Part of a series on evaluating online tea stores.
A look at Seven Cups in the areas of quality, selection, and tea community.
Quality: Overall, Seven Cups exudes quality. Their product pages go to great length to give background on their teas. Most of the time, you can find the precise harvest date, varietal used, and tea master who crafted or grew the tea. The thorough introductory information about Chinese teas and tea types further enhances the feeling that Seven Cups know how to select good teas. In my personal experience, this has held true. Their teas are as good as,(and often superior to) the the selection of Chinese teas from other large-to-medium size, U.S.-based retailers.
Selection: The selection could be daunting and complex to newcomers. At the time of post, there were over 25 wulongs available. These are categorized by province of origin. Of course, a person could simply scroll down the entire list as well. Among these wulongs, some were the same kind of tea (e.g. different grades, years of Wuyi Shui Xian). The more tea-initiated will be in the stronger position to know which tea profiles they prefer, the more optimal harvest season/year, and how age/freshness come into play. Some roasted wulongs, for example, may benefit from the mellowing effects of time. But will a mellowed tea from an inferior season outshine a new roast from a superior growing season?
Tea Community: Seven Cups can be found on both Facebook and Twitter. Both have at least daily activity, with comments and feedback from Seven Cups customers and staff members. The company’s blog gets new posts at least monthly, and newsletters of the past have included personal profiles of customers. Seven Cups offers even deeper interaction via tea tours to the back country farms of China.
Conclusion: If you are familiar with Chinese teas, Seven Cups will give you a one-stop for quality options. If you are newer to teas, and uncertain what to choose, there is much to learn on the site. At the same time, newcomers may also suffer from uncertainty caused by information overload. Never fret, as Seven Cups interacts with its tea community, so there are ways to get a feel for popular and well-received teas in their selection.
Walker Tea Review- a tea blog with tea reviews and tea tastings. Operated by Jason Walker.