Best Independent Tea Shops & Suppliers in the UK

lichfields english breakfast tea

I have made it my mission to review as many teas as I can on the blog, so I have tried my fair share of teas from independent tea shops and suppliers in the UK. Whether you are new to the world of tea or have been sipping fine loose leaf teas for decades already, I hope you find something new and delicious to try on this list.

But first, a disclaimer. These tea shops aren’t the best in the sense that they have the most customers or the best TripAdvisor reviews. Instead, they were selected simply because I love them. It’s a completely subjective list of tea shops that I, personally, have had excellent experiences with.

So, let’s put the kettle on and dig in.

10 Great Indie Loose Leaf Sellers

If you are looking for loose leaf, single origin tea from all around the world, these ten shops are where you should start.

1. What-Cha

what-cha organic assam tea
  • Price range: £££
  • Selection: Wide and changing single origins
  • Stores: Online only

What-Cha was one of the first stores I ever shopped at for fine loose leaf tea, so it is only right that they take the number 1 place on this list. The owner of the store even included a hand-written note with my order – it’s these small touches that you only get when you shop at an independent store.

My personal recommendations for shopping at What-Cha are to pick up at least one Assam tea (the Mancotta Assam is my favourite) and then browse the sale selection. What-Cha is also one of the best independent tea shops for buying tea from unusual countries. From Australia to Wales, you might be surprised by the number of locations that tea farmers operate in.

2. Hebden Tea

hebden tea brown bag
  • Price range: ££
  • Selection: Single origin, flavoured, and infusions
  • Stores: York and online

I stumbled into Hebden’s York store a few years past and was staggered by the number of loose leaf teas on the shelves. I finally settled on Fu Soonga and took it home to review. Oh, how I wish I had bought more tea when I was there!

As well as having some unusual and rare single origin teas, Hebden also have a wide range of flavoured teas (like Earl Grey) as well as herbal and fruit infusions. If you live near York or are planning a visit, go to the store for the Hebden Tea experience – it looks amazing.

3. Kiani Tea

kiani tea
Image credit: @kianitea
  • Price range: £££
  • Selection: Select single origin teas, matcha, and teaware
  • Stores: Online only

My favourite single origin loose leaf tea calendar was from Kiani Tea! This small, London-based tea company sources some of the best single origin teas from China and Japan. I am particularly fond of their unusual matcha powders – as well as the traditional green tea, they also have a rose matcha, panda (charcoal) matcha, and blue (butterfly pea) matcha. I really want to try the dragon fruit matcha too!

Take a look at Kiani’s full range of teas and teaware, then follow them on Instagram. They are also one of my favourite tea Instagram accounts to keep up to date with.

4. Karma Tea Co

karma tea co independent tea shop
Image credit: @thekarmateaco
  • Price range: £
  • Selection: Single origin tea from South Asia
  • Stores: Online only

Karma Tea Co. source their teas from across South Asia, giving their blends enticing names and bright labels that make me want to try them all. Alongside their single origin teas, you’ll also find blends and herbal infusions including several chai teas that I am eager to add to my Best Masala Chai list once I have tried them for myself.

Karma Tea Co. ship their teas internationally and have free UK delivery on all orders over £25 at the time of writing this article. If that’s not a reason to stock up on their tasty teas, I don’t know what is.

5. Yuyun Yunnan Tea

yuyun classic gongfu box
  • Price range: ££
  • Selection: Single origin tea from the Yunnan region of China
  • Stores: Online and select workshops

When I reviewed the Fengqin Yunnan Black Tea from Yuyun I was so impressed with the quality and flavour! This business was created during the COVID-19 lockdown in the UK and is a woman-led, environmental-focused brand. I love their discovery boxes that allow you to explore the tea you are sipping. It’s an educational experience, as well as a delicious one.

Yuyun Yunnan Tea have hosted a few tea tasting workshops in the past, usually held in London. However, they don’t currently have a store, so you’ll need to order any tea from them online. There’s free UK delivery on orders over £15.

6. Chai Guys

chai guys fresh tea in London
Image credit: @chaiguys
  • Price range: ££
  • Selection: Chai blends, spices, and teaware
  • Stores: Old Spitalfields Market, Covent Garden, and online

Chai Guys have two shop locations in London where you can buy a cup of delicious and authentic chai to-go. I have been desperate to try their teas for a long while now, but a day-trip to London is a little out of my price range. Thankfully, you can buy all three of Chai Guys’ blends online to make at home.

My current favourite chai is Teapro Masala Chai, but I suspect that one of these chai blends will knock it off the top spot. Kesar Chai, with saffron and rose, looks like the most intriguing and I bet it tastes amazing.

7. Rare Tea Co

rare tea co
Image credit: @rareteacompany
  • Price range: ££
  • Selection: Single origin from around the world
  • Stores: Online only

The Rare Tea Lady, one of my favourite people to follow on Instagram, is the founder of Rare Tea Co. This impressive company sources single origin loose leaf tea from around the world and packages it in the UK. Although the website has the polished feel of a commercial company, The Rare Tea Co actually sources their leaves directly from tea farmers. It’s legit!

Although this tea shop is only online – Not On The High Street or their official website – they also hold digital masterclasses where you can learn about tea via a livestream. Furthermore, The Rare Tea Co provides wholesale tea to impressive cafes and restaurants, including Gordon Ramsay.

8. MonTeas

monteas shop in monmouth wales
Image credit: @monteas_of_monmouth
  • Price range: £££
  • Selection: Single origin, infusions, and teaware
  • Stores: Monmouth, Wales, and online

I stumbled across MonTeas on a road trip across Wales a few years back. The store was closed at the time, so all I could do was peer into the window and do my best impression of the heart eyes emoji. Thankfully, MonTeas also has an online store.

Important note: don’t judge a book by its cover.

MonTeas website may feel clunky and out of date, but it has a wonderful soul and you will find some unique loose leaf teas on these pages that aren’t available anywhere else. It is also worth noting that they ship across the UK for free over £25 and all their packaging is plastic-free.

9. Mei Leaf

mei leaf
Image credit: @mei_leaf
  • Price range: ££££
  • Selection: Single origin, tisanes, and teaware
  • Stores: Camden Town and online

Mei Leaf are as well-known for their interesting YouTube videos as their online teashop. Mei Leaf was established by Don in 2006 and focuses on bringing ‘true tea culture’ to tea drinkers in the UK. There is a good range of teas available on this site and they get loads of good reviews from happy customers.

That being said, I find the content they produce on Instagram and YouTube to be a bit dismissive of anyone that drinks tea from teabags or consumes flavoured tea. I understand their reasoning, and to some extent I do agree that single origin high-quality tea is the better option, but there’s still a time and place for convenient teabags.

10. Cuttea Sark

cuttea sark puerh tea packet
  • Price range: ££
  • Selection: Loose leaf tea and coffee
  • Stores: Edinburgh

With a store in Edinburgh and a Facebook page, Cuttea Sark sell a range of loose leaf teas and coffees. I have reviewed one of their more unusual blends here on the blog – Buried Puerh – but haven’t actually visited the tea shop myself.

Nonetheless, the tea I received from them was super interesting and they have very favourable reviews online. If you find yourself in Edinburgh, they are worth a visit. You can find their tea shop on Victoria Street.

And that’s the end of my list! If you have any new tea shops to recommend, leave a comment below.

Isobel Moore

Isobel Moore is a quiet, quirky and creative “human bean” whose favourite pastime is curling up with a cuppa and a good book.

Over the past 5 years, her tea reviews at Immortal Wordsmith have helped thousands of readers choose vibrant tea blends and single origin selections from fine, organic, and responsible tea companies.

As a professional content writer with a qualification in digital marketing, Isobel has worked with market-leading tea brands around the globe to develop their content marketing campaigns and gain exposure. Her professional portfolio can be found on Upwork.

Besides a deep-rooted passion for tea, Isobel writes on topics ranging from food and travel to wellness and literature.

Favourite Quote: “Manuscripts don’t burn” – Mikhail Bulgakov

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