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Old 08-21-2012, 08:43 PM   #1
dhaus
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Default Black teas - online vendors?

Currently on meds that turn coffee undrinkable for me. I find I can drink tea with no punishment and have started looking at loose tea. I have a good infuser from Teavana and have tried their English Breakfast tea. I like that tea but am looking for other recommendations. Teavana has a B&M store near me. I'm also wondering what online vendors might be good as well as which of their black teas folks could recommend. BTW, when asking for the english breakfast tea, the clerk at teavana actually told me it was not very good, somewhat dehydrated, etc., BUT, THIS TEA at over 5 times the cost was quite the product. I believe it was golden monkey, or some such. I may actually be interested in that tea, but the pressure really turned me off. I asked her why Teavana is selling a substandard, poorly stored tea. She shut up.
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Old 08-22-2012, 12:04 AM   #2
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Default Re: Black teas - online vendors?

English Breakfast Tea always tends to be mostly dust and brews out very bitter and tannic, at least in my experience. It isn't something I'd go out of my way to drink. That is probably what she meant, not that the Teavana EBT specifically is bad, just that type of tea itself is lousy. The more expensive teas will be whole leaves and are very good, the cheap crappy ones will look like mostly dust, because it's made from the dust that falls off the better teas. Any vendor will carry both crappy dust tea and good whole leaf tea. You really do get what you pay for where loose leaf tea is concerned.

I used to get all my tea from Lupicia, because they had a B&M near me. Teavana is better though, to be honest. When you get a chance you should pick up some Lapsang Souchong or a really good Darjeeling. The Souchong is much easier to brew and tastes like a campfire, the Darjeeling is delicious but pretty easy to mess up and then it ends up tasting too astringent. Earl Grey is the best ever but everyone has their own take on it and some of them are downright terrible and just give me heartburn, so you have to find one that you like.

I hope this helps a little.
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Old 08-22-2012, 05:53 AM   #3
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Default Re: Black teas - online vendors?

Just the sort of post I was looking for! I guess it makes sense a tea priced like a Phillies cigar would be of like quality. Darjeeling sounds good. Not sure about the campfire in a cup, but I do like latakia pipe tobacco. At least this slope is a bit cheaper than cigars! My wife is a tetly tea bag fan and sees no reason to change, so all of my tea is brewed in a mug using the teavana cool comfort infuser, if that makes a difference. I figure she should drink what she likes and like what she drinks. More loose tea for me!
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Old 08-22-2012, 06:02 AM   #4
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Default Re: Black teas - online vendors?

Fortnum & Mason is a top notch tea vendor (among other things)

http://www.fortnumandmason.com/
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Old 08-22-2012, 03:35 PM   #5
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Default Re: Black teas - online vendors?

I can't stomach going to teavana because of their prices and most of their teas seem to be flavored. I do like the My Morning Mate, but this tea's flavor is about as far from mate as you can get.

I haven't bought tea online in quite some time but when I did I used TeaGschwendner.
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Old 08-23-2012, 08:21 PM   #6
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Default Re: Black teas - online vendors?

I use http://adagio.com or http://jas-etea.com/. Both have been great and cheap.

Last edited by Nathan; 08-23-2012 at 08:34 PM.
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Old 08-23-2012, 11:12 PM   #7
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Default Re: Black teas - online vendors?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dhaus View Post
Just the sort of post I was looking for! I guess it makes sense a tea priced like a Phillies cigar would be of like quality. Darjeeling sounds good. Not sure about the campfire in a cup, but I do like latakia pipe tobacco. At least this slope is a bit cheaper than cigars! My wife is a tetly tea bag fan and sees no reason to change, so all of my tea is brewed in a mug using the teavana cool comfort infuser, if that makes a difference. I figure she should drink what she likes and like what she drinks. More loose tea for me!
Always happy to help. FWIW I always prefered the b&ms because usually they'll brew you up a sample, and if not at least you can see and smell it before you buy. Tea is really pretty cheap compared to alot of things, which means the savings from buying online aren't very big, and I think it's well worth it to know what you're getting.
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Old 08-23-2012, 11:41 PM   #8
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Default Re: Black teas - online vendors?

I haven't used them personally (that I remember), but have read good things about Harney & Sons - http://www.harney.com/
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Old 08-24-2012, 03:32 PM   #9
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Default Re: Black teas - online vendors?

Thanks for all the help! I've heard good things about adagio on this board and others. While cheaper than teavana, with shipping it seems a wash if I go to teavana's B&M. Just need to jump in and start trying.
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Old 08-24-2012, 09:16 PM   #10
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Default Re: Black teas - online vendors?

I've used Adagio, and have no complaints. Lately, I've been buying Davidson's teas through Amazon.
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Old 08-27-2012, 01:52 PM   #11
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Default Re: Black teas - online vendors?

Upton tea is my go-to for a daily black cuppa.
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Old 08-28-2012, 09:11 AM   #12
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Default Re: Black teas - online vendors?

Looked at adagio, Upton and the others suggested. All have better prices than teavana and Upton has a huge variety. Not sure where to start! Thanks for all the help!
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Old 08-30-2012, 04:13 AM   #13
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Default Re: Black teas - online vendors?

After looking at the sites recommended here and others, I wound up placing an order with upton. I got their Tippy Orthodox GFOP Assam and samples of Scottish Breakfast Blend, Baker Street Afternoon Blend, and one of the Earl Greys. After looking around, it appears that Assam is prevalent in most breakfast teas, so I thought I would give that one a shot. Not sure if I need it, but I got one of the stainless steel tea containers (the 150 gram) as well. I'll be back after I try the teas. The anticipation is almost as much fun (and a lot cheaper) as waiting on a shipment of cigars/pipe tobacco! Thanks again for the help!
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Old 09-29-2012, 07:56 PM   #14
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Default Re: Black teas - online vendors?

I've been extremely pleased with the service and selection at www.teaembassy.com

Flat rate shipping ($5) and some specialty blends keep me coming back. I'm especially partial to their C.S. Lewis blend and their Royal Earl Grey. Ceylon Dawn is also nice as a standard black tea.
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Old 10-08-2012, 07:28 PM   #15
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Default Re: Black teas - online vendors?

Had a chance to try the assam I got from Upton Tea Imports next to some golden monkey I got from Teavana (using a gift card my daughter gave me). The assam was $7 for over 4 oz, the golden monkey was $18 for 2 oz. The winner was the assam hands down. I had liked the assam - a lot - and figured the monkey would be better due to the price and the fact that the Teavana folks had bragged about it being a true quality tea. For me, that is not the case. I tried steeping the monkey for 3, 4, and 5 minutes, using slightly different amounts to try and get it to taste better, nothing worked. Guess I'm just a cheap date! I'm going to have to try some golden monkey from another shop to see if it is Teavana or just me. Really astonished at how much better the assam was.
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Old 10-08-2012, 07:40 PM   #16
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Default Re: Black teas - online vendors?

Oh, the service from Upton was great. Got my order in 3 days. Of the samples, the scottish breakfast tea was pretty good. Did not care for the Baker Street Afternoon Blend - the campfire/lapsang souchang was really noticable and not pleasant to me. Still have to try the Earl Grey. The stainless steel container is a good deal for $3.50.
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Old 03-09-2013, 08:14 AM   #17
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Default Re: Black teas - online vendors?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dhaus View Post
Had a chance to try the assam I got from Upton Tea Imports next to some golden monkey I got from Teavana (using a gift card my daughter gave me). The assam was $7 for over 4 oz, the golden monkey was $18 for 2 oz. The winner was the assam hands down. I had liked the assam - a lot - and figured the monkey would be better due to the price and the fact that the Teavana folks had bragged about it being a true quality tea. For me, that is not the case. I tried steeping the monkey for 3, 4, and 5 minutes, using slightly different amounts to try and get it to taste better, nothing worked. Guess I'm just a cheap date! I'm going to have to try some golden monkey from another shop to see if it is Teavana or just me. Really astonished at how much better the assam was.
It's been my experience that the teavana folks are willing to brag about the superior quality of pretty much whatever tea they randomly grab off the shelf behind the counter.

I went in there recently looking for some lapsang souchong. After having to explain to the tea dude what that is, he recommended an oolong that would be very similar and was of the highest quality.
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