Source for fancy green tea
January 16, 2015 11:45 AM   Subscribe

I'm trying to find a US-based source for high-quality green tea, and would love some recommendations for sites that sell it. Also, I need help figuring out what UK-based site I was recently looking at that perhaps had what I'm looking for.

The UK-based site I was looking at had a wide selection of very expensive green tea. It was heavily focused on special rare teas, whole leaf teas, seasonally-plucked teas, etc., but they also had black tea mixes, naturally-flavored mixes, etc. Some of the options were available in nice tins, but most seemed sold by weight. I had the impression that it was a pretty well-known site for fancy-tea enthusiasts.

Also, I would love some US-based recommendations. I am happy to pay a premium for a really rigorous source here, but I am having trouble finding that. Many thanks!
posted by thegreatfleecircus to Food & Drink (15 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
I highly recommend In Pursuit of Tea.

For a different experience and an opportunity to buy some great teas, you may also like Hisabo.
posted by slkinsey at 11:51 AM on January 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

I've shopped at Tea Source in person and have been happy with their products, and their website seems to have a nice selection of teas.
posted by Area Man at 11:56 AM on January 16, 2015

posted by 1970s Antihero at 12:01 PM on January 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

A colleague recommends the Upton Tea Company, Holliston MA. I've also done business with the Mark T Wendell Company, Acton MA, but only for black tea. Both seem to have some interesting high-end offerings (or what appear high-end to me).
posted by mr vino at 12:07 PM on January 16, 2015

This company, Hibiki-an is based in Japan, but they offer free shipping on orders over $35. Very good quality Japanese green tea, including Sencha, Matcha, and others.
posted by jlhopes at 12:11 PM on January 16, 2015

Ten Ren
posted by capricorn at 12:19 PM on January 16, 2015

Verdant (for fancy, see the Reserve Tea section). I second Tea Source, and I haven't tried Teafarm (out of Canada) but they come very highly recommended.
posted by clavicle at 12:25 PM on January 16, 2015

I order a lot from Silk Road Teas. They specialize in rare teas from China.
posted by liet at 12:49 PM on January 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

Verdant's stock is often seasonal and limited and variable in taste each year, but some of the best straight green tea I've ever had was their Autumn Harvest Laoshan Green, as well as their Bilochun (I tend to prefer Chinese greens to Japanese, granted).

I don't know if they're based in the US or not and the site's not working for me for some reason right now, but Teawing has a reputation for some pretty remarkable Japanese green tea.

And it's def. not the fanciest ever, but I'd like to put in a thumbs up for Harney and Sons in place of stuff like Upton or David's or Tealux. Just my experience/tastebuds, but for easy to procure and reasonably priced tea in general including their greens, Harney is hard to beat on the price-to-quality ratio, and they have so many kinds of tea (though granted, most of their variety's in legacy black tea stuff).

And they can be pricey for sure, but I'll admit to enjoying some of American Tea Room's green blends (like Nirvana, with huge pieces of strawberry and sencha last I checked) quite a lot.
posted by ifjuly at 1:01 PM on January 16, 2015

And not shops in spec but types of green you might want to explore/search for if you haven't, as they're not as well known over here because they don't keep long due to how and when they're made: hou kui (which is long and flat, feels like cooking spaghetti in a pot when you steep it), pang long ying hao (similar to white tea, fuzzy tips and buds), huangshan mao feng (to go beyond the more well known and usually cheaper/less freshly handled types like dragonwell/lung ching, spring snail/bilochun, jin shan, gunpowder, jasmine pearl, etc.). And for Japanese, gyokuro and tencha, not just the (tons of grades of) sencha, matcha, genmaicha, bancha, and hojicha.

And there are "green-handled" (which is to say, not much) varieties of first flush darjeeling and oolong (I'm a big fan of coconut pouchong).
posted by ifjuly at 1:12 PM on January 16, 2015

TeaSpring is good. They're US-based, but ship directly from China.
posted by Kevin1911 at 1:25 PM on January 16, 2015

David Hoffman, the guy who founded Silk Road Teas (and sold it a decade ago....and it's gone way downhill IMO), and who is the subject of this wonderful documentary about tea (and shows how he, nearly single-handedly, catalyzed a market for high-end tea in China, which was previously only interested in the mass-market trade), has a new(ish) company called The Phoenix Collection which sells the very best and most interesting stuff. I'm pretty sure it's what you're looking for.
posted by Quisp Lover at 2:42 PM on January 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Many thanks, I will look into these! Also, I was finally able to retrace my steps, and realized the UK (but actually French) site I was originally looking at was Mariage Frères. Which looks pretty decent, if one can stomach its creepy Orientalist vibe. Thanks again!
posted by thegreatfleecircus at 4:14 PM on January 16, 2015

They apparently have a good reputation for first flush darjeelings, which are one of the most "green-like" black teas out there. But those, which come in every spring, cost a bajillion dollars, or so I'm told.

Dammann Freres is similar, if MF puts you off too much.
posted by ifjuly at 4:22 PM on January 16, 2015

Savvy Tea
posted by ZenMasterThis at 7:42 AM on January 18, 2015

« Older Which 2014 movies should I see on the big screen...   |   Integrating our new dog into a 2 cat... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.