Canadian Steepsters, how do you get your tea?

29 Replies
seawall said

Oh thank you Dustin for listing TWG’s Vancouver web site address. In the past, when I was looking for TWG tea, I was redirected to their main site in Singapore. Very useful. TWG/VanSing are my kryptonite, because they are located a stone’s throw from my home (ouch my wallet)

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Leafhopper said

Just added Vansing to the list. Some of their straight teas are fantastically expensive (as in over $100). I’ve never had TWG tea. Is it like Mariage Frères?

Dustin said

They are trying desperately to be like MF. MF was established in 1854 and TWG (The Wellness Group) is a Singapore company established around 2008 as a luxury tea brand. They have 1837 in their logo which is a little misleading, but they say it’s in celebration of the year Singapore became a tea trading post. Seems like a sneaky way to add legitimacy to me. One of the founders spent time in Paris in the tea trade and the photos of TWG shops look styled after MF’s aesthetics, so I bet founder dude spent hours drooling in MF shops. Shady marketing approaches aside, I like some of their teas. They have a lot of interesting sounding flavor combos in their “Weekend in (fill in the city/country)” teas that I wasn’t impressed by, but I enjoyed trying anyways. New York Breakfast is one that comes to mind that I like. It’s similar to MF’s Wedding Imperial, with a malty choco flavor. London Breakfast was another. I like the thin tall tins their tea comes in and I really like the artwork they have for their teas. I’m going to guess that the SUPER expensive teas and $4000 tea pot are marked as such just to give an air of luxury to the brand. I don’t begrudge them, but I’m not buying the “look how fancy we are” dance either.

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seawall said

Fantastically expensive, oh yes tell me !!!

I was in the TWG restaurant today, stopping for tea with a friend. One of the teas on the menu, the Imperial Gyokuro, was offered at $450 per teapot! Goodness gracious.

My friend enjoyed a lovely French Earl Grey with notes of bergamot and apricots ($11), whereas I availed myself of a Milk Oolong ($18) which had notes of milk on the nose and with a superb fruity aftertaste. A little marvel. Each tea pot is very generous (over a litre, I would say) and each tea was perfectly prepared.

The tea menu at TWG’s restaurant in Vancouver is eight pages long. They boast over 800 different teas, but in reality the number is lower. They also offer high tea, desserts and prepared dishes (many of which use tea as a marinating or other ingredient). It’s a very high end place, offers superb service, the tables and chairs are reminiscent of a café in Paris (or Singapore). TWG prides itself as a very high-luxe tea brand, and the prices reflect this.

Dustin said

Oooooooo, I’d love to try dishes prepared with tea!

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Leafhopper said

Yikes! $450 for a gyokuro is luxe indeed. Your milk oolong sounds like a nice splurge, though.

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As someone who ships tea to Canada – I would like to offer some information about the cost of shipping. To ship a package that is 8 ounces or less, it costs $9.98. That’s just the postage and doesn’t begin to cover the cost of packaging.

For anything over 8 ounces and up to 2 lbs, the cost jumps to $16.39 and once you reach 2 lbs. it jumps to $24.94. When it’s over 3 lbs, it’s $37.05.

And the USPS rates will be increasing on January 26.

I hate having to charge so much to my Canadian customers because I know that the exchange rate is also an issue but I have to charge a price that reflects these rates otherwise I’ll lose money.

Some of my Canadian customers work together and place a group order so that they can combine shipping – so that they can put together a large order that reaches the free shipping threshold and then they divvy it up after it arrives. So if you know other tea drinkers who live nearby, perhaps you could work something like that out?

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Leafhopper said

Thanks for offering a vendor’s perspective. I was aware that shipping from the U.S. to Canada is high, though I’m surprised how fast it increases with larger orders. The companies with a $10 or even a $15 flat shipping rate are definitely doing us a favour. However, this does mean that we Canadians have to buy from companies within Canada or outside North America, purchase lots of tea to hit a free shipping threshold (which many American companies don’t have for non-U.S. customers), or as you suggested, do group orders. In short, it’s frustrating for everybody (but no one blames you, the vendor, for the high shipping costs).

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Arby said

I buy mostly from local shops David’s tea, Murchie’s, silk road (https://silkroadteastore.com/), Special Teas Inc (http://www.specialtea.com/), https://jagasilk.com/ (VERY high quality matchas, but obviously quite pricey), Just Matcha (http://www.justmatcha.com/

Also I like some of Amoda’s blends.

I generally don’t buy tea online unless they have free shipping so I haven’t branched out into many international sellers that I really want to try. Us Canadians need to organize a Bird & Blend or Lupicia group buy.

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Leafhopper said

Thanks for all the new company links! I’d love to participate in a group order, although I prefer straight teas.

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Kiki tea said

i’m in Ottawa and here there’s a really fine tea store, A World of Tea. the owner goes to Asia to find great tea and is very knowledgeable. i also have a subscription to TeaRunners.com and get a monthly tea box for a reasonable price.

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Leafhopper said

Thanks! I think I’ve heard of World of Tea before, though variations of this name seem to be popular (World Tea House, World of Finest Tea in Poland, etc.). I’m not sure if we should include tea clubs in this list, as it’s already getting long.

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