Nicole said

Exploring new tea companies..

I started drinking loose tea in late 2011. Its grown passionately to an everyday hobby. I enjoy selecting my morning tea, but I’ve noticed Teavana is the easiest way to go for purchasing my teas. Its 4 miles from my house and they have a pretty decent selection. After joining Steepster yesterday, I’m learning that there are less expensive and more “fruitful” tea companies out there. I’m not interested in purchasing something I would hate to purchase something online just for the chance to try it, for that the reason i like going into a tea store.. i can sample and smell. But with so many enthusiasts I’m sure you all can suggest teas i’d enjoy to drink!

I love black teas! Anything that you can re-steep I’m a fan of, I usually stay away from white, green, and herbal tea. The only time I use herbal tea is to mix with my black teas.

Anyone interested in swapping? Also can you point me in the direction of alternative tea companies?

Thank YOU!

p.s. i’ve only looked into so far..

11 Replies
Zeks said

" I’m not interested in purchasing something I would hate to purchase something online just for the chance to try it, for that the reason i like going into a tea store.."

This really depends on what kind of tea stores are around you. For example I can easily purchase Da Hong Pao locally but compared to what I usually receive in shipments from China this “local” tea is simply horrible (even though the cost is, ironically, the same)

Speaking of blacks though, this is the best black tea I know:

obviously, I am not an expert, but this one is just really, REALLY good.

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Uniquity said

I would suggest (if you’re going the online route) that you give Teavivre a try. They offer free samples (see here: ) and have wonderful quality unflavoured loose leaf teas, as well as a few yummy fruity tisanes. Actually, they might have more than that now, I noticed their stock is really expanding. Anyway, they’re fab and I really recommend the Bailin Gongfu Black (as a black tea lover!)

Zeks said

I have this in transit :) Hopefully in a week or two I’m going to taste it ^^

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Ian said

I would suggest you ask Teavivre for some free samples! I believe the website is just and there is a little link/picture on the homepage that take you to the form. Angel will gladly send you some completely free samples! They have a pretty good selection of Chinese black teas and they’re all very good! My favorite is the Balin Gongfu Fuijan with the Yun Nan Dian Hong Godlen Tips as a close second (excuse any spelling errors, I’m on my iPod). I would also recommend Upton Teas ( They have a HUGE selection of blacks from all over the place and you can purchase almost every tea as a sample size.

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Nicole said

Exactly the information I needed! Thanks everyone!

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Hi Nicole,

It seems to me that you are just wanting to sample teas from a bunch of tea companies without having shop around everywhere. I offer just that at the idea being you can try a bunch of different kinds at a lower price and if you do find something you like you can make a purchase for a larger amount at your discretion without the risk of ordering something you may not enjoy. I started doing this with the idea of the new tea lover in mind. I used to be so over whelmed in the beginning of my tea journey and often wondered… “Gosh, I wish there was a one stop shop where I can get a bunch of samples from different places.”. So now here I am doing just that. Of course swaps are good for that as well.

Of course, there no pressure here for you to order I am simply responding to this as it seems you may be in the same predicament I was in years ago and I just wanted to offer you another option. Ironically, I am currently offering 10% off to the first 10 people that order with coupon code: FIRST10 and there are still a few available codes out there, if you are so inclined.

If not no worries. I wish you the best and I am certain you will continue to grow as a tea lover for years to come. Enjoy!

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Ask Teavivre for samples. They don’t have the prettiest website, but they’re REALLY nice people, great with customer service, and they send really large samples. They do mail from China, so it takes a few weeks, but it’s worth the wait.

Also, I’ve ordered from Adagio several times, and they’re more or less good. DAVIDs tea is also fairly good.

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I actually buy a lot of teas from SerendipiTea. It kind of started off because Amazon carries a lot of their teas, and typically offers them with Prime shipping (so, it’s like instant gratification for me). I just recently bought my first box of samplers from them directly, and it was a super awesome experience. The shipping is 7.50 on an order though, so that has to be factored in.

One of the reasons I really like SerendipiTea is due to the… I guess I would call it ‘permutations’ that they have of their teas. You like Chai? Oh, you like your Chai with more Clove? Oh, less clove, but some chocolate? Coconut? Rooibos instead of black tea (actually drinking the rooibos chai sample right now)? They really seem to go all out with all the various combinations. It makes me quite happy.

Another place I’ve been seeing a lot of positive reviews and discussions is Upton Teas. They ship for $4 I think, and almost every tea on their website has a $1-$2 sample. I haven’t actually ordered from them myself yet, but will soon (actually, its probably what the tea portion of my next paycheck goes to).

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teawade said

I would also recommend Teavivre but of course make sure you try samples to see if it’s to your liking. From my experiences, I find that Teavana is overpriced and their customer service is mediocre. Maybe it’s just the Teavana in my neighborhood but that’s the vibe I got from them. Anyway, hope this is helpful and happy steeping!

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Hi Nicole
Recommending Darjeeling Tea Boutique (www.darjeelingteaboutique) would be like blowing one’s own trumpet, but Darjeeling Tea Boutique too has made arrangements made for its tea lovers through its free trial offer. Just what a skeptical tea lover needs when interested for online purchase of organic, fresh and pure Darjeeling Teas.
Hope you’re enjoying your sips.

Niranjan Naulakha

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If you do a search here you will get a list of online companies that some of us have reviewed:

Good luck!

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