuro Asahina Extra Fine (No. 700).”

Does anyone have any info about this? I would be so grateful. I am saving a pack or two of the old Special Teas just so I can smell it for replication purposes. There must be a company that made it that supplied it to Special Teas from Japan.

joelbny said

not sure who their Japanese supplier was, did you try asking on teachat’s forums? the board isn’t as popular as it once was, but still a knowledgeable and erudite crowd
http://www.teachat.com/viewforum.php?f=6

And these are probably the most reputable Japanese Tea companies that serve the West, if specialteas was dealing with an exporter and not directly with farms or processors it may have been one of these:

Den’s
Hibiki-an
Horaido
Ippodo
Ito-en
Maiko
O-Cha
Yuuki-Cha
Zencha

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catmyser said

I agree with everything everyone has said above. I can offer further direct “historical” comparisons of Elephant Tea in Atlanta, then Teavana, and SpecialTeas. I discovered Elephant Tea in person in Atlanta more than 10 years ago. We LOVED everything about it, including the owner Andrew and his wife, who were wonderful! The friends who were with me loved it so much they seriously researched a possible franchise in North Central Florida with the owners. Elephant Tea was AWESOME in every way, the shops, the teas, the tea accoutrements, with fair prices. Then Elephant Tea became Teavana, and immediately became MUCH more expensive, and never as charming, but more “industrial” in every aspect of its tea shops, tea quality, and drinking experiences. A friend suggested SpecialTeas and I never looked back. They had by far the best quality teas (and I have traveled to 60 countries and compare fine teas everywhere I travel) and by far the best prices. I would never shop anywhere else. My own favorites were/are: Madagascar Vanilla, Chocolate Creme as others have mentioned, Earl Grey de La Creme as others have mentioned, and Raj Caramel. I had bought in reasonable bulk such that I am only just discovering that SpecialTeas no longer exists! Since the Madagascar Vanilla is my #1 fave and I drink it daily, has anyone else found another superb quality vanilla with the same rich, deep (not merely surface) vanilla? Has anyone else discovered another rich caramel? Have any better chocolate creme or earl grey de la creme come on the market that are comparable? I am SUPER BUMMED!!!

Special-Teas, Etc. is a small mom & pop tea shop with many, many teas to choose from. You might want to try our “Vanilla Bean” or Cream Earl Grey. We have over 100 blends! www.specialteasetc.com

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Jude said

If anyone would like to trade for some SpecialTeas, I can offer:
- a full unopened 2 oz bag of their Chamomile Flowers Special Selection,
- a nearly-full 2 oz bag of their Organic Blanc de Cassis,
- about an ounce of their Organic Chun Mee and
- about 2 oz of their Keemun Special Grade

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Bluestem said

I have quit drinking tea since Special Teas went out of business. I always ordered the Nuwara Eliya BOP loose leaf tea from them. It made wonderful iced tea. I ordered some from Upton and it wasn’t very good. Anybody know the best internet option for a loose leaf Nuwara Eliya? Thanks

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