31 March 2016

ordering tea & other tea tales

I have not found a local source to purchase one of my favorite teas, Earl Grey Green. The absolute best of this blend is the loose leaf variety made by Taylors of Harrogate! In Kansas, the "local" source was actually about a 3-hour drive to Kansas City, but we were passing through on our way to sketchcrawls with Cathy "Kate" Johnson anyway.

In the Kansas City Plaza there was a cheese shop called The Better Cheddar which carried a large assortment of Taylors teas, both loose leaf and tea bags.

While tea bags are handy to pop in my purse and go, the full flavor of the tea is usually better when brewing loose leaves. I have amassed several infusers for the purpose.

 (An exception would be those tea bags generally shaped like pyramids, like this tea bag from T2 that Australian artist Liz Steel gave me. She was on an extended visit to the United States and made a stopover in Kansas City for a quick sketchcrawl with Kate and me.)

I used to steep loose leaves of tea in this spoon-shaped infuser, but Liz taught me that it is too "cramped", not allowing the leaves to expand for the best flavor.

 So I now own several infusers that allow leaves to expand. Including the glass infuser that fits in its own glass teapot that my daughter gave me for my birthday.

Anyway, I began ordering tea on Amazon, being unable to find what I want in local stores. I was specifically looking for Taylors loose-leaf Earl Grey Green but could only find it offered in teabags. So I also tried a loose leaf of the same flavor from The English Tea Store. After sampling both, with and without a bit of milk added, I've come to the conclusion that Taylors, even in a teabag, is way better than English Tea Store in loose leaf!

 Even wee Jeremiah enjoys a good cuppa as he sits on my kitchen shelf.


  1. Vicky I too, drink "hot tea". You are right, it is difficult to be a tea drinker (especially in the South, I'm in Florida) in a coffee drinking world. I also use exclusively loose leaf tea. I used to buy online and brick and mortar from Teavana. However they have been bought by Starbucks, I completely lost respect for them. What does a coffee company know about tea?, lol but I digress. I have had good luck with Harney and Sons. You can order online, they offer samples to try. They have retail stores in Manhattan, NYC and in Millerton, NY . I have only ordered online and have been very satisfied. I have an assortment of infusers, mugs, teapots and my favorite, a Breville tea maker. It is amazing! You select the type of tea, green, black etc, pick the strength you desire and the machine boils the water to the proper temperature for the type tea, and the machine does the rest. If you are interested look up the Breville, it is pricey but well worth it. I have had mine over 5 years and will buy another when it bites the dust

    1. Isn't it frustrating to go to a restaurant and ask for a hot cup of tea while others have coffee . . . and they either look confused or ask "sweet or unsweetened?", thinking you must surely mean iced tea? Like they've never heard of such a thing as hot tea!
      Thanks for the suggestions -- I'll be sure and look them up on the Internet!

  2. Vicky, I'm a tea lover too and I enjoyed all these teatime sketches. Have you ever been to the Charleston (SC) Tea Plantation or tried any of their teas?

    1. No, I've only been to Charlston once, to go to one of our youngest son's Navy school graduations -- we went to see what he wanted to see in town during our short time there. There is so much more I would've wished to see! I wonder if they sell tea online?

    2. Yes, they do! Here's their Website:


      They sell loose teas and pyramids. My favorite is the Plantation Peach, but I also like their Governor Gray.

      My husband and I take a drive out to the plantation whenever we're in Charleston, which is usually once or twice a year. It's a nice place to sketch, and it's fun to watch the tea production. I like knowing that the tea I buy there was grown, processed, and packaged on the spot.

      I don't know what their shipping charges are, but I do notice that their tea is sold in a few stores in Texas. Maybe you can find a local outlet. Their About Us page has a lot of info you may find useful and interesting.

    3. Pyramid tea bags are as good as loose-leaf tea in flavor -- I'll definitely look for them! Thanks!


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