Where to buy good tea

“Thomas, which tea do you recommend for me, and where can I buy it?”

This is undoubtedly one of the most frequently asked questions about tea. To assist you in discovering your next favorite tea at an affordable price, I’ve curated the following list of tea recommendations. Whether you’re interested in delicate white tea, fragrant yellow tea, fresh green tea, exquisite oolong tea, robust black tea, or aged pu-erh, you’ll likely find something that suits your personal taste or current mood among my selections. The provided shop links connect to tea vendors, some of whom I have discount agreements with. By using my affiliate links or the checkout code “THOMASTALKSTEA”, you may receive a small discount (usually around 5–10%). Additionally, every sale made through these links directly supports my work. Thank you in advance for your support!

Enjoy exploring the list – and happy sipping!
Thomas


WHITE TEA

«Baihao Yinzhen» (白毫银针) • White tea, China

Baihao Yinzhen, also known as Silver Needle tea, is a unique type of white tea originating from China. It is characterized by its silver fuzz and long, slender buds carefully handpicked. This tea is traditionally produced in limited quantities, making it a sought-after delicacy among tea enthusiasts. Baihao Yinzhen is appreciated for its subtle floral aroma and mild flavor. Rich in antioxidants, it is often praised for its health benefits. Preparing this tea requires precision to ensure the delicate buds fully release their aroma. In the world of tea, Baihao Yinzhen is a true treasure that captivates the senses and offers an exquisite tea-drinking experience.

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«Ruby #18 White» (台茶18號紅玉白茶) • White, Taiwan

Ruby #18 white tea, also known as Sun Moon Lake Ruby White, shares its origins with its black counterpart. Like Sun Moon Lake Ruby #18 black tea, it hails from the picturesque shores of Taiwan’s Sun Moon Lake. And just like its black sibling, Ruby #18 White features the Taiwanese ‘Ruby’ cultivar, scientifically known as TRES #18. However, its unique character sets the white tea variant apart: its lightness and elegance make it a delightful choice for tea enthusiasts seeking a white tea that embodies elegance, natural beauty, and a touch of fruity delight. Whether you’re a seasoned tea connoisseur or a curious beginner: this tea invites you to savor its unique charm!

tea recommendations


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«Yabao» (芽包) • White tea, China

Yabao, sometimes sold as Pu Er Bai Ya, is a white tea from China, specifically originating in Yunnan province. It is harvested from the twig buds of old tea trees, some of which are over 200 years old (gushu). These ancient trees grow wild and often reach heights beyond human size. Yabao tea produces a light, crisp, and refreshing liquor with subtle spicy notes. It’s also excellent for cold brewing.

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GREEN TEA

«Shengcha» (生茶) • Pu-erh tea (raw)/green tea, China

Often referred to as sheng pu-erh, the term comprises a range of teas that, according to their processing, could initially be categorised as green. Due to a natural fermentation process, the profile of shengcha gradually develops and becomes more complex over the course of the tea leaves being stored for years (or, rather: decades), usually in the form of pressed tea cakes.

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«Anji Baicha» (安吉白茶) • Green tea, China

Hailing from Anji County in China’s Zhejiang province, this green tea is special to me in so many ways. Made from the Bai Ye No. 1 (白叶一号) cultivar, the leaves of this green tea appear pale green early in spring, due to a very low amount of chlorophyll – which has led to the tea being called “white” despite its processing as a green tea. Although there are more affordable Chinese green teas that offer a similar experience, this prestigious original is still my personal preference. Or, as my former mentor put it: “This is the only tea I’ll truly ever need.”

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«Longjing» (龍井茶) • Green tea, China

Also known as Dragon Well. A famous Chinese green tea from the West Lake region in Hangzhou.

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«Daejak» (대작) • Green tea, South Korea

An excellent Korean green tea from the third harvest, and one of my preferred green teas overall – made by one of my favourite tea masters in the world, Cho Yun Seok.

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«Sencha» (煎茶) • Green tea, Japan

This most well-known out of the vast variety of Japanese green teas is also still my favourite. High-quality sencha can easily compete with other Japanese teas that are famous for their elegance, like Gyokuro or Kabusecha.

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OOLONG TEA

«Baozhong» (包種) • Oolong tea (light), Taiwan

An oolong tea from the rural district of Pinglin, New Taipei City, Taiwan. A delightful “green” oolong – meaning it falls on the lower end of the oxidation spectrum – with twisted leaves that boast floral and fruity notes, and a buttery finish.

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«Naixiang Jinxuan» (奶香金萱) • Oolong tea (light), Taiwan

Grown in the pristine high-altitude tea gardens of Taiwan, this oolong offers a unique taste profile. The leaves emit a gentle, natural milk fragrance during brewing, and the tea has a smooth, velvety texture with floral undertones. The milk-like quality is not artificially added; it arises naturally from the leaves themselves. High-altitude cultivation contributes to the tea’s sweetness and complexity.

Its name in Mandarin combines two intriguing elements: 奶香 (Nǎixiāng) literally means “milk fragrance.” It describes the unique creamy and milky aroma found in this tea. 金萱 (Jīnxuān) is the name of the tea cultivar used to produce this oolong. Also known as “TTES #12”, it is famous for its rich flavor and natural milk scent.

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«Lishan» (梨山) • Oolong tea (light), Taiwan

Lishan Oolong tea, a treasure among Taiwanese teas, originates from the heights of the Lishan Mountains in the middle of the island. The tea bushes thrive at an impressive altitude of 1,200 to 2,600 meters above sea level, making this Oolong one of the highest teas in Taiwan. The fresh, cool mountain winds and the thick mist of Lishan ensure that the plants grow slowly, giving the leaves time to develop a rich and intense flavor.

Lishan Oolong is particularly characterized by its gentle, delicate flavor and its soft, silky texture. The careful manual harvesting and the use of proven processing techniques for withering, rolling and drying the tea leaves result in a tea of ​​exceptional quality.

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«Dongding» (凍頂) • Oolong tea (light), Taiwan

Originally hailing from Dongding mountain, this medium-roasted oolong tea is by many considered the most balanced of the Taiwanese bunch. Its liqour appears less green in colour (more towards a bright orange) – especially when compared to high mountain oolongs, like Alishan or Lishan.

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«Darjeeling First Flush» • Oolong/black tea, India

This tea is often marketed as a black tea, but its liquor colour hints at the fact that technically it is more of an unroasted oolong tea, due to its incomplete oxidation process.

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«Dongfang Meiren» (東方美人) • Oolong tea (medium dark), Taiwan

Also known as Oriental Beauty. An oolong tea with fruity notes and a distinct amber hue, due to its higher level of oxidation (about 70%). My special pick for fans of second flush Darjeeling teas who wish to try something truly spectacular!

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«Yingxiang #20 Red» (台茶20號紅烏龍) • Oolong (dark) , Taiwan

Discover the rich flavors of a heavily oxidised and heavily roasted oolong tea crafted from the Taiwanese ‘Yingxiang’ cultivar (TRES #20). If you appreciate oolongs that comprise notes reminding of highest-grade black teas, this red oolong one is an excellent choice!

yingxiang taiwanese red oolong tea


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BLACK TEA

«Ruby 18 Black» (台茶18號紅玉紅茶) • Black tea, Taiwan

Sun Moon Lake Ruby #18 Black Tea, also known as Sun Moon Lake Ruby Black, originates from the picturesque shores of Taiwan’s Sun Moon Lake. Its defining characteristic lies in the use of the Taiwanese “Ruby” cultivar, scientifically known as TRES #18. This cultivar results from a fascinating hybridization: the large-leaved Burmese B-929 cultivar serves as the mother, while Taiwan’s native wild B-607 tea tree acts as the father. The name “ruby” aptly reflects the tea’s infusion colour: a rich ruby-red hue.

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«Balhyocha» (발효차) • Black tea, South Korea

Also known as Woori, this exceptional black tea (that behaves more like an oolong, really) will enchant you with its unique, long-lasting notes of cocoa and caramel.

Advertisement: Buy tea and teaware from Teasenz – 5% off with code THOMASTALKSTEA(1)


(1) This link will lead you to Teasenz.eu, an online tea store based in the Netherlands that specialises in high quality Chinese teas. Thanks to my affiliate agreement with them, you will get 5% off on your first purchase on their online store by using my affiliate links or the check-out code THOMASTALKSTEA. I will receive a small commission on each sale made this way.

(2) This link will lead you to xianchatea.com, an online tea store based in Berlin, Germany that specialises in high quality Taiwanese teas. Thanks to my affiliate agreement with them, you will get 10% off on your first purchase on their online store by using my affiliate links or the check-out code THOMASTALKSTEA. I will receive a small commission on each sale made this way.

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Where to buy good tea