5 Artisan Teas to Try Now

Teapigs © Ben Alsop
By Julia Heffelfinger Posted November 05, 2014

Here, 5 tea companies to check out right now.

From cafés, to restaurants, to our very own Food & Wine offices, people are leaving coffee behind and making the switch to tea. Companies like Teapigs and Rare Tea Cellar are making it easier to brew hard-to-find, custom teas in your own home. Here, five tea companies to check out right now.

1. Teapigs
This UK based company is “piggy for tea”! Owners Nick and Louise, who formerly worked for a large tea company, wanted to make unique and under-appreciated teas fun and accessible to a general audience. Check out their site and browse by categories like “teas you can have with milk”, “tea without caffeine” and even “cheeky deals”. $24.99/12 tea sampler pack, teapigs.com

2. Imperial Tea Court
Owner Roy Fong is referred to as "The Godfather of Tea" by established chefs like The Slanted Door’s Charles Phan. Fong was among the first to import fine loose-leaf teas, like competition-grade Ben Shan oolong tea and hand-harvested Bi Luo Chun green tea, which sold for up to $200 a pound at the time. More affordable, and equally incredible, teas can be found at Imperial Tea Court. Be sure to give the floral Milk Oolong a try. $21/2oz., imperialtea.com

2. Rare Tea Cellar
Tea-guru Rodrick Marcus runs this high-end tea company out of Chicago, where he distributes unusual loose leaf teas to restaurants and purveyors like Fat Rice, Goose Island Brewery and Grant Achatz’s Alinea. True tea enthusiasts must check out the RTC Tea of the Month Club. From $85/3 mo., rareteacellar.com

3. Smith Teamaker
Each tea from Steven Smith Teamaker is hand sorted, sifted, blended and packed in a former blacksmith shop in Portland, OR. Enter the batch number on your tea carton into their website and learn about the origin of each ingredient in your cup. From $5.50/15 tea bags, smithtea.com

4. Runningbyrd Tea Company
Seasonal, brewed iced teas made in the Southern tradition. Owner Ben Byrd and his team craft unusual flavor combinations such as Shenandoah Smoke, a blend of smoked teas with notes of hazelnut and rich spices. Iced tea is no longer just for summer. runningbyrdteacompany.com

Related: The World's Best Tea Shops
The World's Best Spice Shops
Modern Kitchen Upgrades

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