Where do you go when you want to buy specialty tea? Actually, you should purchase such teas from a tea merchant that only sells tea. These tea shops have access to some of the rarest and best teas. Here is a guide to finding a tea-only shop and how to tell if they sell specialty teas.
They Are Like Popular Coffee Shops, Except They Sell Just Tea
In Britain and other former British colonies, a tea shop is far more common than a coffee shop. While the Brits stuck to tea drinking, the Americans moved forward from the Boston Tea Party with the intent of only drinking coffee. However, tea-only shops have become popular in the U.S., and they are expanding. You can tell that you are in a tea-only shop when the walls are lined with glass jars and apothecary shelving filled with tea. If the shop serves tea, the only other drinks on hand may be water, juice, milk and maybe fountain drinks for those that get their caffeine from cola.
The Tea Shop Frequently Advertises the Arrival of Small-Batch Teas and "Rari-Teas"
Small-batch teas are unique blends of harvested, dried, cut, processed, and/or mixed tea leaves. They offer a unique tea-drinking experience because the flavors and aromas are unlike anything else in the tea world. Once the small-batches are sold out, you cannot get more until the next growing season. Rarer teas (rari-teas!) are teas that have grown in very unique climates and/or are hybrids or crossovers of more well-known varieties. If you find a tea shop that sells some or both of these kinds of teas, you should make that shop your only tea shop.
Asking the Sales Clerk about Mixing Teas
The thing about tea is that you can combine different varieties in different quantities to get a more personal tea-drinking experience. For the "newbie," this requires a lot of trial and error. However, the sales clerks in tea shops are often able to provide you with some guidance. They can suggest, based on their own experiences, some tea combinations that may just appeal to your palate. Then you can tweak their combinations to get something that hits you just right.
A Word on Flavored Teas
Tea is a robust effusion all on its own. Yet, some people prefer some flavoring to their tea. Tea leaves that are infused with various flavorings smell great in the jar, but once brewed they tend to lose some of that intensity. It is better to brew your unflavored tea leaves, and then add natural extracts of your own to your tea. Then you can make the flavor as strong or as weak as you like it.
For more information, contact companies like Tea Composer.