Frequently Asked Questions
About In Pursuit of Tea
Who are you?
Sebastian Beckwith and friends started In Pursuit of Tea in 1999 to explore small tea farms in traditional regions of origin in Asia, and to bring back the finest teas available. Our wide range of unblended, unflavored selections—from delicate white teas and First Flush Darjeelings to rich, complex oolongs and pu-erhs—are provided to home tea drinkers in the West, as well as to many restaurants, bars, and cafes as part of our mission to elevate the quality and service of tea in this country. Meet more of our team here.
How do you source your tea?
During harvest, we visit farmers across historic tea-growing areas—Japan, Taiwan, India and Sri Lanka—so as to gain a deeper understanding of production and taste through many lots to make our selections. By sourcing directly, we’re able to share these exquisite teas with minimal markup, and obtain rare lots normally beyond the reach of Western tea companies.
How can I contact you?
For general inquiries, email us at email@example.com. You can also follow us on Instagram and Facebook, and sign up for our newsletter to be the first to hear about new tales and exclusive sales. If you’re interested in starting a wholesale account, fill out this short form and we’ll be in touch within 24 hours.
Orders and Shipping
Where do you ship?
We ship worldwide via USPS.
How long will it take to receive my order?
Orders placed before 9am ET on Monday through Friday will be sent out within two business days from our Watertown, MA, warehouse.
How can I track my order?
Once your order is fulfilled, you’ll receive a confirmation email with a tracking number and estimated time of delivery.
Do you offer free shipping?
Any retail order over $100 in the continental U.S. qualifies for free standard shipping via USPS Priority Mail only. The discount will be taken automatically at checkout the standard shipping option is selected.
What is your return policy?
We take great care in the sourcing and packaging of our products. If you feel that you have not received what you expected, review our full return policy here.
What is your review policy?
We recently added a review feature for all our teas and teaware. Since we moderate reviews to ensure they meet our content guidelines—no spam, hate speech or self-promotion allowed—your review may not be immediately visible after posting. If you had a poor experience with any of our products and want to voice your concerns, we'd also welcome the chance to hear from you directly. Feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How do I make looseleaf tea?
Preparing looseleaf tea is easy, and welcomes personal experimentation. A favorite mug and a basket infuser are all you need to get started, or try a simple gaiwan or teapot, which are available in a range of sizes and styles. The first step in brewing good tea is starting with good-tasting water. For more, follow our step-by-step guides for how to make hot and iced teas.
What’s the difference between looseleaf and teabags?
Teabags are only as good as what’s inside them: historically, they have prioritized convenience firmly over taste, as they are often made with lower grade leaves designed to steep quickly and consistently at the expense of nuance. Our teabags, however, are filled with the same high-quality teas that we also carry as looseleaf.
Simply put, the small yields of the best traditional teas means that they won’t be found in bags. Looseleaf tea, in addition, offers the brewer much more control of the steeping process, since you can determine the leaf dosage rather than working with a pre-portioned amount.
How are your teabags made?
Recent reports on microplastics leaking out of “silken” teabags have raised valid health and environmental concerns among tea drinkers. Our teabags are made in Japan out of a different, completely plant-based material: polylactic acid (PLA), derived from corn. Once filled with tea, the bags are electrostatically sealed, requiring no glue or metal staples—ensuring the flavor of the tea is all you taste in your cup. PLA is biodegradable when processed in a commercial composting facility.
Is your tea organic? What about fair trade?
While we strive to source tea that's grown cleanly and sustainably, we also are looking for tea that’s processed well. These factors can be independent of each other. Ideally, we source organically grown and masterfully made tea, but we find that many certified organic teas on the market are more focused on marketing this as opposed to producing stellar tea.
The cost and arduous process of organic and fair-trade certification is financially challenging for many of the small producers that we work with. That's why we spend time with our farmers during production, buy directly from them, and spot-test our teas. Testing everything we source would be cost prohibitive, but we will test if there is any uncertainty about the purity of the tea.
Many of our teas are grown organically, but as our warehouse is not an organic-certified facility, we do not label them as such. Click here for more on our work with small and organic farms.
Is your tea gluten-free?
The Camellia sinensis tea plant is naturally gluten-free. As our warehouse is not a certified gluten-free facility, however, we do not brand our teas as such.
Do you have caffeine-free tea?
All teas hails from the Camellia sinensis plant, which produces caffeine. The level of caffeine can vary slightly by individual tea, but does not correspond to general tea categories, so there are no truly accurate guidelines to follow, and we don’t label caffeine content. There is a decaffeination process used in the industry for low-grade teas, and it tends to remove all the inherent flavor and fragrance. So for those wishing to avoid caffeine, we recommend drinking an herbal infusion. All our herbals are 100% naturally caffeine-free.
How long does tea last, and how should I store it?
Most teas are best consumed as close as possible after harvest; peak flavor and fragrance tend to dissipate after six to 12 months. Some teas, like pu-erhs, are intentionally aged for years or decades so they can rest and deepen in complexity. But generally speaking, store your tea well—away from air, heat, light and strong odors—and drink it up!
What are the health benefits of your tea?
Throughout tea's history, it has been associated with significant physiological effects beyond its delicious taste and aroma. Modern studies indicate that these healing properties may have a scientific basis, as regular consumption of tea may enhance immune function and digestion, lower stress levels, and contribute other benefits. It's important to note, however, that none of the research to date is conclusive outside of a laboratory setting. Furthermore, these studies often involve very different parameters, making it difficult to accurately compare results. To learn more, read our primer on tea chemistry and health.
How can I get your tea for my restaurant/cafe/store?
We work with a wide range of food service and hospitality companies across the United States, provide extensive staff trainings on site, and we’d love to work with you. If you’re interested in starting a wholesale account, fill out this short form and we’ll get in touch quickly.