teapot

Most of what I eat is locally produced, except for items such as coconut oil, sea salt and tea. Until recently, surprisingly, I didn’t quite realize how expensive tea really is. A pound of tea can be more expensive than a pound of 100% grass fed, dry-aged fillet mignon!

So, this weekend I purchased a large French Press to brew loose herbal teas when I have guests, in favor of individual tea bags. Why? I like that buying loose herbal teas in bulk requires less packaging, is less expensive, and more versatile. I also really like the fact that I can grow some of the herbs I like for tea myself and brew them in my new French Press. My assistant Carlie points out that her favorite thing about it is being able to mix her own tea medleys. “I put in a little of peppermint, green tea, hibiscus, fresh chunks of ginger, even cardamon pods and baking spices to make a chai like flavor.”

I put hibiscus flower in every cup of tea I have. It’s sweet, sexy, and cleansing. – Mario Batali

It generally costs a fair amount less to buy tea in bulk.

For example, on their website, Numi organic boxed teas are offered at $6.99 for a box of 18 bags, which would be .38¢ a serving at 1 teabag per cup. Teabags generally contain 1 teaspoon of tea. There are 96 teaspoons in one pound. At that rate, a pound of bulk organic rooibos tea for 15.00 sold by Davidson’s for 15.00 would cost .16¢ per cup. Even if you were to buy Numi organic mint tea as a 3 box carton on Amazon, you’d still save because that would come to .29¢ a teabag.

At New Seasons, local to where I live now in Portland, organic bulk herbs range in price. Peppermint leaf is sold for $21.99 a pound, hibiscus made by Frontier is $27.99 and a rooibos medley made by Tao, also $22.99. Those prices are significantly more than I pay for 100% grass feed meats! Our referral partner Mountain Rose Herbs offers loose teas, so I looked at their website.

Mountain Rose Herbs is located in Eugene, Oregon which is relatively local to me now in Portland. They sell each of these teas for less. Their mint is sold for $20.00 a pound, hibiscus is $23.00 a pound and a red rooibos is $12.00 a pound, which would have resulted in a price reduction of about $16.00 from buying them at New Seasons, however, there is a shipping cost of $10.85 on those three items. No free shipping is offered, unfortunately, even with large orders. There is a bulk discount however, so if you put together a group purchase, you’ll save this amount: 5-9 lbs – 10%, 10-24 lbs – 15%, 25+ lbs – 25%.

Next, I looked to Amazon, another referral partner, and found that Davidson’s offers a variety of bulk herbs that are by and large at least 25% or more less than Mountain Rose Herbs and New Seasons, with free Amazon shipping if you order a minimum of 35.00 of items sold on Amazon.  There is an option to subscribe to ordering the tea regularly, and saving an additional 5%. Frontier makes organic teas as well but, they are more expensive than Davidson’s and don’t include free shipping.

The cost of 3 pounds of bulk tea from Mountain Rose Herbs – 1 pound of mint, 1 pound of hibiscus and 1 pound of red rooibos, with shipping to my house in Portland would cost $65.45. To purchase these same three kinds of teas at Davidson’s via Amazon would cost $47.91. Davidson’s is located in Sparks, Nevada. Not local. I have not yet purchased teas from each of these vendors to compare quality however, they are both organically grown. This reminds me of the post I recently wrote about decisions. Do I pay more to purchase at the more local Mountain Rose Herbs or do I save via Amazon?!

In order to avoid these kinds of decisions, I do plan to grow mint and chamomile in my garden, and possibly other herbal teas! I will report on my experience of creating an organic raised bed and planting herbs for tea when I do so! I am not sure that once you consider all of the materials and time involved that it will cost less, but the joy of gardening may be priceless? We’ll see!

A woman is like a tea bag; you never know how strong it is until it’s in hot water. ― Eleanor Roosevelt

Do you drink tea? What kind? Where do you get it from?

Photography credit Anthony Rue
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