There’s nothing like cozying up to a warm mug of tea on those chilly winter days, a swirl of steam rising over your cup and carrying with it the aromas of exquisitely unfurled tea leaves. But there’s a big difference between that stale bag of Lipton you’ve had in your cupboard for the past five years and a tea that’s actually worth treating yourself to.
It’s easy to get confused with all the different teas out there these days, but we recommend looking beyond the grocery store for single varietals and blends that are sourced by small companies on the lookout for the best leaves around. Just as wine and coffee vary dramatically between growing regions and harvesting techniques, so too does tea span an almost unimaginable breadth of flavors.
If you’re looking to get more out of your daily cuppa, consider adding a few of these craft teas to your life.
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New Vithanakande Estate Ceylon Orange Pekoe
If you grew up drinking Lipton, you’ll be bowled over by this tea. It’s a Ceylon orange pekoe black, just like Lipton, but the high quality of this tea is unlike anything you’ve tasted before.
New Vithanakande Estate Ceylon orange pekoe, $28 at In Pursuit of Tea
Crimson Lotus Tea Hekai Old Tree Autumn Loose-Leaf Sheng Raw Pu-erh Tea
Dip your toes into the world of Puerh teas with this varietal from Crimson Lotus Tea. Aromatic, fresh and earthy, this tea was picked in the autumn of 2018 and is shipped to you directly from the grower in China.
Hekai old tree autumn loose-leaf sheng raw pu-erh tea, $34.99 at Crimson Lotus Tea
Ippodo Matcha Ummon-no-Mukashi
Have you ever found yourself wondering what the now-ubiquitous matcha is really supposed to taste like? If so, treat yourself to the best of the best: a ceremonial-grade matcha from Japan that will show your taste buds what they’ve been missing.
Ippodo Matcha Ummon-no-Mukashi, $53.49 at Amazon
If you like flavored teas but don’t want to sacrifice on quality, try this pu-erh blend from Adagio, which pairs tea leaves with dried coconut, papaya, marigold and papaya.
Pu-erh Tahiti, $9 at Adagio Teas
Rishi Sencha Organic Green Tea
Coming to you from Kagoshima, Japan, this organic green tea has a light, fresh flavor that’ll keep you coming back for another sip.
Organic Sencha Green Tea, $8.99 at Rishi Tea & Botanicals
Steven Smith Teamaker No. 1912 Rose City Genmaicha
For a tea that looks as gorgeous as it tastes, try Rose City Genmaicha, a blend of green tea, rose petals and toasted grains of rice that comes in a silky tea bag that lets you see the ingredients that are about to make your cuppa so special.
No. 1912 Rose City Genmaicha, $11.99 at Steven Smith Teamaker
Té Company Ruby Brew
This rare brew comes from Thailand and is a smooth, reddish drink with flavors of toasted chestnut and spiced caramel. It’s a tea worth savoring.
Ruby Brew, $14.00 at Té Company
Teapigs Pick n’ Mix Sample Pack
If you’re new to tea and want to try as much as possible to make up for lost time, consider this sample pack from Teapigs, which comes with 12 mini-packs of tea. Choose from blends like chili-chai and chocolate-flake tea, or stick to classics like jasmine pearls and English breakfast.
Teapigs Pick n’ Mix Sample Pack, $24.99 at Teapigs
2015 Yunnan Silver Needle
Sourced from Yunnan, China, this white tea has a floral flavor profile redolent of melon and honey.
2015 Yunnan silver needle, $11 at T Shop
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