hillside tea

Generally, when I see a company that plays with coffee also offers tea I don’t expect much from their tea. Hillside is an exception. They currently have five extraordinary teas in their catalog all of which I am very enthusiastic to try. Also, for those of you who prefer companies that buy sustainability, you will enjoy reading the background on each individual tea page.

Website: https://www.hillsidetea.com (The website is currently under renovation) But please do visit their store front!

Location Headquarters: Duluth, MN, USA. With a cafe, coffee roastery, and tearoom located in Downtown.

Company Focus: Love & Kindness

Most popular company tea(s)?

  • Alfredo Lin – Mingjian, Nantou, Taiwan – Ruby #18 – White Tea

Does the company name have a meaning?

  • Hillside represents where tea is grown and where we live, on a hillside in Duluth on the shores of Lake Superior. 

Do you participate in any charities? 

  • Not at this time.

What is your favorite tea?  

  • I know this answer is not beloved by questioners but I do not have favorites. 

What are your thoughts on transparency in the tea industry?

  • Transparency in the tea industry is something I’m still learning about. It reminds me of sustainability. The word is only as good as the person using it and only goes as deep as the care that person has for tea (life) in their heart. 
  • – From the website “By providing important details about who grows the tea and where those people live, along with the process they have crafted to create vitality in their lives, we hope to encourage a deeper appreciation for the human experience.”

What role does tea play in our lives?

  • Tea plays many roles in life. Energy. Balance. Awareness. Currency. Peace. Calm. Expression.

Anything else you would like to add?

  • We work with Tealet and Spirit Teas to source our offerings. We couldn’t share tea with our friends in Duluth without those two companies creating strong avenues to acquire high-quality offerings and a diversity of origin and process-specific teas.

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Honey & Bark

TeaTiff Picks: Chen Zhen Jia. For many people around the world, black tea is part of their daily life. But when you put milk and/or sugar in your tea you miss some of the finer notes. This black tea is one of those that I hope you will never put anything in. You can read my tasting note here on Steepster. I also had the privilege of trying their matcha and if you are a matcha aficionado you need to add this to your list.


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Ocha & Co.

If you love Japanese tea you will love this company. They are based in Japan and focus fully on Japanese tea. They have our beloved favorites like genmaicha and matcha as well as black tea (wakocha) made from the famous allergy-relieving Benifuki cultivar. And for those who like to research and learn more about tea their blog is a treasure trove of tea info. Lastly for those of you who like to get your packages quickly, they are offering 2-day delivery for US orders!

Website: https://www.ochaandco.com/ Also available on Amazon.

Location Headquarters: Hokkaido, Japan

Company Focus:

  • Selling high-quality Japanese Green Tea & Matcha

Most popular company tea(s)?

  • All are really popular  –  especially the organic matcha & gyokuro (great value for this quality)

Does the company name have a meaning?

  • Ocha means tea in Japanese 

Do you participate in any charities?

Mr. Wakasa will produce fifty of these unique and exclusive whisks in his traditional workshops in Takayama, in Ikoma city, Nara prefecture. Only 50 will be produced!

What is your favorite tea?

  • The one that is in my cup

What are your thoughts on transparency in the tea industry?

  • Obviously, it is important. We only deal with Japanese tea and have a great relationship with our tea producer. We have a series of interviews on YouTube where he explains about organic farming in depth. Tea companies (brands) and tea producers in Japan reflect society as a whole where everyone pulls together for mutual benefit. I am not sure if that concept is understood clearly in the USA or Europe. We even send each other gifts throughout the year.

What role does tea play in our lives?

  • It is the glue. 

Social Media:

Anything else you’d like to add?

  • First-time customers get a 10% discount with WELCOME10

Matcha-iri-Genmaicha

TeaTiff Picks: Genmaicha. If you have been reading TeaTiff you know I am a big fan of genmaicha. The rice aroma and flavor mixed in with green tea is a perfect palate combination. It will warm you on a cool day and on a hot day it is perfect iced. I love to just smell the used leaves and the brown rice, slight popcorn aroma mixed with a slight grassiness. Tengoku.


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Wang Family Tea

Very pleased to introduce you to one of my favorite Taiwanese companies. Each of their teas promotes the values of their company in a way that expresses their desire for high-quality tea. Each one I try reveals a new characteristic. Each session, each steep, will release something new. If you are having a bad day they will lift you up. They will take you straight to Taiwan with each sip.



Website: https://www.wangfamilytea.net/

Location Headquarters:  Nantou County, Taiwan

Company Focus:  Promoting the best tea Taiwan has to offer.

Most popular company tea(s)?

  • Baguashan Dong Pian, Sun Moon Lake Red Jade Black Tea

Does the company name have a meaning? 

  • Wang is our family name, and we want to promote the tea our family makes. 

Do you participate in any charities?  

  • None at the moment, but we do support our local farmer’s associations. 

What is your favorite tea? 

  • My family and I will drink all types of oolong tea.  We usually prefer the roasted tea, especially when roasted using the traditional charcoal method.  

What are your thoughts on transparency in the tea industry? 

  • I think we need to do our best to promote accurate tea information.  Whenever we share a blog post or Instagram post, we always do a lot of research to make sure we share the most accurate information possible.

What role does tea play in our lives? 

  • For my family, tea is very important. It is social activity and also good way to make new friends.  We can drink it casually, or do very intense analysis when we drink it.  In this way, we feel tea is a wonderful drink that helps us slow down and appreciate life more. 

Social Media:

Anything else you’d like to add?

– Readers can use this code for 10% off their entire purchase:  TeaTiff10


A flavor so good it will blow your mind

TeaTiff Picks: All of them! If you enjoy oolong you haven’t really lived until you have tried their tea. But if you want one to start off with one let me suggest Cui Feng High Mountain Oolong. Along with the amazing minerality, you also receive light charcoal notes and differing mouthfeel depending on what steep and amount of time you are on.

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Elden Street Tea Shop

Just west of Dulles International Airport (IAD) in Virginia is the town of Herndon. Located right in the ‘downtown’ is a quaint little tea shop that offers a variety of teas and tisanes to suit every palate. They also offer tea parties that cater to adults and children in-person or a to-go tea party!

Websitehttps://www.eldenstreettea.com/

Location: Herndon, VA, USA

Company Focus: 

  • Tea of the community!

Most popular company tea(s)? 

Does the company name have a meaning?

  • It means we are part of the Herndon Community! 

Do you participate in any charities?

  • We do! Please check out our Inclusivitea Subscription Boxes! We feature a new charity custom blend tea! 20% of the subscription box goes to the charity that month and after that! 

Days for Girls, Women Giving Back, Metro DC Pflag, Reston Pride, Herndon Village Network, Food For Neighbors, Food Rescue.

What is your favorite tea?

What are your thoughts on transparency in the tea industry?

  • I think it is important to know who you are buying from and know the farmers if you can. 

What role does tea play in our lives?

  • It can play many roles! It can be a grounding moment, the perfect start to our day, healing time with friends, tea is important to many around the world. 

Social Media:


For all those who miss their grandma

TeaTiff Picks: Rose White (With Love Grandma). It was around spring that I lost both of my grandmas. I miss them dearly. That is partly why I chose this one and also because the mix of white tea with rose petals is wonderful. Earthy farm notes along with those fantastic mellow floral notes. A great one to sip in remembrance of those we love.


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Old Barrel Tea Company

What could possibly be more exciting than these amazing-looking spices? Their tea creations of course. They have a focus on transparent flavoring for their tantalizing blends for both teas and tisanes. Unique ingredients like bee pollen, Schisandra berries, and sweet corn kernels make OBTC a new experience for your palate!

Website: https://oldbarreltea.com/

Location Headquarters:

  • Our company started in Ruidoso, New Mexico, and we now have several locations across New Mexico, Colorado, and Arizona!

Company Focus:

  • We’re a female-run, family business. We drink tea and tisanes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and all the time in between. We don’t put our pinkies up while drinking tea. We use honey in our tea but we also use honey as medicine & for skincare.  We love to cook & we love to eat.  We’re flavor obsessed & wellness-oriented.  We are united by the hedonistic belief that wellness should be a pleasure. Happy tea time friends! 

Most popular company tea(s)?

Does the company name have a meaning?

  • Bailey, one of our owners, is married to a winemaker. When we first opened our first store, it was in a small, shared space, and to save money on displays, we used some of the old barrels from Noisy Water Winery. In addition, when tea was imported into the United States in the 1700s, it was done in wooden barrels. 

Do you participate in any charities? If so, which one (s)?

  • We participate in many chariTEAs. We have tumblers that some of the proceeds support the American Cancer Society and Mexican Orphanages, and we have new tumblers coming soon to support other chariTEAs close to our hearts. We also had a shirt that supported Black Girls Code – it is currently sold out. In addition, each of our stores has partnered with a local chariTEA of their choosing.

What is your favorite tea?

What are your thoughts on transparency in the tea industry?

  • Transparency in any industry is important and becoming increasingly more powerful for brands, as consumers become better educated. People have so many options now with the internet, so being able to communicate values that speak to potential customers is a big benefit – but this communication has to be honest. There are some secrets we’ll always keep though—like our recipes!  

What role does tea play in our lives?

  • We drink tea all day, every day and it’s an integral part of our wellness routine – but it is also something that feels like a treat. Tea is so special because it is something we crave that is actually good for us! And the better it makes us feel, the more we crave it. 

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Mouth-Watering blends great for drinkers and non-drinkers alike

TeaTiff Picks: The Cocktail Box. Tea sampler sets excite me. A chance to try different teas and tisanes is always thrilling. This one I chose because I like to dabble in mixing tea and drinks. If you prefer to do it without the alcohol I’ve found that the zero-proof brands are just as good and quite fun to experiment with. This set from OBTC will prove to be a fun time and could even be used for a tea party!

Sip some tea & leave a comment

Ordering? Be sure to tell them TeaTiff sent you!

If you already love them, tell us what you love below!

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