5 recommendations for loose leaf tea from local shops

These spots sell loose leaf varieties galore, so even tea-time newbies can slurp up a piping hot spot of tea in no time.
Green tea
Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

Brew up something new in the name of National Hot Tea Day on Jan. 12. With oolong, herbal and every hue in between, the possibilities are (nearly) endless when preparing a proper cup of tea.

Local shops sell loose leaf varieties galore, so even tea-time newbies can slurp up a piping hot spot of tea in no time. (Well, it’ll actually take at least one to seven minutes of steep time, depending on the type of tea you land on.)

Stock up on your teawares at the stores below, or stop by Orange Tree Imports, Ostfriesen Tea & Porzellan Shop or countless other home goods businesses in town.

Cha Cha Tea: We may be months away from floral blooms in the outside world, but you can brew up a blossoming mug of tea year-round with herbal treats from Cha Cha Tea. Large flowers are sewn together, encompassing the Silver Needle White Tea within the ready-to-flourish pouches of rose, lily, calendula, amaranth and jasmine. Teaposy Quartet, $7, chachatea.net

Steep&Brew: Kick your breakfast tea game up a notch with a cup of assam tea, grown and popular in northeast India. Malty and rich like a black tea — with the slight tang of golden tips — this brew is made even better with a splash of milk to bring out its full-bodied flavor. One pound assam tea, $18.80, steepandbrewcoffee.com

6&12 Tea: Chun mee is not your typical green tea. According to 6&12, this blend of leaves are carefully hand rolled to resemble its namesake — eyebrows — and then pan-fried for utterly sweet and smooth sips. Organic chun mee green tea, $6, rustydogcoffee.com

Macha Tea Co.: As sacrilegious as it may seem, we aren’t here to suggest you try Macha Tea Co.’s pride and joy, matcha tea. (Although, you should definitely do that, too.) Beyond matcha, MTC also carries pu-erh, a fermented tea compressed into bricks that is sold in ripe and raw forms. Pu-erh tea assortment, $6.25-$12.50, machateacompany.com

Legacy House Imports: Take the Legacy House tea party experience home with an assortment of pastries and treats in addition to your choice of international loose leaf. Give white tea a double take after trying pai mu tan, or awaken your senses with lapsang souchong, which is smoke-dried over a pinewood fire. Prices vary, purchase in-person or call for details, legacyhouseimports.com

Bonus Tea Tip: Many tea connoisseurs swear by the importance of water temperature — ranging from about 160 degrees to 205 degrees Fahrenheit — but luckily, you just need the means to boil water for a quality cup. White and green teas are a bit gentler and require shorter baths, with black and oolong leaves can soak for a little longer. But don’t fret — tea is forgiving, and even though it may make the experts cringe, you can always add a dollop of honey, squeeze of lemon or helping of milk to make it even more decadent.

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