Companies you stumbled across
When I have nothing to do (and sometimes even in busy times) I just browse ’net and look into companies I never heard of, but they have interesting blends. Or their tea seems nice. Or they have a tea I was craving for. I hope everyone got companies like that.
But for some reason, I never ordered from them. For example — they don’t ship here. Or shipping is too pricey. Or… I have lots of teas now.
But this topic should be about those companies you would like to try one day. For any reason.
Let’s start with my list I am having for now:
I have liked the name of company — being fan of postcards. They used to have real tea postcards. Some interesting teas.
Tea et al.
Probably saved because of their tea bags. Again, some interesting blends.
Renegade Tea Estate
Georgia tea directly from Georgia? Deal. Seems quite cheap for me. Need to keep this in mind.
Saved because of their tea bags for my collection. They decided to don’t wrap teas to outer wrapping. Have samples (10g) from one euro (25 CZK). Considering an order now.
Now not sure if saved after tried a tea from them I got from Izzy, but whatever. They offer tea and treats. Seems interesting :)
Some Russian tea company, saved because their tea bags. No idea about them. Not sure if they deliver outside Russia.
Saved one blend, probably I was interested back then. UK based company. Subsciption available.
German based tea company which have vast stock of Thai tea. Okay shipping price. Would like to try them.
Par Avion Tea
Completely no idea. Pricey, not even interesting blends for me… but saved.
Probably saved for their pouch design. Directly from India. Free samples. Single estate teas too.
Vietnamese company with their country production. Wild teas. Interesting descriptions.
Bar Harbor Tea Company
Interesting blends, nice tea bags for my collection. Asked them, never got a reply :(. Loose leaf/tea bags.
Mostly interesting herbals.
Too Soul Tea Co.
Few interesting blends. They seem nice, but unfortuntely they offer only quite big tins. Good for group buy maybe?
That’s for now. Feel free to write down your saved, but never ordered tea companies. Maybe we could agree on trying those small companies, as they need support in this time. Of course, big players too. Maybe you will find out that some companies aren’t interesting at all. Maybe because they offer nothing for you? Nevermind. I just want to let share some probably small, but nice companies.
I can vouch for Hatvala. They usually have good stuff. A lot of the teas they source come from the same farms/estates from which other vendors of Vietnamese tea source. I know that a lot of the Vietnamese teas that What-Cha offers are also offered by Hatvala. If you are open to it, I can make a few recommendations.
You are welcome to do that. It’s about the discussion, checking “unknown” or less known companies. I see on my dashboard almost always same companies. I love variety :)
Martin, I enjoyed the Purple Rain, Fish Hook, and Lotus green teas quite a bit. I also find the Wild Buffalo black tea and both the Red Buffalo and Oriental Beauty oolongs to be very nice.
I second Hatvala. Shipping is extremely slow due to COVID, though. I ordered from them earlier in the year and waited over 3 months for my tea.
I agree, we tend to see lots of the same companies here.
I also recommend Hatvala. When I ordered from them a couple years ago, their shipping was $5, and I like many of their teas.
I have a long, long list of companies I’d like to order from. Off the top of my head, it includes:
Wang Family Tea
It’s run by Taiwanese farmers and has three kinds of Shan Lin Xi, plus four types of Taiwanese black tea. However, their international shipping is $25. I don’t know why it’s so expensive when most Taiwanese companies charge around $10. Shipping within the U.S. is $6. Pass.
A Taiwanese vendor with an excellent blog and top-flight teas, plus some surprisingly affordable ones. I might order from them once Canada can get regular mail from Taiwan again.
This company has been on my radar for a while, if only for their Laoshan Black and Anxi oolongs. They’re a little pricy, though.
This seems to be the company for tea connoisseurs, but their catalogue is in yen and I don’t know how they ship. Basically, ordering from them would be expensive and complicated, but maybe worth it.
Old Ways Tea
I’d love to know what a genuine restricted-area Wuyi oolong tastes like, but don’t really want to make the investment. Shipping to Canada is somewhat reasonable, though, so it’s a possibility. They also supposedly have good black tea.
A Canadian purveyor of very high-end Chinese tea. Sadly, they don’t take PayPal.
Honourable mentions go to:
Bitterleaf (because of a drool-worthy description of Sugar Glider)
Tea from Taiwan
Golden Leaf Tea
World Tea House (for their port barrel aged tea)
One River Tea
Art of Tea
I too have been meaning to order from Hojo for a while but I don’t understand their ordering system. He’s been direct sourcing his teas for a long time and definitely knows his stuff.
I checked out Hatvala and it reminds me an awfully lot of Tea from Vietnam. This store had some buzz on Steepster a few years ago then disappeared. It’s possible they’ve rebranded since then. I see a few of the teas that Tea from Vietnam had as well as a few of What-Cha’s Vietnamese teas.
Verdant Tea is legit. Been ordering from them for years and love their Laoshan and Dragonwell teas. They have some excellent Dan Congs too.
Tea from Taiwan is another good shop. They don’t get much publicity around here but source some quality Taiwanese oolongs.
Bitterleaf specializes in puerh which isn’t really my thing. But I still adore the teaware I purchased from them a couple of years ago. IMO, they have the most exquisite collection of Chinese teaware anywhere.
For teapots: (make note the item number)
For teas: (make note of the item number)
This PDF is updated as new teas are added/sold out.
Follow him on Facebook for limited release teas that don’t get listed on the URL/pdf above.
To place an order, email Hojo with the item number and quantity/amounts you want:
He will reply to your email confirming your order and send you an invoice through Paypal to your email. Just follow the paypal prompts and pay with credit card through paypal, which also does the currency conversion. Once you order the first time its easy. Its more personal and direct since you’re dealing directly with Hojo himself, not an anonymous ecommerce website.
As for yen/USD, simply divide by 100 to get an approximate ballpark estimate. 100 yen is about $1. 5000 yen is about $50. plus there’s google…
Hojo recently released an ecommerce site that serves just Malaysia. He is supposedly working on a western facing ecommerce site to be released later this year (2021).
Shipping: He only uses EMS which is a bit more expensive but super fast. You’ll have your tea in less than a week. Shipping cost is in the confirmation email he sends back to you, and you can cancel or proceed with the order at that time through the paypal invoice. If shipping is too much, you can politely decline the order.
He’s very easy to work with and accommodating.
He also guarantees his teawares. A samashi I ordered arrived with a hairline crack and he immediately refunded the cost plus the shipping cost to return it.
Wang Family Tea – heard good things but they don’t list vintage so that’s why I haven’t ordered from them. They need to list year/season of harvest and processing. (ie Winter 2020, Spring 2019)
TeaMasters is the only place I get Taiwan gaoshan oolongs. I’ve had a lot of gaoshan from a lot of vendors, but nothing is quite as clean and pure and satisfying as the gaoshan oolongs from TeaMasters. Stephane Earler the guy who runs TeaMasters is a tea purist. You can quickly pick up on his love and passion for tea when interacting with him and it shows through in his teas.
andresito thank you for your entry! Certainly nice companies. Maybe one day I will place the order.
I’ll also second Verdant Tea and Bitterleaf. I rarely buy tea these days but have purchased some great tea (and teaware) from both.
Thanks, White Antlers, for the recommendations. I think both of these companies have free shipping over a certain threshold. Have you liked any particular teas from them?
Leafhopper, unfortunately I can’t offer you names of specific, very good teas from either place. A lot of what I’d purchased I have since gifted to other folks or consumed in the last 3-4 years. While nothing stellar stands out in memory, I can also say I have no memories of ‘bad’ tea or negative interactions/shipping problems with either seller.
White Antlers, I’ve been the beneficiary of some of your tea samples, though not from Verdant or Bitterleaf. Those Whispering Pines teas, though, are highly appreciated! I don’t remember every tea I’ve consumed in the past four years either, and am glad you had good experiences with both vendors.
Leafhopper, so glad you have been in the receiving loop! derk has been the real heroine in spreading the dragon’s lair of tea I sent her back in the summer. Reminds me of throwing a pebble in a pond and then seeing how far out the ripples go. As a senior citizen, online communities are relatively new to me but it is heartening to see how much good can be in them.
As I was falling asleep last night, I had a flash of a Verdant tea I’d enjoyed and repurchased 4 years ago, but of course, could not recall the name…
I am very smitten with Verdant Tea and highly recommend any of the He Family’s Black Teas. Those have become treasured teas in my stash and aren’t too expensive for how many times you can resteep, flavor, etc.
White Antlers, we all appreciate your bountiful supply of tea! I’ll be working through mine for quite a while.
Nichole, thanks for the recommendation. Those black teas are definitely at the more affordable end of Verdant’s catalogue. (The Dan Cong and Wuyi oolongs, not so much.)
What’s funny is I have several of their Dan Cong and Wuyi oolongs but always seem to look past them. I’ve been in such a puerh/black tea kick lately that I haven’t taken a moment to enjoy those beauties.
Yeah their Dan Congs are pricey but I feel many of them like the High Elevation Mi Lan Xian justify the price. They are a step above the typical ones you’ll find on Yunnan Sourcing.
The nice thing about Verdant is they offer samplers of every tea. I drink Dan Cong occasionally so I find it economical to buy samples and steep them in small vessels (50ml and 65ml teapots).