What we look for
The teas we source from around the world are single origin, meaning that each of the teas come from a single geographical region, estate or garden. Unlike a blend, which might combine leaves from different origins, the flavour profile of each is therefore largely reflective of that region - the soil, the climate, the altitude or as it is known in wine, the terroir. The producers in those regions work hard all year round to nurture their tea crops, working with nature to ensure the best possible flavour in the leaves when they eventually come to be harvested. It is these producers that craft the teas but it is our job to find them and share them with you. There are an infinite number of teas being produced every year across the world, so our role is to curate - to edit that number down and bring you some of the best, ensuring the integrity and full flavour of the leaf is upheld all the way to your cup.
Our collection is made up of blacks, oolongs, greens and white teas, as well as a range of herbs, each of which bring something different to the table. We look for whole leaf, ‘orthodox’ teas that are representative of their type, their region and their style and then try to find the best possible version of that tea. Each of them are numbered according to the order in which we found, tasted and fell in love with each one, before including them in our collection. We never stop tasting, so that collection will keep growing - Assam was #1 and we are now looking for #29…
How we find them
Over the years we have been lucky enough to meet some amazing people who have been generous with their time, knowledge and contacts and in being so helped us along our own journey of tea discovery since we first began planning Good & Proper all those years ago. Whether fellow tea people, suppliers, people we’ve met on our tea travels or even customers, that network has been invaluable in deepening our understanding of what is a complex global industry, and as a result we now enjoy greater and greater access to the world’s finest teas. Every week we receive tea samples from all over the world - neat little packages from anywhere from Japan to China, India to Rwanda and everywhere in between. The leaf and liquor of each of these samples is reviewed and then tasted at our warehouse in South East London, a process during which we assess quality, flavour and if we think our customers will love it. A few teas ‘flush’ all year round, but most are harvested just once annually, making the selection all the more important. And not only does the tea need to taste good, it is also important to us that we know exactly where each tea comes from and who is responsible for harvesting and crafting the leaves we buy. So we don’t just try the tea, we ask a lot of questions too.