16 Replies
Kat said

I think it greatly depends on the tea and what you are looking for. However, more expensive tea does seem, to me, to produce a better cup.

I bought some loose leaf Chinese black tea to use to blend some chai for Christmas gifts today. The store was close, and I thought it might due. I think the tea might be too light, and I might go venture out further (way further…) to find some Indian tea. Anyway—

I drank a cup to see what it tasted like. It was fine—maybe even very decent, but unfortunately for the tea, I drank Teavana’s Golden Yunnan Pu-erh (which say what you will about Teavana, this blend is pretty much the perfect black tea for me. And not at all a Pu-Erh. No idea why it’s called that.) Anyway, the difference was just… huge and gaping. I spent the whole pot of the grocery store tea thinking it was just sadly inferior to the tea I had that very morning. And I KNOW the grocery store tea was fine. It was much better than Lipton bagged tea for sure. It tasted like Chinese restaurant tea— light and slightly floral but definitely a black tea.

However, I can imagine a situation where cheap tea can certainly be good. I think if I tried around the grocer teas, I’d find something maybe even pretty amazing.

I’m really tired; sorry for the random aside. I was just sitting this afternoon, writing some notes for my poetry workshop, drinking this grocery store tea thinking: I would enjoy the crap out of this tea if I wasn’t comparing it to a higher end tea right now. Why can’t this cup of tea be decent to me. There’s no real universe where paying a lot for tea is justifiable when I know I can get very decent tea for less than .40$ an ounce. And yet, the comparison is there, and it does justify the price in my spoiled little head.

Kaylee said

Oooh, what’s your chai blend recipe (if you’re willing to share)?

Kat said

I haven’t decided yet. I’m going to spend a couple of days trying to figure it out. I just thought it’d be a fun gift, and figured I’d work from there. I’m involved in a gift swap where we have to swap homemade gifts, so that’s where the idea originally started.

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Yeah this company has the best prices but I have found the teas either amazing or pretty poor

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Kat said

Then maybe the prices are worth buying a lot of tea to try and finding the really good ones? I’d kind of love to do that at the grocery stores around me, but you can only buy tea in pretty large quantities and the idea of owning so much tea is just—overwhelming. Even though if I found some good teas, the whole project would likely be fiscally worth it.

I think there might be merit in finding a diamond in the rough. Of course, you’re kind of already doing that with your blog, so I guess we’re on a similar page.

Yeah there was a few nice ones but at them prices it felt like they were worth trying

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Uniquity said

That is a pretty wide selection of tea types as well. It could be that you are trying types you don’t like and those are the ones you find poor quality, where others are more to your taste. I have tried very expensive teas that I didn’t like the taste of, or that I found poor quality. Sometimes it’s the taster, sometimes it’s the steeping conditions, and sometimes it’s the leaf. If you like it, it’s good quality for you. If you don’t like it, it will never be a good quality for you, regardless of price.

Amen to that!!

ifjuly said

Yes, agreed.

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When you say the price compromised the quality, do you think that the lower price might have made it a lower quality tea prior to tasting?

I have some teas that I love that are just steals, literally parts of a penny per cup.

What I have found in the past though is that if I go into a store and the tea is really cheap I will find maybe 1 or 2 out of 10 that I like. In a higher end store I find that the number is generally higher. That might just be the stores in my area, and can also be jaded by my subconscious.

I look for value in all teas which is a balancing act between price and quality.

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You’ll never know until you try them. Eventually I’ll refine my tastes

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sandra said

I drink loose -expensive teas (comp. grade Senchas & gyokuro) but buy ‘cheap’ teas in local grocery stores all the same.
My fave ‘cheap’ tea is Ahmad ceylon, and I recently bought a FBOPceylon from a Jordan store closeby (500gr. /4 euros).It’s a wonderful tea.

I order from Pluckley (their flagship breakfast tea, which is a blend of CTC Assam, Kenya tea.

I must admit, I tend to spend more on a green tea, than on any other tea. Find darjeelings at times disappointing and overrated/overpriced, so turned to Nepal teas, and I love them! (order them via Edeltee in Germany, they ship worldwide, and they have wonderful teas!)

Good luck with on your search for the perfect tea :)

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cteresa said

This question was pretty relevant to me, was just talking about preferring Lady Grey to other more expensive, more chic teas!

So yes, you can get good cheap tea – I love the already mentioned Twinings´ Lady Grey, I got some local and some Mozambican teas which are cheap and lovely, I got some cheap (4-5 euros a kilo) ceylon with letters on their names from a local old store which were awesome, and there is more.

And you can also get very expensive tea, with great packaging which is quite bad.

But one thing, some teas you are never going to find good versions for much cheaper. Look for bargains in teas from unusual locations or cheaper types which might be as good and much cheaper than other more famous names (say tea from Nepal as compared to a Darjeeling, a bai mu dan rather than a silver needle). But for famous types of teas, well there are not going to be any bargains, you know.

ifjuly said

that’s a great point and i wholeheartedly agree re: looking for general tea types that are similar to the ultra premium ones (i love darjeeling and have been very happy with some of the cheaper nepali teas for sure, and the white tea example makes sense too…and there’s classes of japanese tea where a shade or two under the fanciest stuff like gyokuro are very good too).

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No this company had teas that elsewhere were much more but the purchases have been very hit and miss

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LuckyMe said

Yes and no. Cheaper tea like the ones commonly sold in grocery stores (Lipton, Stash, etc) often doesn’t taste good because its made from lower grade tea dust. Almost any full leaf tea will taste better than those but that may not always justify their price. I find that a lot of the high end tea sold at specialty stores and online is overpriced. Once you move beyond the bottom tier teas, you’ll find that the difference in quality becomes smaller.

Price alone does not indicate quality. For example, I can buy a top grade organic sencha from O-Cha that would cost roughly the same per oz as what my local tea shop sells inexpensive sencha (kukicha) for. I was recently blown away by bagged jasmine and oolong tea that I picked up for $3 each at Homegoods. Tasted better than many more expensive brands I’ve bought elsewhere.

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