High End Tea

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Depending on where you live, finding top quality, artisan tea to make a great tasting cup or pot of tea may be challenging.

You may be tempted to investigate the offerings of the neighborhood coffee house or a food store that offers an eclectic sampling of teas. 

Yet, if high quality tea varieties are not the core of a retailer's business, you may be disappointed in the quality or taste of what is being sold. If your area has a specialty retailer or tea house, you may be more apt to find the freshness and grade you desire.

To find a good place to buy teas, ask for referrals from friends who are tea connoisseurs or from those who own specialty restaurants and may be aware of fine tea distributors in your area.

If there is no retailer in your area, check the web for online tea companies who specialize in high quality tea. Evaluate the online seller by using much of the same criteria listed below.

Buying a small amount of tea for your first purchase and evaluating its taste will enable you to see if you want to purchase more from the online seller.

Regardless of where you buy your fine, high end tea, here are some important things to consider before making a purchase.

  • How many types of tea are offered for sale? Too few suggests that tea is not the retailer’s primary focus and doesn't get the attention it deserves.

  • Good retailers store loose leaf teas in large airtight containers and sell them by weight. You should be able to buy any quantity of tea you desire from the retailer.

  • How prominent is the tea display in the retail space?. If the tea is located in the back of the store or away from prominent displays, you may want to find another place to buy tea where it is a more important product offering for the retailer.
  • What type of tea accessories, books, pots and other gift items are sold. This is an indicator of the seller’s focus on fine quality tea.

  • Are the countries of origin, estates and any other information provided for each tea type?

  • Do the store owner and staff appear to be well-educated about fine tea varieties, origins and proper preparation?

  • Does the retailer have fresh brewed high end tea available to sample and purchase? If not, then you may want to look elsewhere.

Before you buy, ask to see the actual bulk tea and check for dry leaves that have a slight shine and pleasant appearance. There should be no stems or pieces mixed in with the leaves.

For your first purchase from any retailer, buy a small sample to make sure you are fully satisfied with its quality, grade and taste before buying larger quantities and other varieties.

Related Information - High End Tea

Types of Tea
Shop for Tea
Tea Industry Terms: A Helpful Glossary
Loose Leaf Tea vs. Tea Bags
How to Brew Tea
What is Tea Cupping?
Flowering Tea -- Blooming Tea
Camellia Sinensis: The Tea Plant
How Drinking Tea Began
What is Kosher Tea?
History of the Tea Bag 

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