Rudolph's Coffee & Tea Co.: Gourmet Tea Online 670 Higuera Street
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
Black Teas
All prices are per half lb.

Rudolph's Coffee & Tea Co.: Gourmet Tea Online

    Assam Estate TGFOP: $11.00


    Nestled between Tibet & Burma lies the Assam Valley, where our Estate tea is hand-harvested before the monsoons sweep up the valley. The broad, long leaf creates a sparkling liquor most suitable for morning tea. The Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe (TGFOP) grade signifies brightly colored leaf edges on choice large leaves the finest quality.

    Ceylon Supreme: $7.00


    The district of Dimbula produces this tea, one of the world’s finest & most challenging to harvest. Sheltered terraces create a perfect growing environment, but harvesting is difficult on the steep slopes. One sip of this strikingly bold, dark tea, however, affirms the worthiness of the effort.

    Darjeeling TGBOP: $14.00


    Darjeeling, the part of India nestled in the arms of the Himalayas, produces the world’s finest black teas. Here the gardens are so high that the tea plants develop slowly, creating leaves of unrivaled flavor. Plucked during the second flush, the tender young leaves deliver a cup that is bright & crisp.

    Classic Earl Grey: $8.00


    A gift to Charles Earl Grey, a 19th century British prime minister, became a gift to the world, when a Chinese envoy presented a tea that married northern China black teas with natural flavor oils pressed from ripe Bergamot fruit. The brew balances delicate citrus notes & rich black tea. Perfect afternoon or evening brew. Also available decaffeinated.

    Classic English Breakfast: $8.00


    For centuries, the English have enjoyed a stout morning tea. Our blend of three black teas from the British Empire’s favorite tea sources is the accepted classic of breakfast blends. And as English custom dictates, this hearty, dark tea offers the comforting aroma of fresh toast & takes a spot of milk particularly well. Also available decaffeinated.

    Traditional Irish Breakfast: $8.00


    Originally created as the Irish working man’s cup of tea, Irish Breakfast blend is a culmination of teas to delight the Irish’s legendary love of hearty fare & drink. A base of rich, malty Indian teas is highlighted with bright, flavorful East African teas, resulting in a morning cup brimming with aroma & a sturdy, dark flavor.

    Anhui Keemun Congou: $13.00


    This black tea comes from the mist-filled Chinese mountains near Quimen, a region once considered forbidden territory for Europeans seeking to discover the secrets of this revered tea. Today, only a miniscule amount of Keemun tea ever reaches the Western world. Its naturally sweet flavor is a joy to savor late in the day.

    Pine Smoked Lapsang Souchong: $7.00


    Produced in the bamboo & pine covered mountains of Formosa, our prized Lapsang Souchong is cured in fragrant clouds of cool pine smoke, which gently marries itself to the flavors of the tea. Deeply aromatic & punctuated with lusty notes from the food smoke, its cup offers incredible depth in a unique flavor experience.

    Classic Oolong: $7.00


    Formosa’s long tradition of creating elegant & splendid oolongs continues, although exquisite teas of this caliber are not widely available in America. The amber-colored cup of Classic Oolong offers a subtle, delicate note of fresh ripened fruit.

    Russian Caravan: $7.00


    A whisper of smoky flavor in this tea’s infusion conjurers up images of camels ferrying tea along trade routes between Chinese emperors & Russian czars. Blended of Chinese teas, Russian Caravan’s distinctive flavor & romantic bouquet evoke the mood & memory of traveling to unique & exotic lands.

Green Teas
All prices are per half lb.

Rudolph's Coffee & Tea Co.: Gourmet Tea Online

    Jasmine: $6.00


    The ivory flowers of Jasmine lend their subtle perfume to this delicately scented tea. Bright floral notes drift over a pouchong tea to create an elixir of sweet, luxurious aroma & tantalizing flavor.

    Sencha Spiderleg: $16.00


    It is rare to find the pale-green cup of a grand sencha tea outside Japan, as little is produced & most is reserved for local consumption. Yet we have discovered a sencha-producing garden near the slopes of Mt. Fuji. Basket fired, the leaves of the sencha fan out like long legs of a spider for an intriguingly beautiful tea.

    Temple of Heaven (aka Pinhead Gunpowder): $9.00


    Also known as Pinhead Gunpowder because its tightly rolled leaves resemble powder used in cannons on 18th century British ships, Temple of Heaven surrenders a cup rich in flavor, with surprisingly full body. When fully steeped, the tender whole leaves unfurl, spilling out deep, rich flavor.

Fruit Flavored Teas
All prices are per half lb.

Rudolph's Coffee & Tea Co.: Gourmet Tea Online

    Apricot Arabesque: $7.00


    The apricot has been a favorite fruit of the Near East since time immemorial. The essence of apricot added to a delicious China black tea creates a sweet & smooth beverage, with an aroma that sings of summertime. Enjoy hot or over ice. Also available decaffeinated.

    Black Currant: $7.00


    Tart & saucy, you can almost smell the currants on the bush. Great for iced tea! Also available decaffeinated.

    Cinnamon Orange: $6.00


    Our classic fiery & citrusy blend of tantalizing black tea & invigorating cinnamon. Refreshing hot or iced! This the world’s original Cinnamon Orange tea don’t settle for any substitution. Also available decaffeinated.

    Manchurian Mango: $7.00


    Kubla Khan’s love for all things beautiful & exotic inspires this tea, which splashes the essence of a blazing, crimson mango over superb, highland grown china tea & a garnish of tropical flower petals. Delectable hot or iced. Also available decaffeinated.

    Maharajah’s Passion Fruit: $7.00


    In the early days of summer, purple & white flowers distinguish the passion fruit. Its sweet juicy essence redefines & enhances a bright China black tea, creating a sensuous offering that never fails to sate a mortal’s longing for pleasure.

    Tibetan Raspberry: $7.00


    The luscious juice of fresh vine-ripened raspberries is a delectable delicacy. Here, the essence of sweet, succulent raspberries combines with a jazzy black tea to create a sparkling beverage that makes every day feel like summer.

    Snow Monkey Plum: $7.00


    Japan is noted for its devotion to plums & to the fabled snow monkey who feast on the succulent purple fruit. It is with great reverence we offer this distinctive black tea, flavored with the delicate, sweet essence of the sacred plum.

    Himalayan Strawberry: $7.00


    Among the first blossoms to see sunlight in springtime are those of the mountain strawberry. The paper white flowers give way to small, succulent ruby fruit packed with tantalizing flavor. The aroma of frost line strawberries graces an exquisite black tea.

    Tropic Star: $6.00


    Unique blend of the full body flavor of premium China black tea with the refreshing & delicate flavors of the tropics for a well balanced, lightly flavored tea. This tea is sure to delight the most discriminating customer.

    Madagascar Vanilla: $7.00


    Traded for centuries for its flavorful & fragrant qualities, the vanilla bean is one of life’s simplest, most elegant pleasures. Its subtle, soothing aroma offers piquant sweetness. Madagascar Vanilla offers aromatic pieces of vanilla bean in a black tea, creating a sophisticated, flavorful brew.

Herbal Teas
All prices are per half lb.

Rudolph's Coffee & Tea Co.: Gourmet Tea Online

    Blue Eyes: $8.00


    A subtle blend of apple, orange peel, rosehips, corn flowers & hibiscus blossoms. Delightful hot or cold.

    Chamomile: $7.50


    Slightly apple-scented, this tea is made from the tops of white flowers & is said to be an excellent relaxant. It also soothes indigestion & relieves insomnia.

    Harmony Garden: $7.00


    Tranquility & peace abound in this balanced & beautiful blend of soothing herbs, flowers & mint. Its light, golden brew shimmers with soothing strawberry leaf (said to be good in the relief of fever, diarrhea & anemia), chamomile & a gentle whisper of peppermint. Harmony Garden is a state of mind for quiet moments of contemplation.

    Khan’s Delight: $6.00


    Khan’s Delight is a tisane that infuses a glorious red brew, sparkling of mint & citrus, perfumed with a faint floral fragrance. Exhilarating flavor, yet naturally caffeine-free.

    Thai Lemon: $8.50


    An aroma of sweet citrus gently lingers over this charming, bright tisane. Colorful pink flowers, a splendid variety of lemon-zested herbs & hues of green leaves & grasses infuse a honey-colored aromatic nectar. Bright notes of lemon promise an invigorating & refreshing taste experience.

    Macau Mango with Lemon: $11.00


    Exotic, sweet mango lends its tangy essence to a variety of sultry herbs, accented with lemon. The creation is a satisfying & brilliant tisane that cheers, yet soothes with its ethereal flavors & mystical aromas. This perfect pick-me-up fruit tisane is a most pleasant all day beverage.

    Peppermint: $7.50


    Strong, clean mint flavor, aromatic & fresh. Can be used to create a drink long known for curing upset stomach, improving circulation, reviving appetite & fighting colic.

    Pineapple, Mango, Banana: $8.50


    Hibiscus blossoms, rosehips, banana, apple, mango & pineapple pieces blended to create a tart fruit tea.

    Rosehips: $6.00


    Better known as a symbol of beauty & love, roses have also been used as food for thousands of years. Infused rose hips (the fruit just below the wilted flower) create a beverage high in Vitamin C (about as much as 150 oranges) as well as Vitamins A, B & E, not to mention niacin, iron & calcium. Not surprising, rose tea is good for coughs & colds.

    Yerba Mate: $8.00


    Organically grown in Paraguay below the rainforest canopy, Yerba Mate’ is a green tea made from the most tender leaves & stems. An energizing tea, unroasted to retain the natural source of nutrients & antioxidants, invigorating to the mind & stimulating to the digestion. Can be prepared for hot or cold consumption.

Decaffeinated Teas
All prices are per half lb.

Rudolph's Coffee & Tea Co.: Gourmet Tea Online

    Decaf Apricot Arabesque: $10.00


    The ripening apricot harkens the end of summer. With the essence added to a delicious decaffeinated black tea, our Decaf Apricot Arabesque brews up sweet & smooth, with an aroma that captures summertime.

    Decaf Black Currant: $9.00


    Tart & saucy, you can almost smell the currants on the bush. Great for iced tea!

    Decaf Cinnamon Orange: $10.00


    A dazzling lower caffeine version of our legendary Cinnamon Orange Tea. Tangy, sweet & fiery. Thrilling over ice!

    Decaf Classic Earl Grey: $10.00


    A gift to the Earl of Grey, a 19th century British prime minister, became a gift to the world, when a Chinese envoy presented a tea that married northern China black teas with natural flavor oils pressed from ripe Bergamot fruit. The brew balances delicate citrus notes & rich naturally decaffeinated black tea.

    Decaf Classic English Breakfast: $12.00


    For centuries the English have enjoyed a stout morning tea. Our naturally decaffeinated blend of black teas from one of the British Empire’s favorite tea sources is the accepted classic of breakfast blends. And as English custom dictates, this hearty dark tea offers the comforting aroma of fresh toast & takes a spot of milk particularly well.

    Decaf Mango: $9.00


    Rich, tropical scent with a delicate mango flavor.

Rudolph's Coffee & Tea Co.: Gourmet Tea Online

Tea From Around The World

Tea grows best in a warm, wet climate & can thrive at any elevation up to about 7,000 feet. Experts generally agree that the higher the altitude at which tea is grown, the better the quality of the tea. Tea plants, grown in hedges or in square checkerboard patterns, are plucked as often as once every week or as infrequently as every 40 days, depending on the climate & the type of tea. For fine teas, only the top leaf or pekoe tip & the second leaf or orange pekoe are taken. For coarser blends, the pekoe, souchong & congou leaves, which grow further down the tea shoot, are also harvested. There are three primary types of tea: black (fermented), oolong (partially fermented) & green (unfermented). All varieties of tea plants can be made into all three types of tea, although the process differs in different countries.

Black Tea

In order to make black tea, the plucked leaves are placed on trays & allowed to wither for 12 to 24 hours; this makes them soft & pliable. Special rolling machines then pindle the leaves, releasing the tea’s juices & enzymes responsible for the drink’s taste. The rolled leaves are placed on clean tables or cement floors for two to four hours, during which time they are fermented or, more accurately, oxidized. When properly "aged", the tea, in most countries, is finally dried for about 20 minutes by a current of 200-degree air. In China, however, the drying stage occurs during a six- to eight-hour period, during which the tea is heated slowly in baskets over charcoal fires. Black teas constitute about 95% of the world’s tea production & about 98% of the tea consumed today in the United States.

Oolong Tea

To make oolong tea, the fermentation process is interrupted. After a quick withering, leaves are placed in pans heated to 250 degrees, halting the oxidation process. The leaves are immediately rolled. They are then placed in special baskets that are heated over a low charcoal fire.

Green Tea

Green tea is made by first sterilizing the leaves in live steam or over charcoal fires to stop oxidation or fermentation as quickly as possible. The leaves are then rolled & dried at a temperature of about 200 degrees. Green tea leaves produce a mild, green-gray brew sometimes called Gunpowder because of its color.

Herbal Teas

Herbal teas or tisanes are generally made by pouring hot water over a combination of herbs, spices or flowers. Early medicine depended on these concoctions to help treat conditions as mild as acne or dandruff & as serious as infected wounds or stomach & kidney ailments. Today, homeopathy, which uses natural ingredients like herbal teas to promote healing, has created a renaissance in the use of natural medicines & herbal teas for minor illnesses.

Rudolph's Coffee & Tea Co.: Gourmet Tea Online

Tea Geography

Tea, like coffee, is produced in many countries, & in a variety of soils & climates which contribute to a wide array of flavors & characteristics. Here are the most common geographical definitions used to describe fine teas.


    Produces teas used primarily in blending.


    A district in India that typically produces rich, heavy-bodied, & pungent black tea with a malty aroma.


    Major production is in black teas with smooth, clean flavor & medium body.

Chinese Black Tea:

    North China produces complex Keemun tea, which has an intense aroma often described as toasty. South China is known for Lapsang Souchong, a rich, thick tea with a smoky aroma & flavor.

Chinese Green Tea:

    This tea has a distinct vegetative aroma, substantial body & a pungent quality.

Chinese Oolong Tea:

    A rich tasting, lingering tea with a full sweet aroma.


    A tea-producing region of India. Its teas range from nutty to black currant in aroma & taste. All are full-bodied, brisk & lingering.


    The largest producer of tea in the world. Its best-known tea region is Darjeeling.


    Produces well-manufactured tea, but lacking distinct characteristics.


    Known for green tea which varies from light to full-bodied.


    Produces tea that is typically thin & lacking pungency. Russian blend tea is really from China. It is also called Caravan Tea because in the early 17th century it was carried by camel caravans west from the Orient.


    Produces strong-flavored tea that is rich & full-bodied.

Sri Lanka (Ceylon):

    Its sweet, honey-like teas are full-bodied & clean-tasting. They are mostly used in blending.


    Produces fruity, sometimes peachy, full-bodied oolongs, with a somewhat herbaceous aroma.


    These are light-bodied teas lacking strong or distinct characteristics.

Teas & Tea Blends

Here is a short list of different teas & tea blends to guide you in your selection of gourmet teas.

ASSAM: This North Indian tea has a rusty color & a rich malty flavor that reaches all parts of the palate.

CEYLON: Grown in Sir Lanka, Ceylon teas include Dimbula, Lady Londonderry, & Nuwara Eliya & have a strong, full taste. More pungent Ceylons, like Kikoya, are blended to produce Irish Breakfast & other dark tea blends.

DARJEELING: One the most popular boutique teas, it is grown in the East Indian state of the same name. It has a rich, smooth taste & a complex, reddish-brown color.

ENGLISH BREAKFAST: A strong, full-bodied blend of Ceylon & Indian teas, it is delicious with milk, a great way to start the day.

EARL GREY: This famous blend was first prepared for Charles, the second Earl Grey, by one of the Crown’s civil servants returning from India. The Twining family has continued to reproduce this bergamot-scented blend, although they never had the name copyrighted. Hence, there are a number of Earl Grey teas on the market today.

FORMOSA OOLONG: Scented with orange blossoms, this Chinese tea has an amber liquor & is the most expensive on the popular market. When drinking it, add lemon or sugar, but never milk.

IRISH BREAKFAST: A hearty blend of high-grown Ceylon teas with the ruddy Assam, this tea usually comes in small-leafed varieties suitable for a full liquor. In Ireland, this blend is always mixed with milk, although lemon lightens the brew nicely.

JASMINE: Often used as a relaxing late-night beverage, this tea is scented with jasmine petals & is meant to be lightly brewed.

KEEMUN: This tea is cultivated in North China, & is a perfect drink with Chinese cuisine.

LAPSANG SOUCHONG: With a name almost as distinctive as its smoky flavor, this Chinese brew is made from the large leaf on the tea plant. Redolent of campfires, it is a rich, almost syrupy tea, drunk either with lemon or untainted.

Tea has considerable hydroscopic qualities & quickly picks up moisture & taints. As moisture is second only to air in its staling effect on tea, keep tea in a cool, dry place; don’t refrigerate it because moisture condensation may result from temperature changes when you take the tea in & out of the refrigerator. Always keep your teas tightly tinned & away from the spice rack, the onion bin, the kitchen stove, cooking odors & mothballs. Teas can even pick up the odor of other teas. Lapsang Souchong will eventually lend its smoky smell to other teas packed with it if the teas are wrapped only in paper & packed together.

How to Make A Good Cup of Tea

Making a good cup of tea is not difficult, although a little care can help you prepare a beverage that is both warm & hearty every time.

First, take a ceramic teapot & preheat it by rinsing the pot out with hot water. Dry your teapot & add one teaspoon of tea for each cup of water. Then add one teaspoon for the pot. Next, bring fresh, cold tap or filtered water to a full, rolling boil. Never reheat water, & never allow water to boil for an extended period of time. This deprives the water of oxygen & leaves your tea tasting flat. Pour the water into the pot & stir well. Allow the tea to brew for five minutes. Watch the clock, not the color of the tea! If you like your tea less strong, add hot water after the brewing period is completed. Finally, pour the tea into warm ceramic cups. Add milk or lemon & sugar to taste. If your first cup of tea tastes good enough to have another, brew another pot, using new leaves. It’s worth the extra work. Loose tea left in the pot for more than five minutes will "stew" the brew, & make your tea acidic & harsh.

To make iced tea, follow the same directions one would use for brewing a regular pot of hot tea. However, make sure to add 50% more tea (e.g., if you generally use 4 teaspoons of tea, use 6 teaspoons). After brewing, add 25% more water (at room temperature) and allow the tea to reach room temperature before placing in the refrigerator (refrigerating before the tea has had ample time to cool will produce a cloudy glass of iced tea).

Telling the Future

Skilled interpreters are said to be able to divine the future according to the tea leaves left in the bottom of your cup. If you would like to look into your future the next time you drink up, pour hot water over loose tea in a tea pot that has no strainer. Pour yourself a cup of tea, & drink the tea until only a teaspoon of liquid & leaves remains.

Next, swirl the tea round three times counter-clockwise. Concentrate on a question or issue confronting you in your life. Then, turn the cup over on the saucer & wait approximately three minutes.

Now take the cup in both hands & concentrate on your problem. Turn the cup slowly back over & look at the patterns from different angles.

Leaves on the bottom of the cup speak to the distant future; those near the top concern the near future. Leaves on the handle side of the cup relate to family matters. Images formed by the leaves should be taken in the context of other symbols nearby. An egg-shaped pattern is good luck; however, a cross, which means bad luck or suffering, near the egg may mean that the good luck will be delayed.

Sometimes the leaves seem to be cloudy, forming no specific images. This implies a vague or confused state of mind, which makes an interpretation difficult.

Listed below are the explanations for just a few traditional symbols to help you read your future in the wet leaves of your tea:

Anchor: success or voyage Cow: prosperity

Bird: good luck Cross: trouble

Book: revelation Dog: a good friend

Cat: treachery Egg: increase, good luck

Face: change Ring: marriage

Flower: love & honor Star: good luck

Ladder: promotion Tree: success, happiness

Letters: initials of important people Triangle: inheritance

Windmill: success through hard work Umbrella: shelter

Wings: messages coming


According to tradition, it is just fine to read your own tea leaves as well as those of others. Patterns may be hard to distinguish initially. However, as you practice combining the different symbols & developing intuition, you may become able to "peer" into your future.

Copyright 1996 Ernest & Allen