Favorite and Least Favorite Tea Companies
Just out of curiosity, what are some of everyone’s favorite and least favorite tea companies?
My favorite tea company has to be Yunnan Sourcing. My least favorite has to be Red Lantern Tea on EBay.
I’d say Tea-Masters has to be my favorite, followed by White2tea. I don’t really have a least favorite.
Both Tea-Masters and White2tea have been on my list of companies to try for awhile now. Maybe I can do that once I complete a few more sipdowns.
I forgot to add that one of my all time favorite stores is Simpson and Vail. They don’t really sell puerh so I don’t buy from them often anymore but they are among the best values for good tea. www.svtea.com
I will add a couple of other good ones.
Crimson Lotus tea
King Tea, on Aliexpress
Berylleb King Tea, Ebay
Tao Tea Leaf
Liquid Proust teas
I have had good results with these guys.
One I will never do again is The Tao of Tea. They sent me a wrong item a month ago and I provided them with pictures of the mis-sent item. I offered to pay the shipping and pickup to get the right one. No response on any front. Not bashing them but customer service is not there.
The only products I own from The Tao of Tea I bought on Amazon so I didn’t have any problems.
I have to second the vote for Mandala Tea. They provide some seriously good products, their prices are very reasonable, and their customer service is good. I’ve heard good things about Crimson Lotus, Tea Urchin, and Chawang Shop as well. I’ll have to check those out sometime in the near future. The bad experience with The Tao of Tea really surprises me. I’ve only been buying from them for a very short time, but their products are mostly very good, and I have yet to have any issues with their customer service. Honestly, they are one of my favorite companies at the moment.
eastkyteaguy, if they had answered any of my emails I think it would have been worked out. It was a easy mistake and if I hadn’t paid quite a bit more in the difference of what I ordered vs what I got I wouldn’t have said anything. $20.00 difference well you know.
I’ll also add that lately I have been heavily exploring the products from Steven Smith Teamaker and Simpson and Vail. I like both companies quite a bit. I find Steven Smith to be a bit pricey, but I’m a total sucker for their branding, their customer service is good, and I have yet to have a bad tea from them. Simpson and Vail doesn’t get much love on Steepster, but I really enjoy their offerings, they have a huge selection, and their customer service is, at least in my experience, incredible. I also love Whispering Pines, Verdant Tea, and DAVIDsTEa (more for the cute teaware than the actual tea. I tend to strongly dislike heavily flavored teas and I think they do way too many. Some of their straight teas are solid though.). Some people might not like me saying this, but I have a bit of a soft spot for Adagio. They got me into loose leaf teas as a teenager. Again, I’m not a fan of their flavored blends, but some of their straight teas are quite good. I also like some of the green and oolong teas I have tried from Rishi.
mrmopar, that’s understandable. $20 is quite a difference. I just took a look at the Joseph Wesley website. It looks like they have some interesting stuff. The locally made teaware is particularly appealing. Still, I kind of wish they provided a bit more information on their actual teas. I know this is nitpicking, but I would really like to know if their Darjeeling is a first or second flush, or perhaps a blend.
I am not sure since my main forte is puerh. I think J. Wesley has had a good reception. Especially on Instagram. Pu-ersk is one I probably should have added too.
@eastkyteaguy im a big fan of Joseph Wesley teas. tried them all. if you have any questions you can always email to Joe, he comes back right away. All his teas are high quality. Darjeeling id a second flush, not blend. Currently they are on a sourcing trip in China. they have limited edition seasonal teas as well. small batches
I am very fond of What-Cha, Whispering Pines, Crimson Lotus and White2Tea. Oh, and how could I forget Liquid Proust Tea? I have only ordered a few times, but the shipping is fast, the value is great and I am always gifted with something extra.
So far, I have not encountered any bad eggs (to use my grandmother’s expression). Life in Teacup is not a bad company at all, but I will not order from them again because there always seems to be some excuse for the order to be delayed and patience has never been one of my few virtues.
Again, I am a big fan of Whispering Pines as well. I don’t love all of their teas, and I think a few are slightly overhyped, but for the most part, their product range is remarkably consistent.
I have been using WPT for many years. Brenden always treats me like a friend and I sent him a Christmas gift in 2015. For a 1 man operation, he amazes me.
By the way, don’t feel apologetic for liking Adagio. If they provide good tea and good service to you, that is all that matters.
I took forever to finally give Whispering Pines the time of day. I’m glad I did. For the record, I don’t really feel apologetic for liking Adagio. I just know that Adagio doesn’t really have the best reputation in certain segments of the community. A lot of people seem to be under the impression that their teas are low grade. I think some of that stems from the fact that they produce a lot of flavored blends that appeal to a lot of people who are casual fans. I also think some of that is due to the perception that Adagio came on the scene at the right time and seemed to get big really quickly, so people then tend to make the assumption that quality must necessarily have been sacrificed. I know for awhile there around the mid 2000s their products seemed to be ubiquitous, at least in and around my area. Honestly though, I still enjoy a number of their products. I still like their Assam Melody, Yunnan Jig, Yunnan Noir, and Fujian Baroque. I also rather like their Lapsang Souchong. It’s not my favorite, but it’s solid. Even if I didn’t happen to like some of their teas, I would still have a sentimental attachment to the brand. For Christmas one year, my aunt in Georgia sent my family a giant sampler of loose leaf teas from Adagio (it was almost like she just ordered a ton of tins and decided to mail them to us) and we desperately tried to drink them all. We failed, but had a great time. I remember keeping several of the tins in my kitchen as decorations or for storage. I can’t find them now. I’m guessing they were either lost or thrown out when I moved out of my old condominium in Louisville.
Whispering Pines has some of the best teas. Their prices keep me from stocking up most of the time.
On a completely different note, I have yet to find a company that does not market at least a couple of likable teas. I do, however, remember what I feel to be a really bad idea. Allow me to explain. When I was still living in Louisville, I used to live across the street from a little family owned grocery store that carried a really eclectic range of products. Whenever I needed something immediately or had a little extra cash, I would always pop in and pick up a few things. One day I noticed a number of unique bottled teas in the cooler beside the register. Somebody had gotten the bright idea to bottle lapsang souchong and several different oolongs and market them as iced teas. They were all on sale, so I bought three or four bottles. Each and every one of them was awful. The lapsang souchong, in particular, was the stuff of nightmares. It tasted like a mixture of pine tar, cigarette butts, and dust. When I think of iced tea, I just don’t think of lapsang souchong, especially what I presume was low quality lapsang souchong. The oolongs weren’t much better. They all tasted like butter and plant stems. I can’t remember the name of the company that produced these things. I’m not really sure I want to.
Feelin’ the love :) thanks so much for the kind words, everyone! feels lost without emojis
@Whispering Pines Tea Company-feel more love; I just opened my Dark Roast Anxi Tieguanyin this morning and was transported. I had 12 steeps and can’t wait to do it all over again tomorrow. Don’t even know how to begin to say how many wonderful sessions I’ve had with your various teas. There is an entire shelf devoted to WPT in my tea cupboard.
Well, I haven’t tried every tea company yet and I don’t have any “least favorites,” but some of my favorites are TeaSource (especially for the dark tea), Soleil (their teas are very high quality and their blends are so creative and elegant), Liquid Proust of course (although all I’ve ordered so far was the dark matter group buy), Zen Tea/Zen Tea Life (their teas are great and their prices are great too, oh yeah, and they even have free tea sometimes), hmmm, and I really like Verdant’s Laoshan teas. I’ve had some great teas from companies I haven’t personally ordered from yet, too, such as Simpson&Vail and Harney&Sons.
White 2 Tea is my favorite. Quality tea, fairly represented at reasonable prices.
Tea Classico is the worst – didn’t ship or refund money for an order, had to file a PayPal grievance to get my money back.
Hatvala teas is a favorite that others might have ran across, a Vietnamese vendor who’s teas are resold by at least one other vendor. Their teas are really solid, nice products, a bit novel, great value for as good as they are (as I’ve purchased them), and the owner has been really helpful. It’s not a favorite but I thought the T2 approach to tea was interesting, the selection, look of the place, and packaging choices, and the products were very nice if not inexpensive. Since that’s an Australian vendor maybe it won’t ring a bell with everyone though.
In no order
Abbeytea (just had one from them but it is nice)
All of those I have had really good nice from, and nice customer service. Not having one or the other would knock them off that list. I havent got a worst company, just not the bests. EssencOfTea, TeaHabitat, TeaMasters, Mandala I have heard good things but not ordered.
White2Tea is my absolute favorite; a cut above the rest for puerh. Honorable mention (in no particular order) to Harney, Upton, Yunnan Sourcing, Teavivre, and Tea Urchin. These are the places I keep going back for more.