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Reiterpallasch
Nov 3, 2010

strength accessories?

Fun Shoe

anakha posted:

I'll be travelling to Tokyo at the end of the month, and I'd like to stock up on sencha and hojicha while I'm there. I prefer cold-brewing my loose-leaf tea, so I'm not sure that getting the higher-end stuff will be worth it, though.

Do you guys have any shop or brand recommendations? Thanks!

Go to any of the high-end department stores and look for the tea counter in the basement where all the food stalls are--the "flagship" department stores (Isetan in Shinjuku, Mitsukoshi in Ginza, probably some other ones) carry very good teas there. a brand i buy a lot of is Marukyu Koyamaen, a Kyoto-based tea concern that should be distributed at most high-end department stores in Tokyo; they specialize in shaded teas but also have a bunch of consistently blended, reasonably priced senchas and kabuses.

If you wanna nerd out hardcore, visit a tea shop called Chachanoma, close to Harajuku station. They specialize in single-estate, unblended teas sold by cultivar, which is unusual in the world of Japanese teas (now dominated by Yabukita cultivar monoculture, except in high-end shaded teas). You can try and taste and compare, say, a high-end Yabukita with Shizuoka 7132 with Koushun there. Plus the sweets and shaved ices are fantastic.

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anakha
Sep 16, 2009


Say 'Thank you, Ershin'.

Say it.



Reiterpallasch posted:

Go to any of the high-end department stores and look for the tea counter in the basement where all the food stalls are--the "flagship" department stores (Isetan in Shinjuku, Mitsukoshi in Ginza, probably some other ones) carry very good teas there. a brand i buy a lot of is Marukyu Koyamaen, a Kyoto-based tea concern that should be distributed at most high-end department stores in Tokyo; they specialize in shaded teas but also have a bunch of consistently blended, reasonably priced senchas and kabuses.

If you wanna nerd out hardcore, visit a tea shop called Chachanoma, close to Harajuku station. They specialize in single-estate, unblended teas sold by cultivar, which is unusual in the world of Japanese teas (now dominated by Yabukita cultivar monoculture, except in high-end shaded teas). You can try and taste and compare, say, a high-end Yabukita with Shizuoka 7132 with Koushun there. Plus the sweets and shaved ices are fantastic.

Thanks a lot for the tip!

Truck Stop Daddy
Apr 17, 2013


Muldoon

Taobao order finally shipped today! Stuff looks nice in the photos. The agent or I seem to have messed up a bit tho. Instead of ordering 250g of shui xian and 250g of shui jin gui, I've ended up buying half a kilo of shui xian... Might be a bit too much...

Truck Stop Daddy
Apr 17, 2013


Muldoon

Got my taobao order today! Everything made it here in one piece, and the stuff seems nice. Picked up some hand painted ceramics and tea. Wastebowl, pitcher, tea plate/boat and a pair of cups + 500g Shui Xian. Drinking it now and it seems nice. Huge leaves and not a whole lot of broken bits. Itís still way too much for me, I want to drink other stuff than Shui Xian this year...

Truck Stop Daddy fucked around with this message at Mar 1, 2019 around 08:50

Jhet
Jun 3, 2013


That all looks nice.

0.5kg is a lot? I shudder at that thought. Maybe a lot of one tea, but I won't show you my drawer. When I do somehow over order I just weight out small bags 25g-100g and give them away to people who might like them with little handwritten instructions.

Truck Stop Daddy
Apr 17, 2013


Muldoon

Jhet posted:

That all looks nice.

0.5kg is a lot? I shudder at that thought. Maybe a lot of one tea, but I won't show you my drawer. When I do somehow over order I just weight out small bags 25g-100g and give them away to people who might like them with little handwritten instructions.

Probably going to give some of it away. Had originally ordered 250g Shui Xian and 250g Shui Jin gui for variety. Already have some kilos of tea to drink, some cakes and such... Itís a luxury problem.

Took more than a month to get the stuff, but Chinese New Year was in there delaying stuff. So I guess you can expect to get your stuff in two weeks usually. Didnít pay customs either, even though correct price was on the packaging??? Perhaps it was included in the shipping costs. Buying through an agent was easier than expected.

thotsky
Jun 7, 2005

hot to trot


If you're in Oslo I'd trade you some really good Bai Hao and some really bad Lychee Black.

Rabbit Hill
Mar 11, 2009

God knows what lives in me in place of me.

Grimey Drawer

Biomute posted:

some really bad Lychee Black.

Is that from Harney & Sons, by any chance? I recently ordered a 7.5 oz tin of their Lychee Black on a complete whim (why??) and just had my first cup this morning -- it smells like cloying floral perfume and doesn't taste much better.

Truck Stop Daddy
Apr 17, 2013


Muldoon

Biomute posted:

If you're in Oslo I'd trade you some really good Bai Hao and some really bad Lychee Black.

Iím in Nordland, so Iím 1000 km off... Thanks for the offer though! Could always throw some of it in the mail I guess

Truck Stop Daddy fucked around with this message at Feb 28, 2019 around 19:30

thotsky
Jun 7, 2005

hot to trot


Rabbit Hill posted:

Is that from Harney & Sons, by any chance? I recently ordered a 7.5 oz tin of their Lychee Black on a complete whim (why??) and just had my first cup this morning -- it smells like cloying floral perfume and doesn't taste much better.

Nah, Teavivre. The tea is by far the most broken up and low grade I have had from them, but I can dig some Sri Lankan tea dust so that's not really the issue; it's the synthetic perfumed lychee flavor/smell. It's really only drinkable as ice tea with lots of sugar and lemon if you ask me.

stealie72
Jan 10, 2007

Their eyes locked and suddenly there was the sound of breaking glass.


Found out that there is a tea store near a client of mine, so got a couple to try.

I was excited to try pu-erh, but was a little suspicious when it was completely loose leaf. It tastes like a really good version of the tea at my favorite dim sum place, but is not remotely earthy or any of the other scary things that I've read about it. Did I end up with a lite version?

https://tealabcle.com/pu-erh-organic/

chunkles
Aug 14, 2005

I tell you the truth: one of you chumps will betray me


I've had some good loose leaf pu erh that is not incredibly strongly flavored, if you like it keep drinking it. The color on that looks right anyway

That said you can definitely get some powerful earthy cakes if you want

effika
Jun 19, 2005
Birds do not want you to know any more than you already do.

Finally got around to trying the Yunnan FOP black tea that Upton included in my last rooibos order. (Getting to drink caffeine like once a month isn't fun.)

It is delicious and smooth, a bit earthy/grainy with a touch of smoke, and paired excellently with the Pirouette chocolate wafer stick thingy I dunked into it. Nice clean mouthfeel without being too astringent.

A++ will drink again in 4-6 weeks.

hope and vaseline
Feb 13, 2001



Beautiful Taiwan Tea haul: 2 oz each of Ali Shan, Li Shan (both winter 2018), Muzha TGY, and charcoal roasted Yushan. Really excited to dig into this as its been a couple of years since the last time I got some gaoshan! Having a tasting with a friend tomorrow and I'll report back on anything exciting from this batch.

ntan1
Apr 29, 2009

sempai noticed me


Reiterpallasch posted:

Go to any of the high-end department stores and look for the tea counter in the basement where all the food stalls are--the "flagship" department stores (Isetan in Shinjuku, Mitsukoshi in Ginza, probably some other ones) carry very good teas there. a brand i buy a lot of is Marukyu Koyamaen, a Kyoto-based tea concern that should be distributed at most high-end department stores in Tokyo; they specialize in shaded teas but also have a bunch of consistently blended, reasonably priced senchas and kabuses.

This is a month late but no department store in Tokyo sells Marukyu Koyamaen. The closest would be Kyoto.

The Shinjuku Isetan holds Kanbayashi, which is an Edo-established producer Maccha (and notably just about as famous), but my experience with Kanbayashi sencha and maccha is that Koyamaen is more balanced and complex.
Ginza Mitsukoshi holds Ippodo, which produces a consistent sencha that I buy, but I still like Koyamaen even more. It's worth noting that I like Ippodo more than Kanbayashi
Daimaru in Tokyo has Fukujuen, which is also well established, but I like Ippodo more.
Takashimaya in Nihonbashi has Yamamotoyama, which likes to produce nori as well. However, it's also not as good as Ippodo.

In any case, the point is that Koyamaen is harder than you think to get in Tokyo, and that I suppose mail ordering it is the best.

It's also worth noting that Tsujiri (not to be confused with the 4-5 other stores also called Tsujiri) now has a store in Ginza, and I have been meaning to try their maccha and sencha for a while.

gamingCaffeinator
Sep 6, 2010

I shall sing you the song of my people.


ntan1 posted:

This is a month late but no department store in Tokyo sells Marukyu Koyamaen. The closest would be Kyoto.

The Shinjuku Isetan holds Kanbayashi, which is an Edo-established producer Maccha (and notably just about as famous), but my experience with Kanbayashi sencha and maccha is that Koyamaen is more balanced and complex.
Ginza Mitsukoshi holds Ippodo, which produces a consistent sencha that I buy, but I still like Koyamaen even more. It's worth noting that I like Ippodo more than Kanbayashi
Daimaru in Tokyo has Fukujuen, which is also well established, but I like Ippodo more.
Takashimaya in Nihonbashi has Yamamotoyama, which likes to produce nori as well. However, it's also not as good as Ippodo.

In any case, the point is that Koyamaen is harder than you think to get in Tokyo, and that I suppose mail ordering it is the best.

It's also worth noting that Tsujiri (not to be confused with the 4-5 other stores also called Tsujiri) now has a store in Ginza, and I have been meaning to try their maccha and sencha for a while.

I love Yamamotoyama's sencha. A little Japanese cafe in Denver serves it. It was my first experience with sencha though, so I might be biased.

ntan1
Apr 29, 2009

sempai noticed me


They're good. A solid flagship department store isn't going to sell bad tea in Japan.

The differences between those five different brands I mentioned isn't going to be significant unless you drink Japanese green tea every day, and buying based on the quality that they advertise (they're fair with this) will end up being fine.

Even as a person who drinks green tea every day the difference is subtle.

Truck Stop Daddy
Apr 17, 2013


Muldoon

PIcked up a second yixing pot. Smaller than the other one so that I can use it when Iím only making tea for myself. Really liked the design.



Seems to mute taste much more than my other one, will experiment with different tea types. The roasted Ben Shan Iím currently testing it with, turned out very bland in this :/

ulvir
Jan 2, 2005

Jeg estimerer deg ikke.


gorge design, but sucks abt the taste

where did you snag it?

Truck Stop Daddy
Apr 17, 2013


Muldoon

Got it off ebay seller lukevecent. Been eying it for a while. Heard he's supposed to be a nice source for cheap and OK clay pots.
I guess the taste thing, could be a lack of seasoning. Will try it with some puerh...

sunaurus
Feb 13, 2012

Oh great, another bookah.


I want to buy some 2019 harvest Longjing (dragon well), but at the moment I can only find it on stores that ship directly from China. I would rather not deal with customs myself, does anybody know of any stores that have some in stock already and ship from within the EU?

ulvir
Jan 2, 2005

Jeg estimerer deg ikke.


sunaurus posted:

I want to buy some 2019 harvest Longjing (dragon well), but at the moment I can only find it on stores that ship directly from China. I would rather not deal with customs myself, does anybody know of any stores that have some in stock already and ship from within the EU?

[checks profile]well, Tallinn in your own country has one of the best teashops that I've visited myself in Europe (Chado teepood). maybe they'll have some in stock? they'll ship directly from Tallinn too, naturally, if you live elsewhere. otherwise just pop by their brick and mortar (if you've already checked, then disregard this, obviously). there's also chadao.de that's supposed to be really good, and I believe they ship directly from Germany, What-Cha is based in the UK, but again, I'm not too sure about their stock. atm it seems like they only have 2018. best bet, if you don't want it shipped from China, is to wait a bit I think, and just keep an eye out on the sites, since it might take a few weeks for the spring harvest to get in.

though I'm not too sure why you want to avoid shipping from China? I live in Norway, and we have rather strict import restrictions, but getting tea from China or Japan is really no big deal at all. sure, it takes like three weeks, but other than that, it's no different than from the UK, EU or US.

sunaurus
Feb 13, 2012

Oh great, another bookah.


ulvir posted:

[checks profile]well, Tallinn in your own country has one of the best teashops that I've visited myself in Europe (Chado teepood). maybe they'll have some in stock? they'll ship directly from Tallinn too, naturally, if you live elsewhere. otherwise just pop by their brick and mortar (if you've already checked, then disregard this, obviously). there's also chadao.de that's supposed to be really good, and I believe they ship directly from Germany, What-Cha is based in the UK, but again, I'm not too sure about their stock. atm it seems like they only have 2018. best bet, if you don't want it shipped from China, is to wait a bit I think, and just keep an eye out on the sites, since it might take a few weeks for the spring harvest to get in.

though I'm not too sure why you want to avoid shipping from China? I live in Norway, and we have rather strict import restrictions, but getting tea from China or Japan is really no big deal at all. sure, it takes like three weeks, but other than that, it's no different than from the UK, EU or US.

I had never even heard of Chado. I'm so used to just ordering everything online because there aren't many good options locally, so it never even occurred to me to look for local stores for tea! Sadly they don't seem to have any in stock at the moment, but I'll definitely contact them to see if they're expecting any new stock soon.

As far as customs goes, I don't know how it's done in Norway, but in Estonia, I need to go into a customs information system and declare almost everything I order from outside the EU (which involves looking up some import codes from a giant list), and THEN I need to communicate with whatever company happens to be the carrier of the package to get them to pick up the package from customs and deliver it to me. It's just a question of convenience - if I have to choose between just waiting a few weeks or ordering from outside the EU, I'll be happy to wait just to avoid that awful customs system.

I'm really surprised to hear about a local store in my tiny country from someone on these forums, wow. Makes me wonder if I've been missing out on any other local stuff like that.

ulvir
Jan 2, 2005

Jeg estimerer deg ikke.


itís kind of a coincidence that I heard of Chado. a bunch of super-nerds wrt tea runs an online shop here in Norway (Tedragen) and they had a tasting+sales booth at a christmas market a few years back. my S/O started chatting with one of them, and when the topic of travel and tea came up, he recommended Chado if we ever went to Tallinn. turns out they travel a whole bunch and loves to visit nerdy/specialist stores around Europe.

and wow, alright, that sounds way worse than the Norwegian system.

thotsky
Jun 7, 2005

hot to trot


China is by far the easiest country to shop from, as they routinely lie on their customs declaration and for some reason it's the only type of package that the post is willing to cram into my mailbox.

Juaguocio
Jun 5, 2005

Oh, David...


thotsky posted:

China is by far the easiest country to shop from, as they routinely lie on their customs declaration and for some reason it's the only type of package that the post is willing to cram into my mailbox.

Yeah my tea packages from China are invariably marked "tea set" on the customs forms. I guess it's easier to ship teaware than actual tea, and apparently even easier to get away with lying about it!

DrGonzo90
Sep 13, 2010


Not sure if anyone will be interested, but I just noticed that my local tea seller is having a sale today for Earth Day, 15% off storewide today only. I lucked out because I was going to place an order last night and just randomly noticed that they're having the sale today.

I've only ordered from them a couple of times so far, but I like a couple of their pu-erhs, and I just ordered two of the green tea samplers.

Fair trade, organic, compostable packaging and all that hippy poo poo.

https://www.arborteas.com

virinvictus
Nov 10, 2014


I just bought loose leaf tea for the first time in a long time. Is there a major difference between Assam Banaspaty and Assam Doomni?

I like my tea with a tsp of both milk and sugar, so I pretty much skipped over Darjeeling teas (so Iíve been told, it doesnít mix well with milk).

If I like English Breakfast teas, are there any other types of tea Iíd like?

Iím just flying by the seat of my cuffs here.

Jhet
Jun 3, 2013


Those are estates in Assam that grow the tea. You'll see that a lot in the Indian teas. Darjeeling is well known by their estate names even if 1st, 2nd, Autumnal flushes all taste a lot different.

If you like strong teas with milk and sugar, there's nothing wrong with trying lots of black teas. Many Keemun black teas (Anhui China) stand up well to milk and sugar, and there are some black teas from Yunnan that do as well. Darjeelings are much more astringent and tannic, and are great with citrus, but not always with milk.

There are so very many options to tea that it's easy to be overwhelmed, but a lot of sellers do a good job describing their tea. So look for anything black with big bold flavors and it'll take you ages before you run out of new ones to try. There are a bunch of links in the OP with places to buy online if you don't have a local tea shop too.

Eccles
Feb 6, 2010


Single estate teas, being agricultural products, can vary quite a bit in quality. I've not tried teas from either of those estates, but you can't tell from the name or reputation of the estate. I've had some pretty bland Assam tea from estates that were amazing a few years ago. Get samples if you can, as the weather and microclimate plays a huge role in how an estate's tea will taste in any given year. Estates frequently produce several different releases (is that the right word?) throughout the year, and those can be quite different from each other also.

It is difficult to make a recommendation, as "English Breakfast" tea is whatever that tea company wants to blend together to market as their version of "English Breakfast" tea. There is no standard. I'd get a sampling of black teas from Assam, Yunnan, and Ceylon and see where that takes you, as most good breakfast tea blends are probably some combination of teas from those regions.

I've been drinking Upton's Organic English Breakfast Tea (Assam/Ceylon blend) for the past few months and it's quite good.

I agree, good Darjeeling would be ruined with the addition of milk and/or sugar. Well made, properly brewed Darjeeling is naturally floral and sweet, and requires no additions. I do put a few drops of milk in my Assam as I find it enhances the malty quality of that particular tea.

Get a bunch of samples would be my best advice.

thotsky
Jun 7, 2005

hot to trot


Yunnan are great straight up, but I probably wouldn't put anything in em. Eh, maybe if it was just a bunch of fannings you steeped too long. Go Ceylon.

virinvictus
Nov 10, 2014


Thanks a lot guys. Thereís a lot to take in with tea, apparently. All I used to drink was Lipton Yellow Label and Yorkshire Gold. This is a whole new world.

Truck Stop Daddy
Apr 17, 2013


Muldoon

For the norwegian goons:
Visited Brygg in Oslo and noticed they had a puerh on the menu. Menghai/dayi 2002 shou, not sure about the recipe. They steeped it a tad too imho, but it seemed nice enough. Apparently I was the first one to order it, and they had gotten it through a local tea importer I hadn't heard of before! The dude at Brygg said they would carry their stuff soon, and that they just started up. Seem to be a tiny newly started one-man operation. Looks like it might be puerh focused. They sell cakes and stuff through insta @villetraer. No idea about the prices, but just sent them a DM... Nice with some more local options to buy from

neogeo0823
Jul 4, 2007

NO THAT'S NOT ME!!


Hey goons. Does anyone know anything about making a good London Fog? I've been hunting for the perfect process for a while now, and since it's getting warmer out I'm looking for an iced version. Most of the recipes I've been seeing online produce a tea that's either too tannic or too diluted to taste anything other than generic sweetness, with pretty much nothing in the middle that I've been able to find so far. Hilariously, the best I've had so far, and the one that turned me on to the whole thing, was the LF concentrate that Aldi sold. But it was a seasonal item, and the season's over now.

Trabant
Nov 26, 2011

All systems nominal.


Grimey Drawer

Seconded -- I'd be all over that too.

Reiterpallasch
Nov 3, 2010

strength accessories?

Fun Shoe

try upping the leaf-to-water ratio and cutting the steep time? that's usually what you do when you want to beat down astringency while still making the tea taste like tea.

Jhet
Jun 3, 2013


Iíve never made one, but if I were going to I would make the tea in hot milk prior to steaming as well as the other tea youíd be making. Probably somewhere in the range of 50/50 tea/milk? Then thereís something for the syrup to mix with before you add the steamed milk.

neogeo0823
Jul 4, 2007

NO THAT'S NOT ME!!


Reiterpallasch posted:

try upping the leaf-to-water ratio and cutting the steep time? that's usually what you do when you want to beat down astringency while still making the tea taste like tea.

Some recipes did suggest that, yeah. But most ended up calling for like 3X the normal tea-to-water ratio, which gets really expensive when you upscale. The other issue is that hot steeping that way seems to transfer the flavor of the bergamot and lavender, but not the taste of the tea itself. It's really loving odd, honestly. I was almost to the point of steeping a large quantity of normal strength tea, then finding a way to evaporate off half of it in a way that won't gently caress up the tea essence, but that's a lot more work than I wanted to put in if I could avoid it.

Jhet posted:

I've never made one, but if I were going to I would make the tea in hot milk prior to steaming as well as the other tea you’d be making. Probably somewhere in the range of 50/50 tea/milk? Then there’s something for the syrup to mix with before you add the steamed milk.

I did try hot steeping in milk, but accidentally scalded the milk. I also tried cold steeping the tea/lavender directly in milk, which produced a very nicely london fog flavored milk, but now I just need to figure out how to cut it successfully with tea. I'm thinking of cold brewing earl grey and lavendar and mixing with the milk, but that'll take me till the day after tomorrow at best to report back on.

Kestral
Nov 24, 2000

Forum Veteran

Clapping Larry

I'd also love to know the secrets of the London Fog.

Can anyone recommend a "chocolatey" chai along the lines of what goon-owned Chai Me used to sell? They hooked me with that stuff, and I've been sorely missing it since they disappeared. Years of trying to replicate it at home have failed, but at on the bright side it got me into tea as a hobby!

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Jhet
Jun 3, 2013


neogeo0823 posted:

I did try hot steeping in milk, but accidentally scalded the milk. I also tried cold steeping the tea/lavender directly in milk, which produced a very nicely london fog flavored milk, but now I just need to figure out how to cut it successfully with tea. I'm thinking of cold brewing earl grey and lavendar and mixing with the milk, but that'll take me till the day after tomorrow at best to report back on.

I can give it a shot tomorrow, but it'll be vanilla and simple syrup because I don't keep vanilla syrup on hand. All the recipes I've found tonight (throwing away the top 100 random blog recipes that are all probably not great or repeated from elsewhere), have suggested making the earl grey in 2oz of water just off the boil and then adding the steamed milk to it.

But I'm sure we can manage to do better. So I'll consider putting the vanilla paste into the milk as well, but I'm not sure what that'll do to my steam wand after. Probably nothing, but I'll give it a shot. And then make a coffee too, because if I'm going to all that trouble...

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