Tea Buying Dilemma
So, I have a bit of birthday money to spend on tea (all cash, so no online ordering). I know that I love Two Leaves tea, and there are a few of their teas that I have been wanting to try (especially Gen Mai Cha). However, the only places that sell them around here only stock the sachets, not loose leaf. And I recently found out that a local coffee and tea shop sells loose leaf Harney & Sons tea by the ounce. I’ve never tried Harney & Sons before, so I’m a bit torn—should I buy some? Is it worth passing on Two Leaves? Two Leaves tends to get a higher average rating on here, but it has far fewer people rating it. I dunno—any suggestions would be helpful (I’m still inexperienced with quality tea—I’ve enjoyed it for some time, but am too poor to really explore as much as I’d like).
I prefer buying tea that I can smell first to get a better idea if I’ll like it. It isn’t fool proof, but it does cut down on the odds that I won’t like it. If there is a shop selling loose leaf in bulk, you will likely get to take a good whiff before purchasing vs not being able to smell much through the packaging bagged tea comes in, so I’d go with the loose option. BUT there is nothing saying you have to spend all your money on one brand. You could get both!
I don’t have any experience with Two Leaves but I really love Harney & Sons’s teas. You didn’t say how much you have to spend, what kind of tea you’re interested in, and what the place you found has in stock, but there are a lot of (for example) Harney black teas and blends selling online for $7 or so for four ounces. Assuming this translates to the place you found, it shouldn’t be too pricey to buy an ounce of a couple of different teas to try, as long as they don’t only stock the most expensive ones. If you don’t like them, you can go with the Two Leaves with the rest of your birthday dough.
Thanks for the suggestions! Interestingly enough, it hadn’t crossed my mind to do both—I had around $25 to spend, and I wanted to get several varieties.
Unfortunately, the place I know of that sells Harney is closed due to some smoke damage it sustained a few months ago. I visited their other location, but they were selling tea from The Tea Spot, and the variety wasn’t great. I went to Whole Foods; in addition to their brand, they had Rishi, Republic of Tea, and The Tea Spot. I bought a box of Two Leaves Gen Mai Cha that was on sale, and I may go back to get some of Rishi’s Iron Goddess of Mercy, but I want to check out Sprouts and a few other places first.
So, I found a place that sells Republic of Tea tins. I think I’m going to pick up a few small samples of some of those ones that look interesting in addition to the Iron Goddess of Mercy, then maybe pick up some RoT tins. I’ve had their loose leaf Irish Breakfast, and enjoyed it, so I’m hoping some others like Mango Ceylon and Golden Yunnan are good.