I’ve heard this question asked many times, and the short answer is that the best loose leaf tea cannot just be bought, but is a matter of personal taste.
Certainly, there are higher quality teas and sellers who consistently offer better tasting products, but this is still a highly subjective subject. Certain teas can also taste good one year, then not so much the next.
How to determine the best loose leaf tea
Different Variables To Look For
Loose leaf teas vary in taste, aftertaste, health benefits, strength, processing, freshness, aroma, price and even in your emotional state afterwards. There is just too much variety to determine the best one, with so many types of green, white, black, oolong, and Pu-erh teas, plus all of the blends.
For example, you may enjoy a strong black tea, while someone else might enjoy more of a floral taste. Some like sweet tea while others like a more mild flavor. We all have different preferences, so keep that in mind when looking at top sellers or top rated teas.
There are even grading systems for teas based on the size and type of the leaves. For black teas, the highest rating is called orange pekoe. Since the grading for teas vary by type and country, it is not recommended to rely on this grading system to find the best loose leaf tea.
Some popular sellers
Some of the more popular sellers are Adagio, Upton Tea Imports, Mighty Leaf Tea Company, DavidsTea, Teavana, Verdant Tea, English Tea Store, Della Terra Teas, and Golden Moon Tea. However, I’m sure that you know that popular does not always equal the best: think Jersey Shore. This certainly is not an exhaustive list and many tea lovers have their own personal favorite store for what they consider the best loose leaf tea.
Ways to determine what is considered best
While many online tea stores claim to sell the best loose leaf tea, what you really need to do is try them out for yourself to see what you like. I also recommend reading online reviews and tea forums before purchasing from any seller. Check out review websites like steepster.com, teachat.com, the seller’s website, and other blogs by tea drinkers who have tried that particular tea.
Many of the online tea sellers offer samples or sampler packs of specific teas, so you do not have to spend a ton to see if you like it. There are also tea retailers who offer samples in person, or will sell you a small quantity. Upton Tea Imports even lets you buy sample packets of all of their teas usually for $1.
With tea growing in popularity across the U.S., demand is increasing for all different varieties of teas. In a recent USA today article, they quoted the Tea Association of the USA claiming that 160 million Americans drink tea on a daily basis. While I am sure this also includes cold teas and tea bags, loose leaf tea shops are growing. Starbucks just bought Teavana, and stores are popping up everywhere.
Well, I hope this article gave you a better idea of what to look for when searching for that best loose leaf tea.