Is this tea really overpriced, or is it just me?

I received an email alert about this tea company. Check out these prices! They struck me as really high for what you’re getting.

I mean, if you’re into “designer” type tea blends and you want the snob appeal of a fancy tin, why not just get a tin of Mariage Freres for $19? Or do some shopping around for single leaf teas? I cannot fathom paying $55 for 4 oz. of kukicha!

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Any store that is billing themselves as a Modern Luxury Apothecary is probably appealing to a consumer base that has far too much money so I can’t imagine it’s worth it. But hey, maybe it really is god’s gift to tea.

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I’ve seen the teas in person at a store in Austin, TX, and they sure are gorgeous (the packaging at least.. the tea was pretty, but the samples I saw weren’t anything crazy-new). The packaging makes them tempting, but only on a theoretical level. I didn’t try it, so I can’t say if it’s over-priced.

However, it does look like the tea is at least half the price if you buy directly through Belloqc’s own website. Worth a look for the photography alone.
($15 for the Afghani Chai vs $37 through Beauty Habitat)

The price difference might also be due to quantity you can purchase. Another reason to go right to Bellocq so you can try smaller sizes for a more reasonable amount.

Whoops, math was failing me.

On Belloqc’s site, $15 is the smallest amount you can get. The pretty tin is indeed $37 for 3.5 oz (same as in your original link). That comes to $10.60ish per ounce. Except not all of that is tea.. let’s say $3 for a cool tin you can keep using. So that means $9.70 per oz for the Chai. Definitely on the expensive side, but it could be worth it. For me, it would depend on what the “organic Indian tea” base was. It would have to be one of the best black teas I’ve ever had.

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FORTY DOLLARS for 1.5oz of Jasmine Silver Needles? Thirty-seven for an Assam Chai?!

The “more money than brains,” crowd here, obviously.

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Scott B said

I’ve spent $40 for 4 ounces or less of tea before-but they were reserves or estate selects from a good tea seller (even then, I am not sure that it was not overpriced just a bit). But $37.50 for 2.5 ounces of Earl Grey?! You could get a POUND of award-winning Earl Grey from Rishi for that amount. $33.50 for 3.5 ounces of Moroccan Mint?! Seriously? I would never buy from this company. But hey, if someone wants to try it, that’s their prerogative.

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Azzrian said

The tins look a little like martini shakers to me.

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very overpriced!

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Looking at the Bellocq’s teas on their own website, they are actually not what I would judge to be too expensive, if you buy them without the tin . For example, $19/3OZ, or about $6/OZ, for a good golden Yunnan is not that bad but when you add the tin, it goes to $37 (so $18 for the tin); that is what I don’t understand. For the Chai, it jumps from $15 to $37, so your paying $22 for the tin. Either the tins are different, or someone’s not doing the math properly. Regardless, unless the tin can sing, it’s not worth it to me. : )

Actually, it looks like the Yunnan in the tin has only two ounces instead of three. So at about $13 for two ounces of tea, you are then paying about $24 for the 2 OZ tin. Wow.

UPDATE: I think I just found the bell ringer: $28 for 3 OZ Gyokuro. Not bad. $90 for four ounces, in a ‘silver’ tin. Let’s see, at about $9/OZ, that’s $37, $38 for the tea, and that makes the tin over $50. Come on, really?! That one better sing AND dance!

Missy said

And make your tea!

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Tamm said

I have seen these before, and I think the tin is beautiful, but that price tag!!! I would love to be able to make the labels myself and find a supplier for the tin b/c it would probably be much cheaper.

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Overall if you divide the price by the ounce, it’s not… bad. On the expensive side for sure, but some of them aren’t totally unreasonable. The tins are beautiful, though, and I feel like you’re paying at least partly for the name.

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mbanu said

Two of the founders worked in product design and fabrication for fashion companies before coming to tea, and one was a columnist for Martha Stewart. This makes me suspect that their focus is on selling the accessories to tea rather than on the tea itself. It may be the case where their main focus is selling gift teas. In that case, it makes sense that they would put so much effort (and money) into the tin rather than the tea. A beautiful tin can be appreciated by anyone, but sometimes appreciating a beautiful tea requires a bit of education. I think this may be the case. If you look in their “press” section, they seem to work hard to get their teas listed in holiday catalogs and the “gift guide” sections of magazines.

They were originally London-based, so part of the issue may be that they have simply taken their London prices in pounds and exchanged them for U.S. dollars, without realizing the impact it would have.

One thing to keep in mind, though, is that there are teas out there that are truly worth those kind of prices. But that is a bit more like appraising antiques… those kind of teas require a bit of study to identify, because there are so many other things (as shown here) that can make a tea sell for high prices besides the tea itself.

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