I often get asked during the Tea Series events, where do I get tea? Unfortunately, in Shreveport/Bossier, we have very few options for loose-leaf tea. The only places I have seen it are at World Market and Bao Bao Food Market (be prepared to do some translation). As passionate as I am about staying local, tea is a commodity that is best left to vendors that are reliable and source their own products.
Here are some online vendors that I have dealt with and recommend:
- Mountain Tea Co. - Specialize in Taiwanese oolong tea, I love their Imperial Pear and Dong Ding
- Tea Trekker - A great resource for tea information too, they sell a great variety and follow seasonal releases
- Camellia Sinensis - A Canadian store that has some great Chinese black teas, white teas, and everything else you can imagine
- Yunnan Sourcing - The place to go for Puerh and for teaware needs
- TeaVivre - Great selection of Chinese teas
- Thunderbolt Tea - The place to go for Darjeeling tea, I love how they display teas by flush and plantation.
- White2Tea - The premier source for curated puerh. Subscription available for impossibly great tea.
- Seven Cups - Crazy great white and green teas, with great sales.
- Crimson Lotus - Another premier "new school* puerh vendor for curated, specialty teas - not using these buzzwords frivolously.
- Eco-cha - Terrific source for Taiwanese oolong.
- Tealet - "Farm-to-table" tea vendor specializing in USA grown teas
- What-Cha - An interesting array of teas, including ones from Malawi. I'd recommend their Fujian oolong offerings. Great prices.
- Taiwan Sourcing - a pleasantly curated selection of Taiwanese green, oolong, and black teas and teaware.
Things to consider when purchasing tea:
- Do they identify what plantation, factory, or village the tea originated from? Year and season are certainly important and should be a requirement. The more information they give you, the better.
- Does the retailer provide instructions on how to properly brew the tea? Generally, be wary of instructions that seem odd such as brewing loose leaf black tea for 5 minutes.
- What information can they provide on organic or fair trade practices? It's a good sign if companies are caring about providing these details. I wouldn't make this a deal-breaker unless you are dealing with a larger company, a company that is choosey with its teas will not sell you a tea that is dosed with pesticides.
- Be careful about where the dealer is located! Sometimes you can pay a lot of money on shipping costs from India (personal experience?).
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