In your humble opinion, what are the best, coolest, most interesting teas in the world – and where can I get them?
I’m setting up a tea section in my bookstore (packaged, not prepared & served), and I’d like to carry a good selection of loose & bag teas and accessories. I don’t want the same ol’ stuff the grocery store sells, but I also don’t want stuff that’s so expensive and/or strange that I’ll never be able to sell it.
I worked at a coffee/tea/hippy place in college, and I still remember the marshmallow tea. We had several dozen types of loose teas, and the marshmallow was interesting. Kind of numbing to the tongue, it goes well with a little milk and sugar. I don’t know how well that packages, though, as I haven’t seen it commonly around.
No question about it: Bois Cheri Vanilla Tea. It is from Mauritius in the Indian Ocean. I have seen it for sale in Mauritius (obviously) as well as Dubai, Prague and the UK. It has a fantastic flavor yet is not so exotic as to be difficult to sell.
You’ll have to Google a bit to find it, or possibly contact the plantation directly.
There is also this brand although Bois Cheri is much more popular.
I never miss the opportunity to plug Upton Tea Imports. Their selection is astonishing, and I strongly suspect that some of the other retailers on the 'net get their tea wholesale from them, based on relative prices and similarities in the product.
Unfortunately, I’m both of rather simple tastes in tea and away from my stash, so I can’t make very specific recommendations…
also a huge fan of lapsang souchon - find it hard to find in my area, sadly.
Mr Wombat, if you’re looking for a supplier, in addition to Twinings, I would suggest Murchies in Victoria, BC - they have a wide variety of teas. And blessings on your business for expanding into the tea area.
I love the Aveda Comforting Tea, but it’s only sold in Aveda salons, as far as I can tell. There are, however, knock-off recipes all over the internet, and the ingredients are very easy to come by and not nearly as expensive as the tea itself is.
I am inordinately fond of Stash teas, they come in both loose and bagged, and the bagged are not gutter sweepings like most other commercial brands to teabags. They have a quite good russian caravan, lapsong and earl grey that are my regulars, and other assorted teas that I get in small amounts for special occasions. [though I buy the loose teas rather than bag teas generally and use a pod maker to make tea pods :D]
I also tend to be a fan of Stash teas, but I think Tetley teas (http://www.tetleyusa.com) are by far my favorite, especially the peppermint. But just plain old Tetley is pretty good, too. I think depending where you live they do have them in the grocery store, but none that I can find in the Midwest.
Next would be Kashmiri tea, but it takes some preparation that might be outside of what you have in mind. It’s lovely and spiced, with cardamon and ginger, a touch of crushed almonds. But very yummy, indeed!
Same here. In fact, I’d consider using PG Tips as your default tea, as opposed to plain old Lipton. It’s easily available through Amazon. (I just got a box of it from them last week) It’s different enough that some people will notice it, but not so different that people will wrinkle up their noses and say “What the heck *is *this?”
Just don’t let it brew for more than about three or four minutes or it will start to go bitter.