Discover Teas

Customer Service: 866-897-4669 or 757-847-5190

Discover TEAS FAQ


Basics of Tea Questions:

Tea and Health Questions:

Logistics Questions:

Going Further Through the Steeping Glass:

Basics of Tea:

What's the difference between loose and bagged teas?

Bagged teas are made from what the tea industry calls "dust and fannings." This refers to the remnants of tea that are left over after all of the loose teas have been sold, so it is often old and no longer possesses the flavor and nutritional benefits found in fresh loose tea. Teabag purveyors often disguise this by spraying the dust with artificial flavors or adding filler from old tea. Quality loose-leaf tea from reputable sources is the best way to enjoy the natural taste and benefits of tea.

Help! Tea is confusing. What is the difference between white, green, black, and oolong teas? What about rooibos and herbal teas??

White, green, black, and oolong teas are all made from leaves from the same plant, Camellia sinensis (the tea plant). The differences are primarily due to processing style and oxidation level, which lead to a wide range of flavors and qualities among the different styles. Herbal teas, such as rooibos, honeybush, or teas made with lavender, ginger, etc. are technically "tisanes" (infusions). Since they aren't made from the tea plant, they don't contain caffeine, but most still contain a variety of beneficial vitamins and nutrients.

How do I steep my tea?

There are many different ways to steep tea, from the ultra-traditional to the ultra-modern. The amount of tea that you use, the temperature of the water, and the length of the steep all contribute greatly to how tea tastes. This is often the difference between a smooth, round cup of tea and a bitter, overly astringent cup of tea. Check out our brewing guide or the individual steeping suggestions for each tea for our recommendations.

What do I use to steep my tea?

There is a lot of teaware out there, and which is best will vary depending on your needs. You may need a different steeping solution for making tea by the cup than you would for entertaining a large group of people or performing a tea ceremony. Overall, we recommend large basket-style tea infusers and tea presses, as they allow the tea leaves room to fully open in a cup, thereby releasing all of their flavor and benefits. Tea "spoons" and tea balls may be pretty, but are often messy and not large enough for the recommended amount of tea.

How do I store my quality loose-leaf tea?

When stored correctly, your loose-leaf tea can retain its quality and flavor for anywhere from six months to even as long as a year — if you don't drink it all first, of course! Storing tea doesn't have to be difficult as long as you remember that tea can easily absorb strong odors and flavors if not sealed correctly. For more information, check out our guide on storing fine teas!

There are many tea shops out there, so what makes you different?

Here at Discover Teas, we insist on maintaining the highest standard of quality possible in tea. All of our teas are hand-picked and made completely without pesticides, artificial flavors, or preservatives. As a small business, people are one of our greatest assets, so we also ensure that our tea comes from plantations that treat their workers fairly. Our teas are blended with love and steeped in gratitude, and we like to think that makes a big difference — but don't just take our word for it, check out our customer reviews here or on our individual tea pages, then try the Discover Teas difference for yourself!

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Tea and Health:

What makes tea healthy?

Tea is one of the oldest medicines on the planet; in fact the first recorded use of tea was as a medicinal beverage in the Chinese imperial court. The tea plant contains a host of beneficial phytonutrients that have a variety of benefits on individual health. Different herbs used in tisanes can also offer many health benefits. In addition, when you drink tea, you are hydrating yourself and nourishing your spirit. For more information, check out our blogs on tea and health, or take a look at our WellTeaings section.

What's the healthiest tea?

Since everyone is different, the question of tea and health is always an individual one, as it depends on what specific health benefits you're looking for. No tea is healthy if you don't drink it, of course, so the healthiest tea is going to be the one you enjoy drinking the most!

What tea has the most antioxidants?

Different teas have different levels of antioxidants. When considering antioxidants, a tea like our matcha, with high-quality leaves that are fully ingested when you drink the tea, is going to have the absolute highest level of antioxidants compared to a simple infusion. As for loose teas that are steeped, our Peregrine Mountain First Flush black tea and White Eagle Long Life green tea have antioxidant ratings of Ultra High (each is over 15%!). Of course, there are also other ways to consume tea that result in high levels of antioxidant absorption, such as using tea in cooking or baking.

How much caffeine does tea have?

Caffeine levels in tea vary; it isn't always as simple as X tea has Y amount of caffeine. The caffeine in tea is dependent on many factors, such as age of the tea plant and style of processing.

Doesn't the caffeine in tea dehydrate you?

When you drink a cup of tea, the amount of water used in the tea far outweighs the amount of caffeine in that tea. Far from dehydrating you, properly-steeped quality tea is actually a great way to keep yourself hydrated throughout the day! For more information, check out our blog on tea, caffeine and hydration.

Does your tea have gluten?

Our tea, like most high-quality loose tea, does not contain gluten, which is not a substance that occurs naturally in tea.

Is your tea organic?

All of our teas are hand-harvested and made completely without pesticides, artificial flavors, or preservatives. We also ensure that our tea comes from plantations that treat their workers fairly and with respect. There is no firm international standard for being "organic." Hundreds of agencies worldwide certify "organic" products, all of which have different regulations and metrics. Regardless of the standards used, organic certification is a large investment in both time and money. Many smaller plantations simply don't have enough of either to jump through the bureaucratic hoops required in addition to producing pure, natural, quality tea. The irony is that this lack of resources is usually due to that time and money being focused instead on producing tea that would pass with flying colors! A tea plantation may use organic farming practices, treat its workers fairly, and take great care in postproduction to ensure a superior (and healthy!) product that still may not have a "certified organic" stamp on it. In contrast, a corporation-owned plantation may produce mediocre tea that is still machine-harvested, with dedicated workers who are paid a pittance, and still be able to pay to call its tea "organic." For more information about our position on organic labeling, check out this blog by our founder.

I didn't find the answer to my health-related tea question here!

We're sorry to hear that! We have a lot more information on how tea improves your health in our blog entries. If you still can't find the answer to your question there, sign up for our newsletter and send your question to our herbalist, Ken — he may answer it in our next Ask the Herbalist newsletter! If nothing else, feel free to contact us directly via our Facebook page or by calling one of our locations.

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Logistics questions:

I bought/received a tea from you that I can't find online now. Is there anything I can do?

Certainly! If you made your own custom blend, or are a fan of a tea blend that has been discontinued, please feel free to call us and place your order over the phone.

Do you have gift cards?

Yes! Online gift certificates for purchases here on our e-store can be found here

Is there a Discover Teas in my area?

While we do not have brick-and-mortar locations, we are always open 24/7 right here online. You can also order your tea for local pick-up in the 757 as part of our partnership with other small businesses in the area. If you have any questions or concerns, you can always contact us on our Facebook page or call us at (757) 847-5190.

Do you ship to APOs?

Yes, we do — to facilitate this, please give us a call!

What are your shipping and delivery policies and rates?

We process all online orders for shipping within 48 business hours of the completed transaction, barring delays due to inclement weather or other emergency situations beyond our control. Our orders are shipped via USPS, with typical product delivery within 3-5 business days. We also offer an option to pay online for in-store tea pickup at various partnering small businesses throughout the Hampton Roads area. For domestic orders, we charge a flat $5.95 for orders under $65; orders $65 and over ship for free. We also ship to Canada with a flat $9.95 shipping fee for orders under $80; orders $80 and over ship for free.

What are your policies for returns and/or refunds?

Our policies differ depending on whether the item in question is a food product (such as tea or candy) or not. Tea, candy, and other food products are not returnable, for safety reasons, and their cost cannot be refunded. Non-food items and wares that are damaged UPON ARRIVAL of your shipment are subject to the terms of our 15-day return policy: You must notify us of the issue within 15 days of your purchase, or we will not be liable for the item. Please note that natural flaws (such as variation in color of hand-painted items) are not considered a defect. We will refund you for the cost of your damaged-on-arrival or UNUSED unwanted item if the above conditions are followed. Washed, used, or defaced items are nonrefundable and nonreturnable. Shipping costs are nonrefundable and nonreimburseable.

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Going Further Through the Steeping Glass:

Can I make iced tea with loose tea?

Not only can you easily make iced tea with loose tea, quality loose tea can give you the best iced tea you've ever had! You can check our Iced Tea Brewing Guide for the cool details! There are several different techniques you can use to make iced loose tea. Even better, they're quick, easy, and don't result in your tea getting diluted or overly watered down. All of our teas are great iced as well as hot, a welcome treat when it's hot out. And as this article from Fresh Cup says, cold-brewing couldn't be easier!

Can I still steep great tea even if I don't have a thermometer to check my water temperature?

You certainly can! One of the easiest methods, if you don't mind letting your water come to a boil, is just to take it off the heat as soon as it boils and let it rest. After about one minute, the water should be at around 195°F – 200°F, perfect for a black tea. After three or so, it should be around 175°F – 185°F, great for a green or white tea. Our Tea Temperature Tips share a few more advanced methods that you can try once you're used to steeping tea. Remember, when in doubt, it's almost always better to steep lower than higher!

What other things can I do with tea?

One of the many reasons we love tea so much is because it can be so much more than a beverage. Not only is it a source of near-instant aromatherapy, tea — steeped or unsteeped — can be used as an ingredient in cooking, baking, cocktail mixing, home freshening, and so much more. After you're finished with them, steeped tea remains can even be used to help make great compost! For more ideas, look up our blog or our Facebook page, where we often share favorite alternative uses for tea.

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