The Spice & Tea Exchange of Lancaster

★★★★★ – 1 review

Tea Shop - sells its own brand of tea

20 West Orange St
Lancaster, PA 17603
(717) 394-4328


(1448 tea reviews) on

This is the first and only location of the Spice and Tea Exchange that I've visited. I LOVE the location of this store; it's in the heart of the downtown. Lancaster has a stand at the Central Market, just around the corner, which sells loose-leaf tea, and there are a few other businesses that serve or sell a small selection of loose-leaf tea among other things, but it has lacked a proper loose-leaf tea store for quite some time.

The inside of this store is super cute. They have interior brick walls and a lot of exposed beams and supports. It has a sort of "old country store" kind of feel to it, but tastefully done. The inside of the store seems well-organized and has a pretty good flow to it. Stores like this often end up feeling cramped, and this one didn't; in spite of the shop being quite crowded when I went in, I did not find myself bumping into anyone or anything.

Unfortunately, I was a little disappointed at the teas. I'm a pure tea enthusiast, and the selection definitely tended towards flavored teas, the sorts of stuff that I can find at any mainstream tea company. The prices seemed extraordinarily high. The cheapest teas in the store were nearly $6 for a single ounce! That's crazy! Even Teavana, which bargain shoppers like me routinely complain about being overpriced, is not that expensive...their English Breakfast is under $5 for two ounces. How can this store get away with charging the prices that they do? Most of the teas didn't even smell that good. Like, they smelled fine...just, when you charge that much money for tea (nearly $100 a pound) you're competing against some top-notch artisan teas.

I'd be glad to try them, but not at these prices. They don't sell samples either, the smallest quantity they sell is an ounce.

I also was not impressed with how the tea is stored in glass jars, especially given that the storefront has a big west-facing window. It's 2017, how long have we known that metal tins are superior for keeping the tea fresh? I don't know how much of a difference this makes, I just know that all the best tea shops use metal tins, and I've tried a lot of mediocre, not-very-fresh tea from stores using glass jars. I'd expect a big chain store like this (56 locations! I was surprised when I found out) to do better than this.

The store seems to be doing well though, the store was packed when I was in here and the staff were quite busy, so the prices don't seem to be deterring anyone else.

I did not explore the store's spice and herb selection. Perhaps next time? Perhaps that is what keeps this place in business? At any rate, I want to keep an open mind, I would be willing to revisit this review if I saw this business address what I see as some of the shortcomings. In particular, I'd like to see lower prices, or at least have the opportunity to try the tea and see that it really is at that "wow" level to justify such astronomical prices.

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