So You Want a Tea Collection? Here is what you'll need

Updated: Jul 31, 2020

We asked our founder, tea sommelier Jennie Ripps, about building a tea collection. Here are her answers!

There are so many teas! How would you begin thinking about a tea collection?

I’d think about it the way I approached building out restaurant tea programs — you want to have a really accessible base if you’re only bringing 5-10 teas into your home (or restaurant). You definitely want the “basics” (ie, English breakfast or chamomile), but high quality, interesting versions. When thinking about a tea program or collection, I also consider a broad range of flavors and — of course — health benefits. For instance, I’d never advise someone to have 9 different black teas in their collection — although I have consulted on fun programs that were black or green tea centric.

What is the difference between white tea, green tea, and black tea?

They are actually all made from the same plant, Camellia Sinensis! The difference is in their oxidation levels.

Anything to look for in tea brands?

I prefer whole leaf teas whenever possible. A quick trick for this (because the packaging doesn’t always say if the tea is whole leaf!) is to either buy tea loose in bulk, or purchase from brands that offer pyramid sachet bags (which are see-through).

Are all these teas meant to be brewed hot?