Buying tea online is easy.
At least it seems that way.
There are thousands of online tea vendors. But the vast majority are average at best.
Either their teas aren’t the greatest, or their prices are too high, ort their website is not user-friendly, or any number of other issues. And often it a combination of many.
So how do you know which are the best online tea stores?
Research. Lots of it. The good news is: you don’t have to do it yourself.
I’ve done all the research for you and came up with a short list of my favorite online tea shops. They each have different strengths. Which tea vendor is best for you will depend on your needs.
Take a look at the table below to see them all compared. After the table, I provide brief reviews of each of the top online tea stores.
Best Online Tea Stores Compared
Buy Tea Online: Reviews Of Top Tea Shops
The brief reviews of the best online tea stores below explain why we chose these stores and also provide info about any current deals they may be running.
We try to keep this updated, but it pays to check the stores yourself. They often run unannounced sales or discounts.
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 only ship to the US or Canada.
This is my favorite all-around online tea shop.
Current Deal: 10% off first purchase if you sign up for newsletter
Teavivre specializes in teas from China. They carry nothing else, unfortunately, but when it comes to Chinese tea, their selection can’t be beat.
They also have a ton of different pu-ehr teas, including a sample pack with 5 varieties for under $20 (it is actually on sale for under $15 at the time of writing), which is a great introduction for anyone new to pu-erh.
Their website is not the most flashy, but it gets the job done. They actually redesigned it recently and, in my opinion, made it worse. It was easier to use before and looked cleaner too.
More importantly than the look and ease of use, it has reviews and ratings for the teas to help you find the right one. Teavivre also offers cheap samples for all of their teas, so you don’t have to spend much to try out a new variety. They ship worldwide and orders over $30 ship free.
Teavivre is my favorite online vendor for Chinese teas, especially pu-erh.
Current Deals: 15% off new arrivals.
This company specializes in very high quality loose leaf tea from China and they have an extensive selection of pu-erh.
If you’re looking to buy the highest quality Chinese tea online, especially pu-erh, I recommend Generation Tea; if not, buy your tea from one of the other shops. And if you spend the money to get high quality tea, please store your tea leaves correctly, so that they stay fresh.
If I want top quality Chinese tea, I usually check to see if Generation Tea has the type I want first. If they don’t, then I check Teavivre.
Their website is very basic and they do not offer free shipping. Note: while their site is still basic, they have recently given it a big update. It is much better now, although it still lags behind most other sites.
Current Deals: None
- Best online tea store for matcha
- High quality matcha green tea at great prices
- Matcha Source matcha is farmed by the Yahagi river whose micro-climate and misty fog air make for ideal growing conditions
- Matcha made traditionally without the use of artificial colors, preservatives or additives
As the name suggests, this company specializes in matcha green tea powder and matcha accessories. Their website is simple, but really well done. It also gives a ton of information about their company and how they got started, which is a great read.
Basically, the founder Alissa discovered matcha for herself in 2004 when she was looking for something to help her deal with her hectic life. It worked wonders for her, so she decided to create her site to bring this ancient Japanese tea to more people in the US. And she has been doing that admirably ever since.
In addition to a couple of great matcha teas of varying quality, this vendor also sells anything you might need or want to make and enjoy matcha green tea. They even offer bundled “starter kits” that include the tea and the accessories you need to get started making and drinking it right away.
If you’re looking to buy matcha online or anything related, I highly recommend Matcha Source.
Current Deals: Save 10% when you sign up with your email
California Tea House
This is a great retailer for budget teas. They have a very limited selection and the quality of their teas is not great, but the prices are low. Very low.
I would not buy from California Tea House if you want top quality tea. But if you’re buying tea to make iced tea or tea with milk and/or sugar, they’re a great option. There’s no need for the best teas in these cases, so you can save a lot of money. They also ship for free in the US.
They have a monthly tea club, where you pay a monthly fee and get a selection of tea delivered. It could be a good deal if you like to try different teas and don’t really know what kinds to get. They also have a tea forum on their site (but it was not working at the time of writing).
I recommend California Tea House as a great retailer for budget teas.
Current Deal: 15% off all teas with email signup
This retailer has a large selection of teas from all over the world. The teas are all great quality. They’re not the absolute best, but still very good. And considering the relatively low prices, Culinary Teas is a great bargain.
They feature a ton of flavored teas, in additional to pure teas. I personally avoid flavored teas, but if you like them, you’ll definitely want check out the Culinary Teas store.
The website works well and is easy to use, but it won’t win any design awards. The important thing is that it doesn’t get in the way. One small issue I had is with the organization. If you click on black teas, for example, the list includes oolong and pu’er.
There is actually a separate section for oolong teas, so I am not sure why those were included under black teas as well. Pu-erh tea is the real black tea, so I guess including it makes some sense. That said, it is very different from what we call black tea in the west and most retailers put it in a separate category.
Overall, culinary teas is great if you want to try teas you can’t find elsewhere and if you want great teas at a great price. The website is nothing special, but it’s functional.
They currently only sell in the US and Canada. Shipping is free for orders over $75. You also earn reward points with every order that can be redeemed for free shipping.
Current Deal: 10% off all teas with email signup
Among all the online tea retailers, 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 great for those new to tea and it is a good place to buy tea bags online, but anyone else would be better served by some of the other stores.
Current Deal: None
The following are the criteria used to come up with the ratings for the best online tea vendors listed on this page.
Of course this includes the number of teas on offer, but it also takes into account the balance of products offered.
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 (California Tea House, for example). Wikipedia has a good article on tea leaf grading.
This category should be considered in conjunction with ‘Quality’. If a vendor’s price and quality rating are about 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 is higher than quality, the value is not so good.
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 when using the site to shop for tea online.
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.