Please Help Me Figure Out What Teas To Buy During My Splurge!

I’ve been working a lot and saving up my money in a savings account to help me pay for a car and an apartment when I move out. This is a tremendous accomplishment for me because I’ve always been very bad with saving my money. I have almost a thousand dollars saved up so far that I can take pride in knowing I worked for, so I want to reward myself and go on my first real tea splurge. I don’t want to get something I would usually get. I want to buy from new companies, get a few things that are premium quality and expensive, get a few flavored teas, and there are so many different options out there that I just need help from fellow tea drinkers to decide. I want to know what the MUST HAVES are. So far I have only one thing that I KNOW I’m gonna buy, and that is Arbor’s gyokuro. I’m thinking that I definitely want to get some good flavored teas because I don’t usually do that, I’m curious about trying a darjeeling and some other new black teas and I’m open to any suggestion as to what YOU THINK is a tea that just can’t be missed. So if you choose to, give me a few different suggestions on must-haves.Your help and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

35 Replies
Alphakitty said

If you want high-quality unflavored teas (and also a few blends) Verdant is pretty much the way to go, they get rave reviews. For unflavored greens, Den’s Tea is most likely the best. For flavored I’d recommend Golden Moon Teas, I’ve absolutely adored everything I’ve tried from them—the Coconut Pouchong and Persian Melon in particular are to DIE for. For crazy flavors there’s David’s Teas (the Coffee Pu-erh is great if you want something different) and also 52teas which has really interesting blends (I personally really like the Cherry Cheesecake Genmaicha), Adagio has some good flavors but they are hit-and-miss so be sure to read up on reviews. Harney & Sons is one of my favorite companies (especially since I can just go to their store!) and they have a lot of flavored greens—Bangkok is my all-time favorite (not just of theirs, of anyone!). Republic of Tea is good if you stay away from their bagged stuff which is a bit weak (their Rose tea is spectacular if you like floral flavors).

As for smaller and lesser-known companies go, I’d really recommend trying Tay Teas for blends—they actually are located close by me but I’ve tried many of their blends and they’ve all been great! I’ve also had a pleasant experience ordering from TeaLux. This is all based on personal experience: there are many other great companies out there that I just haven’t got the chance to try!

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Azzrian said

Depends on what you are looking for but here is my list:

Must Trys:
Teavivre
Verdant
Shang
Samovar
Den’s Tea
Lupicia

Runners Up:
English Tea Store
London Tea Room
Gurman’s
52Teas
Joy’s Teaspoon
Persimmon Tree Tea
Red Leaf Tea
Life in Teacup
i-Heart Teas

Really though there are tons of great places out there I have not tried or have limited experience with.

I am sure I left off some great ones as well.

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Are there any specific teas that come to mind as “amazing” or “must-try” teas?

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Azzrian said

Teavivre:
http://steepster.com/teas/teavivre/21658-bailin-gongfu-black-tea-bai-lin-gong-fu-fujian
http://steepster.com/teas/teavivre/22145-tie-guan-yin-iron-goddess-oolong-tea-ti-kuan-yin
http://steepster.com/teas/teavivre/22145-tie-guan-yin-iron-goddess-oolong-tea-ti-kuan-yin
http://steepster.com/teas/teavivre/21629-yun-nan-dian-hong-black-tea-golden-tip

Lupicia:
http://steepster.com/teas/lupicia/1244-momo-oolong-super-grade
http://steepster.com/teas/lupicia/11268-chaud-les-marrons
http://steepster.com/teas/lupicia/2344-cookie
http://steepster.com/teas/lupicia/10267-happiness

52 Teas:
http://steepster.com/teas/52teas/12889-strawberry-zabaglione
http://steepster.com/teas/52teas/26641-forest-berry-silver-needle
http://steepster.com/teas/52teas/723-shamrock-tea

Dens:
http://steepster.com/teas/dens-tea/955-sakura-sencha
http://steepster.com/teas/dens-tea/1009-genmaicha-extra-green
http://steepster.com/teas/dens-tea/10000-mugicha-iced-barley-tea-bags
http://steepster.com/teas/dens-tea/10749-mango-iced-green-tea-bags

English Tea Store:
http://steepster.com/teas/english-tea-store/19786-lady-londonderry
http://steepster.com/teas/english-tea-store/4304-earl-grey-cream-tea
http://steepster.com/teas/english-tea-store/26062-earl-grey-cream-metropolitan-blend
http://steepster.com/teas/english-tea-store/26247-formosa-oolong
http://steepster.com/teas/english-tea-store/26837-mim-estate

Butiki:
http://steepster.com/teas/butiki-teas/22253-cantaloupe-and-cream

Gurman’s:
http://steepster.com/teas/gurmans/27456-fruit-garden
http://steepster.com/teas/gurmans/26731-pepper-mango-green-tea
http://steepster.com/teas/gurmans/27451-champagne-truffel
http://steepster.com/teas/gurmans/26610-madame-butterfly

London Tea Room:
http://steepster.com/teas/the-london-tea-room/25718-fto-blue-and-red
http://steepster.com/teas/the-london-tea-room/7231-the-fifth-of-november
http://steepster.com/teas/the-london-tea-room/8918-the-naughty-vicar
http://steepster.com/teas/the-london-tea-room/7310-monks-blend
http://steepster.com/teas/the-london-tea-room/25715-coconut-oolong

Verdant:
http://steepster.com/teas/verdant-tea/22275-gardens-of-anxi
http://steepster.com/teas/verdant-tea/26672-tong-tian-xiang-phoenix-mountain-dancong

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Azzrian said

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Blake said

I know I harp on it enough that they should probably pay me, but I can’t say enough about Andrews and Dunham Damn Fine Teas. Between series 3 & 5, they’ve got my favorite Oolong so far (though I haven’t tried too many), hands down my favorite Earl Grey (which says a LOT for me), the smoothest Assam I’ve ever had, and a pretty freaking bonkers Caravan. The jury is still out on their jasmine green, but that’s only because I may hate jasmine. Still need to give it a second shot. I know there are less than 10 sets of series 3 left.

I don’t have the funds to buy truly high quality expensive teas. With that said, having tasted A&D’s Earl Grey, I would gladly pay the $25 for just the two oz’s of it.

Alphakitty said

I second Andrews & Dunham—I have the Mermaid’s Kiss/Captain Assam set and it is FABULOUS. The Assam is by far my favorite straight black and the oolong is a really unusual scent (magnolia).

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Zeks said

Probably this one:
http://jkteashop.com/2011-spring-organiccertified-classic-58-fengqing-black-tea180gbox-p-1130.html?cPath=65_81

Oh, and be careful, these teas can easily swallow the whole 1k$ in just a few orders ;)
(I’ve probably spent around 200$ on Verdant’s webpage alone)

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DaisyChubb said

I can’t recommend Verdant Tea enough. The oolongs especially, but every tea there is so SO special – checkout the website and VERY detailed descriptions to see what flavours you’re interested in trying!

Honestly, they are the best quality tea I have tasted, by a long shot.

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I know the company gets a lot of knocks, but I am not ashamed to admit my love of Teavana’s Body and Mind tea. It’s a blend of jasmine pearls, white tea and oolong. Always delicious.

You can’t go wrong with almost any of the offerings from Chicago Tea Garden, and I’ve recently discovered a wide variety of comfortably-priced quality teas from Rishi (Rishi’s Ancient Trees teas are especially good). Den’s has one of the best Japanese greens I’ve ever had, Fukamushi-Sencha Yame. Verdant Teas’ oolongs are exquisite. Harney’s, Kusmi and Mariage Freres are good choices for flavored black teas.

And no “indulgent” tea shopping list would be complete without American Tea Room’s Milk Oolong. It’s pricy, but they often have discount codes, so if you wait for the right opportunity you can save 10-20%.

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Thanks everyone, I’m takig all of your suggestions into consideration. I’m very curious about Verdant with all of the great things I’ve heard about them, but I just don’t know if I’m willing to cough up that much money for tea. I took a look at their site and I want to try nearly everything they have, but I put some of their teas in my cart and by the time I got to a mere 4 ounces of tea I was already up to almost fifty dollars. I’ve been curious about American Tea Room but they’re extremely expensive as well.

52teas and Lupicia are still on the board for me as well as Mariage Freres.
Susan, what would you say are the best teas you’ve had by Mariage Freres? I’ve also been curious about trying a first flush darjeeling and I was looking at Harney’s Puttabong first flush. Does anyone have any experience with this or have any other Darjeelings they’d reccomend? So many options, it’s overwhelming…

darby select said

I live by Verdant and have been to their tea tastings. Once I went, I had no problems spending the money for their tea. They are in a class all their own! Plus they find some really interesting teas that cannot be had anywhere else. I think shipping is free with $25 so maybe just buy a few first to try especially if you’d like to purchase from multiple vendors.

Azzrian said

You also have to consider re-steeping ability. I have had many great teas from other places but the re-steep is lacking or non existent. With companies like Verdant, Teavivre, Shang, Samovar, Lupicia etc you get so many re-steeps it makes the extra price more than worth it UNLESS you get tired of one tea really easily and don’t care to re-steep a tea many times.

Zeks said

Nah, that’s an illusion :) I used to think like this too, then realized that with loose leaf addiction comes the desire to buy more, more, moooorrreee of this preciossssss tea XD So I ended up spending a lot more :)

Azzrian said

LOL Zeks!!

momo said

I second what Azzrian said about resteeping. I was really on the fence about spending the money on an order from Verdant, especially buying a $15/oz tea, but thinking about how many times I could resteep it pushed me to it.

As for Darjeelings, I’d suggest looking through Upton’s catalog and getting samples of everything that sounds good to you. Their shipping is fair enough that you could do that and then place an order for a larger quantity of the ones you like most. I prefer second flushes but right now Upton also has a 2012 first flush sampler. That’s probably what I would go with if I had the money for first flushes.

And from Mariage Freres you definitely have to get Marco Polo.

Azzrian said

Amanda – I want to do both of those things – a sample order from uptons, and get Marco Polo – that is still one I have not tried that has been on my list since the get go! I think next payday I will order some uptons samples – need to start looking at their catalogue its just so overwhelming and intimidating!

I really enjoy Verdant. Granted I don’t drink black teas, but I have had their white teas, green teas, TGY, and some of their blends and have not come across a single one that I wouldn’t want to have again. I don’t drink theirs teas on a daily basis either, I buy an ounce at a time and have them once in a while typically on a day when I can get the extras steepings out of them and the full enjoyment. I feel they are definitely worth the splurge.

I usually go for Harney and Sons and Rishi for everday teas that I find have good quality for the price.

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