Choosing tea to drink and to buy sounds easy. You just go to shop, take one tea box with bags or loose leaf bag from the shelf, put it into your basket and proceed to checkout and it is done. Wuhuu! Period. Post is done! :)
Nope you need to read further, sorry! Yes it is definitely one way to do it, but it is not my way one and I actually advice to try out this little more complicated version of tea buying to get "more bang for your puck" so to say. So why I think it is important to write the whole post about something so trivial, like how to I select my teas, and what is all the fuss about selecting the right teas? Well, in reality the tea what is readily available is not so good quality and healthy as you might think it is and different articles inform you. So if you just want to buy "some" tea and you don't care what you eat and drink, then there is no need to read further, but as you are already here you might as well learn how to buy "good" tea that is worth your daily hot beverage intake, time and tastes amazing. (And yes, I am also one of them, who is fussy about my cup of tea. So be aware, when you ask me to cup of tea (muhaaha) :D). And yes, sometimes I also need to do some tradeoffs if it is impossible to get "good" cup and settle for regular tea (not my proudest moments though, as I know that quality is important and why it is important to seek out the "good" tea and what is the results when we don't do it. (More about it in future posts.)
So how I am purchasing my tea?
- I usually start with what type of tea I would like to have (Green, Black/Red, Oolong, White, Aged).
- Ok, so now we have tea type, whats next. Well now all the fun starts :) and I select the country where the tea is from (and yes there is a big difference in same type of teas from different countries. Green tea from Japan is different from Chinese. The same way as Pinot Noir from France is different from Pinot Noir from New Zealand. Japanese tea has more sea aromas, like fish, seaweed, while Chinese are more vegetal grassy, mellow).
- Then I select the tea pusher I trust (sometimes the teashops are specialized to some specific type of tea and country/region) it is not that I will go to whatever teashop and make my purchase there, it always involves some research first.
- Then in the shop I ask to smell, see the dried leaves and ask about the harvest year and season (very important, you don't want old tea or n/a tea). Also I try to find out and ask about where and how it has been harvested and produced by whom. (In good tea shop you shouldn't have any problem of requiring this information and they are happy to share it with you. But be cautious when they are not able or wanting to share this information with you. In that case it might be better to go to another shop, where they don't have problem with that. As you would not buy a meat from the butcher, who don't know from where their meat came, you shouldn't do that with tea either. Unfortunately most of the times we don't care and know how tea reached to our cup, but we are here to change it :).
- And now you are set for being closer to "good" cup of tea.