Okay. If I’m going to taste tea, I have to know what tea is, n’est pas? And I’ve found out some pretty scary stuff. Well, not scary in heart-racing, chest-grasping way, but rather in that “Oh my God, it’s that damn cuddly teddy bear from that friggin’ fabric softner commercial!” sort of way. When it comes to tea, a sense of perspective is needed after all.

First and foremost: The majority of teas found in the grocery store are either…

  • …crap


  • …not tea.

“Gosh, Kate… That’s kinda harsh, dontcha think?” I can hear you asking (Because I have those kind of extransensory powers that drinking good tea can give you)*. And you’re wrong. It’s not harsh. It’s the truth. Let me explain.

First, the “crap” part. To understand this, you have to know how teas are graded. Processed Black tea leaves are sorted into different sizes by passing them over screens with different size holes. Using this method, they are divided into three categories, with several sub-categories: