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Cofftea said

Expensive doesn't always mean best

After number crunching and finding out that, including shipping, my favorite chai (52teas’ Mayan Chocolate Chai in case you’re wondering) costs only ~10 cents/g when bought in the largest bulk amount (1lb) which equates to ~80 cents a cup w/o resteeping (which I can easily) since I use 8g/12oz cup, I got to wondering… How much does your favorite tea cost per cup? Is that w/o resteeping? How much do you cut the cost by resteeping? If you’d put all the tea you like on a spectrum from cheapest to most expensive, what is your favorite that’s closest to the bottom? It’ll be interesting to see the answers people give since we have the entire gammit here… bagged drinkers, loose drinkers, online purchasers, in store only purchasers, people who purchase internationally, etc.

19 Replies
Bethany said

I think my closest would be Stash Tea’s Mangosteen Green with Matcha, or Celestial Seasonings’ Candy Cane Lane.

Cofftea said

I wonder how the cost/g compares to the loose version of your Mangosteen green w/ matcha…

Bethany said

I’d be curious, too, and I’m also curious about the quality change between the two. But Stash’s shipping costs are ridiculous..

Cofftea said

Them too??? Ugh.

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denisend said
Message deleted by author.
Cofftea said

Oh this has always been my school of thought… Remember Adagio’s cocomint green is one of my faves. I normally hate math… but thinking about that chai got me hyper and that was the only way to calm my brain down lol. That and my new year’s resolution is to save money on my tea habit buy not necessarily buying less, but buying in bulk (as long as it’s not so much that I waste it), and taking advantage of sales even if I don’t neccesarily need a certain tea at that exact time.

Cofftea said

This is talking about tea… not teaware. As w/ any material object, I still hold firm that a lot of the time you pay for quality- especially if you want all the bells and whistles. There are good quality things out there that are less expensive w/o bells and whistles. I wish it wasn’t true, but it is. Some expensive things are also crap. cough, cough… my last laptop. Yes I prefer bells and whistles… out of necessity sometimes almost as much as desire. I think it’s easier to look at a product and say “well, I don’t need x feature” vs. “well, I really want x feature”… but this is really off topic, because this thread is about tea, not teaware- I just felt the need to defend myself even though there isn’t one.

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Cofftea said

That’s a very interesting article! Wow they have some very nicely written articles! I believe currently tea in America is very expensive, largely because of small market. When market is small, not only there is short of competition, but also operational costs are high in relation to each product sold. ideally, with increased tea drinker crowds, supermarket tea will get higher quality and lower price, and then many of the genetic drinkers move up to become specialty tea drinkers. Then with the increased demand and competition, tea drinkers will have more and better options.

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Miss Sweet said

My alltime favourite tea Earl Grey Excelsior from t leaf t is $25.80 for a 250g bag. I use around 2.5g per cup, so thats about 25 cents. Now that I’ve worked that out it definitely makes me feel better for drinking so much of it! I think thats one of the cheapest, my teas tend to be around the 20-35 cent mark.
I haven’t bought much online yet, but when I do I have to factor in shipping costs into the price of each cup to see if its worth buying (often it isn’t unless I’m ordering a lot).
At the other end of the scale is my favourite green tea, Hon Gyokuro. Its either $39 for 40g, or $69 for 100g, but I can never afford the 100g size even though its better value. Its around $2.20 per teaspoon and I usually get around 3 cups from one lot of leaves (bringing it down to a nice 70ish cents per cup). If I bought the 100g size it’d only be $1.50 per cup, 50 cents if I reinfused. People always freak out about the price, but its not really that expensive when you break it down like that.

Once you’ve found a tea you love & drink frequently, buy it in bulk!

Cofftea said

I agree Miss Sweet- I just need to find room to put it!:)

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Rijje said

… In the beginning I bought all kind of teas – the cheap, and so.
I found a cheap tea for one kg from Fredsted. It tasted so good.
I quickly ran out of it and the store didn’t have it on the shelf, so I bougth the same kind of tea by my favourite brand (that costs the 2-3 times more) but didn’t like the taste of it. Then I bought the same tea in green from the same brand (still cost 2-3 more) and it still didn’t taste near as good as the one from Fredsted.

So I bought a lot of the SAME kind of tea from different companies, most of them the brand tea kind, and found that the cheap one from Fredsted was unbeatable.

This tea is one of the cheapest of my cupboard (if not the cheapest) and one of my top 5 fave.

It cost about 6 $ for 1 kg and I reesteep the leaves. So that’s cheap – in my point of view.

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Yesterday a friend commented on my online store that “prices are too low to attract people who want expensive tea”. I know it sounds funny but I guess such consuming preference exists :D

Cofftea said

Yeah so many people think cheap=bad, expensive=good. I’ve had some more expensive teas that weren’t very good and I’ve had some cheapy bagged tea that were surprisingly good. We know that isn’t true so don’t raise them too high hehe;)

actually at times we have increased the price of a product, and then it sells better! it’s kind of crazy. (mind you this was retail, and in an affluent neighborhood) people can be silly

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I’ve tried Celestial Seasonings several times and although they’re pretty expensive per cup (in my book), I usually don’t enjoy them as much as Republic of Tea products which also are fairly expensive. No, I don’t work for them; I’m not a shill. I’m just opinionated.
Since I can order RoT online in bulk and most flavors/types can be re-steeped for excellent second (& some cases third) times, I would rather wait until a couple of us run out of the last order so we can share the shipping.

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While the actual worth and price (two very different things) can vary from tea to tea and brand to brand, I think that sort of mix-and-match method exists moreso in the mainsteam, everyday section of teas. You can argue that price doesn’t equal quality, but it also depends what you’re looking for.
You can get Lapsang Souchong from several different retailers, and the quality of taste will vary, but the price will generally be in the $5/2oz range. It’s a simple, generic tea, but it’s good and if that’s what you’re looking for, then it’s definitely the most bang you’ll get for your buck. Also, black teas tend to be cheaper, as they’re more widely produced.
Green and white teas, on the other hand, can run more expensive, even for comparably valuable teas. A mediocre green can cost you twice as much as a mediocre black. Plus, there’s so much variety within the tea world that you could be perfectly satisfied with the cheaper version of a tea, and disgusted by the better-quality counterpart. It’s all a matter of taste.

I think the point where dollar to quality ratio truly kicks in is when you hit the truly high-quality teas. The best example I can give here comes from my personal experience (and passion), Oolongs.
Competition-grade and Ali Shan peak oolongs are superb. You’re not likely to find them at major tea companies, and they can be pretty expensive. The only place I can find them is in a speciality tea shop, fifteen miles away. I’ve paid $45 for a bit more than an ounce before. Worth it? In my opinion, yes.
Probably one of the best teas I’ve tasted was at a tasting at Lupicia, where they for some reason pulled out a tea that won first-place in competition – $800 a pound (that’s $50/oz). My gods, I’d buy an ounce of that if I got the chance.

As usual, I ramble. I hope there was a point made somewhere in the midst of that.

You make some excellent points, JM. I would rather pay the premium for the white & green teas over black because I find the difference worth it. For instance, RoT Chai comes in black & green. I would rather have the delicate taste of the green than the roaring of the black. Plus, the black has so much caffeine that it’s an instant migraine! :-)

I doubt that I have run into either of the oolongs you mention; I’m sure they are worth the money. I drank O when I didn’t realize they were a trigger and enjoyed them very much. Thanks for your comment, I enjoyed your writing.

Yes, that secret Lupicia tea! I won a can of a previous year’s award winning Taiwanese oolong ($1,000/lb) in a game of jan-ken-pon once.

The thing about premium oolong tea is that it seems really costly when you buy it, but you can resteep it 8-10 times; the cost-per-cup is usually less than one cup of coffee.

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