Favorite offline places to buy tea
I’m in Bar Harbor, Maine and there’s a lovely shop downtown called The Bar Harbor Tea Co. that I like to get some of my loose leaf teas from. They don’t serve tea there but apparently a tea house (not affiliated) just recently opened up on the edge of town. Hopefully I can find time to get in there this summer and learn more about them.
There is a Boston shop called Notting Hall, the address is only a PO Box on my bag of loose tea but my mom buys from them every year at the Providence flower show in RI. She got me the Jasmine Dragon Pearls this year and they are awesome!
In Vermont my favorite is Vermont Liberty Tea Company, I know a few people on here have tried his teas as well because I love swapping them! Locally owned and operated, the nicest man in the world, and he is so knowledgable about every single tea. Such a great selection too! Some fun unique things like a masala chai with peppermint and a maple cream (which I’ve decided in this moment MUST be mixed with his cream earl grey)
I like my local Teavana’s though kind of tired of the same old samples they got everytime I go. The people there aren’t pushy, just friendly and helpful.
Tranquilitea’s in Plymouth, Michigan- A little far for me to drive, though planning on going back next week, depending on how much I got in my check.
The British Pantry in Tecumseh, Michigan-Near Ann Arbor and farther then I really feel comfortable driving, so only been there once. But hopefully I will be able to visit sometime this Spring or Summer.
Biggby’s-Serves and sells a limited amount of Harney and Sons Teas, some of which I’ve wanted to try out. My 2 local Barnes And Noble do the same. Unfortunately I do not have the room to put those big tins and really wish they or someone would sell the tagalong tins. Yes I do know that Harney’s website sells them and I’ve written to them asking if they accept Visa/Mastercard gift cards, but no answer. Maybe I should call them…even though I hate calling people. I have a huge list of Harney and Sons Tea that I badly want to try.
I’m from a miniature town in Pennsylvania, and the tea culture is somewhat lacking here (though we’ve gotten lucky with Italian food and Amish cheeses). Most of my offline tea is bought in Walt Disney World (Twinings, Epcot’s Canada and Japan, Mickey’s Pantry… you can even find Kusmi in France occasionally!)
I’m working on a map for Vancouver, BC. It’s a good way to procrastinate. :) My favourite is Steam Tea House.
And the fun part is this isn’t even all of them! I’m missing a lot, I feel like. The only problem with doing a tea crawl/meetup is that they’re so far apart!
Oh, and not all of them are in-person stores. As I learn about and visit the companies I’m updating notes to reflect how you can purchase, etc.
This is awesome. I go to the one in North Van called Tea Time on lonsdale and have had lots of luck so far with their teas. It is a nice family run business, no website nor Internet sales though. I will have to visit others on your map…have actually never looked into how many different places there were in Vancouver. Thanks for all your hard work!
Awesome! I really want to go visit them all, but I have limited money for tea right now. I think it’d be too dangerous! :)
I did not know about all the Vancouver tea shops!! Thanks for the intel. – good work! I recently found a little shop in Steveston – called Nikaido. They have about 150 kinds of tea. They sell other stuff too, but the tea I have tried ( snowflake – a black coconut almond; summer – an orange creamsicle roibos; etc) has been pretty good….ah, so many tea shops……so little time……
Would they have an online site? The description of Snowflake sounds intriguing.
Lynxiegrl – Snowflake is from a wholesaler, and if Nikaido doesn’t have an online shop you can also find it through Georgia Tea Company: http://www.georgiateacompany.com/flavored-black/details/88/7/flavored-black/snowflake
I thought it seemed familiar. I already got Georgia Tea Company in my favorites. I loved their Raspberry Black Tea!
The only tea places in my immediate location are World Market and Teavana, (which I tend to avoid like the plague).
If I want to travel 30-40 minutes then I have Berkeley,(CA) to fall back on, as they have quite a few teahouses and herb shops that sell a good amount of fresh tea.
My favorite place in Berkeley so far is “Far Leaves Tea” because they have a very cozy and quaint atmosphere; plus the woman who steeps the tea and sells it is very knowledgeable and can make a great cuppa cha!
I had Lapsong Souchong for the first time at Far Leaves and it was a great experience. I hope to visit them soon again and sit in to have a nice pot of tea.
Now my absolute favorite teahouse so far is “Hidden Peak Tea” located in Santa Cruz, CA. It really is hidden by the way. It took us 20 minutes on foot to find it hidden away in an alleyway. Haha. I wish I could go everyday, but it’s quite far from me, about an hour to an hour and a half away from me.
The place is gorgeous, it’s like finding a secret Chinese garden. It’s peaceful, warm, quiet and zen. There’s an outdoor sitting area accompanied by a small fountain and garden. They have a small library on tea books and other subjects that are free to read along with some classic board games to play outside. It’s a high-tech free zone, so no cell phones or media allowed, which is amazing when you’re there.
They also feature Gong-fu services and tastings. I had my first traditional Gong-fu ceremony here, as well as my first Pu-erh tea. Great tea, and great fun with friends! (We name our tea pet William. Haha.)
You can also buy loose leaf here of course, but the real charm is drinking it there. They seem to specialize in Pu-erh cakes and they have quite a line up. I drank “Sailing Vessel 1999(Pu-erh): Smooth, brisk and sweet cake” in Gong-fu there.
If you’re ever in the Santa Cruz area, don’t pass this place up!
Cool! I’ll have to check it out next time I’m in SC! If you are in Berkeley, stop by The Pasta Shop. It’s right next to Teance, which looks pretty cool too. The Pasta Shop is this tiny specialty grocery store that sells Marriage Freres teas in the tins and self serve in bulk! I got a little bit of all 12 or so varieties they have in bulk!
Sounds great I definitely will check out those stores Dustin. :) Do you live nearby?
It’s about a 20 minute drive across town, but Tea Market in the Brookside area of Kansas City, MO is absolutely charming and the owner and staff are wonderful. It’s a 100% local shop so I like supporting them when I can. They also ship! www.teamarketonline.com
Then, on the other end of the spectrum, there’s Teavana. Going there is a necessary evil for me, because I’m addicted to their white ayurvedic chai and coco caramel sea salt. They’re soooo pushy where I usually go and do the thing where I say I want 4oz and they bag up a bunch, weigh it, and say “is 5.2oz ok?” Ugh. And don’t get me started about how they say their tins will keep tea fresher and their tumblers will make tea taste better than anything I might have (when they don’t even ask what I have). Their tea is so expensive to me that I usually buy in small amounts, but I need to suck it up and buy in bulk just to save me from going back there!
Awwws! Geez that’s why I can’t stand Teavana.
Maybe you should try buying from their online store to avoid visits. It’s really too bad that they have to be like that.
The Tea Market looks super cute, and the tea prices are very reasonable, thanks for sharing.