Everything Loose Leaf Tea
Frequently asked questions we have about our lovely leaves...
We have a delicious range of pure, herbal tea infusions that are naturally caffeine free. What we don't have is de-caf tea. The tea-leaf, Camellia Sinensis, contains caffeine. It doesn't matter if its white tea, green tea, oolong or black tea - all non- herbal tea contains caffeine. Making decaffeinated tea requires stripping the caffeine from the leaf. This process doesn't happen by magic and it definitely has an effect on the flavour. We prefer to keep our tea pure, delicious and unmolested.
If properly stored and unopened, your loose tea could last for years - but generally, it will start to lose flavour and aroma after about 3 months of opening.
Yes, all our loose leaf teas and herbal infusions are organically grown and our farmers are committed to sustainable farming practices.
However; we work with small producers who don't always have the money or manpower for the complex and costly process of organic certification. We have our loose leaf teas and herbs tested ourselves - taking on the expense and logistics rather than burdening the farmers.
For more information please read why we are different.
We have moved beyond the Fairtrade organisation. We realised that the majority of the money went to the organisation itself and the certification body rather than our farmers. We now return a direct percentage of all our revenue (not profit, which could be manipulated) to our sister organisation Rare Charity supporting educational scholarships on our partner farms.
For more information please find out why we are different.
1. Loose leaf tea tastes better; our beautiful tea leaves have been crafted by skilled men and women not churned into dust by industrial machines. It really doesn’t matter if it’s our green tea, white tea, oolong tea, back tea, pu’er tea or herbal tea – all these carefully crafted leaves need space to unfold as they infuse. The best leaf tea needs as much space as possible to rehydrate deliciously and release all their heavenly complex flavours and aromas.
2. Teabags are unsustainable; think how many trees and precious resources are processed into single-use bags. It takes chemical processing to turn corn into plastic mesh or trees into paper. Those chemicals get into you, and factory runoff gets into our environment and water sources. Let's not even mention the nano plastics in almost all tea bags or the pure plastic bags labelled as “silken”. The most sustainable tea is loose leaf tea, hands down.
3. Teapots are things of beauty. We offer our beautiful glass teapots so you can see the leaf expand and unfurl which adds even more to the pleasure and ritual of tea. They are dishwasher safe and more robust than they might look. Our bespoke bone china teaware might last even longer, for generations. It’s not so likely that you’d want to pass on your used teabag collection.
4. We love tea and we love you and our tea too much to put sales ahead of principles. Yes, teabags are far more popular than loose leaf tea. But loose leaf tea is better for the flavour of your tea, for your health, and the environment. We’ve been repeatedly told we are mad not to sell teabags. But we’ve been sticking to our guns since 2004 - and love finds a way.
For more about the advantages of loose leaf tea vs. teabags please read our blog here.
Infusing Rare Tea
How to best enjoy our high-quality loose leaf tea.
We recommend filling your kettle with fresh filtered water to get the best flavour out of your loose leaf tea. This way you will not be left with any deposits in your teapot or mug.
We also have a tea infusion guide from the Rare Tea Lady herself.
Nearly all of our whole loose leaf teas and herbal infusions can be infused at least twice, and our Oolong teas can be infused as many as six times!
With each careful infusion, different subtleties of flavour are revealed. For more information please read the guide on each product page.
To make the perfect iced tea, simply measure the dry leaf and cold filtered water - combine in a clean, sealed vessel and pop it in the fridge for 8 hours or overnight. You can read more on our cold infusions here.
Website & Orders
Using our website and buying your loose leaf tea.
No, you don’t need an account to place an order but creating one will mean you don’t have to enter all your details next time you want to make a purchase. Some of our promotional codes also only work if you are signed into an account.
We only have a very small quantity of some of our most rare loose leaf teas. Some farms can only produce a couple of kilos per year and many of the ceramic artist we work with only produce a few handmade pieces. If you can no longer find a tea or tea pot on our website it may be that we have run out; feel free to get in touch to be sure.
We don't have a bricks and mortar store ourselves. Our focus is Direct Trade, working with farmers across the world which keeps us all very busy. But some of our extraordinary loose teas are available in a selected number of Waitrose stores in the UK and other independent shops worldwide. For the full list of Rare Tea Company stockists click here.
Once you have placed your order and received a confirmation email you will have to contact us if you would like to amend or cancel your order. It may not always be possible to cancel or amend depending whether your order has been processed.
You can add a gift message to the packing slip when you reach your basket.
No, we do not include prices on the packing slips. However, for orders travelling outside of the UK & US, a commercial invoice may be required for customs purposes and this will state the value of items in your order.
Deliveries & Returns
All you need to know about getting our lovely loose leaf tea, herbal infusions, precious teapots and teacups from us to you!
Once you have placed your order and received a confirmation email you will have to contact us by email if you would like to change the address. This may not always be possible depending on whether your order has been processed by our warehouse.
Rare Tea Company uses IOSS (Import One Stop Shop) for EU orders placed on the website within the threshold. We have enabled it for all EU orders from 15th February 2023.
For more information about IOSS, click here.
Please check with individual mail or courier services as to whether they will deliver to a PO box.
Yes we do but via UK Standard Shipping only. Please ensure the full BFPO address is entered correctly when placing the order.
We are currently unable to deliver to China (including special administrative regions e.g. Macau) due to changes in import legislation.
We are currently unable to deliver to Mexico due to customs issues.
Please refer to your local postal service if you will not be at home to receive a delivery.
International orders outside of the UK may be subject to additional customs charges in certain countries. Please be aware that Rare Tea Company is not liable for these charges in accordance with our Terms & Conditions.
Orders are packaged in recyclable cardboard boxes using recycled shredded cardboard and acid-free tissue paper. Our loose leaf tea tins are designed to be refilled, reused or recycled.
We are currently working on improving the material that our foil pouches are made from.
About Rare Tea Company
Who we are, what we do and why...
Our trading offices are in London. Our registered office is in Edinburgh.
Our aim is simple; to source and supply the world's best loose leaf tea, directly from farmers and their tea gardens.
To read more about Rare Tea Company, our humble beginnings and big ambitions, click here.
At a core level, we only work with farmers using organic principles who don't use chemical pesticides or herbicides.
We use tins rather than paper, because loose leaf tea must be protected from light, air and moisture - but our tea tins are recyclable and reusable.
Our shipping boxes are recyclable, bubble wrap biodegradable, packing chips compostable and produced using a low energy production process.
To read more on how we do our bit for the environment, click here.