Tea Musings

Tea Musing: The tea drinker’s cheat sheet
Tea Musings No Comments » I recently reflected on my tea drinking and how much it has evolved over the last few years. There was a time long ago in my shameful past when I thought the low-grade tea dust found in your average tea bag was all that was available to tea drinkers. Now, many years later, after having explored more fully the world that is tea and having reviewed over 300 teas for Teaviews, I realize that one could reasonably spend a lifetime devoted to exploring tea and trying every variety out there. Thus, I also realize that for many people, getting into tea could become overwhelming. Add in the increasing number of tea vendors and you could make yourself dizzy trying to figure out what you want and where to get it from. For that reason, I am briefly summarizing what I consider to be some of the best tea options out there. This summary is intended to provide some suggestions to readers interested in exploring more tea types and making new purchases. What follows is all in my humble opinion, and in no way is an endorsement by Teaviews of any particular tea or retailer. And of course, this is not an all-inclusive list, as I am sure that I will have accidentally omitted a retailer or two.

Expanding your horizons: Once you’ve got the hang of tea and you’ve cleared off some shelf space for a greater variety of tea, there are several tea retailers worth checking out. Specialteas, Teas Etc., David’s Tea, TeaFrog, Teavana and Tea Gschwendner each offer a respectable variety of black, green, oolong, white, herbal, and flavored teas. Many of these routinely offer special discounts, free samples, and/or free shipping on large orders. From my experience, these retailers also offer reasonably priced teas, so that you can order lots of different items, and even if one ends up not being your favorite, you didn’t have to break the bank to buy it, so it’s no huge loss.

Selecting superior teas: Tea is a lot like wine or beer. We’ve all thrown back the $5 bottle of cheapo table wine and thought it tasted just fine. But once you’ve tasted the good stuff, the cheaper, more accessible stuff suddenly becomes a lot less desirable. So if you’re ready to start drinking teas that excel in quality, I would recommend you check out any of the following: Zhi Tea, California Tea House, American Tea House (formerly Le Palais Gourmet), Jing Tea, and Teatulia. Many of these vendors have less variety than other tea retailers, but the products they offer are top of the line. Of course, you can expect prices for some (but not all) of these teas to be a bit higher than prices from other vendors, but the saying “you get what you pay for” often rings true in the world of tea (although I will note that some of the best teas I’ve had were very inexpensive while conversely some rather expensive teas failed to meet my expectations).

Finding your niche: Once you’ve dabbled in black tea, experimented with white tea, de-stressed with herbal teas, and so on, you’ve probably figured out what types of tea best suit you. And to that end, you may be seeking out more offerings of your favorite tea type. Green tea lovers should give Maeda-en a try. If oolong is your thing, be sure to check out Naivetea. Herbal tea lovers will be quite pleased with the offerings from Specialteas and TeaGuys. Flavored teas, particularly original blends, are the strong point of The Necessiteas. Darjeeling lovers need look no further than Thunderbolt tea. Chai lovers can find every imaginable blend at Yogic Chai, but Indonique and Adagio also offer some high-quality chai blends. TeaGschwendner, Zhi, and Mighty Leaf all offer some great takes on white tea.

The Bottom Line
As with almost anything in life, drinking tea can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. If you, like me, have a passion for this stuff, you’ll want to explore every aspect of tea and sample as much as possible. To that end, I hope this little guide has been helpful and perhaps inspired you to purchase a new tea or two.

Teaviews.com Reviewer

Peet's to buy Diedrich Coffee for $212 mln

* Says deal values Diedrich at $26/shr

* Says deal to enter single-cup coffee mkt

* Deal to help earnings after 2010

* Peet's shares fall 4 pct, Diedrich stock up 23 pct

Nov 2 (Reuters) - Gourmet coffee chain Peet's Coffee & Tea Inc (PEET.O) agreed to buy Diedrich Coffee Inc (DDRX.O) in a $212 million cash-and-stock deal, to enter the fast growing single-cup coffee market.

The deal values Diedrich at $26 a share, a premium of 28 percent over its Monday closing price of $20.36.

Diedrich, a wholesale coffee roaster and distributor, makes and sells K-Cup refills for Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc's (GMCR.O) single-cup Keurig brewer system through a licensing agreement.

Under the deal, Peet's will acquire Diedrich's portfolio of brands including Diedrich Coffee, Coffee People and the single-serve rights to the Gloria Jean's coffee brand.

Peet's said it will finance the acquisition through a combination of cash on hand and $140 million of debt financing.

The acquisition, expected to hurt earnings in 2010 and add to profit thereafter, is scheduled to close by the end of 2009.

Shares of Peet's were down 4 percent at $33.18, while those of Diedrich were up 23 percent at $25.14 in trading after the bell. (Reporting by Nivedita Bhattacharjee in Bangalore; Editing by Anne Pallivathuckal)