You want to get the best price for the teas you buy but, as every smart comparison tea shopper knows, you also look for quality and service. Smart deals abound — you just have to know what to look for.
Basic vs Specialty Teas
If you’re in the market for a basic tea, something like gunpowder green tea or a nice breakfast blend, sources abound. You merely have to go to a few of them and compare prices. Why pay double for a basic tea from a company with a fancy reputation when you can get the same quality or even better from a company that foregoes the elaborate packaging, etc. Specialty teas are another matter and one where you will want to check out the vendor’s reputation. Jasmines, for example, can have a range of quality, from poor to first rate. Pumpkin spice and other flavored teas also have a range of flavor, some being downright nasty to others that are heavenly. You may have to order a small package and try it to find the one that suits you.
As previously stated, you can’t just rely on price. You need to consider quality but also the company’s reputation. Here we’re not just talking about who has the better public relations campaign, contributes the most to charities, or is most adept at spreading press releases throughout the Internet. If you are into social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, follow what people say about a tea vendor’s products. Sadly, tea review sites are not always reliable, since some sites purposely remove negative reviews at the insistence of the tea vendor (I have had a couple of instances of such requests for removal from my own tea review site). They also try to get negative comments about their products removed (or hire a service to do it), even when those comments are legitimate. I can’t really blame them, since the temptation to post “spite comments” is pretty tempting to unscrupulous sorts. For you, the comparison tea shopper, though, it can make your efforts to sort fact from fiction all the more tedious.
Apples vs Oranges
When it comes to comparing anything, you want to be sure you are comparing apples to apples, not apples to oranges. Very tricky when it comes to tea. Not all Irish breakfast blends are alike, for example. Plus, despite newly instituted labeling for some tea types such as Darjeelings, something labeled “Darjeeling blend” could still contain a fair amount of tea from elsewhere.
As always, you need to do your homework and know what you are getting. It’s true of car buying and very true when shopping for tea.
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