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Shipping & Returns
How do I make a return or exchange?
Please see our returns and exchanges page at https://www.rishi-tea.com/exchanges-returns
Do you ship to Canada?
Yes! We do ship Canadian orders via the US Postal Service. Please visit our shipping page for Canadian Shipping Rates.
Do you ship outside of North America?
Yes! To do so, please fill out our International Order Request form, and we will send an order quote with shipping rates to your e-mail. Alternately, you can also reach out to Customer Service or 844-467-4744 for shipping rates. Payment can be made by phoning or faxing in your details. Sorry, expedited options are not available.
Where can I find tracking information for my order?
A shipping confirmation will be sent to your email when your order ships. This email includes either a FedEx or USPS tracking number.
Orders sent via FedEx can be tracked with the tracking number provided in your shipping confirmation email here- FedEx Tracking
Orders sent via USPS can be tracked with the tracking number provided in your shipping confirmation email here- USPS Tracking
Please note, international orders can only be tracked up to the arrival of the package in the country of origin. Packages are then transferred to the local postal service.
My order arrived damaged or incomplete. What should I do?
We work hard to ensure orders are filled correctly and completely, and all items are packaged carefully to prevent breakage. If you experience any problem with your order, please reach out to our Customer Service team for assistance. We’re happy to rectify any problems to ensure your satisfaction.
P: 1-844-467-4744 – M-F, 9:00am to 6:00pm (CST)
Can I return opened tea or used teaware?
If you feel the quality of any of our offerings is anything less than you expected, please reach out to us within 30 days of package delivery date at Customer Service or 844-467-4744. We’re happy to see how we can help!
We do not honor exchanges or refunds if the issue is a matter of personal taste but can certainly honor any replacements for quality issues.
Exchanges or refunds on a tea ware must be unopened and unused.
Please note, as an agricultural product, some seasonal variance is to be expected in the flavor profiles of tea. For this reason, we recommend purchasing smaller quantities such as our “Teaser” sample size, ensuring the tea is to your liking before committing to larger bags. For insight into the most recent crop tasting notes, our Customer Service team can offer shopping support.
What shipping methods do you use?
Orders shipping to APO, AK, HI, AA, AP, AS, FM, GU, MH, MP, PW, PR, VI are shipped via US Postal Service. During checkout, USPS shipping will automatically apply to orders going to regions listed above.
How can I return tea and teaware purchased from an outside retailer?
Rishi partners with outside retailers to bring our teas to you. We ask you first seek a return through the original partner, but we are happy to assist when possible. Remaining consistent with our web store policy, returns or refunds are only honored for issues are based on quality concern, not those that are tied to personal taste preferences. In cases where there is a quality concern, we are happy to offer an exchange with the submittal of proof of purchase within the past 30 days.
How can I return tea and teaware purchased from an outside retailer?
Rishi gladly partners with outside retailers to bring our teas to you. We ask you first seek a return through that original partner, but we are happy to help when possible. Remaining consistent with our own web store policy, returns or refunds are only honored for issues are based on quality concern, not those that are tied to personal taste preferences. In cases where there is a quality concern, we are happy to offer an exchange with the submittal of proof of purchase within the past 30 days.
Tea & Food Safety
How should I store my tea?
Similar to spices and coffee beans, dried tea leaves and powders will not “go bad” or spoil but can lose freshness over time. To maintain your tea’s quality, we recommend storing in a resealable container (they can stay in your Rishi resealable bag!) away from direct sunlight, heat , moisture and strong smells. Tea is hygroscopic—meaning it absorbs moisture and nearby aroma—so it is best to store teas away from other highly fragrant products like coffee, spices, or herbs.
A cool pantry or cupboard is perfect. Remember to gently push out any excess air when resealing the bag after use!
What are your tea bags made of? Are your tea bags plastic? Are they BPA free?
Rishi tea bags are made from a plant-based material called polylactic acid (or PLA for short). PLA is an inert, DNA-free material that is produced by breaking down starches found in plant sources. Through this process, no plant DNA is left behind, making these hypoallergenic and allergen-free. PLA is NOT derived from petroleum and will not leak harmful plasticizers into your brew. True to our sourcing ethics and to help showcase Rishi’s high-quality teas and botanicals, this material is purposefully sourced to provide you and your family with the safest and most delicious cup of tea!
Biodegradable: PLA tea bags are designed to biodegrade in a high heat, commercial quality composting systems. This means conditions need to achieve at least 120°F, and 80% relative humidity for a sustained amount of time (about 2 months). This material will not breakdown in your cup of tea, even if left for many hours or days.
No glues, staples or metals: To help facilitate a biodegradable product, Rishi tea bags have a cotton string and printed-paper tag, only. This material is attached to the PLA mesh using ultrasonic+ high-heat vibrational energy. Pretty cool!
Give me the data: We’re glad you asked! Many organic food advocates, bloggers, rival tea companies and other sources have made statements based on ideas and assumptions that silky tea bags contain petroleum-based plastic or nylon and are unsafe. We felt it was time to take responsibility and set the record straight for the tea industry with scientific data and authentic testing results for actual PLA mesh material used for our silky tea bags.
We are confident our PLA tea bags are safe when enjoyed according to our brewing recommendations. We worked with an independent lab in Houston, one of the leading labs that tests for plastics in food products, to test both our PLA standard knit and special knit tea bag materials. We tested for BPA and commonly found plasticizers and phthalates that contaminate the global food supply. Our PLA mesh was tested using Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS), a technique that allowed the lab to analyze the chemical composition of PLA in its entirety. This testing method has a detectable limit of 2 ppm for most of the phthalates we looked for, and of 3 ppm for two of the phthalates.
Both PLA special knit and standard knit materials passed with flying colors. None of the phthalates we tested for were detected, even in trace amounts. This indicates that the PLA mesh used in our tea bags is completely BPA-free and phthalate-free. The United States Consumer Products Safety Commission (USCPSC) specifies that food products are deemed safe when they test below 1,000 ppm for the plasticizers we checked. With results of no detection, PLA goes well beyond the conditions required to comply with USCPSC standards. Contact us if you would like a copy of our test report.
It should be noted that there are several data reports showing that the common petroleum-based nylon and polyester silky tea bags on the market leach plastics, but our PLA material for tea bags is a different material and is not petroleum based. PLA based tea bags should not be linked to reports or tests of unrelated materials.
Are you testing your Japanese teas for radiation?
On March 11, 2011 the Tohoku tsunami and earthquake off of the northeast coast of Japan caused the devastating Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident, releasing radioactivity into the environment.
Since then and to this day, Rishi has maintained a stringent program to verify the safety of the teas we source from Japan by conducting radioactivity tests at an independent third-party laboratory in the USA. The lab uses a testing method called gamma ray spectrometry to measure radioactive isotopes Cesium-134, Cesium-137, and Iodine-131 in units of becquerel per kilogram. We continue to test samples of our Japanese teas for these isotopes prior to import.
Isotope, Unit, Result, US FDA Maximum Allowable Limits for Tea
Cesium-134, Bq/kg, Non-detect, 1,200
Cesium-137, Bq/kg, Non-detect, 1,200
Cesium-131, Bq/kg, Non-detect, 170
Our test results continually confirm that Rishi’s Japanese teas are completely safe. Our latest test results are as follows:
Most of the teas we source in Japan are grown in the tea regions of Kagoshima and Miyazaki, located on the southern island of Kyushu at a distance of about 700 miles from Fukushima. Of all the Japanese tea regions, Kagoshima and Miyazaki are situated at the farthest distance from the Fukushima area, and so pose the lowest risk for radiation contamination.
Are your teas gluten/dairy/allergen free?
All Rishi Tea products are free from ingredients containing gluten or dairy. Additionally, we do not work with ingredients containing or exposed to eggs, wheat, corn, soy, shellfish or peanuts. We do use coconut and ramon nut in several blends but follow a strict allergen control procedure to separate these ingredients from our allergen-free ingredients.
What are 'natural flavors'?
Natural flavors are concentrated liquid extracts made from real food ingredients. We use natural flavors to complement dried fruits, herbs, and other botanicals in some blends to create a complex depth of flavor that infuses deeply into the tea leaves. We use our natural flavors in compliance with USDA NOP organic standards, and we are one of few tea companies who do not use any artificial flavors in our teas.
Are your teas free of GMOs (genetically modified organisms)?
All Rishi teas are free of GMOs. Fortunately, GMOs are not as significant an issue in the tea industry as they are in grain or produce markets. The tea plant, Camellia sinensis, is grown without genetic modification. Instead, hundreds of tea plant strains known as cultivars, or “cultivated varieties,” are bred and planted through traditional botanical methods like crossing. GMOs are explicitly forbidden under the USDA’s organic program, so any Rishi tea bearing the USDA Organic logo is free of GMOs.
What does "Organic" mean?
The aim of the organic agriculture movement is to promote environmental sustainability by encouraging biodiversity, enhancing soil fertility and protecting the health of farm workers and consumers. In the US, organic agriculture and product labeling standards are regulated by a USDA certification program called the National Organic Program (NOP). The NOP certification prohibits the use of banned pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, growth hormones, GMOs, irradiation, sewage sludge, and artificial preservatives, flavors and dyes in crops, livestock and foods. Third-party certifying agencies make annual inspections to verify that an organic farmer, manufacturer, or product satisfies these standards. Compliant businesses are awarded the right to use the USDA Organic logo. You can look for this logo on over 95% of our tea and botanicals.
Rishi believes organic agriculture is an important part of leading a healthy, natural lifestyles and for restoring ecological balance to world in an age of global environmental degradation. One of Rishi’s founding principles was to help create and expand the demand for organic tea internationally. We have specialized in sourcing organically grown tea since we were founded in 1997—five years before the NOP standards were developed for tea in 2002. Today, we’re proud to be a leader in this market!
What steps does Rishi take to ensure the purity of its tea?
Beyond the USDA Organic certification, Rishi adheres to a robust quality control program that begins in the field. Our buyers spend months traveling to the tea farms each year to taste and evaluate quality during the peak crop seasons. This also allows us to experience our organic tea cultivation firsthand. Throughout the year, our Compliance team performs additional spot-testing on select teas to ensure our organic teas are free of pesticides and other contaminants.
What about your conventional (not organic certified) teas?
We celebrate the fact that organic tea is gaining popularity in tea markets worldwide, and farms across many growing regions are converting to organic cultivation to meet that demand. However, there are several classical tea growing regions where organic tea farms simply do not exist yet. The major oolong tea regions—Fujian, Guangdong, and Taiwan—are notable examples. Many oolong tea farms in those areas produce exclusive micro-lots of top shelf conventional teas for premium markets worldwide. Phoenix Dancong oolongs from Guangdong and High Mountain oolongs from Taiwan are some of the most expensive teas in the world. With such strong demand and high-end marketing, the farms have little incentive to seek organic certification. The same can be said for several of the tea regions in Japan that specialize in growing gyokuro or tencha for making matcha.
The good news is many of the farms in those areas—including our suppliers there—practice a range of “Integrated Pest Management” techniques to minimize their use of pesticides. The install solar-powered insect zappers, pheromone sticky paper traps and plant buffer zones to that effect. Since these are some of the most treasured and sought-after styles of tea in the world, we import these as specialty items for tea connoisseurs. These are some of the favorite teas enjoyed by our staff, and we would never sell a tea we would not drink ourselves.
How long does tea stay fresh?
Similar to spices and coffee beans, dried tea leaves and powders will not “go bad” but can lose complexity of aroma and taste over time. Each category of tea has a unique level of oxidation and freshness window:
Green and White teas will lose their freshness most quickly. We recommend consuming these teas within 2 months from the time you first open the package.
Matcha powders should be enjoyed within 2 weeks upon opening because the powder will undergo “post-oxidation” when exposed to air, transforming its bright green color into a stale shade of pea-green or yellow. This can be minimized by using proper storage method.
We recommend using Oolong, Black and Botanical teas within 4 months of opening, for the best flavor.
Lastly, roasted Oolong and Pu’er teas have the unique ability to ripen and develop complexity with age over several years if stored properly.
Good rule of thumb: know the category of tea, order what you need, employ proper tea storage practices and enjoy your offerings!
How many servings do I get out of a bag of loose leaf tea?
This depends on the size of the bag and the amount of tea used for each serving. In general, we recommend Rishi Loose Leaf Teas be measured at 1 tablespoon (4-5g) per 8 oz of water. A 250 gram bag yields about 50 – 60 servings and a one-pound bag (454g) yields about 90 – 120 servings. One of the joys of loose leaf tea is that you can re-infuse the tea leaves multiple times during each brewing session. Check the label and product description online for specific brewing tips for each category and type of tea.
How much caffeine is in tea, compared to coffee?
Caffeine is one of three stimulating alkaloids found in tea, the others being theobromine and theophylline. Theobromine is a mild stimulant found in greater concentration in chocolate.
In general, a brewed cup of tea has about 1/3 to 1/2 the caffeine of a cup of coffee. A cup of coffee has about 100-120 mg per 8 ounces. Most teas fall between 20-50 mg per 8 ounces. Contrary to popular myth, this average is true regardless of the type of tea (green tea, black tea, etc). This makes sense when you consider that all true tea is made from a single plant species, Camellia sinensis.
The cultivar or “cultivated variety,” is one of the most significant factors determining how much caffeine might be available in any given tea. Broad-leaf variety teas grown in Yunnan and Southeast Asia contain more caffeine than small-leaf varieties. But with hundreds of cultivars in existence, the range varies greatly.
Caffeine is more readily extracted at higher temperatures, so brewing tea at a higher temperature or for a longer period of time will result in a higher concentration of caffeine in your cup. For this reason, cold brew teas can contain less caffeine.
How does caffeine content vary between types of tea?
The six tea types are differentiated by their processing steps. The techniques used to process fresh tea leaves– such as rolling, firing, oxidizing, or drying– do not alter caffeine on a molecular level, and thus they do not affect the amount of caffeine contained in the fresh leaf. Teas that undergo baking or roasting in their final stages, such as Houjicha or Iron Goddess of Mercy, may lose some caffeine by pyrolysis, where the caffeine molecule is literally baked out of the tea leaves. In general, the processing methods do not affect caffeine content so various types of tea can have similar levels of caffeine.
A greater factor influencing the amount of caffeine potential in tea is the cultivar of the tea plant. The brewing technique also plays a large role in determining how much caffeine is extracted into the final cup.
What do the caffeine levels represent on your tea bag and loose leaf packaging?
We worked with an independent lab to measure the caffeine content of our packaged teas. The teas were brewed according to our recommended brewing instructions for temperature and infusion time, and then the caffeine content of the infusion was measured. We found that most teas registered within three tiers:
LOW: < 20 mg / 8oz cup
MEDIUM: 20 – 40 mg / 8oz cup
HIGH: > 40 mg / 8oz cup
An average cup of coffee contains about 90 – 120 mg / 8oz cup.
When you re-steep your tea, how much caffeine is in the 2nd and 3rd infusions?
A decent amount! After a first 4-5 minute infusion, most teas have only released 30-50% of their total caffeine. The tea leaves will release the remaining caffeine in subsequent infusions.
There are some variables, of course. If a tea is made of very small leaves and leaf particles, more surface area is exposed to water, and more caffeine will come out in the cup. The water temperature also affects the extraction rate greatly.
Is it true you can rinse the caffeine off your tea by brewing it for 30 seconds and discarding that first cup?
No. It takes several minutes to extract significant amounts of caffeine from the leaf. Using higher temperature water and a longer infusion time will yield more caffeine in the cup. By contrast, cooler water and short infusion times do not extract as much caffeine.
Why is the tea high different from the coffee buzz?
Tea is known to create a more even, sustained lift compared to the buzz and crash of coffee. There are several reasons for this.
First, the amount of caffeine in tea is about 1/3 to 1/2 that of coffee. The peak of the tea high does not spike as high as the coffee jolt.
Secondly, there are other compounds in tea, such as l-theanine, that are attributed to relaxation. L-theanine is thought to evoke a feeling of relaxation.