FAQs

Tea · Teaware · Gifts · Shipping · Returns & Exchanges

TEA

What is oolong?

Made from semi-oxidized Camellia sinensis leaves, oolong falls between the more commonly known green (unoxidized) and black (fully oxidized) teas, and is roasted to varying degrees. As you might guess, that leaves a whole lot of in-between space for oolongs to express themselves. And we think their spectrum of flavors — from bright & grassy to juicy & floral to dark & toasty — is best appreciated with loose leaves.

Is there caffeine in these teas?

Yes, our oolong teas all contain some caffeine. TBH, it’s a little tricky to pinpoint exactly how much, because the caffeine level of a given tea leaf can vary by varietal, growing location, the season's growing conditions, position where it grew on the plant, how its batch was roasted, etc. We’ve probably all heard at some point that caffeine levels in black tea > oolong tea > green tea > white tea, but these generalizations are exactly that — extremely general, and honestly not very helpful! In reality, plenty of green and white teas have more caffeine than black and oolong teas (and vice versa). 

The way you brew your tea also has a huge impact on how much caffeine is extracted from the leaves. In general, shorter and cooler brewing = less caffeine in your cup, while longer and hotter brewing = more caffeine.   

It's safe to say our teas have less caffeine than coffee. But if you're generally caffeine-sensitive, we'd recommend avoiding our teas just before bedtime, and saving them for a gentle morning or afternoon boost instead :) 

Are your teas organic?

Our Bug-Bitten White Tip, Duck Shit, Golden Branch, Lightning Strike, Midnight Blossom, and Smoked Cassia Rock Oolongs are all certified organic under the USDA NOP program. It's a long, arduous, and expensive certification process that our growers have recently completed! However, Three Gems Tea as a company has not applied for organic certification ourselves (see: long, arduous, expensive), so we can't use the USDA organic seal on these teas. However, you'll see in the ingredient lists that these 6 teas are 100% organic oolong.

Our Bamboo Peak Milk Oolong is grown with organic practices, but our grower for this tea has not applied for organic certification.

What’s the best way to brew loose leaf tea?

Check out the Brew Guide for our recommendations!

What kind of water should I use?

Water has a BIG effect on flavor. Traditionally, the best water for a tea was thought to be spring water collected close to where the tea was grown. Since that’s pretty hard for most of us to get, the best alternative is usually filtered water. If you live somewhere with exceptionally hard, minerally tap water, you may want to consider alternatives like bottled water. Try steeping the same tea with a few different types of water, and have your mind blown by the differences in taste! In general, if you like sipping the water on its own — is it refreshing? clean-tasting? feels good on your tongue? — then it’s good enough for your tea leaves too.

TEAWARE

How should I clean my handmade teaware?

Our porcelain gaiwans and fairness pitchers require only a rinse with water after most uses — unless you’re drinking out of them! Cups and mugs should be cleaned with gentle dish soap and a soft brush or sponge.

Tea stains are harmless but can be removed with a little vinegar or lemon juice. 

GIFTS

Can I include a gift message with my order?

Yes! Just let us know under "Order Notes" in your cart and we'll include your message in the shipment.

SHIPPING

Orders are typically processed and shipped within 2-5 business days, but it may take our small team a little longer during busy periods, like the holiday season. We always aim to get your orders out the door as quickly as possible, but appreciate your patience and understanding during these busy stretches! 

US Shipping

We offer free shipping on all US orders of $75 or more.

For US orders under $75, you'll be able to choose from USPS and UPS shipping options at checkout. Delivery time typically ranges from 2-7 business days, although we are currently experiencing some shipping delays related to COVID-19. 

International Shipping to Select Countries

You'll be able to choose from USPS and UPS international shipping options at checkout. Rates will be calculated based on your shipping address.

International shipments are subject to customs duties that vary by country and order value.

Delivery times vary by your selected shipping option and typically range from 2-21 business days. Please note we are currently experiencing some shipping delays related to COVID-19.

Order Tracking

You'll receive an email with tracking info once your order has shipped. Unfortunately, we have no control over USPS or UPS deliveries after they take custody of your package. If you have questions about the delivery of your items after you've received the tracking email, please get in touch with USPS or UPS directly. 

Why is my package in "pre-shipment" for so long?

Orders are typically processed and shipped within 2-5 business days. During busy shipping periods, however, your order tracking page may show "pre-shipment" status for an extended period of time, as carriers work through high volumes of parcels in their facilities. (We've noticed this most often with USPS First Class packages.) This is normal, especially during the holiday season. You should expect a status change within a week-ish — but if you don't see a change around then, please let us know!

RETURNS & EXCHANGES

Please contact us within 7 days of receiving your order if your tea or teaware purchase doesn't delight you. Refunds are credited to your original payment method. Please remember it can take some time for your bank or credit card company to process and post the refund too.

Tea

If something went wrong with your tea order, we'll work with you to decide whether issuing a refund or shipping a replacement would make it right. Please reply to your order confirmation email or use our contact form here.

Teaware

We can only accept returns of teaware in their original, unused condition. We will issue a refund once we receive and inspect the returned merchandise. Customers are responsible for the cost of return shipping. If your teaware was damaged in transit, please reach out to us ASAP.