Tea-of-the-month club recommendations
December 23, 2013 9:32 AM   Subscribe

We're thinking of getting a friend of ours some kind of Tea of the Month club subscription as a (slightly belated) Christmas present. We're not big tea drinkers ourselves; can anyone recommend a particular company to get it from?

I've looked at a couple options from places I recognize the names of. The Art of Tea one looks the most promising so far--it's a year for $180, which is in the neighborhood of what we were looking to spend (but a little higher would be fine too). It looks like Teavana used to have more, but all I can find is this one, which is only six months. Republic of Tea has a bunch of options, but they all say "temporarily sold out."

I don't know much about our friend's specific tea-drinking preferences, but we thought she might like to try loose teas (I think she just uses teabags now) so I'm looking for a club that does that, and we'll get her a whatever it is you put loose tea in. Did I mention we're not tea drinkers?
posted by Horace Rumpole to Food & Drink (12 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
I don't know about such clubs, but the good people at McNulty's Tea & Coffee in Manhattan would, I'm sure, help you arrange something like this. Their teas are great. I'm drinking a large mug of their Russian Black right now.
posted by Dr. Wu at 9:35 AM on December 23, 2013

Best answer: Adagio has good teas at decent prices.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 9:43 AM on December 23, 2013 [4 favorites]

Seconding Adagio - good company.
posted by COD at 9:49 AM on December 23, 2013

If your friend is into the "know-the-farmer" concept in her food/drinks, or likes Chinese tea in general, I bet she would love Verdant Tea's offerings: http://verdanttea.com/tea-of-the-month-club-subscriptions/. Although I've never subscribed, I've ordered from them many times. Part of their philosophy is that these are teas sourced directly from Chinese farmers, which means higher quality (and slightly higher cost, but still in the realm of your budget for the blends club).

Every tea I've ever gotten from them is exquisite, and the customer service is outstanding. I remember my first order from them: the tieguanyin actually came with a page of brewing instructions. Blew my mind.
posted by gillyflower at 10:36 AM on December 23, 2013

Best answer: Incidentally, speaking of Adagio (which I love too--Green Pekoe is my fave from them), I have two of these, one for home and one for work: IngenuiTEA Teapot. It's a clear plastic teapot thingy where you put the leaves and the loose tea in together to brew, then when it's done, set it on top of a mug and a valve opens in the bottom and dispenses brewed tea BUT NOT THE LEAVES. It's like magic. Don't question the physics, don't try to compare all the myriad mesh balls and tea holder doohickeys out there for brewing loose tea, just buy your friend one of these and that's all she'll need to brew her teas-of-the-month.
posted by gillyflower at 10:42 AM on December 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

If I were you, I would consider getting one of the tea gifts from Harney. Here's an example of one that comes with a teapot (teapot has an infuser for loose tea), cups, some tea and shortbread. Then round it out with a gift card.

Mr. gudrun and I are really in to tea, and consequently a bit picky about what we like. We enjoy a gift card and thus a chance to pick out new teas to try a lot more than the people who give us a bunch of tea that is often not our particular thing.

(Anyone want to take some Golden Monkey off our hands given us by well meaning relatives for Christmas?, sigh. I've never been that fond of it.)
posted by gudrun at 11:28 AM on December 23, 2013

I've done this with both Adagio and Tao of Tea. Both have good quality loose-leaf tea.

(And I'd second the recommendation for the IngenuiTEA)
posted by kbuxton at 11:42 AM on December 23, 2013

I like Tealet Tea (a company based in Hawaii) which has a subscription service. They have loose leaf, traditional teas from Japan, Taiwan, and Hawaii.

gudrun's suggestion to get a gift card instead of a monthly subscription is a good one, especially if you don't know if your friend prefers traditional East Asian teas (oolong, puer, white, green) or the Teavana type of fruity flavored teas.
posted by spamandkimchi at 11:43 AM on December 23, 2013

Response by poster: gudrun's suggestion to get a gift card instead of a monthly subscription is a good one

The friend in question has a history of neglecting/accidentally throwing away gift certificates, and doesn't like to shop online, so we figured something selected for her was the best bet.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 12:00 PM on December 23, 2013

Nthing Adagio's IngenuiTEA - I've had mine for 8 years, use it daily. I never did tea of the month with them, just ordered what I wanted whenever. Some of the recent reviews indicate some negative changes in the tea of the month club. Perhaps someone with a current subscription can clarify whether that is true or not.
posted by batikrose at 12:17 PM on December 23, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks, everybody, we just ordered the Adagio tea-of-the-month plus the IngenuiTEA.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 12:32 PM on December 23, 2013

I'm sorry I missed the opportunity to recommend Steepster Select. Curated by tea experts, on the social network dedicated to tea.

A little pricy, but it seems like their selections are worthwhile.
posted by softlord at 6:30 AM on January 16, 2014

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