Good tea vendors in Europe?


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Good tea vendors in Europe?

Postby Marco » Jun 11th, '10, 12:59

Hello tea-lovers,

I recently ordered some tea and my very first tokoname teapot :)
I found nice vendors in Japan and the US and you realy have ngreat listings of vendors here on teachat.
The real problem is - the additional costs for an EU-import are huge. Shipping costs are high and what realy kills it is taxation!
So all in all the price is nearly doubled.

So I searched for alternatives in Europe. BUT - found a lot (most of them in Germany) and the problem is they are
a)overpriced or
b)haven´t got a realy good selection. :(

Do you know good vendors in Europe?

To clarify - I am into Japanese and Chinese tea ware and Japanese green tea, Oolong, some white tea. Just try pu erh - didn't find my connection to it yet. And I am not interested in flavored teas and in black teas.

Of course I found Adagio-Europe. But in the moment their selection is small and not comparable to the international one. Is the European tea liking this different?

hope you know some good source
ciao
Marco
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Re: Good tea vendors in Europe?

Postby aya_s » Jun 11th, '10, 15:01

I know of two tea vendors in France. I apologize I don't know any in Germany proper, but I thought that since it's close geographically, the shipping might not be so bad?

Tea Donovan has a selection of teas from Indonesia, China, Taiwan, and Japan - http://tea-donovan.com/

Hediard has both blended teas and specific origin non-blended teas - http://www.hediard.fr/Corporate/Le_the/

I have found both places to have high quality teas that I enjoyed. However, neither of these sites sells online. >.< (it kills me, because I am in the US and would love to drink more of their teas) I am hoping that some place local to you carries their products.
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Re: Good tea vendors in Europe?

Postby Marco » Jun 12th, '10, 12:30

aya_s wrote:I have found both places to have high quality teas that I enjoyed. However, neither of these sites sells online. >.< (it kills me, because I am in the US and would love to drink more of their teas) I am hoping that some place local to you carries their products.


Yes unfortunately they don't. Thinking about writing an email and begging for sending me some tea. :D

BTW France is good as well. I am looking for vendors in the EU - then there are no additional taxes. (and 20% on everything - even shipping - that hurts)

Even though that I am in a city and here are five local vendors - they are not what I want and need :(
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Re: Good tea vendors in Europe?

Postby LauraW » Jun 12th, '10, 12:50

I've heard many good things about Mariage Freres, I've only had their Marco Polo, which is wonderful but might be too flavored for your tastes. But they do have a wide variety.
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Re: Good tea vendors in Europe?

Postby olivierco » Jun 12th, '10, 13:02

Marco wrote:The real problem is - the additional costs for an EU-import are huge. Shipping costs are high and what realy kills it is taxation!
So all in all the price is nearly doubled.


I have so far had to pay taxes for tea only when using EMS shipping (Ippodo). 3,4% of the total price and 15€. So for 150€ of tea about 40€ for shipping and taxes. Sometimes I have been charged for more money but I always got a refund after having filed a claim.
Normally any order under 40€ (including tea only) shouldn't be taxed. I ordered many times from Japan for more than 40€ using airmail (7 to 14 days) without any taxes and with reasonable shipping costs (O-cha, zencha or hibiki an).

Getting fresh Japanese teas directly in Europe seems to be impossible because adding an middleman comes to additional costs anyway (and loss of freshness too).
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Re: Good tea vendors in Europe?

Postby Proinsias » Jun 12th, '10, 13:16

A few UK stores, no idea about Japanese green. Essense of Tea
Wan Ling Tea House
Nothing But Tea
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Re: Good tea vendors in Europe?

Postby Marco » Jun 12th, '10, 16:36

LauraW wrote:I've heard many good things about Mariage Freres, I've only had their Marco Polo, which is wonderful but might be too flavored for your tastes. But they do have a wide variety.


Thanks LauraW - I checked the site but I have to say they are simply overpriced! - 85 Euro for 100g of Gyokuro (and it is not stated which one exactly) - kind of street robbing ;)

@olivierco: Only 3,4% taxation? Wow. In Austria I pay no duty if I am under 150€. But I have to pay 20% VAT. And it is only free of that if I am under 22€.
And I realy like O-cha and Yuki-cha. But the sidecosts. :shock:

Proinsias wrote:A few UK stores, no idea about Japanese green. Essense of Tea
Wan Ling Tea House
Nothing But Tea


Thanks for the links Proinsias.
Essence of Tea: They have no greens - pu erh, oolong and blacks. - and I think they are streetrobbers too :D
BUT look at that Pu Erhs - WOW 1960s (early) Guang Yun Gong Puerh - I'd really like to taste!
And they differ young and aged Oolong. Didn't know that Oolong gets better with ageing!

Wan Ling Tea House: No greens from Japan, but perhaps worth a little try.

Nothing But Tea: Looks promising. I think I will give them a try. And to everyone here - you have to have a look at their exotic tea:
http://www.nbtea.co.uk/acatalog/Exotic_Tea.html
Nice variations - I am curious.

cheers
Marco
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Re: Good tea vendors in Europe?

Postby Proinsias » Jun 12th, '10, 17:31

Not sure what a streetrobber is but Nada's tea comes highly recommended.
Wang Lin specialise in low roast TGY so if you're going to get anything from them I'd make TGY the first pick.
Nbtea - The sample packs are well worth a shot, I picked up the black one last year, some real gems and a few I'd never heard of.
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Re: Good tea vendors in Europe?

Postby entropyembrace » Jun 12th, '10, 22:12

I wouldn´t call essence of tea streetrobbers, they just sell expensive tea, I´m sure it costs them quite a bit too from looking at it.
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Re: Good tea vendors in Europe?

Postby Marco » Jun 13th, '10, 05:05

entropyembrace wrote:I wouldn´t call essence of tea streetrobbers, they just sell expensive tea, I´m sure it costs them quite a bit too from looking at it.


Hi
I was not really serious with this :)
But if it is an expensive tea I really want to know more about the tea.
85 Euro for the gyokuro - then there is more to say than "gyokuro from Japan" :)
Do you see my point?

cheers
Marco
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Re: Good tea vendors in Europe?

Postby olivierco » Jun 13th, '10, 11:19

Marco wrote:
@olivierco: Only 3,4% taxation? Wow. In Austria I pay no duty if I am under 150€. But I have to pay 20% VAT. And it is only free of that if I am under 22€.
Marco

Are you sure about the 20%? If the VAT is 20% in Austria then you would pay it whichever shop you choose in Europe or even in Austria. VAT for tea is only 5.5% in France.
You should ask the BMF directly.
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Re: Good tea vendors in Europe?

Postby Marco » Jun 13th, '10, 12:22

olivierco wrote:
Marco wrote:
@olivierco: Only 3,4% taxation? Wow. In Austria I pay no duty if I am under 150€. But I have to pay 20% VAT. And it is only free of that if I am under 22€.
Marco

Are you sure about the 20%? If the VAT is 20% in Austria then you would pay it whichever shop you choose in Europe or even in Austria. VAT for tea is only 5.5% in France.
You should ask the BMF directly.


Unfortuneately I am absolutely sure. I have to pay 20% VAT when I buy a tea in Austria (10% if it is herbal tea). If I would order in France or any EU-member-state then there will be no additional taxation.
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Re: Good tea vendors in Europe?

Postby teacraft » Jun 13th, '10, 19:47

Certainly there is no VAT to pay on tea purchases in the UK, though a few herbals carry VAT - those that the VATman considers to be medicinal rather than beverage.

I can also confirm that sample packs from Nothing But Tea are a very cost effective way to 'dip your toe in the water' for new tea origins - Bolivia, Georgia, Guatemala, African whites from Malawi - and the exclusive Tea Buffs' Club features limited edition teas that I bring back from my travels. Latest is, from World Tea Expo, a delectable New Zealand grown oolong that selected members will receive a few grams of as a taster.

Nigel at Teacraft and at Nothing But Tea
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Re: Good tea vendors in Europe?

Postby Proinsias » Jun 13th, '10, 20:27

Marco wrote:Hi
I was not really serious with this :)
But if it is an expensive tea I really want to know more about the tea.
85 Euro for the gyokuro - then there is more to say than "gyokuro from Japan" :)
Do you see my point?

cheers
Marco


I've always found the descriptions of teas on Essence of Tea more than adequate. There is usually plenty of info regarding leaf origin, storage and tasting notes. I've not come across anything like "pu'er from Yunnan" or "oolong from China" on the site. £700 for a bing of GYG and he'll still tell you it's not as complex or thick as other bings from that era - I've never felt like he is trying to skimp on info. He also sells most of his teas by the gram, so you can try something like the 60's GYG without missing a mortgage payment.
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Re: Good tea vendors in Europe?

Postby Proinsias » Jun 13th, '10, 20:33

Nice to see you here again Nigel. The Georgian Old Gentleman black tea really was superb, as were many others in the black tea sampler pack. Always glad to see quality tea being sold in the UK. I need to place another order with your company soon, maybe after I've restocked my Japanese greens.
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