Why to Buy Oolong Tea From Online Tea Stores

I came to love oolong tea during my stay in China. I lived there for six years, but for a long time my only exposure to wulong tea was the bottled variety. And I only bought this, because in China the bottled green tea generally has sugar in it. It is very hard to find any tea without sugar, apart from oolong. When I did finally buy some actual tea leaves, it was purely by accident.

I meant to buy green tea, but since I couldn’t read much Chinese at the time, I ended up with something else. I did know the characters for green tea and also the characters for all the other types of tea, but I did not know the characters for the individual varieties. Since these varieties are so well known in China, the packages generally just state the name and don’t bother mentioning what type of tea it is. For that reason, I ended up buying a pouch of Tie Guan Yin tea leaves.

buy tea in Asia

Can you tell the difference between these oolong teas at an Asian supermarket?

This tea, also known as Iron Goddess, is actually one of the mildest forms of oolong tea, so the difference between it and green tea really isn’t that large. Nevertheless, I did notice that it was different and upon doing a bit of research, I realized my mistake. It didn’t matter though, because the tea was delicious and I since learned that other types of wulong tea, ones that are much more oxidized and thus a bit stronger, taste even better.

The real point of the story is this, though. I bought this tie guan yin tea in a regular supermarket. In Chinese supermarkets they sell cheap tea leaves as well as ones that are pretty high quality. The highest quality leaves are usually sold in tea shops, but there is almost always one attached to a supermarket anyway. You could always grow your own in a little indoor tent, I suppose.

Now that I live in the US, this is one of the things I miss the most from China: the ability to buy really good tea at a regular supermarket. Here in the US, it is much more difficult to find a high quality tea, especially high quality oolong tea. Actually, finding any quality of wulong tea is pretty hard, at least if you’re looking for a decent price. Most big cities and, these days, many shopping malls have specialty tea stores. The stores do sell all manner of teas, but they unfortunately do so at a fairly inflated price. You will not generally find good deals at these types of stores. In fact, I would not be surprised if they bought their tea leaves online and then simply turned around and sold them at a much higher price at their shops.

Even if they are not doing this, you should be. I’m not talking about the selling part, obviously, but the part where you purchase tea online. There are so many good online tea shops that sell high-quality loose leaf tea at great prices. It makes no sense to buy lesser tea and to pay more for it. On top of all that, buying tea online is simply much more convenient.

That said, there is one drawback: many of the online shops are not all that good and some are downright scams. They give you a substandard tea and if you are not that familiar with how these teas should taste, you may not ever even realize this. Your best bet is to find a site that reviews and compares online tea vendors to help you choose the right one.

You can find a number of websites like this, but you have to be careful to find one that actually knows what they’re talking about. The one above is a good site that has detailed reviews of some of the better online tea vendors. In fact, none of the vendors reviewed on that site are bad, so you could buy from any one of them safely. The review and comparison page simply helps you find the best one for you. I highly recommend using it if you plan to buy tea online.


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