Your journey into the world of tea may have started with a tea bag filled with black tea dust, but as you travel, you discover a whole new vista of tea enjoyment. Teas from the African continent, various Asian countries, India and Sri Lanka, and even such not-so-readily-thought-of places as Brazil, Hawaii, South Carolina, and the U.K. will start to come into view. To savor each one, you can go from tea vendor to tea vendor or visit a vendor who generalizes.
Just as you would choose to shop for shoes at the shoe department of a big box store instead of at the local shoe boutique so that you can get a wider selection and possibly better prices, you can buy your oolong from a tea vendor who sells oolongs along with a host of other teas and so get your Japanese teas, that chamomile you love, a nice package of Irish Breakfast tea, and a flavored tea such as pumpkin spice all at the same time.
The generalist tea vendor has several advantages over tea vendors who specialize. They:
- Can offer a wide variety of teas, not just a black tea, a white tea, a green tea, etc., but a number of black teas, white teas, green teas, etc.
- Are able to cater to popular tastes by carrying an array of flavored teas, not just the classics of jasmine, Earl Grey, and spiced chais.
- Include herbals in their line-up to round out the selection.
- Update their offerings regularly in response to sales activity.
- Extend beyond teas and herbals to a full range of teawares, from teapots and mugs, to cozies, warming stands, strainers, and more.
Let me further illustrate: I recently went shopping for an external data storage solution. It was for an old computer on its last legs (I wanted to be able to copy off data before wiping the hard drive and sending the machine to its final resting place). Several options were available. I could have gone to a specialist store that carried only a particular brand and style (flash drives, external hard drives, writable DVDs, etc.) but I went to an electronics store. They were noisy and busy and carried such an array of products that I had to really focus on what I’d come in there for in the first place (a drawback to any generalist store).
A new flash drive seemed to be the best option, and the prices had come way down from when such drives were first introduced on the market. Once deciding on that general category, I then had to narrow down the choices: a smaller one of 2GB for $5.95 or one larger (up to 32GB drive for $19.95). It was indeed nice to have such a full array of options that I would not have had at the specialist store.
At the generalist tea vendor site or store, you can pick green, black, oolong, white, etc., and then choose between single estate, blends, or flavored. You can get something economical such as 4 ounces of Superior Gunpowder Green Tea at $3.95 or something special like 2 ounces of Adams Peak White Tea at $24.00. You can buy a 4-ounce package of Scottish Breakfast Tea for $4.20 or go for a full pound at $13.55. Obviously, the cost per ounce is less when you buy the bigger package, just as the cost per gigabyte is less for the larger flash drive.
Yes, the tea vendor who generalizes can offer such a range of choices that it could be as dizzying as that electronics store. It’s fine to explore (I go in that store sometimes just to browse) or you can focus in on that certain tea or teapot that you want.
Tea Vendors Who Specialize
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