Okay, disclaimer first: I was a professional coffee and tea taster and buyer for 25 years (including time at Starbucks back when they had a real [i.e. whole leaf not tea bag] tea program.
Few folks realize that fresh tea is even rarer than truly fresh [less than 10 days out of the roaster] coffee. Tea stales more gracefully than coffee - less "there there" but not rancid and awful like stale beans, so most folks simply don't know what they're missing. But black teas are best within a year of harvest, green and oolong half that, which means that tea bag teas are generally stale long before they get to the retail shelf. And they're generally made from fannings and dust, which are literally the leftovers from the manufacture of the good teas. Plus, 90%+ of the asking price of tea bags is for packaging and marketing. Not the kind of thing a savvy ER person wants to throw money at.
The best sources in the U.S. for fresh, well-selected tea at a fair price are all mail order operations. Far and away the leader is Upton Tea in MA (www.uptontea.com
), with excellent quality in all areas. You have the option to sort the various categories of teas on their list by most recent arrival first, which I recommend. And they don't oversell the teas in their own descriptions, as well as allowing customers to post reviews.
After Upton the next best places I've found are Peet's (.com), a legendary coffee roaster who's always had a serious love of tea, and then Specialteas.com, mentioned in an earlier post, which also has fine selections and service.
Hope this helps!