About Us

Tea Trekker is an online and brick-and-mortar source for fresh seasonal tea as well as rested and aged tea owned by Mary Lou and Robert J. Heiss. Since 1974 we have been in the vanguard of tea education in America. Over the span of our 39 year (and still going strong ) career in tea, we have introduced legions of tea enthusiasts to the delights of traditional teas from historic tea producing regions in China, India, Japan, Sri Lanka and Taiwan.

We are proud to support artisan tea makers and tea that represents the best of traditional tea making skills from important tea producing regions. We import many of our teas directly from tea farmers and village cooperatives and from small village tea factories that turn fresh leaf into finished local tea.

We are the authors of two popular books on tea and tea culture:

~ The Story of Tea, A Cultural History and Drinking Guide

~ The Tea Enthusiasts Handbook, A Guide to Enjoying the World's Best Teas

Our deep respect for and passionate interest in artisan tea allows us to put on our Tea Trekker hats once a year and return to China, Japan or Taiwan to observe, learn, taste and select our tea.

Understanding tea is a complex study of how’s and why’s. Tea knowledge is comprised of minutia, lots of it, as well as recognizing the importance of both the large and small differences in each class of tea. Studying tea is a lifelong quest; one cannot learn all there is to know about the styles of tea in a few broad strokes. But happily, gaining an understanding of the details of tea cultivation and manufacture and learning as much as we can on our tea travels is what inspires us to keep learning.

When we visit tea-producing countries we become students to the tea masters that teach us. We return home each time with new knowledge, insights and appreciation for the craft of tea-making that we in turn share with our tea customers and readers.

In 2008 the New York Times tagged us ‘the Professors of Tea.’ We blush at this and like to think of ourselves instead as enthusiastic tea educators. Understanding the various aspects of tea - its growth, manufacture, and methods of preparation - and sharing what we have observed through words and pictures with our readers and one on one conversation with customers gives us great joy.

Together and individually, we present professional and vocational seminars and classes on tea culture and history, and lead group tea tasting workshops. In store we conduct Master Classes in Tea..

Please sign up for our e-newsletter for announcements of tea events and classes. And subscribe to Tea Trekker's blog, an informative and educational addendum to our website and tea books, which will be delivered directly into your inbox with each new post.

We are co-authors of the following books:


The Tea Enthusiast's Handbook, A Guide to Enjoying the World’s Best Teas 
( March 2010, Ten Speed Press )



The Story of Tea: A Cultural History and Drinking Guide
(October 2007, Ten Speed Press )
nominated in 2008 for a James Beard Foundation Book Award
and an IACP Cookbook Award



Hot Drinks: Cider, Coffee, Tea, Hot Chocolate, Spiced Punch and Spirits
( October 2007, Ten Speed Press)


Mary Lou is the solo author of :


Green Tea: 50 Hot Drinks, Cool Quenchers, and Sweet and Savory Treats  
( April 2006, Harvard Common Press)



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