Are you still scared of buying tea online? If you are new to tea, there may be hundreds of questions keeping you away from meeting the tea of your life. Which tea is the best for me? Is it safe to buy tea online? How to choose the right tea shop? Thankfully, buying tea online has never been easier.
Read our guide on how to choose the best high quality tea online.
Where to buy quality loose leaf tea near me?
Today, buying tea is easier than ever. From specialized shops selling pure single-origin teas, to high-end department stores with luxury gourmet tea, big colorful traditional tea shops full of scents, to supermarkets and online shopping platforms; tea is available almost everywhere. Thousands of options bring thousands of doubts. There is no easy way to know which tea would be the best for you, but there are ways to minimize the risk and get the best possible experience. High quality tea can be bought both online and in traditional shops. However, online shopping might bring some additional benefits.
Today, buying tea online is much easier than it was ten years ago. And it’s very safe too.
1. More to choose from
There certainly are no limits in terms of flavors, quality, shapes and scents when buying tea online. Whether it’s anise blended with pear or cranberry cider rooibos, you can choose the tea based on your dessert, drink or scent preferences. Although there is a specific charm to entering a tea shop and being immersed in scents (and potentially even flavors), online tea shopping offers much more options.
2. Stress-free shopping
When buying tea online, you will never feel the pressure of needing to buy some tea simply because you entered a store or tried a sample. Even better, online shop will be open 24 hours per day, allowing you to take your time and do the shopping when it suits you the best.
3. Monthly boxes
Subscription boxes are another great advantage of online shopping. They allow you to try dozens of tea types throughout the year and find the favors you enjoy the most. What’s really great about subscription boxes is that if you don’t like some tea, you won’t be stuck with large quantities of unwanted leaves. Or, you can try using it in a different way.
4. Better protection
About a decade ago online shopping was still considered very risky. The only form of payment was a credit card, making many reluctant in leaving their card details with people behind the web shops. Today, online shopping is anything but scary. With many payment options to choose from, good protection for buyers and money-back guarantees, it’s safe and easy to protect your money when shopping online.
5. More freshness
Although not a general rule, online teas may be fresher than teas bought in a regular shop. Firstly, a temperature in a warehouse can be controlled more easily than the one in the shop. There is a less chance of teas being exposed to air humidity and sunlight.
6. Saves you money
Online shopping is less impulsive than traditional shopping. It allows you to take time, research, read reviews and decide which tea would suit you the best.
7. Last minute gifts
Sometimes, online shops are the final resort for the last minute gift shopping. From gift cards to tea packages delivered straight to the doors of you loved ones, tea gifts will always make every tea lover happy.
How to Choose the Best Tea Type
The biggest disadvantage of online tea shopping is not being able to smell the leaves or take part in tea tastings, but that can be a big advantage too.
Choosing the best tea type can be difficult even in the regular shop. Although scents may help in making a buying decision, they should rarely be the only factor. Unless, of course, tea smells divine. All leaves change scent after some time (sometimes even after a few hours!), and some are often different from the flavor. They may give you a very wrong idea on what to expect, regardless where you are buying your tea.
To minimize the risk of buying the wrong type, try to rely on the following factors.
1. Check the photos
Photos may tell you what to expect. Intensely green tea may have a more vegetal flavor and a bit more bitterness, especially when brewed with boiling water. Pale green teas will usually be lighter, while the dark green color may indicate a more smokey strong flavor. Unbroken leaves will usually give a lighter infusion, while the broken smaller parts may brew into a strong cup of tea.
2. 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 couldn’t see any on the photo, this could have a serious impact on your health. Furthermore, some ingredients may interact with medicine, such as St. John’t Wort.
3. Learn about tea
Learning about tea is important before making the final choice. Not all green teas taste the same, and not all teas are caffeine free. Some are more difficult to brew and might be a wrong choice for office tea times. Others may be perfect as a relaxing evening drink, but won’t provide too much energy in the morning. For example, Japanese green teas are more vegetal and green, while the Chinese ones will have light sweetness and nuttiness.
4. Check the reviews
What do other tea lovers say about the tea? Reviews are a good way to learn more about flavors and scents, but also about the whole shopping experience. However, they are highly personal too. In other words, if you love licorice, this doesn’t necessarily mean other people will love it too. Read what bloggers are saying about specific tea, especially if they have similar preferences as you.
5. Know how much tea you need
Although it does sound tempting, buying too much tea at once is not a good idea. Although tea doesn’t have a strict expiry date, it can deteriorate quite fast. Generally, if you keep them in the original packaging (providing it was appropriate for storing the leaves), keep them away from mold, light, heat, humidity and air, they will stay fresh from 6 to 48 months Each and every type is different and some may lose freshness much faster. Green tea is usually the best in the first 6 months, while black tea can be delicious even after 2-3 years. Next, some teas are big and some are small. Some tea blends contain large pieces of freeze-dried fruits that reduce the total volume, but not the weight. You may need to use more than one spoon for brewing the best cup, thus using up leaves much faster than some other types.
What can go wrong when buying tea online?
1. The tea you received is not what you ordered
Mistakes happen. If you receive a tea that you haven’t ordered, every online tea shop should have a customer service in place and easily fix the problem.
2. Tea packaging was crushed
Once your tea shipment has been forwarded to a courier, it’s possible for packages to get crushed. Unless the package is completely destroyed and tea was exposed to air humidity and light, it will still be good for drinking.
3. The tea you received is different from what you’ve expected
Sometimes you may get a tea different from your expectations. Make sure to read all descriptions carefully and know which tea type you are buying. Even the same type of tea can come in different shapes, sizes and quality.
4. You don’t like the flavor
Not all teas are the same. For example, Earl Grey loose leaf tea may be completely different from an Earl Grey tea bags from a supermarket. In fact, every tea shop is likely to have at least slightly different Earl Grey, or any other type of tea. When buying tea online, be prepared to receive a tea that is slightly different from expected or from the tea you tried before. Even the same tea type from the same shop will be slightly different each year. Experiment with brewing and learn what to do with the tea leaves you don’t like.