What are your favorite non US-based tea companies?
I’m always on the lookout for quality tea companies but I know many that we’ve worked with in the past have difficulty shipping internationally (outside the US).
So I figure if people can help surface some of the best companies that are already “international” then there’d be fewer shipping issues. What are your faves?
If you happen to know anyone specific at the company, feel free to pass along their contact info to me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I’ll see what I can do. And as always, encourage them to list their teas on Steepster :)
O-cha:) I haven’t placed an order myself, but I got some Uji Matcha “Kiri no Mori” from Ricky.:)
Hrm, Jason… I’m not quite sure I’ve got this right, but here are some companies that I’m interested in on the international level:
You can find Mariage Freres and TWG in some stores (like Williams-Sonoma or Dean & Deluca), but Le Palais is much more elusive.
Mariage Freres…interesting. It is the only tea company EVER where I took a look on the prize on the bottom of the tin, shook my head and put it back on shelf. Although I have to admit that the beautiful tin, the fantastic names of there blends and the list of there ingredients let me sit here with a hint of regret to have not tried…well, it was in a departmant store in Japan where that happened. Maybe because of the shipping…will have a look when I am in Europe again ;-)
Kusmi, well that’s what my friend would say. I like some of their tea, but they can be found in stores as well (in the States and I believe they have a warehouse or tea house in the States).
Two in particular springs to mind for me. Or, well, 1½ actually more like.
One is Teaspring.com, which probably only counts for a half, because they are actually US based (California, I think), BUT everything is shipped directly from China at a very reasonable worldwide flat rate, so I think it sort of counts as non US-based, even though they actually are. (http://www.teaspring.com/)
The other is AC Perch’s in Copenhagen (how un-surprised were you all by this?)
Sadly though, they’re horrendously expensive if you need stuff shipped abroad. (Unless you’re in Japan where they have retail outlets, which I think is rather cool) (http://www.perchs.dk/dansk/index.asp)
I have heard a lot of good things about Kusmi too, but I’m only familiar with some of their bags, so I don’t know what their loose is like. I happen to be in possession of a link to their site though (http://www.kusmitea.com/html_uk/home.php)
Also, a shop I haven’t yet tried myself, but probably will at some point. I have discovered that Mighty Leaf has a swedish webshop too, which ships to all of Scandinavia and, I expect, the rest of Europe too. I discovered that one by coincidence when I wanted to look up a tea that I got from Bethany in a swap. I don’t know if it’s run together with the american shop or if it’s run more independently though. (http://www.mightyleaf.se/default.aspx)
Lastly, in the same vein, Adagio also has a European version of their shop now, which ships to all of Europe. Their selection is, however, severely limited in comparison with the american one, but it’s worth a look anyway, I think. (http://www.adagio.uk.com/)
Bois Cheri, Mauritius…
Fortnum & Mason…UK
As much as I’d love to order a Taiwanese oolong direct, Taiwanoolongtea.com gets the prize for the smallest selection I’ve ever seen at 3.:(
yeah…sorry ’bout that. Let me find out more as soon as I am at home…I am writing this from my office
Sometimes a small selection is a good thing. Better to have a small selection of wonderful teas than a large selection of mixed-quality or low-quality teas.
I agree, but I would still like to see more than 3. That’s just me though- and I’m weird:)
One basic black tea, one flavored black, one Oolong, one green China, one green Japan, one white…(plus one Honjicha for evenings, as thats all I can take after 5.00pm. …for real tea that goes, otherwise I like ginseng or some herbal teas/ lemongrass…ect. after dinner)
I guess the Urban Tea Merchant is really just a part of the larger international The O DOR chain, but I really enjoyed it both a tea hosue where I could sit down with a cup of tea and snack, and as a tea shop where I could chose from a wide variety of exotic loose-leaf teas.
Murchie’s Tea is an old, Vancouver & Victoria-based tea company that specializes in English-style tea (but it has a broader selection aswell).
The Granville Island Tea Company: It’s an awesome store in an awesome market on an awesome island (although it’s technically not an island). ’Nuff said. :D
Honorable Mention also goes to:
The Blue Teapot: http://www.blueteapot.com/
My own cool, little local tea shop, called Specifically Tea doesn’t have a website unfortunately, but the owner gets her supplies from a place on Vancouver Island call the Tea Centre.
I like Nothing But Tea: http://www.nbtea.co.uk/acatalog/shop.html Free delivery in the UK if you’re okay with second class post, and will ship internationally (though they can only process orders under 2kg, you need to contact them directly for a shipping quote for anything bigger.) The sample packs seem to be a pretty good size too, I can usually get around 5 cups out of what they send.
You’re welcome! And thankyou too, I actually ordered from teasprings a couple of hours ago because of your recommendation :D (Their ginseng oolong looks nice and $3.80 is very good for shipping, there are UK based companies that charge more than that for UK postage.)
I know! The first time I shopped there, I was half expecting to get an extra handling bill. Of course there’s always the risk that the package, coming from outside the EU, will be picked up by customs, but with that shipping rate, it doesn’t seem as annoying as it otherwise would be. I think they can do it that way because it’s shipped directly from China so they company doesn’t have to also get shipping to themselves covered before they can ship out to the customers. They cut out a step there.
For me, absolutely Jing Tea (http://jingtea.com) and the Rare Tea Company (http://www.rareteacompany.com/) which I came across whilst listening to the BBC Radio 4 Food Programme episode on tea last Sunday. Both companies really know what they are doing. Henrietta Lovell from the Rare Tea Company is passionate about sourcing from small farmers and the flavours are amazing. Both are London based companies.