Buy Tea Online: Tea Shop Review and Comparison

Unless you live in Asia, it can be difficult, if not impossible, to find good quality teas in your area. For most of us, that means we need to look to the internet, but given the sheer number of retailers out there, determining the best place to buy tea online is not an easy task.

To hopefully help make things a bit easier, I have reviewed a few of the best and/or most popular online tea stores and compared them in the table below (you’ll find a quick explanation of the criteria I used for the ratings at the bottom of this post).

Tea Store Reviews

Adagio Teas Generation Tea Art of Tea Matcha Source Silver Leaf Mighty Leaf Teavana
Selection three-half-stars best online tea store one half stars online tea vendors four half stars best online tea shop one star three-stars four-stars four-stars
Quality three-stars buy tea online five stars four-stars four-half-stars tea shops online two half stars four-stars four-stars
Price three-stars one-half-stars online tea shop review four stars online tea store comparison three stars five-stars four-stars three-stars
Usability four-stars one-half-stars four-stars three-stars one-half-stars three-half-stars four-stars
Community five-stars full-star three-half-stars three-half-stars full-star purchase tea internet three half stars three-half-stars
Pros
  • community
  • good for beginners
  • very high quality Chinese teas
  • selection
  • great quality
  • samples
  • best place to get matcha
  • very low prices
  • selection
  • good website
  • largest online retailer
  • website
Cons
  • quality to price ratio a bit low
  • limited selection
  • basic website
  • only sell matcha
  • lower quality
  • basic website
  • only offer samples for select teas
  • inconvenient international shipping
  • customer service
  • price
Current Deals None None 15% off orders over $75 with code: FALL15 $3 off your first order 20% off with coupon code: EXIT20 15% off with email signup $10 off orders over $50 with: SUMMER10
Conclusion Good retailer for beginners: easy to use, decent selection, many samples and a great community.

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The place to get the highest quality Chinese teas, including Pu’er.

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Recommended for the highest quality Chinese teas.

Great retailer with an excellent selection of high quality teas at good prices.

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Highly recommended.

The best place to buy matcha and matcha accessories.

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Highly recommended for matcha.

The place to get cheap teas.

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Recommended for cheap teas.

Great all-around retailer with a large selection of quality teas at good prices.

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Recommended.

The largest retailer, with a good selection and good quality.

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Adagio

Among all the online tea vendors, Adagio gives probably the most professional first impression. It has a slick and user-friendly website, as well as a great community that offers reviews on all the selections and discusses tea related issues in a chat room and forum. They ship orders quickly and offer free shipping on large orders (currently over $25, but usually over $49).

Adagio offers a few high quality teas, but for the most part, their teas are aimed at beginners. Their prices are good, but when you take the quality into consideration, their teas just aren’t as good a value as most of the other retailers reviewed here. They have a pretty good selection, though and you can get sample packs of all their teas.

Overall, Adagio is a good online shop for those new to tea, but anyone else would be better served by some of the other stores.

Current Deal: None

<<Link to website>>

Art of Tea

Art of Tea have a good selection of quality teas at affordable prices. In general, I feel their teas are slightly higher quality than the other retailers, which is why I prefer Art of Tea overall. They have a few more teas in the very high quality range, too. Inexpensive sample packs are available for all teas.

Art of Tea’s website is not a nice as Adagio’s, but none are. It is still quite user-friendly, with reviews on all products and great customer service. They offer free flat rate shipping on orders over $50 (currently over $35 in continental US with coupon code: NEWLEAF35).

This is my favorite online tea shop.

Current Deal: 15% off orders over $75 with coupon code: FALL15

Mighty Leaf Tea

Another of my favorites, Mighty Leaf has a great selection with a few real standouts. Overall, I feel Art of Tea offers slightly higher quality products, but that’s really just a matter of taste. Mighty Leaf’s website has reviews of their offerings, but they unfortunately only offer sample packs for a few of their teas.

My biggest problem with Mighty Leaf was always the fact that they only ship within the US (since I am currently living in Europe), but they have recently begun offering international shipping as well. International orders are still a bit more complicated than they need to be, though. Orders over $50 ship free.

If you are in the US, I highly recommend Mighty Leaf as a good alternative to Art of Tea.

Current Deal: 15% off with email signup

<<Link to website>>

Silver Leaf Teas

Silver Leaf Teas do not have a very attractive website and their selection isn’t that good either. The only reason I included them here is their prices.

They are incredibly low and while the quality is naturally also lower, sometimes that’s all you need. If you’re just using the tea to make large batches of iced tea or to fill up a thermos to drink on the go, etc, you don’t need an especially high quality tea. In that case, I recommend Silver Leaf Teas. Free shipping on orders over $75.

Current Deals: 20% off with coupon code: EXIT20.

<<Link to website>>

Generation Tea

This company specializes in very high quality teas from China (including Pu’er tea). If that’s what you’re looking for, I highly recommend Generation Tea; if not, buy your tea from one of the other shops. Their website is very basic and they do not offer free shipping.

Current Deals: None

<<Link to website>>

Matcha Source

As the name suggests, this company specializes in matcha gree tea powder and matcha accessories. Their website is nice, but not the nicest and they offer free shipping on orders over $75. If you’re looking to buy matcha online or anything related, I highly recommend Matcha Source.

Current Deals: $3 off your first order.

<<Link to website>>

Teavana

This is probably the biggest and most well-known online tea shop. As such, they do everything well, but I personally prefer Art of Tea and Mighty Leaf.

I feel Teavana’s prices are simply too high, considering the quality of their teas. The quality is generally good, but not enough to justify the higher prices, in my opinion. I always feel like I’m paying a premium for the name.

Nevertheless, they’re a good, reliable retailer and I have no real reason not to recommend them, although I generally get my tea elsewhere.

Current Deals: $10 off orders over $50 with code: SUMMER10

<<Link to website>>

Ratings Criteria

Selection:  Of course this includes the number of teas on offer, but it also takes into account the balance of products offered.

Quality:  This refers to the overall quality of teas on offer, when compared to similar teas on other sites. A lower rating is not necessarily bad, if the retailer specializes in lower quality teas and has the prices to match (Silver Leaf, for example). Wikipedia has a good article on tea leaf grading.

Price:  The lower the rating, the higher the average price of the teas on offer. This category should be considered in conjunction with ‘Quality’. If a store’s price and quality rating are equal, you can expect to get your money’s worth. If the quality is higher than the price, the teas on offer are an especially good value; if the price rating is higher than quality, the value is not so good.

Usability:  This category takes into account the aesthetic appeal of the website, the ease of use and understanding of the site, the shipping charges and delivery speed, as well as the overall customer service experience.

Community:  This refers mainly to the activity of other customers on the site. A high score indicates a lot of interaction, with customers posting reviews and, as is the case with Adagio and their teachat, participating on a dedicated forum and chat rooms. This category is only important to those who like to interact with other tea drinkers. If you just want to get online, buy your tea and log off, you can safely ignore it.