In response to common inquires we receive daily, we have compiled FAQs for your convenience. Browse through these commonly asked questions with our responses to hopefully equip you with more knowledge about Art of Tea, the ordering processing and general facts about tea and products we carry. Let us know if we’re missing anything!
Q. Is Art of Tea committed to sustainable business practices?
A. Our mission is to offer the highest quality, organically grown teas available. We purchase our tea directly from small farms and co-ops from around the world, providing families in developing countries with a fair price for their goods. We also buy fair trade teas that are authorized by FairTrade USA, ensuring fair working conditions, fair wages and a better life for tea workers from eleven countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America.
We, at Art of Tea have an optimistic vision of the future and a comprehensive strategy to implement that vision. Our sense of personal environmental responsibility is evident in our commitment to practices that contribute to the sustainability of our planet and the communities in which we live and work.
For more information on our sustainability efforts, read more about Sustainable Tea.
Q. What are Art of Tea’s Core Values?
A. We established the following core values, which define what is truly important to us here at the Art of Tea:
- Treat Every Product as if it is Our Only Product. Treat Every Customer as if They are Our Only Customer
- Build Relationships with Positive Mindfulness and Teamwork
- Be Humble, Curious and Grateful
- Wisely Manage Company Resources
- Pursue Continuous Improvement and Innovation
- Commit to Sustainable Business Practices
- Teach to Learn
- Be Excellent, Be Committed, Be Enthusiastic
Q. Why does Art of Tea directly source their teas and botanicals?
A. Directly sourcing our teas and botanicals means our teas will always be innovative and of premium quality, ensuring a truly memorable Art of Tea experience. Through direct import, we maintain a fresh and continuously replenished inventory year round, which we then hand blend, custom craft and pack by hand.
Q. Where may I purchase your teas?
A. Our teas can be purchased directly through our website by visiting our online store and while we do not currently have any Art of Tea retail locations, our teas can be found in a wide range of locations with clients ranging from five-star resorts in Maui, teahouses in Beverly Hills, to cafés, retail outlets and restaurants throughout North America. Some of our partners include Cheesecake Factory, Whole Foods, Wolfgang Puck, Tao Restaurant Group and Benihana.
Art of Tea has also been featured in Oprah, The Today Show, Martha Stewart and Food & Wine magazine, among many other popular media outlets.
Q. Can I sell Art of Tea in my establishment?
A. Absolutely! To be eligible for a wholesale account with Art of Tea, you must be in a business that is retailing or manufacturing the products that you are buying, or in a business that uses the products to service the public. A business license or resale number is required, where applicable. If you have any questions about whether or not you qualify for an account, please contact us at (877) 268-8327.
Q. How Do I apply for a wholesale account?
A. We encourage you to apply for a wholesale account by clicking on the link below. Please note that new accounts must first be approved to gain access to the wholesale catalog.
Q. Do you offer tea training?
A. We offer exclusive training programs designed around your needs. We work with top restaurants and hotels to create training programs that will enhance the quality of tea service for years to come. By creating a one on one tea sommelier training program, you can train multiple departments and elevate your tea program into an experience that is unique, educational and fun for your guests to refer to as the place to learn about and enjoy tea.
To find out more about staff training and our tea sommelier program, contact us directly at (877) 268-8327. Outside the US, you may reach us directly at (213) 493-6518.
We also have focused tea tasting classes scheduled for those who are simply passionate about tea and want to learn more. For a full listing of our upcoming events and ticketing options, please visit our event page.
Q. Do you use social media?
A. For the most up-to-date information on Art of Tea, be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. We frequently post a lot of great information about our teas as well as exclusive discounts and promotions for our followers. You can also subscribe to our blog to read about tea-related topics, contests, fun recipes using our tea, and more.
Q. What does my order status mean? (Pending, Processing, Shipped)
A. If your order is marked as “Pending” it means it has been successfully submitted to Art of Tea, but your credit card has not yet been processed. If your order is marked as “Processing” it means your credit card has been processed and your order is in production. If your order is marked as “Shipped” it is in transit and an email has been sent with tracking information to the email address on your account.
Q. What are your order turnaround times?
A. In an effort to maintain a fresh and continuously replenished inventory year round, all teas are hand blended and hand packed once we receive your order. Most orders are produced in 1-3 business days.
Q. How do I change my order?
A. If your order is still marked as “Pending” and needs to be adjusted, please email us immediately via our Contact page or call us directly at (877) 268-TEAS, and we would be happy to help make any changes.
Q. What is your return policy?
A. All items are guaranteed up to 30 days of receipt for store credit. If you are unsatisfied with your products, we will gladly issue a store credit for your purchased price, excluding shipping charges. For more information, please contact us or (877) 268-TEAS.
Q. How do I qualify for free shipping?
A. Retail orders over $75 qualify for free shipping. To redeem, enter the coupon code ILUVT at checkout, and the discount will be applied to your order. Please note that the coupon code ILUVT is required to receive free shipping and only applies to standard flat rate shipping in the Continental US. Other coupons or offers cannot be combined with ILUVT.
Q. Is it safe to use my credit card on your website?
Q. What forms of payment do you accept?
A. We accept Visa, MasterCard, and American Express. We do not currently accept personal checks, money orders, international wire transfers, PayPal, or Smart Cards.
Q. How can I track my order?
A. A notification of shipment is sent to the email address you provide with your Art of Tea account. The email you receive will contain either a UPS or US Mail tracking number, which can be used to check the status of your shipment via www.ups.com or www.usps.com.
Q. Can I ship to a PO Box?
A. Yes. All orders placed with a PO BOX shipping address will arrive via US Mail, as UPS cannot ship to PO Boxes.
Q. How soon will I receive my order?
A. This will vary based on the amount of orders in our system at any given time, as well as your location and shipping method chosen. Orders take approximately 1-3 business days for processing as all teas are hand blended and hand packed to order. Your order will ship from our facility in Southern California. Please refer to our Shipping Policy for more information.
Q. How many teas do you have?
A. We have close to 200 teas in our permanent collection. We frequently introduce and feature new teas for each upcoming season including holidays.
Q. Are your teas always guaranteed to be fresh?
A. We are committed to the quality and consistency of our teas. Whether you purchase your tea during summer or winter, we guarantee it will always be the same great taste and freshness you love. We taste hundreds of teas monthly to ensure each batch of tea adheres to our rigorous quality standards.
Q. Why can’t I find my favorite Art of Tea product on your website?
A. There are numerous reasons why certain teas or teaware may become discontinued or temporarily unavailable. It could be because it was a seasonal tea, or we might not be able to source specific teas or ingredients necessary to make the blend (whether it be because of weather or climate conditions, price or scarcity of ingredients), or it could just be that it isn’t a big mover for us, and we are clearing space for an even more exciting tea or blend. In any case, use the search box found at the upper righthand corner of the Art of Tea website to check the availability of a product. You can also use this tool to search the entire site for specific tea ingredients.
Q. Will my favorite seasonal tea be back next year?
A. While we do try our best to bring back our most popular seasonal teas each year, we can’t always be sure. Often seasonal teas and blends are dependent on availability of certain ingredients and subject to harvesting and weather conditions that may be outside of our control.
Q. What does “organic certified” mean?
A. A tea qualifies as “certified organic” when it’s been grown, processed and handled within the parameters of certain established international standards whose requirements include exclusive use of: purified garden soils, approved organic fertilizers & pest controls, processing methods, packaging, labeling, shipping, storage, handling, traceability and re-packing. All organic processes must be certified by an international agency and are strictly monitored. Our teas are certified by CCOF and we currently have the largest variety of organic tea blends available for purchase in the US.
Q. Are all of your teas organic certified?
A. Currently, about 85% of our teas are organic certified. Here are a few reasons why some of our selections cannot be certified organic: in most cases, it is because we are sourcing ingredients from small farms who cannot afford to pay for the certification, some ingredients in our blends may not be organic compliant or the tea is a seasonal offering and will only be offered for a short amount of time so we don’t process the paperwork for organic certification.
Q. What does “fair trade certified” mean?
A. Fair trade practices help producers in under-developed countries have greater opportunities to acquire the resources they need to improve their livelihood by promoting fair wages for workers, building schools and hospitals, creating cultural centers, promoting gender equality and fighting against child labor in tea producing areas.
Q. Are all of your teas fair trade certified?
A. We are continuously improving our tea selections to include as many fair trade ingredients as possible. Right now, about 30% of our teas are fair trade certified and that number keeps growing!
Q. Are your teas Kosher?
A. All of our teas, tisanes, flavored or unflavored are Kosher. We have periodic Kosher certification inspections to ensure we meet the strict Orthodox Union standards.
Q. Where does tea come from?
A. All varietals of tea (black, green, oolong, white, & pu-erh) come from the camellia sinensis plant, which grows mainly in tropical and sub-tropical climates. What makes each tea different is how they are grown, harvested and processed.
Q. How many varietals of the camellia sinensis plant are there?
A. There are 3 principal varietals of the camellia sinensis plant that are used to cultivate tea: camellia sinensis sinensis (China, Japan), camellia sinensis assamica (India, Sri Lanka), and camellia sinensis cambod. From these main varietals, there are thousands of sub-varietals.
Q. What about Rooibos, Yerba Mate, and other herbals?
A. Technically, any “tea” that does not come from the camellia sinensis plant isn’t actually a “tea” at all. These herbs fit into their own categories. Rooibos, or “red tea”, comes from a South African bush. Rooibos, just like most herbal hot water infusions, is naturally caffeine free, yet it contains many of the same beneficial properties associated with tea and is part of the legume family. Yerba Mate and Guayusa are closely related cousins from the holly family and are native to South America. Yerba Mate and Guayusa have a slightly higher caffeine content than tea but not as much as coffee.
Q. What is the shelf life of your teas?
A. We give an 18 month shelf life to our unflavored teas and about 12 months to our flavored teas. Teas with natural flavor additives will have their flavor diminish over time, but do not expire. The shelf life of tea is largely dependent on how the tea is stored. Keeping your teas away from light, heat, and moisture will ensure the highest quality and longest shelf stability.
Q. How much tea should I use per cup?
A. The amount of tea recommended per cup varies by the type of tea being brewed. Please click on the following link for a chart featuring the various steeping times.
Q. Can I steep my tea more than once?
A. Many teas can and should be re-steeped. In many cases, the flavor profile will be unique with each steeping. Re-steeping is not necessarily recommended for tisanes. You should also only re-steep within the first couple of hours of the first infusion.
Q. Can I request a catalog?
A. In an effort to remain environmentally cautious, we currently do not offer printed catalogs. We encourage you to browse our online store for listings of our entire product line and descriptions of all of our teas.
Q. What is the best way to store my tea?
A. Teas are best stored dry, kept as air tight as possible, out of direct sunlight, and away from heat. Tea will absorb any surrounding aromas and can also be damaged by UV light. Our foil-lined re-sealable Kraft bags are an excellent way to store your tea.
Q. What kind of teas do you carry?
A. We carry a full line of teas including White, Green, Oolong, Black, Pu-erh, Tisanes and Ayurvedic teas. To learn more about the difference between the different types of teas, please visit our Learn About Tea page.
Q. What is Matcha?
A. Matcha is made from a shade grown green tea, known as Gyokuro, which is carefully steamed and meticulously dried. After the steaming process, the leaves are separated from the stems. The leaves alone, called tencha , are grounded into a powder called matcha. It is prepared by whisking the tea powder with hot water in a ceramic bowl. Matcha is the primary form of tea used in traditional Japanese tea ceremonies. The sweet flavor of matcha is due to the amount of amino acids present in the tea and the higher the quality, the sweeter and deeper the flavor is.
Q. Are your teas Gluten free?
A. All of our teas are gluten free, although not all of our teas, botanicals and other ingredients come from gluten free certified suppliers.
Q. Do any of your teas contain nuts?
A. None of our teas contain nuts. As with gluten free, not all of our teas, botanicals or other ingredients come from certified nut free suppliers.
Q. How many calories are in a cup of tea?
A. A cup of unflavored tea has 0 calories.
A trace amount of calories may come from the fruit and or flavorings that are added.
Q. Do your teas contain any dairy/lactose/soy products?
A. The following tea blends have white chocolate containing dairy in them: Brewed Awakening and Vanilla Berry Truffle. The following tea blends do not have dairy although the chocolate is produced on equipment that has produced milk or soy products: Chocolate Monkey, Velvet, and Aztec Spice. Our Blueberry Cheesecake tisane contains a natural flavor additive with dairy components.
Q. What is the difference between natural and artificial flavoring?
A. Both flavorings are made in a laboratory by a trained professional, a flavorist, by blending either natural chemicals or synthetic chemicals to create a flavor. Natural flavors are those that are derived from nature and have not undergone any extreme physical processing conditions during development. Artificial flavors are essentially man made. Many artificial flavors contain natural ingredients as well as synthetically manufactured flavor material.
-ART OF TEA