Tea Farmers/Vendors & Educational Media
Here is a curated, regularly updated list of resources that I find to be informative, relevant, and trustworthy. Please keep in mind that this list is not intended to be exhaustive and instead aims to focus on a limited, high quality set of resources that a new, inexperienced tea drinker can safely rely on.
Friends/farmers/vendors that I trust and buy tea from (29)
In order to increase awareness, help others to make conscious purchasing decisions (while protecting the environment and their health) and experience the natural essence of the teas they buy, I took the liberty to mark all the entries in this category with the following keys:
● Organic: Offers teas grown using or not certain allowed synthetic chemical fertilizers and pest control solutions based on specific standards and regulations set by the organic agriculture industry and their respective labels (USDA Organic, Ecocert, JAS, etc). Many of those labels are still criticized and seen as misleading as they still allow the use of some non-organic inputs in specific cases (in small amounts that are deemed safe). Teas that are grown this way but are not officially certified (mainly because of economic reasons) or that have been grown using sporadically a minimal amount of those fertilizers and solutions also fall into this category.
● Organic+: Offers teas grown using homemade, naturally produced fertilizers and pest control solutions (compost, compost tea/liquid fertilizer, bokashi, animal/green manure, rice bran, mulch, etc) as well as permaculture techniques.
● Natural: Offers teas grown using no fertilizers or pest control solutions of any sort.
● Semi-wild/Wild (also known as “Ecological”): Offers teas grown using no fertilizers, no pest control solutions, no pruning (or very little), where trees/bushes and their environment are left to themselves (or watched over).
✦ Indicates that 70% or more of their offerings are organic.
✦ Indicates that 70% or more of their offerings are either organic+, natural, or semi-wild/wild.
() Indicates that some of the teas they are offering likely fall into that category (somewhat unclear).
- Taiwanese teas
- Lin from 12tea (based in Lugu, Nantou County, Taiwan) ●✦
- Gin from LiuYu Tea House (based in Taipei, Taiwan) (●)●●✦
- Mr. Lee (his shop does not have any online presence; based in Taoyuan, Taiwan) ●(●)
- Huayin Chen (based in Lugu, Nantou County, Taiwan) ●✦
- Mountain Stream Teas (based in Hualien City, Hualien County, Taiwan) ●●●✦
- Taiwan Tea Crafts (based in Mingjian, Nantou County, Taiwan) ●●●✦
- Chinese teas
- Grass People Tree (based in London, United Kingdom) ●●✦
- Yánchá 岩茶
- Shēng pu’er 生茶 (boutique/brand/non historic factory/self-pressed)
- Farmerleaf (based in Pu’er City, Yunnan, China) ●●●✦
- Terres de ciel (based in Occitanie, France) ●(●)●●(✦)
- Although sheng pu’er is one of the types of tea I drink the less and haven’t properly explored the following options yet, those are well regarded, have a good track record, and get frequently recommended by other tea drinkers:
- JalamTeas (based in Ottawa, Canada) ●●●✦
- Changtai (based in Yiwu, Yunnan, China; their offerings can be found at Yunnan Sourcing, King Tea Mall, and Cloud’s Tea House among others) (●)●●✦
- Yang Qing Hao (based in Tainan, Taiwan) (●)●●✦
- Xi Zi Hao (based in Tainan, Taiwan; official vendor in North America: @sanhetang_xzh) (●)●●✦
- Cha Zhi Ji (based in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia; also offers yanchas; their offerings can be found at Chanting Pines) (●)●●✦
- Chen Sheng Hao (headquarters based in Sanya, Hainan, China) (●)●●✦
- Wistaria Tea House (based in Taipei, Taiwan; mainly known for their puerh offerings) ●●●(✦)
- Biyun Hao (based in Taichung, Taiwan; some of their offerings can be found at Teas We Like) ●(●)●●✦
- Shenghuo Ju Xun Zhen Hao (based in New Taipei City, Taiwan) (●)●●✦ — This is the only brand that I’ve tried from that list so far. Not well-known but interesting offerings.
- Hēichá 黑茶 (including shóu pu’er 熟茶 and chóng chǐ 虫屎茶)
- Note regarding liù bǎo 六堡茶: Along the lines of factory puerh teas, some brands like Three Cranes (Wuzhou Tea Factory) use factory codes on their productions that can somewhat be intimidating and confusing for some of us. Here’s an article that clears things up a little bit.
- Yunnan Sourcing (based in Kunming, Yunnan, China) ●(●)(●)●
- Yunnan Craft (based in Kunming, Yunnan, China) ●(●)(●)●
- Exquisite Leaves (based in Anhua, Hunan, China) – focuses on premium, artisanal Anhua heichas (●)(●)(●)✦
- Japanese teas
- Korean teas
- Morning Crane Tea (TeaBuy Korea) ●(●)●✦(✦)
Thinking of further exploring in the next coming months/years: Taiwan Sourcing (@taiwansourcing), YPT (@ypt.taiwan), Yee On Tea (@yeeonteaco), Cloud’s Tea House (@cloudsteahouse), Puerhprivate/Hayslontea (@puerhprivate), Puerist (@narlimarg), Yiwu Mountain Tea (@yiwumountaintea), Tea Encounter (@teaencounter), Tea Side (@tea_side), Old Ways Tea (@oldwaysteacompany), Chawang Shop (@chawangshop), Thés du Japon (@aozuruchaho_japon), Zencha (@zenchanet), Sono Organic (@sono.organic), Azuma Tea Farm (@azumateafarm), Tea Factory Gen (@tea_factory_gen), Tea Farm Yoake/Nakai Chamurai (@nakaichamurai), Hankook Tea, Health Tea House/FullChea Tea, Liu – Tea & Art (@liu_tea.art).
Monthly tea subscriptions/tea clubs (soon)
The following monthly tea subscriptions/tea clubs meet two important criterias:
– At least 90% of the teas included are at least ● organic.
– They are education-focused (detailed information on the growing process, cultivar, terroir, harvest, processing style, farmer, etc, for each tea).
Educational resources and medias (73)
Classic and educational books worth checking out (11)
- The Classic of Tea: Origins & Rituals (by Lu Yu)
- The Book of Tea (by Kakuzō Okakura)
- The Tale of Tea: A Comprehensive History of Tea from Prehistoric Times to the Present Day (by George L. van Driem)
- Learning by brewing: The easy way to better tea (by Jens Denning)
- Puer Tea: Ancient Caravans and Urban Chic (by Jinghong Zhang)
- First Step To Chinese Puerh Tea (by Chan Kam Pong)
- A Glossary of Chinese Puerh Tea (by Chan Kam Pong)
- The Story of Japanese Tea (by Tyas Sōsen)
- The Book of Korean Tea (by Yang-Seok (Fred) Yoo)
- Tea in Health and Disease Prevention (by Victor R. Preedy)
- Geography of Chinese Tea (by Sergey Shevelev)
- Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers (by Leonard Koren)
- In Praise of Shadows (by Junichiro Tanizaki)
- The Old Tea Seller: Life and Zen Poetry in 18th Century Kyoto (by Baisaō)
- L’extase du thé (by Wing-Fun Cheng and Hervé Collet)
YouTube channels (8)
Where to learn more about Yunnan (history, geopraphy, puerh production) (1)
- Discovering Yunnan — Great introduction from the New York Tea Society (available in PDF).
Where to learn more about Yixing teapots (history, clay, craftsmanship) (6)
- 5-minute crash course for beginners, from @bunny_zisha_attic — Part 1, Part 2, Part 3
- Terebess Asia Online — Yixing Teapots, Part I & Part II
- Secrets on choosing Yixing Teapots
- 10 Myths About Yixing Teapots
- Teapot and Tea — Blog focusing on Yixing clay and craftsmanship.
- Yixing teapot shapes infographic — Made by Zac, member of the CommuniTEA Discord server.
Where to learn more about Japanese ceramics (2)
Where to learn more Korean tea, history, processing, and traditions (1)
Japanese potter identification stamps, seals and marks (3)
- https://gotheborg.com/marks/20thcenturyjapan.shtml? — Focuses on Japanese porcelain marks.
Agriculture resources (2)
Other resources (1)
- Babelcarp — A fantastic and very helpful online Chinese tea lexicon.
Where to buy modern and antique Yixing teapots online (10)
- Yinchen Studio — Modern pieces; based in China
- Yann Art Gallery — Modern pieces; based in China
- Mud&Leaves — Modern pieces; based in Canada and China
- The Essence of Tea — Modern and antique pieces; based in Malaysia (warehouse) and China
- Chanting Pines — Modern and antique pieces; based in Malaysia (warehouse)
- Teas We Like — Modern and antique pieces; ships from Taiwan
- Zisha Art Gallery — Mostly antiques; based in Singapore
- Shin Cheng Fang — Mostly antiques; based in Taiwan
- Moodyguy — Mostly antiques; based in Hong Kong
- Bok (@bok_fl) — Mostly antiques; based in Taiwan
Where to buy Chaozhou teapots (1)
Where to buy everyday Chinese teaware online (3)
Where to buy Japanese teaware online (29)
This section – once rather lentghy due to the adding of galleries and specialized shops – has been thinned out and now only focuses on a limited, high quality, and reliable selection of recommendations.
- Artistic Nippon — Offers all kinds of Japanese ware from well-known artists; great service.
- Thés du Japon — Offers everyday as well as artist pieces; high mark-ups on some pieces.
- Shiha Teapot Shop — High mark-ups on average
- LeafMania — Features new potters and artists regularly; great service too.
- Tokoname Teapot — Specialized in Tokoname ware
- Tokoname Isobe — Specialized in Tokoname ware
- Chaki-Shop — Offers pieces from well-known potters
- Hojo Tea — Probably the best place to experience the diversity of Japanese clay; expect a slow service.
- Chano-yu — Specialized in antiques
- Yahoo Auctions / Yahoo Shopping / Mercari — Probably among the best places to buy great quality, new or secondhand chadogu and senchado pieces (modern/vintage/antique/artist and gallery pieces); require a proxy such as Buyee; using Japanese keywords will return significantly better search results.
- SOU (also selling through eBay) — Massive selection of all kinds of Japanese wares.
- Gallery Labo — Excellent service
- Sazen Tea — Great for your everyday Japanese teaware; offers some artist pieces too.
- Tezumi — Great for your everyday Japanese teaware and chadogu (and affordable vintage/antique pieces).
- Rikyu — Great for your everyday chadogu (and affordable vintage/antique pieces).
- Hareitiba Japanese Antique — High mark-ups on some pieces
- Hiroshima Gallery — Specialized in affordable Hagi ware pieces
- TokonameJP — Great service.
- Tomoidak — Offers great vintage/antique chadogu and sanchado pieces at affordable prices.
- Fujiyama Gallery — Offers great vintage/antique chadogu and sanchado pieces at affordable prices.
Note: Beware of eBay vendors reselling pieces from Yahoo Auctions twice or even thrice their original prices.
- Nippon2You — Sells mostly vintage/antique pieces.
- BKKPICKERBKK — Sells mostly vintage/antique pieces.
- ChawanShop — Sells mostly vintage/antique pieces.
- TreasuresofOldTimes — Sells mostly vintage/antique pieces; high mark-ups on some pieces.
- Koedo — Sells mostly vintage/antique pieces.
- KinsenTOKYO — Sells mostly vintage/antique pieces.
Where to buy Taiwanese teaware online (5)
- Lin’s Ceramics — A well-known option among tea practioners
- Anta Pottery — Another popular option; great for your everyday teaware; some of their offerings can also be found at Taiwan Sourcing.
- Taiwan Tea Crafts — Carries over everyday teaware and artist pieces; great value for money.
- Yizisun — Specialized in artist pieces
- Song Tea — Specialized in artist pieces
Where to buy Czech, Slovak and Polish teaware online (7)
Japanese tea ceremony resources (11) – To be updated and revised
- Wind in the Pines: Classic Writings of the Way of Tea as a Buddhist Path — by Dennis Hirota
- Tea Life, Tea Mind — by Sōshitsu Sen XV
- The Wisdom of Tea: Life Lessons from the Japanese Tea Ceremony — by Noriko Morishita
- Urasenke Chado Textbook — by Tankosha Publishing Co
- A Chanoyu Vocabulary: Practical Terms for the Way of Tea — by Tankosha Publishing Co
- Urasenke Tea Procedure Guidebook 1: Introductory Level — by Tankosha Publishing Co
- Urasenke Tea Procedure Guidebook 2: Usucha Tea Procedure — by Tankosha Publishing Co
- Urasenke Tea Procedure Guidebook 3: Koicha Tea Procedure — by Tankosha Publishing Co
- Pearl Among the Clouds — by Ueda Sōkei
Other resources (2)
Other resources (12)
Mobile apps (2)
Research papers (7)
- A Foreign Infusion: The Forgotten Legacy of Japanese Chadō on Modern Chinese Tea Arts (2016) — Available in PDF
- Minerals in drinking water: impacts on taste and importance to consumer health (2007) — Available in PDF
- Effect of teapot materials on the chemical composition of oolong tea infusions (2017) — Available in PDF
- Rinsing Tea before Brewing Decreases Pesticide Residues in Tea Infusion (2018) — Available in PDF (paid access)
- Water Quality Changes with Heating of Tap Water Using Nanbu Iron Kettle and Foreign-made Iron Kettle (2004) — Available in PDF
- Phenolic compounds and the biological effects of Pu-erh teas with long-term storage (2016) — Available in PDF
- Yellow tea (Camellia sinensis L.), a promising Chinese tea: Processing, chemical constituents and health benefits (2018) — Available in PDF
Water resources (3)
- Tea Curious Water — Customized water receipes for tea (droppers)
- Find a Spring — User-generated map of springs around the world.
- ThermoPro TP50 — This is the hygrometer that I’m currently using to monitor the humidity of the area where my teas are stored. Inexpensive, reliable, and accurate enough for my needs (±2~3%RH).
Transparency disclaimer: Please note that I receive no financial compensation whatsoever from the tea and teaware vendors/shops/companies/individuals listed in the above list, which has been curated independently.
Last update: June 3, 2022