It’s relatively difficult to find organic tea coming out of China for a number of reasons. Many tea afficionados are aware that products labeled “organic” aren’t necessarily organically grown. An example would be the cotton farming industry that plays around with the terms “certified organic cotton” and “organic certified cotton,” only one of which is grown organically. It helps a great deal to have someone purchase directly from China who quality checks her sources as she says she does. One must remain ever-vigilant that she, like so many others, may fall prey to high rent and not enough customers, and just sell her conventional products as organic. I have no evidence to believe she would do this, nor would I like to ever think she would. She is a very kind and helpful woman who seems to know and love what she does. So far, from the two or three times I’ve purchased from her, I’ve gotten some nice teas. The only downside is some of the teas are a little stale, as I think turnover isn’t very high. That being said, she isn’t a Teavana in a megamall turning tea over like bread in a bakery, and thus she deserves my continued loyalty.
I’ll leave this as a posthumous comment, call it an obituary (if that’s what floats your boat). This was an EXCELLENT concept tealuxe store that offered light meals and lunch downstairs and a tea bar upstairs on a fairly insanely expensive corner store on one of Boston’s most expensive streets: Newbury Street. The staff were kooky and kind, not overbearing condescending butt-crevices teavana staff usually can be. I only had lunch in the basement eatery here twice, but oh what a treat!! They kept bringing me bubble tea one after another with my meal, and I was in HEAVEN. This is also one of the only places that did not serve me extremely bitter bubble tea (as the other, still open in Harvard Sq., Tealuxe does).
So I say to you, dear Newbury Street Tealuxe, R.I.P.!
I would agree with the other reviewers that the looseleaf prices can be a little expensive for what you are purchasing, but try to buy some of their wares when you go. They sell nice glass tea mugs with their company logo for $1.95, and can make some good bubble tea with some fine Indian estate blacks. Would get a higher rating if not for some occasional stale teas they sold me, and some really bitter overbrewed bubble teas. Overall, four stars is a pretty high ranking for me to give.
I would give this store a full 5 stars if it weren’t for the inflated prices on their tea. The tea is sold in very small batches (usually 1-3 ounce canisters), which can be a plus. The teas they carry are some of your run-of-the-mill teas, but they also carry some nice oolongs, greens, whites, and blacks. They are more of a cafe than a tea store, and they make a mean bubble tea.
Went to RBTC in 2008 and purchased a great deal of tea from the store. It was a little expensive, but well worth it for the amazing tea selection. The teas they carry are not just excellent quality, but are unique and seasonal. The staff are very knowledgable, and offer up a fast-paced version of the gong-fu tea ceremony for those that wish to sample some of their wares. HINT: you should always take advantage of gong-fu tea ceremonies in Chinatown. They are usually free if you appear interested in purchasing some tea from them, and a great way to sample teas before buying.