Where To Purchase Fine Tea To Brew At Home

A daughter has returned from various travels and wants to buy Japanese, Chinese, and pretty much any other fine tea. Any thoughts on where she might be able to find a selection of fine teas to brew at home?

Many thanks.

Thankfully there are many places now where you can get good quality teas. You can start at Chinese shops like Ten Ren or Wing Hop Fung. For something more mainstream, but with Chinese roots, Bird Pick still has a location in Pasadena.

–Dommy!

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Apparently a lot of Chinese teas have pesticide residue above safe limits. Does anybody have a source of USDA certified organic loose leaf tea?

I drink tea primaryily.

I have purchased my teas from UPTON TEAS primarily and have been very satisfied. They import from all tea sources although my favorites are:

Oolongs from Formosa
Oolongs from China
Green teas from China and Japan
Yunnans from China
Keemuns from China

http://www.uptontea.com

Also, good tea can be had from Roy Fong of the IMPERIAL TEA HOUSE in San Francisco. All of the very same varieties. You may draw your own conclusions but I believe he is slightly higher in price but a very good source.

http://www.imperialtea.com

I have bought teas from these two sources for decades and am completely satisfied.

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I forgot to add. The UPTON TEA catalog is a thing to behold. Be sure and order one.

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Check out https://www.madmonktea.com/
It’s a tea club based out of San Diego. The owner travels all over Asia and sends teas directly from wherever he happens to be traveling. Fantastic stuff!

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Far West Tea Traders - farwesttea.com

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My cousin and uncle have a tea store in Healdsburg - www.thetasteoftea.com.

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In descending order of the requisite English necessary to select and buy loose leaf tea:

Wing Hop

Jin Tea Shop

American Tea Room

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i don’t remember the certification entity, but i buy my organic teas from Arbor Teas

https://www.arborteas.com

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My favorite tea purveyor is Lupicia. They have a shop in the Torrance Mitsuwa. They are a Japanese company, but have some Chinese tea varieties as well.

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Wing Hop Fung and Bird Pick are same family, btw (and same tea buyer / teas, but Bird Pick charges a bit more).

I’d really recommend having a visit of Tea Habitat (appointment only tasting room in Alhambra; she used to have a brick and mortar in RPV and had some press, including an LA Times article back in '09). Specialty is Pheonix (Fenghuang) dancong tea [from Guangdong province, near the border with Fujian], and those are really the main teas you would want to check out, though she does carry other Chinese teas as well. Disclaimer, the owner is a tea drinking friend of mine.

Good options online, for high mountain oolong and other Taiwanese teas, I like Floating Leaves Tea in Seattle.

As far as pesticides / certified organic tea, unfortunately, finding teas from small, traditional producers that’s certified organic is very difficult, so while you can find some certified organically grown teas, they’re going to be from bigger producers typically. Also, there’s some environmental pollution in a lot of areas of China, including many rural and tea producing areas. I tend to trust teas from Taiwan a bit more, though there are a lot of teas sold as Taiwan oolong that are actually imported from Vietnam, Thailand, etc.

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Tell her to get as much Darjeeling tea as possible before the supply dries up.

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the tea tasting at tea habitat is pretty awesome. $45/pp ~2hours, i ended up trying 5 different teas, >4 steepings each, some really outstanding teas. there’s also a $95/pp option for tea brewed in chaozhou clay teapot heated with charcoal, which is supposed to further enhance the qualities of the tea.
a really great resource for exploring deeper into teas [at least the ones she carries]

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I’ve not been, and Yelp says they’re temporarily closed until the end of April, but this place on Arroyo Parkway in Pasadena is intriguing: