Turtleheads Supports My Loose Leaf Tea Obsession

Michael Wender Customer Centered, Local Flavor, Popular 10 Comments


Hello, my name is Michael, and I drink copious amounts of fine teas…

I’m not sure if many of you out there can relate, but I never set out to become a loose-leaf tea addict. In fact, just two years ago hot tea really wasn’t my thing. However, after fixing tea for my wife one morning, I was tempted to forgo my usual two cups of joe in exchange for a cup of hot English Breakfast. That indiscretion started me down a path that began with tea bags and now continues with nothing less than the best loose-leaves available on the Knoxville market.

I have my mother-in-law to blame for this. I would have been perfectly content with tea bags had she not tempted me with the rich, full flavors from her loose-leaf stash. If you’ve drunk bagged teas all your life, switching to loose-leaf is like switching from black-and-white to color.

Eventually, sampling teas at my in-laws wasn’t enough. This past November I ventured to her source, Turtlehead’s Tea and Coffee in Farragut, and I haven’t bought bagged teas since.

Enough with the preliminaries. Good tea is for sampling and sharing. So allow me to introduce you to my favorite fresh tea and coffee shop.

Turtlehead’s Tea and Coffee is located in the Food City Shopping Center between Concord and Lovell Roads. Look for the United Community Bank in front to help you locate this otherwise nondescript location.

Upon entering the store, you’ll probably be greeted by Jan. If you express any enthusiasm for finding some good tea or coffee, she’ll be sure to match yours and raise it to the next level.

Turtlehead’s carries a nice selection of organic coffees along with steepware and accessories. However, the real reason why I’m writing can be found in the sixty or so boxes that fill the shelves behind the counter. That’s where you’ll find a tea treasure trove with a range of flavors suitable for the pickiest tea connoisseur to the total tea novice. Jan can even mix a tea that you’ve had elsewhere if you describe it.

Sound tempting? It is. I can’t leave without picking up a couple ounces of one of my favorites:

  • Earl Grey Cream – This is one of Jan’s mixes. It falls under the category of “dessert teas,” and it has a hint of vanilla that brings out the smooth bergamot flavoring that is the hallmark of Earl Grey. I enjoy a cup with breakfast or when I’m on the couch reading a good book. This one is great with a little cream and sugar.
  • Jasmine Dew – Really smooth with a “just right” flavor. This one always makes for a relaxing mid-afternoon workday break.
  • Cinnamon Spice – I generally add a teaspoon of sugar to my tea; however, Turtlehead’s Cinnamon Spice has so much flavor that I prefer not to add anything.

In addition to these, Spicy Vanilla Chai, a recent discovery of mine, is also making its way onto my list. Plus, Turtlehead’s dessert teas are worth another post altogether…there’s Pumpkin Cake, Key Lime Pie and Chocolate Chai, each tasting like their namesake.

But, instead of me telling you about it, I think I’ve given you reason to go check things out for yourself. Meanwhile, it’s time I put some water on the stove.

Got another Knoxville-area source for loose-leaf tea? Please share it in the comments.

Creative Commons License photo credit: LePetitPoulailler

Comments 10

  1. You have gifted me with some of their delicious tea, Michael and I plan to go in and ‘see for myself’ soon! You have made a real tea drinker of me!

  2. Turtlehead’s Tea and Coffee is a great little shop and Knoxville is lucky to have them. My construction management firm helped them to get their store open a couple of years ago and Jan and Tamara are two of the nicest business folks (and people for that matter) you’ll ever meet. I had just started my business when I helped them with their project and I am glad that they are getting some virtual “ink” on Knoxify. Swing by there and check them out. You’ll be back often

  3. Great write up Michael and I agree wholeheartedly! Turtlehead’s tea is excellent and the staff is uber friendly. The Turtle Truffle is another loose tea blend I highly recommend from there. Had I not polished it off so quickly and disposed of the bag, I would tell you what was in it!

  4. Turtlehead’s is a “must” for anyone who even THINKS they like tea. I enjoy learning about the teas about as much as I enjoy drinking them.

  5. I’m thrilled to see Turtleheads getting some much deserved love. Jan & Tamara are so knowledgeable and have introduced me to some great teas. Mango Blast & Blackberry Bramble make great iced tea and the Organic Vanilla Mint is perfect for relaxing before bed.

  6. I love their selection but they are just a bit out of the way for me, so I stock up whenever I get there. Their prices, for the quality, are pretty good too. I just wish they were in Bearden.

    I usually get some Dragonwell; some kind of white tea and then try a couple of flavored/floral teas: the latter will be whatever strikes my fancy.

  7. @Liz: They are a bit out of the way for me too. Fortunately, as I’ve introduced more and more friends to Turtleheads, they’ve gotten in the habit of giving me a call and picking up an order for me when they are there. 😉

  8. Pingback: On Knoxify: My Loose-Leaf Tea Obsession - Go Web Young Man

  9. Do you know whatever happened to this wonderful business? I went often & then one day they were gone. I’d love to locate them if they’re still in business somewhere!

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