How should I choose my tea and how can I trust that I am getting what I am paying for?
One thing is for sure: if you buy tea bags from the supermarket aisle from a big name brand, you will get exactly the same thing: small bits of tea dust or fannings which will turn the color of the water brown and will taste like the same thing over and over. For some that is what they prefer, but I am reaching out to you on this one! There is another, far more amazing world out there of high quality loose leaf teas!
Yes, you have to be adventurous and you have to trust someone that they will sell you something that is of good quality, comes from the area they are advertising, and is free from pesticides or other items which are not good for your body. So which way to go?
There are several ways to travel the path for high quality tea. I am very blessed now that I live in a region where I can find good tea in the best possible way: by visiting local tea retailers, tea markets, and can feel and smell the tea which is offered by tea vendors.
And yes, you will have the good ones and the bad ones. My ground rule is always in engaging in a conversation with the tea vendor before you choose your tea. And most importantly: ask questions!
For those of you further away from the source, go to the local tea retailer and ask questions. Where is the tea from? What can you tell me about the tea plantation and the grower? How did you get the tea to your store? Is this tea organic, or even better, certified? If the tea vendor answers you with ‘I don’t know’ or gives you generic answers, stay away from the tea and go to someone else. You need to sense the passion from the tea vendor about the quality of the tea and the extra steps he or she has taken to give you the best quality possible.
The challenge we have today is that there is no global quality control or central certification board which you can trust and that guarantees you good quality.
Unfortunately a lot of tea is sold to make profit first with quality coming in second, but as a customer you have a choice and if you are not sure, just walk away.
The competition is big and many companies are trying to make it in the tea business. The good news is that there are a few truly amazing companies which will make sure that you get a high quality tea which is good for you. Find a way to them and enjoy high quality tea.
Once you know which type of tea you like and from which country/ region, do a little research online how the ideal tea looks like. This will help you to ask the right questions and when you look at the tea you will see if it has the right color, if it smells fresh or if you can sense some sort of foul odor.
Also pay attention to how the tea vendor stores the tea as some teas have a very short shelf life. Note how the vendor presents you the tea and what information he or she gives you on how to best prepare the tea.
You will see if they are passionate about tea or just being a sales person showing up for the job. If they truly like tea they will engage with the customer and provide good information about the details for this specific tea. A good tea vendor wants to make sure that the customer goes home, prepares the tea properly and has an amazing experience. And when that happens, they will come back for more high quality tea.
It is more difficult to choose your tea online as you cannot smell or taste the tea. Do a little research about the company, read the customer reviews and you will get a sense of how trust worthy the company is. Then order a small amount and taste the tea and see if you are happy with the quality and the taste. You will be surprised about the treasures out there in small tea companies who are passionate about tea. But there are also some big name companies out there who sell high quality loose leaf tea. It is all about trust and the communication between the vendor and you.
And you can always ask me how to choose your tea! Just send me a message when you would like to know something about the quality or the type of a specific tea and I am happy to help.
Have fun choosing your tea and enjoy your next cup of high quality tea!