The best tea in the world

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.

Your suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

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’m currently addicted to Silver Needle white tea: simple, pure, and perfect. Earl Grey white tea is also nice. I get both from Teavana.

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…

I went through all of the Twinings teas.

Lapsang souchong has a very distinctive taste. It stayed in the cupboard for a long time…

I really like Gen Mai Cha both for its lovely nutty flavour, and also for the cuteness of the small ‘popcorn’ bits of rice.

When I lived in NZ I also used to get a green tea with lemon, lime and daisies in it - really refreshing - but can’t find any supplier here in Australia.

And for fun factor, make sure you include some of the flower bombs.

Barry’s tea from Ireland. And there’s really no need for “interesting”.

Just a nice cup of tea and possibly cake

Moving thread from IMHO to Cafe Society.

If ever there was a thread appropriate to a forum called “Cafe Society”…

I’m a huge Lapsang Souchong fan but I buy mine from Harvey Nichols (pretty much the only thing I buy from Harvey Nicks, I should add).

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.

[Piper sips his morning tea.]

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 like PG Tips from the UK (though it’s now sold in the US).

For green tea, I’d look at Republic of Tea’s “People’s Daily Green.”

It may seem odd, but Lipton’s Pyramid Tea line is surprisingly good – I love their White Tea with Mango and Peach and their Green Tea with Mandarin Orange.

You might want to look at The English Tea Store for ideas.

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]

From the UK, I’m fussy about teas, need some flavour, for a strong decent cup I always go for Yorkshire teas though I buy bags not loose.

I also tend to be a fan of Stash teas, but I think Tetley teas ( 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.

Yeah, Plain Tetley (UK blend) would be my second choice after Yorkshire.

Lipton Yellow Label Quality One. Mmmmm.

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!

Twinings Earl Grey or English Breakfast for me, please, with lots of sugar. I have a sweet tooth.

My dad was absolutely gaga for Lapsang Souchong for awhile, and drank it by the gallon, it seemed. He has since recovered.

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.