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breaks
May 12, 2001



The popcorn is poprice.

You might try hojicha also, which is the Japanese roasted tea. No rice, the actual tea leaves are roasted instead. I have not had their hojicha recently but as a general matter Hibiki-an is one of my preferred vendors for Japanese teas.

There are a wide variety of oolongs roasted to different degrees which can also have some of those flavors. I can recommend the 2008 top grade roasted Tie Guan Yin at Teamasters as an excellent example but his prices are on the boutique side of the line.

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breaks
May 12, 2001



A quick steep actually doesn't do much to decaffeinate the tea. There's a good article about it here: http://chadao.blogspot.com/2008/02/...nd-reality.html

Also in there is some discussion about how black teas do not necessarily have more caffeine than green teas. Caffeine content is mostly down to the varietal used and the growing conditions. There's some small charts in there showing that oxidation actually lowers the caffeine content.

Lots of interesting albeit lengthy articles on Cha Dao, though they haven't updated in quite a while now.

breaks
May 12, 2001



Thoht's advice is pretty good.

Personally I find that the more leaves I use the less I need to increase the steeping items. If brewing in some pseudo-gong-fu style with a gaiwan stuffed full of oolong or puerh I'll start at 15 seconds and add 5 seconds each time for the first several steepings.

On the other hand with sencha, which I use a relatively small amount of and which extracts very quickly, I do the second steep for less time than the first, especially with the really pulverized heavily steamed ones.

breaks
May 12, 2001



"Sakura sencha" is what you are looking for. I don't drink it myself so I can't make a specific recommendation. I used to get a lot of emails from Den's Tea about theirs but it looks like they are out of it until the spring harvest. O-cha.com has one and they are one of my favorite vendors for sencha. Or, you can google it and you'll be able to find a bunch of shops I'm sure.

breaks
May 12, 2001



Water temperature issues: if you are staying in one place, get a good quality electric kettle that lets you set a specific temperature. If you have to take the water somewhere, use a high-quality thermos and preheat it. You should be able to keep it at a decent brewing temperature for several hours.

Cheap oolong:
My opinion is that when shopping online, don't bother with Samovar, Imperial Tea Court, Red Circle, Mandarin's Tearoom, Tea Gallery, etc (in common: SF or NYC, high-end or at least trying to be); these are all really loving expensive places to buy tea for the most part.

I think that high quality baozhongs tend to outperform their prices, but it's kind of a tough time to buy tea since the spring harvests aren't far off at this point. Floating Leaves has a couple winter baozhongs right now which I haven't tried, but I've been pleased with most of her teas in the past.

I can recommend from personal experience the 2011 subtropical forest baozhong from Stephane over at Teamasters, but he doesn't have a formal web shop, which I guess might bother you given the recent posts in this thread. He is reliable and has impeccable taste, I really recommend him if you don't mind that his ordering process is stuck in the 90s. Not always cheap but the subtropical forest baozhong is one of his better deals. Last I checked you can get out under $10/oz even after shipping from Taiwan. Might have changed lately, I don't know. If you like heavily roasted oolong the 2008 heavy roast TGY he has is an excellent example of well-roasted oolong and also relatively cheap unless he's raised the price.

breaks
May 12, 2001



If you stick to leafy stuff that makes a decent infusion on its own, you can just try different ratios of tea:whatever until you find something you like. Mint works well, for example. Don't use really nice tea for this, of course, but it's a good way to add some interest to unspectacular tea that's perfectly drinkable but doesn't have much in the way of unique or special flavor.

On the other hand, your average strawberry-cinnamon-vanilla fruity "blended" tea is hit with a flavor extract spray and has some bits and pieces in there more for appearance than for flavor. If you are trying for something like this, depending on what particular flavor you want you may or may not need to use an extract, but in any case keep in mind that you might get a weaker/different flavor than what you are expecting if you don't go that route.

breaks fucked around with this message at Jul 22, 2012 around 20:06

breaks
May 12, 2001



My preferred vendor for oolong (mostly Taiwanese in origin) is Teamasters. Not the place to go for bargain pricing, but he's got impeccable taste in tea and very rarely misses with his selections.

His 2008 roasted TGY is a very good example of heavily roasted oolong, and thanks for posting and reminding me of it because I think I'll brew some up right now. It's been a little while since I put in an order as I wasn't drinking many oolongs this year, so I can't offer too much comment on most of what he's currently got available. But, if you buy from him you've got to email him for his current price list anyway, and if you ask him what a good intro to oolong type of purchase would be I'm sure he can help you out.

breaks
May 12, 2001



That's around $7/oz for the 2 month and $4.50/oz for the annual. Houjicha, (kyo)bancha, and genmaicha are all cheap ($2-3/oz) teas. The black is unusual because not much black tea is made in Japan, but probably also not expensive. So the annual is a little pricey, which is to be expected with the videos and the way they are marketing it, but you're really getting jammed on the 2 month, which costs nearly what you'd pay for very high quality sencha straight from Japan.

Their per-ounce non-subscription prices are outright offensive, I guess they are trying to make the subscription look like a great deal rather than actually sell them. Definitely don't order any that way.

breaks
May 12, 2001



I'd try something like 30 seconds for the second and 45 seconds for the third. Some people will even tell you just to pour water over and then pour it right back out for the second steep. Once it gets going it doesn't take much to get the flavor out of sencha. You might also experiment with going a bit shorter on the first steep, maybe 90 seconds.

I think it's generally ok for the leaves to sit for a few hours, but hanging out in the presence of water and oxygen is only going to do bad things to them given enough time.

breaks
May 12, 2001



The Yutaka Midori and Sae Midori are my preferences from O-cha. I stick to the deep steamed stuff from there and usually go to Hibiki-an for asamushi sencha.

breaks
May 12, 2001



In regards to the request for oolongs, try either the Formosa sampler from Adagio or the Taiwanese oolong sampler from Floating Leaves: http://www.floatingleavestea.com/in...&products_id=56

They are both fairly similar in terms of price per ounce. Floating Leaves is sometimes a step up the quality ladder from Adagio, though also sometimes not, I think.

My favorites these days generally have a medium or so level of both oxidation and roasting, sometimes labelled Hong Shui/Hung Shui/Red Water oolong, but unfortunately neither sampler contains an example. It's harder to find them and tougher still to find good ones. Floating Leaves has them sometimes, but I guess not right now. In any case both cover the three most common types, baozhong, oriental beauty, and very green balled oolong, then throw in one or two extras.

Plenty of good oolongs from China too, but Adagio's out of their sampler for that, and I'm not all that familiar with them so I can't recommend an alternative.

breaks
May 12, 2001



If you're buying bagged tea, do yourself a favor and seek out the ones that come in nylon bags rather than paper. At least to me, all the paper ones impart a cardboardy taste on the tea to one extent or another, whereas the nylon ones don't.

I think adagio uses nylon for most or all of the bagged teas they sell nowadays, for example.

breaks
May 12, 2001



For sencha, try about a gram of tea per 2oz of water and adjust up or down from there depending on whether you find it too strong or too weak. This is really a matter of preference, so just experiment and figure out what you like most.

Unless your brewing vessel really absorbs a lot of heat, I don't find preheating to be all that important. You can pour in water a bit hotter and aim for the sides of the brewing vessel if you want. When I'm at work and using a heavy 10oz mug I preheat the hell out of it, when I'm at home and brewing in thin, light gaiwans and houhins I usually don't bother.

breaks
May 12, 2001



You're always going to get some little particles with sencha, it's just the nature of the tea. It's as pulverized as whole leaf tea gets, well, to the point of only sort of being whole leaf any more, as you've noticed.

If the particles bother you a finer mesh can help of course. Another thing you can do is to basically decant the tea using an intermediate cup, just let the particles settle a bit then pour into your drinking cup. Since sencha is brewed at a relatively modest temperature, you will probably want to pre-heat the cups if you are doing that.

Not sure about the genmaicha, I very rarely drink it.

breaks
May 12, 2001



No experience with david's specifically but most flavored teas are sprayed with extracts of whatever (ie "natural flavors") and the bits and pieces are really more for show. There are some exceptions for things that infuse in a similar way to tea, like mint. In general though you will probably need to blend some extracts and then spray a base tea with that to truly replicate these sorts of teas.

I don't mean to discourage you from trying whatever, it may well turn out great, just something to be aware of. If you aren't using extracts you'll probably have the most luck with other leafy material.

breaks fucked around with this message at Jun 13, 2013 around 07:26

breaks
May 12, 2001



RICHUNCLEPENNYBAGS posted:

Sorry if I missed this somewhere in the last 33 pages, but is there a good place to get Japanese-style green teas (sentya, genmaitya, gyokuru, etc.)? I've ordered from Adagio since Dragonwater stopped selling most regular teas but man, I was in Kyoto and got some really good genmaitya and well... the stuff on Adagio is nothing like that.

I usually order from Hibiki-an these days. O-cha is good for fukamushi. I've ordered from Yuuki-cha before and it was alright, but not as good as what I've gotten from Hibiki-an or O-cha. There's also Maiko but I've never ordered from there. I'm sure there's others also...

breaks fucked around with this message at Jul 2, 2013 around 01:45

breaks
May 12, 2001



Stephane has definitely got a rather spiritual or romantic view of tea (and the world in general, as far as I can tell). A lot of his reasoning for things will drive you up the wall if you read with a skeptical eye or have more of scientific or rational approach. He really knows his tea, though, and I do think it's worthwhile to try out his various instructions as far as preparation, regardless of the many valid criticisms one can level at his rationale.

As far as water goes, the most important thing is to use something that tastes good by itself! If there is a tea you drink a lot and you are in an experimental mood, trying different waters can be interesting, especially if you can get a few that range from very soft to rather hard.

breaks
May 12, 2001



Yeah tea is almost always pretty clear, though there are a very few that will get cloudy. Heavily steamed sencha is all I can really think of off the top of my head... and I guess matcha if you want to count that. Of course black teas especially can get rather dark, but generally not cloudy. I'm not too sure I want to know what is in the water where you live.

Here in Austin, we do have fairly frequent issues with algae and other taste problems, so I just have a Pur filter attached to my faucet. If you find yourself buying bottled water often you might look into some kind of filter like that, it can pay for itself pretty quickly depending on how much you go through.

breaks
May 12, 2001



I prefer an all metal, stainless steel, fine mesh basket infuser like this: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CO5KQ4O

That one is on the expensive side but has everything I look for. You can easily find cheaper ones with bigger holes or with some plastic involved. Really any of the all-metal ones will do if you aren't picky about getting tea crumbs in your cup.

breaks
May 12, 2001



If you're looking for a heavy roast, the 2008 TGY from Teamasters is real good. Been a while since I ordered from him so I don't know what his current pricing for it is like. He's in Taiwan so the shipping is always a bit rough, but it's an option.

breaks
May 12, 2001



Renzuko posted:

says to use 1.25 tps to a cup and I did that, and let it steep for the 4 minutes it says on the package but it still tastes weak or off?

If it tastes weak first thing to do is try using more tea, pretty much always. If it tastes off as in rotten then something else is wrong.

breaks
May 12, 2001



It's mostly personal preference.

The biggest difference any of them make is that depending on the material, they will impart their own flavor/the flavor of previous brewings somewhat. Porous clay ones (eg. yixing) in particular will do that.

A secondary issue is that they can affect the brewing temperature a fair bit, really, depending on the material, thickness, whether you pre-heat, etc.

Aside from those two things I think it's just a matter of your preferred manner of use and style of brewing. Personally, I'm about 50/50 between strainer and cup (mostly at work) and a gaiwan (mostly at home). I also have a houhin for Japanese green teas, but that's really just a Japanese gaiwan anyway.

Teavana pushes the cast iron pot because they want to sell you something expensive. That's not to say that they are bad or unsuitable either, though I think it's worth keeping in mind that the original purpose of the tetsubin was to heat water, not to be a brewing vessel.

breaks fucked around with this message at Dec 2, 2013 around 04:36

breaks
May 12, 2001



ReptilePicasso posted:

Hey guys, I am trying to jump into the world of tea and was wondering where to start. Some quick information about me: I enjoy coffee right now and wanted to get into tea for the late afternoons when I don't want that extra caffeine. I am currently planning to use my trusty french press to brew tea until further notice, with the water coming from my Bonavita variable temp kettle. I've tried oolong before and I quite enjoyed it. I'd love to stay with light and floral might be a good scent/taste that I might want to get into.

Also, I want to use Adagio since my credit card gets a good amount of cashback this month. Thanks everybody!

Short answer: hit Adagio's oolong section, and order either the samplers or some of the green looking ones. Some of the brown ones may be ok - the more heavily oxidized ones will tend towards fruity flavors rather than floral - but avoid anything that mentions being roasted. If it's roasted enough to turn it brown it's unlikely to be floral at all. Also roasted oolongs in general are tough to get right and there are a lot of lovely ones out there. I think unflavored teas are great and the much better way to go, but if you like the flavorings then try those too!

breaks
May 12, 2001



AreYouStillThere posted:

I've recently discovered Pu'erh, and I'm intrigued. I thought it was delicious, but I'm a little wary of buying things grown in China. Should I be worried? Is there a brand that I can be less worried about? I bought one of these and though it does say USDA organic on it, I'm almost positive it was still grown in China.

Any puerh not specifically labelled as being from somewhere other than China is from China 100% of the time. If grown in China is a dealbreaker for you, you'll have a very difficult time finding puerh to drink.

You can easily and reliably get loose leaf teas grown in countries like Japan, Taiwan, India, less traditional places like Kenya and Nepal, and so on. That's just a matter of doing your shopping at the right places, which is easy to do online. The problem is that the amount of puerh style processing done in those countries is very close to zero.

All that said, close to is not actually zero. I have seen a few places selling puerhs from other countries, mostly shops that appeared to buy their tea from wholesalers instead of doing their own importing. I think (but am by no means certain) that this company was ultimately the source: http://www.tealux.ca/buy_puerh_tea_online_store

No idea about the quality or their reputation in general; I've never bought anything from them.

Also just a word of warning, if you do buy Chinese puerhs, there is an enormous amount of total crap out there. The good stuff is rarely cheap and the expensive stuff is often fake. In short, finding and buying good puerh is an unbelievable pain in the rear end. If you decide to go down that route I really recommend finding a vendor that you can trust to figure all that poo poo out for you.

breaks
May 12, 2001



I like the Yunnan Noir, but I think they are out of it right now.

breaks
May 12, 2001



Boris Galerkin posted:

I'm really liking black tea and I'd like to try more. The only one I know for sure I've had is this English breakfast, but I've had others too that I don't remember the names of. What are other black teas (don't have to be similar) for me to try and where do I order them online?

Adagio has several black tea sample packs that you can order, I'd recommend trying whichever of those strikes your fancy. Or, you can usually order samples of their teas individually, also.

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breaks
May 12, 2001



Holy poo poo dude.

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