Help a non-tea guy out
Its the time of the year when you have to buy Christmas Gifts. I am looking for a tea for my co-worker. He drinks Bigelow English Teatime. I’d like to get him an upgrade but I know nothing about tea. Since this if for the office it has to be bags/sachets. Would Bungalow, Kandy or Brahmin work? Any other suggestions that can be gotten on Amazon?
Suffice to say I know very little about tea.
Try Harney and Sons. They sell good quality tea in both loose and tea bags. I think the website is www.harney.com but am not certain. I have bought from them, they sell generally good stuff.
Amazon isn’t the best place to buy tea. Sounds like he likes black tea. Try Whispering Pines, Mandala and Yunnan Sourcing for US based stuff. Lots of others out there as well. Just look around. Once he tries loose tea I don’t think he will turn back to bagged.
What type of tea should I be looking for which would be similar but better than Bigelow Teatime?
Almost any loose leaf tea is going to be better than Bigelow Teatime, but all are not created equal. If you want loose and you want to save a little money try Harney and Sons or Simpson and Vail at www.svtea.com. If money is no barrier than try Whispering Pines, they probably source the best teas but the others are pretty good too.
Try these and the owners are just an email away.
Yunnan Sourcing https://yunnansourcing.us/collections/black-tea
Whispering Pines https://www.whisperingpinestea.com/collections/pure-tea-black
Vadham is fairly good for tea from India, they make a good breakfast blend. Teavivre is running sales.
They have classic english breakfast, their website is just a bit difficult to navigate, just search breakfast. Or breakfast sampler pack.
I mostly have the darjeelings and chai, but I had a breakfast 10 gram sampler and it was good.
I would like to second the Harney’s recommendation. Some of the other recommendations above are expensive teas for serious tea drinkers, which may or may not appeal to your friend. The teas below are all similar to the Bigelow but a step better in quality. My personal favorite for a similar tea would be Queen Catherine.
Darjeeling is a nice step up from breakfast tea. This is one option:
If you wanted a variety, Harney also sell a variety of breakfast teas.
If you go with loose tea rather than bags, you might want to include a strainer to help him/her steep. The item below will work much better than a tea ball; it just sits in the cup and you lift it out when the tea is steeped.
One thing to warn your friend about is that loose tea needs hotter water than tea bags. At my work, we have water filters with integrated heaters, but the water only comes out at about 160 F, so I put the water in a microwave for 30-40 seconds to bring it close to boiling.
I also suggest Harney. There’s no need to complicate this, and they are a good choice for tea bags in general. A bonus is that they have free shipping and 20% off using code HOLIDAY17. If you search for “sampler” on Harney you’ll find a lot of nice gift options.
Just make.sure you order the bags/sachet versions and not the loose leaf. :)
Hope this helps!
I forgot but doesn’t Upton carry some good tea as well? I am mainly a puerh guy so the others probably have loads more knowledge on this topic than me.
Third (fourth?)ing Harney and Sons. Unfortunately Bigelow’s doesn’t list what black teas are used in their blend, but thinking Sri Lankan and Assam, so I’d look for black tea blends that use those. Personally, to me, English Breakfast always benefits from a bit of Keemun, but I’ve never had Bigelow’s Teatime (Harney’s also has an English Breakfast that’s just straight up Keemun).
If you do end up seeing a loose-leaf blend that looks like it might fit, I’d suggest getting it and then just getting a big pack of disposable teabags (https://i.ebayimg.com/00/s/ODAwWDgwMA==/z/570AAOSw14xWIIhB/$_58.JPG).
Another vote for Harney & Sons!
It’s definitely not that the bulk of the other companies suggested aren’t great companies, BUT I think Harney & Sons is a more natural progression from bagged tea to loose leaf that WONT break the bank. The rest are all considerable quality jumps and could be a little overwhelming if he’s only just getting into loose tea. Personally, those companies (Mandala/Yunnan Sourcing/Whispering Pines, etc.) would make more sense as your next jump up if he ends up liking the Harney teas.
I think all of the Breakfast blend suggestions sound pretty solid based on what you said he’s currently drinking, but if you’re looking to branch out a little into some nice flavoured blacks I think Boston (Cranberry/Almond)and Paris (Caramel Earl Grey) seem like really appropriate recommendations.
Regardless of what you decide to do, I’m sure he’ll love all the thought that went into it!