About Our Tea
We carefully select and purchase only the highest quality whole leaf teas from established and reputable tea gardens around the world. We're proud to carry popular favorites, such as Earl Grey and English Breakfast, as well as more adventurous and exotic offerings, such as Oolongs and Pu-erhs.
Why loose leaf tea?
Half the Price
Your average box of tea in the grocery store: 20 tea bags = 20 cups for $5. That’s $.25/cup. No. Six Depot whole leaf tea is a 4 oz. tin = 60 cups for $8. That’s $.13/cup. Literally, half the price for immeasurably better quality...
Tea is made of carefully picked leaves. It wants to stay that way. Even if rolled or twisted in processing, the whole leaf should never be cut. Tea stuffed in bags goes through the "cut tear" process so they can stuff them in little bags and where it quickly loses its flavor. When steeped, tea wants room--to unfurl, expand and bloom. A simple strainer or filter give it the room that tea bags do not.
Better for the Environment
No waste: no paper, no staples, no cardboard containers. Just a beautiful metal tin that can be used and re-used. If you've collected enough of our tins, or have some of your own, come to the store and buy your tea bulk for a lower price.
Easy & Pleasurable
Brewing loose leaf is as easy as buying an inexpensive strainer to fit inside your cup or teapot. Put a teaspoon or two of tea in the strainer, put the strainer in your cup and pour the water over it. We also offer roomy bags that you can fill with loose leaf tea if on the go.
How to make loose leaf tea
It's easy. It's about water temperature and the amount of time you let it steep. Most teas take a couple teaspoons per cup (depending on whether it is a dense, tightly rolled tea or a fluffy, loose tea). Start with good, fresh, cold water and bring it to a boil. Put your loose tea in a strainer inside your cup or pot. When the right temperature, pour your water over the strainer or into the pot and remove the strainer or pour the pot at the times given below. Enjoy!
WHITE 1-2 min. @ 160-170F
GREEN 2-3 min. @ 170-180F
PU-ERH 2-5 min. @ 200-212F
DARJEELING + OOLONG 3 min. @ 180-200F
BLACK 4-5 min. @ 190-200F
HERBAL TISANES 5-7 min. @190-200F
The classifications of tea
All tea comes from the tropical plant known as Camellia Sinensis. A common misperception is that the various styles of tea are grown from different types of plants. But, it's only the method in which the Camelia Sinensis leaves and buds are processed that varies. This is what gives us the varieties of tea: some are simply steamed, others are gently bruised to change their chemistry, while others are allowed to ferment for earthier qualities.
After each winter season, the first small leaves and buds of the tea bush are hand-plucked and harvested. Once exposed to air, the leaf will begin to wither. When the picked leaf becomes pliable, it can then be turned into different types of tea. That's where it gets interesting...
- White Tea: White tea is plucked by hand within two days between the time the first buds become fully mature and the time in which the leaf unfurls. The leaves are then allowed to wither, allowing the natural moisture to evaporate before being dried.
- Green Tea: The fresh tea leaves are carefully placed on large bamboo trays and allowed to dry in the sunlight. The leaves are then placed into small hot roasting pans and quickly moved about. They are continuously rolled into balls and then re-roasted for several hours at a time. This process stops the chemical changes from occurring in the leaf by never allowing it to ferment.
- Oolong Tea: Oolong tea is referred to as a “semi-fermented” tea. After plucking, this type of tea is allowed to wilt in direct sunlight and is then shaken in bamboo baskets to lightly bruise the leaf. The chemicals in the leaf react with the air, producing a reddish leaf color. After a desired amount of time,the leaf is fired and the fermentation process is halted.
- Black Tea: Here, the tea leaves are plucked by hand and then left out in the sun until they are pliable enough to be rolled without the leaf splitting. The leaves are then put into a tumbler and rolled, causing the leaves’ juices to react with the air and oxidize. The green leaves turn black and are then fired in drying ovens.
- Pu-erh Tea: Pu-erh is made from fermented Yunnan Black tea. After picking, Pu-erh is created by piling the tea for lengthy periods, allowing a true internal fermentation of the leaf to occur. Most are formed into cakes of varying shapes and sizes.