Thursday, October 20, 2011

Cheap Tea: Loose-leaf Teas Offering Outstanding Value

I'm a bargain shopper, and a highly cost-conscious person in nearly all aspects of my life. I believe in spending money wisely. This post is about loose-leaf teas that are really cheap. This is not the first time I've written on this topic: back in April of 2010 I wrote about three unusually good inexpensive teas...but that was a long time ago, and I've discovered more deals since then.

The word "cheap" often has a negative connotation..."cheaply made", or "cheap quality". That's not what I'm getting at. By cheap, I mean that the price is really low, lower than you can typically get in tea bags. The teas in this post are not just inexpensive, they're outright cheap, bargain buys. But they're also remarkably high-quality. They offer, in my opinion, outstanding value...the best you can get for your money.

Ahmad Tea's Kalami Assam:

Pictured here is the loose-leaf of Ahmad Tea's Kalami Assam:

Price: $6.15 a pound. Wow, just wow.
Summary: A strong Assam black tea with remarkable complexity.
My full review.

Tradition's Oolongs: A-Li-Son (Alishan) and Dong Ding:

Picture here is a tin of Tradition's A-Li-Son (Alishan) oolong, with the loose-leaf brewing in a glass mug. This tea is a little pricier relative to the others, but it is a whole-leaf green oolong tea, with mostly unbroken leaves, and it's still really cheap:

Price: $7.95 for 100 grams.
Summary: Two offerings: A-Li-Son (pictured), and Dong Ding. Both are intensely aromatic, greener, high-mountain oolong from Taiwan. Unparalleled quality for this price.
My review of Tradition's A-Li-Son Oolong, and My review of Tradition's Dong Ding Oolong.

Starway's Green Teas: Huangshan Mao Feng and Bilouchun (Bi Luo Chun):

This brand is a relative newcomer (at least to my eye) in Asian markets, but is now widely available. I'm less impressed with their oolongs, but these two green teas offer amazing deals:

Price: $2.95 and $3.95 for 6 ounces (170 grams).
Summary: Two single-region Chinese green teas of unparalleled quality for this price. The cheaper of the two is in the mao feng style, the other is a surprisingly passable bi luo chun.

My review of the bi luo chun, and My review of the huangshan mao feng.

Have you tried any of these teas? And have you found any deals lately?

Let me know! Share your insights into teas that are both cheap and good!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing these teas! They are going on my list to look for... "Thrifty" is the term I use when I am trying out inexpensive teas, since I am always looking for good value.

    I have been happily surprised by the quality of Ahmad's loose leaf teas. The Kalami Assam sounds wonderful, and I will buy some when I am stocking up on their Darjeeling, which has become a staple in my cupboard. My local Indian Market stocks their teas at wonderfully inexpensive prices, and they go through them at a rapid pace.

    I have seen the Tradition Tea's brand, but never the Starways. Thanks for the posting!