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Where Can I Buy Fresh Tea Leaves

Best Online Tea Shops 2021

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Published | Updated Apr 08, 2021 by

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There are hundreds of online tea shops. I’ve narrowed down the list to ten of the best tea stores where I personally buy loose leaf tea, so you’ll know where to buy tea online.

Over 700 tea brands sell tea online. Here are my personal recommendations for the best tea shops selling quality loose leaf tea. I often shop online for my tea because I can’t always purchase quality loose tea near me.

Criteria for the best tea shops:

  • Every tea shop specializes in something different, whether it be single estate tea, flavored, herbal, green, black, Puerh, matcha, or origin-specific tea. The types of tea available are quite varied and well represented on this list.
  • The websites listed here all sell premium tea. I’ve categorized them by tea specialty so you can get to know each shop.
  • The shops I’ve listed carry the best loose leaf tea, sell at the retail level, plus ship internationally. They are all trustworthy tea brands that I personally shop for when I buy tea online.

This is a good place to get acquainted with the world of specialty tea. As you refine your tea palate, you might become a little fussier! Fortunately, there are many choices in online tea stores.

The Case For Matcha And Why Its Different From Eating Whole Leaves

Alright, weve talked about whether tea leaves can be eaten, and whether theyre safe to eat in the first place. What about Matcha, then ?

Good point, and one Im sure many people have pondered over the years. So heres my take on it, and Ill present to you my logic, so you can figure out if were on the same page or not.

Matcha is, for all intents and purposes, green tea. A very finely grown, very delicate green tea. But still green. Once the leave are processed and dried, theyre ground into a very fine powder and thats what youre going to mix int your hot water.

This is important, remember the hot water.

If you were to just take a spoonful of Matcha and eat it, like simple tea leaves, the effect would be the same. That is, a waste of perfectly good tea. No health benefits there, just a need for a glass of water.

But if you brew Matcha just the way it was meant to be brewed, then youre getting the best results.

This is because the hot water will infuse the tea powder, even if its already in such a small form. Remember tea bags ? Those infuse quicker than whole leaves.

The same way, tea powder infuses faster than whole leaves, or even bags at that.

So your cup of hot Matcha, very well mixed and frothy, is going to give you all the health benefits of green tea, and then some. The fact that youre ingesting the powdered tea leaves does not add that very much though. Its all in the components of the Matcha leaves.

Collection: Loose Leaf Tea

Experience premium loose leaf tea with our handcrafted signature blends and single-estate full leaf teas. Our selection of organic leaf tea supports traditional harvesting methods and skilled tea masters while offering fresh flavor and natural health benefits. Whether you need a kick to get you going in the morning or just a small escape, theres a handcrafted tea here for you.

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  • Boulder Blues Iced Tea Pouches $3.50 – $25.95
  • Flat Belly Hibiscus Cucumber, Organic $4.00 – $44.95
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  • Ginger Peach Iced Tea Pouches $3.50 – $29.95

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How To Make Tea With Fresh Leaves


Have you ever thought about how to make tea with fresh leaves? Its SUPER easy. In the summer of 2016, I went to Europe for 2 weeks to study aromatic palliative care as a nurse. My tea in a restaurant I visited was served using fresh mint leaves. Using fresh leaves to create a tea is honestly something which had never occurred to me. Here in America its standard to buy boxes of dried tea bags, and steep for a few minutes before drinking. In the South, we make a large pitcher of tea, add tons of sugar, and then drink it chilled or over ice.

As much as I LOVE studying herbs and essential oils, somehow it had never crossed my mind there is another way to enjoy the taste and even health benefits when making tea. While I was in Europe, I had hot tea everyday and several times a day. I totally loved it!

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Places To Shop In Nyc

A five-minute walk from the 9th Street PATH station, Sullivan Street Tea and Spice Company is another store you could easily get lost in. It offers an impressive range of teas at affordable prices, but the true allure of this store is the spice collection. The store is chock-full of large glass canisters holding oddities like dried ghost peppers, vanilla sugar made with vanilla beans, and an organic salad sprouting blend to grow your own bean sprouts on your kitchen counter. This is a fun shop to visit if you enjoy cooking, baking, mixology, or poking around a cool shop filled with curiosities. Its easy to keep things affordable because you use a metal spoon to take as much or as little of the spices as youd like.

Stash Tea Helps You Narrow Down What Kind Of Tea You Might Want To Try Next Thanks To Its Staff Picks And Bestselling Collections

Why they’re great: Stash’s website is *so* easy to navigate. You can filter their tea options by tea type, flavor, caffeine-levels, and packaging. I personally enjoy the fact they have staff picks and great sampler sets.

Items we love: a classic orange spice tea for $3.95+ and the chai tea experience sampler box for $19.95

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What To Look For When Buying Tea Online

When cutting through the digital clutter of online tea stores, it helps to have some guidelines. Here are mine.

Beware the chains. I don’t need to name names, but you know the ones I’m talking about. You see them in malls and major tourist shopping districts. They carry more chocolate chai or lavender-lemongrass blends than straight tea. By and large, these chains just don’t carry quality tea. They buy leaves in vast quantities through middlemen brokers, then add so many spices and herbs to their blends that it’s often impossible to taste the tea underneath . The straight tea these chains do sell tends not to be particularly great, either. Better than teabags to be sure, but hardly first-rate stuff. You can do better.

Instead, think small. My favorite tea shops don’t have huge selections. That’s because the teas they sell have been picked out by the owner or some stake-holding staff member who’s visited individual tea farms. Some of the best tea in the world is sold entirely through personal deals and never makes it to wholesale accounts.

When reading product descriptions, look for detailed descriptions of farmers’ methods for growing and processing their tea, evidence that company buyers have seen the tea fields with their own eyes and have a good relationship with their farmers.

Simple Loose Leaf Blood Orange Tea

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Looking for something flavorful but without any caffeine? Simple Loose Leafs teas are just what youre looking for. The brand sells a wide variety of herbal teas, one of which will surely please your palate, be it black orange, citrus hibiscus, simple raspberry or any of a number of other mixes. And despite their strong flavor, these teas are caffeine-free, making them perfect for when you need to calm down and relax.


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Bigger Is Not Always Better

Do not use tea brand recognition as your only guide. Larger brands may play it safe and limit their portfolios to basic choices to market to more consumers. In contrast, smaller tea companies are typically more enthusiastic and passionate about their business. New tea brands often create unique artisan tea blends, smart teaware, and inventive packaging. Many online merchants specialize in bringing rare loose leaf teas to the market in limited quantities. These products wouldnt fit large tea brands due to their lack of scale and limited supply.

Read The Full Description And Ingredients List

Never judge a tea by appearance only. Descriptions are important, and so is the ingredients list. Sometimes, it may even be lifesaving. If you are allergic to nuts and unknowingly buy a tea with walnuts simply because you couldnt see any on the photo, this could have a serious impact on your health. Furthermore, some ingredients may interact with medicine, such as St. Johnt Wort.

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Sips By Subscription Box Perfect For Any Tea Drinker Who Wants To *mix Up* Their Go

Why they’re great: Personalization is key! You’ll create a free profile, answer some questions, then enjoy the four curated teas that have been selected just for you! Sips by has over 150 tea brands in their line up, so you’ll always get a chance to enjoy something new. I’ve also personally tried out this subscription box and can confirm it is *delightful*.

Items we love: the Sips By Box for $15 a month

Tea Drop’s Tea Club Is For Anyone Who Likes To Feel Like They’re Part Of An *exclusive* Group

Organic Green Tea Leaves From China Good Tea Leaves

Why they’re great: Each month you’ll get five “drops” of three different kinds of tea, one additional drop for free, exclusive access to the “Tea Club Group” and a free surprise . In case you’re not familiar with Tea Drop, their tea is made of finely-sourced loose leaves packed into a cute shape.

Items we love: the Combo Box for $25 a month

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And The Whistling Kettle Because Why Not Fill The Coziest Corner Of Your House With An Aromatic Tea You Likely Wouldn’t Have Picked Off The Supermarket Shelves

Why they’re great: They have five various subscription box options in addition to their standalone teas, so you’re bound to find one that fits your needs. Many of them come in “basic” or “plus” editions. In addition to getting five different types of tea you’ll also receive a 20% off coupon you can use on other Whistling Kettle items! I’d also suggest trying their white peach tea â it’s made with delicate hints of citrus that’ll be nice for the warmer seasons.

Items we love: the basic “adventure” box for $16 a month and the white peach tea for $4

Where To Buy Amazing Tea Online

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So you’ve fallen in love with tea. You’ve learned how to tell your high mountain oolongs from your shade-grown gyokuro. Now you’re ready to buy some tea of your own.

Whenever I buy tea these days, I think back to a story from Verdant Tea‘s David Duckler:

When I was studying tea, one tea master forced me to drink only the foulest, lowest grade tea he had until I could describe and appreciate its flavor, aroma, and texture. Only then was I allowed to drink the “superior” tea. If someone brings you an ordinary tea bag and you can’t find anything good in it, that’s your fault, not the tea’s fault.

It’s a good reminder for tea lovers to not take themselves, or their tea, too seriously. Judging is easy. Appreciating is hard. And even seasoned experts have something to learn from tasting teas across a wide range of quality.

But when you want the good stuff, and you’re willing to pay for it, you deserve to actually get it. This post is here to help you sort through the many, many tea sources out there to find one right for you.

But specialty tea is a niche market, and a good shop is hard to find, even in big cities like New York. So us tea-loving folk have to take to the internet to find our tea. Start searching for sources and you’ll get flooded by options at all kinds of price points, along with crowdsourced websites full of reviews.* Who’s trustworthy? What tea is really worth the cost? It’s often impossible to tell until it’s too late.

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Art Of Tea Helps You Discover All Kinds Of New Flavor Options Excellent If You’re Adventurous And Want To Feel Like Your Tastebuds Are Still Traveling The World

Why they’re great: They put *so* much thought into their tea curation! They have five carefully put together options including a caffeine-free choice, tea from the “Classic Collection” , a “Single Origin” option , an “Explore” subscription featuring teas from exotic locations, and a pyramid tea box filled with tea for on-the-go.

Items we love: the six month “Explore” subscription for $110

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Why they’re great: They’re basically a one-stop shop for all your tea preferences! I love that the website breaks down exactly which kind of tea you might be shopping for fruity, vanilla, loose, bagged, matcha, iced, and more! You can also upgrade your mug collection or treat yourself to a cute teapot while you’re at it.

Items we love: wild honey matcha tea for $10.98 and organic silk dragon jasmine tea for $9.98

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Heavenly Tea Leaves Variety Pack

Most people are used to only a small selection of teas, primarily green and black. But there are so many varieties around the world all with different flavor profiles and aromas. This pack of nine different types allows you to get a rich sampling that goes beyond standard supermarket fair, each one with about ten servings. Some of the more exotic options included are white tea, herbal tisane tea and rooibos herbal tisane tea. The entire selection is packed in environmentally friendly packaging that also makes for a lovely housewarming or holiday present.

Courtesy of Amazon

Republic Of Tea Offers So Many Kinds Of Tea You Just Might Not Be Able To Choose Just One

Why they’re great: You can use their tea finder to discover exactly what flavor you might want to invest in. They also have a “Loyal Citizen Program” where shoppers can redeem “Tea Leaf Rewards” for free teas. Win-win!

Items we love: 50 bags of Earl Greyer tea for $11.75+ and 8 quarter pitcherâsized pouches of watermelon mint black tea for $7.50+

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Tea Companies To Seek Out

With all that in mind, here are some of my favorite online sources for tea. The list is by no means comprehensiveâthere are many, many shops out thereâand it’s certainly shaped by my personal tastes. But taken together, these 15 companies cover a wide range of tea styles and origins.

Song Tea: Peter Luong’s San Francisco tea company is pretty new. So much so that he hasn’t set up an online store yet. You have to visit his website, download a PDF tea list, and call to make an order. Is the tea worth the fuss? Absolutely. Luong’s Chinese and Taiwanese list commands high prices, but he doesn’t sell anything less than beautiful, resonant tea in styles from green to oolong to black. His 2014 Dragon Well was some of the best I’ve ever had: brilliantly green with several dimensions of nuttiness beyond the usual chestnut. A Taiwanese black tea called Twenty One suggests cherries soaked in whiskey, and a Gold Peony white tea is impressively crisp with citrus and honey notes.

Ippodo: Ippodo has been selling tea in Kyoto since the 1700s, and their selection of Japanese greens is excellent. Their matcha varies by season the current New Year matcha is intensely nutty with a prolonged sweetness. Sencha offerings are listed from “rich” to “light,” and the richest, the Kaboku, is precisely structured with a remarkable seaweed kick and subtle sweetness. And don’t miss the Kanro Gyokuro, which is astonishingly intense and sweet, a thick, soupy brew with a prolonged finish.

How You Get The Benefits From Your Tea

Why Pickled Tea Leaves?

Your cup of tea, be it green or white or black, is going to have a certain amount of caffeine, and the accompanying antioxidants.

Youll only get the benefits of the tea if you infuse it. This means using the tried and true method of steeping it in hot water for several minutes, and drinking the resulting infusion.

The important elements in tea will be steeped, along with the flavor and caffeine. You can reuse the tea leaves a second and a third time, since a small amount of component is still present in already steeped leaves.

Each subsequent cup will be poorer and poorer. This is not true for the Puer tea, which will gladly give even 10 cups of tea.

But for standard teas, of all colors, the amount of antioxidants and caffeine is pretty much all gone with the first steeping.

So this means that eating used, moist tea leaves would be pretty pointless. There is very little to be gained by them.

The components we all very much love and treasure can only come out through a bit of heat and water. They are water soluble.

So eating whole tea leaves will not grant you more benefits than drinking the infusion, because the antioxidants and caffeine will not be drawn out of the leaves.

Your stomach will start digesting them right away, and breaking them apart, rather than letting them exert their influence.

Again, this applies to every kind of tea made from the Camellia sinensis plant. So green tea, white tea, black tea, Puer tea, oolong, and anything else I mightve missed.

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