TeaGuide: Reviews and Ramblings

September 16, 2009

Reviews and Ramblings: Art of Tea

Filed under: exotic tea,food,tea,tea accessories,teapots — by teaguide @ 4:30 pm
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asian_teashopI’m really excited about finding this new (to me) online tea shop. Art of Tea has one of the widest selections of teas anywhere — including a lot of teas I haven’t seen elsewhere.

Whenever I visit a new tea shop — online or in person — the first thing I look at is their oolongs. For me, if a tea merchant gets the oolongs right, everything else is usually pretty good too. Right away, Art of Tea‘s 99% Oxidized Purple Oolong caught my eye. Sourced from Sumatra, this is a tea that I can’t recall ever seeing before. The price is a little “steep” (sorry for the bad pun) but $22 for four ounces/~100g is not unreasonable for a good oolong. Especially when you consider that oolongs can (and should) be steeped multiple times, with the best oolongs still producing an enjoyable and interesting cup after six or more infusions. But if this one doesn’t suit your fancy, they have more than a dozen other oolongs on offer, at various price points.

green asian teacup and tealeavesMy second look always goes to a tea merchant’s teapot selections. If all I find are the “same old/same old” uninspired stuff you see everywhere — or (heaven forbid!) those dreadful cheap plastic gravitational brewers — then I’m outta there. Art of Tea offers a variety of teapots with built-in infusers, from Bodums and Finums and stacked tea-for-one sets, to the unique contemporary Eva Solo. Tetsubin and glassware, too. They’ve even got a set of purple clay kyusu and cups from Japan; at $45 for the full set, it’s a bargain even for those who (unlike me) don’t mind buying China tea or tea ware.

And did I mention the tea accessories? Whether you’re looking for a tea timer, a professional tasting set, travel tea sets and tea makers, iced tea pitchers, storage tins, complete matcha set … the list goes, and they’ve got it.

Of course there are plenty of black, white, green, and pu-erh teas; blooming teas and specialty blended teas; and a selection of tisanes. Plus a decent assortment of pyramid teabags — nice to carry with you when traveling, especially if you aren’t sure of the tea situation at your destination. They’ve got the whole eco/fair trade thing going on, along with organically-grown kosher teas. Shipping is a flat $6.97 up to $75, and then it’s free. Oh, and don’t miss the comprehensive Learn About Tea section by Master Tea Blender Steve Schwartz, a specialist in handcrafted teas.

Now the best news: Through October 31, 2009, TeaGuide readers get 15% off your Art of Tea order of $50 or more. Just CLICK HERE for the link to your discount. It’s not too early to start thinking about Christmas gifts, or you can “gift” yourself right now!

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