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Yet even more on tea . . .

By Culinary Cowboy | November 12, 2007

Twinnings Earl Grey TeaSomeone noticed the previous post about purchasing loose teas and asked me for a source.

In Texas, I have found a decent selection of loose teas at Central Market, Whole Foods and Sun Harvest. You have to be careful about how they are stored. You don’t want them exposed to light or air (such as in clear plastic bins at bulk purchase centers).

Much to my delight, at the occasional Kroger, HEB and Albertsons, you will find Twinnings tea in loose form in nice tins. If you take the time to compare, you likely will find that this nice English loose tea costs no more, if not less, than domestic bagged teas. When they empty, you have a nice container to hold other stuff (or future loose tea purchases that do not come in tins).

Just recently, I have started seeing loose Lipton tea at Wal-Mart, HEB and Kroger, perhaps Albertsons as well as it has been some time since I have been in one (come back to San Antonio!). I don’t know if this is due to the introduction of the iced tea maker or not. I honestly thought those machines had already come and gone.

I love a good cup of tea, but I am not a snob. Most people just want a tasty cup of tea that is not bitter as hell and doesn’t cost them arm and a leg. Most people do not want to have to perform some tea-o-phile, monastic ceremony to make a cup of tea. So, I warn you, some of the places mentioned from here on out lean to the phobic, but are worth checking out.

For those of you in the lifted pinkie department, the Dallas Morning News’ Guideline.com has a host of tea houses for traditional afternoon teas. Now, there idea of an “anytime” afternoon treat is a bit more pricey than my “anytime” price. However, there are some very interesting spots. Lavender House offers a beginning tea education on its website.

Another place I have heard of is the Gypsy Rose Tea Room.

In San Antonio, try out British Senations, both the shop and the tea room. It’s a delightful break from the routine.

If you are looking for tea and accessories and all the goodies, you might see if you have a Teavana shop nearby (Dallas-Fort Worth does). On some of the online chats I have seen mixed reviews of the stores. However, they offer teas and accessories and a payback program where 1% of their profits go back to aid tea growing areas.

They have a complete starter set with different teas and all the stuff needed, including a good conscience, all for (GAK!) $199.99 – but you are helping poor tea farmers (and probably a few well off ones as well).

You can find even more on the websites of the tea companies. My favorite is Twinnings, probably because it is the most consistent brand I have found in everyday shopping. Maybe it is because I like the tins. The site has histories, how-to’s and a host of information and, of course, teas and goodies to buy.

Republic of Tea offers a wealth of knowledge and all things tea at its site.

Adagio Teas offers up its teas, accessories and offers a live chat with a tea expert, not to be confused with its tea forums.

The Mighty Leaf offers a wealth of information about its wealth of teas. It also has a locator so you can find where its products are offered locally.

Searching also came up with The English Tea Store, Sun Rich Teas, Tea Guide (with listings of tea rooms in USA, Canada, England and – they say – worldwide) and TeaGschwendner (a German outfit, but with US locations and English website). That’s without any real trying, so there is plenty out there. Enjoy!

If you have a favorite place or source, please let us know in comments or email me.

Topics: Beverages, Tea, Texas | No Comments »


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