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GREEN TEA ...who should I order from next?

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liu Jun 22, 2006 02:33 PM

I am on a quest to find some wonderful GREEN TEAS, both Chinese and Japanese (especially organic). I have been pleased with some of the on-line mail orders; I can ask for sample sizes of a dozen or so and try the best that the dealer has to offer.
To date, I have tried Harney & Sons, Rishi, Upton Tea Imports, and The Tea Company on-line, and I have tried several other stores in the Los Angeles area. I have even purchased some restaurant teas (from Amandine, for example).
Who should I mail order from on-line next? I want only GREEN TEAS (simply my preference to date), and I prefer the higher-end suppliers who specialize in their own teas, rather than store-fronting for several other brands.
Thanks -- in advance -- for any suggestions you might have! Although I have been to a lot of the tea places in Los Angeles, I am certainly open to your suggestions for our local shops as well.

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  1. x
    xavier RE: liu Jun 22, 2006 03:36 PM

    Is there a big range of difference? Any green tea I've ever had has been pretty flavorless.

    8 Replies
    1. re: xavier
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      liu RE: xavier Jun 22, 2006 03:54 PM

      Yes, I can distinguish between some various green teas. Words that are used to describe them are: smokey, earthy, vegetable-like, crisp, sweet. I know this sounds very esoteric and perhaps a little pretentious, but there really IS a difference, however subtle it might be at times! I am not a wine-drinker, so I might not be able to differentiate in ways that are obvious to someone who enjoys wine.

      1. re: liu
        m
        Michele Cindy RE: liu Jun 22, 2006 04:34 PM

        I've had a green tea that was on the spinachy side, it was really tasty, how would I go about finding that one? Does it have a particular name? thanks!

        1. re: Michele Cindy
          l
          liu RE: Michele Cindy Jun 22, 2006 07:32 PM

          "Spinachy"...perhaps you might try a high quality Japanese Sencha. The ones I have had tend to be very green, with larger leaves, with a vegetable taste.

          Perhaps someone else can jump in here with other suggestions????

          1. re: liu
            t
            The Hungry Traveler RE: liu Jun 22, 2006 10:41 PM

            Here are some places I've used that have quality teas:

            www.teaspring.com
            http://www.teahub.com/Intro.htm
            http://www.sevencups.com/
            http://www.holymtn.com/catalogconnect...
            http://www.sensationalteas.com/index.htm

            1. re: The Hungry Traveler
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              liu RE: The Hungry Traveler Jun 22, 2006 11:57 PM

              WOW! I am glad I asked the question!
              I have not heard of any of your suggestions, but I appreciate all the choices and will have a lot of fun examining their websites.
              Thanks for all the new tea sources!

      2. re: xavier
        r
        rworange RE: xavier Jun 22, 2006 04:24 PM

        Wow Xavier, are you drinking premium teas? If you are drinking green tea bags or cheapo green teas, you are right, there is very little difference.

        However if you are drinking top of the line teas, it is not just sublte differences, but as mentioned by another poster a whole range of tastes.

        Anyway, here's one of my favorite tea shops. There's another one that I'll post later when I have time. These folks are outstanding.

        Link: http://www.teance.com/

        1. re: rworange
          l
          liu RE: rworange Jun 22, 2006 07:29 PM

          Thanks, rworange, for your suggestion of teance.com. Someone else who just posted highly recommended them, too, so I will definitely check them out!

          I also appreciate your confirmation that there really IS a difference in the various green teas...usually!

          1. re: rworange
            liu RE: rworange Jun 14, 2007 11:51 AM

            rworange -- And once again, thanks!
            A year ago you mentioned Teance, in Berkeley. It has become my single favorite tea shop. I am a little bummed that Alyce just left for other ventures, but I still love their teas.

            Since originally posting here, I have begun my love affair with oolongs, and at this moment I am sipping my favorite: Teance's Yellow Gold Oolong (Spring '07). It has an amazing color and heavenly lingering perfume-y taste...I am on my third cup!

            I also like Teance's Monkey Picked Medium Custom Roasted Oolong, their Phoenix Single Grove Orchid Fragrance Oolong, and their High Mountain Light and Dark. I know I will be putting their kids through college with all my orders!

        2. a
          AnneInMpls RE: liu Jun 22, 2006 04:10 PM

          I don't know much about who does their own tea and who just "fronts", but I like the teas from Ten Ren Tea (SF, LA, Chicago, NYC, Houston, Toronto, and more). I haven't tried their organic teas (yet), but they do have some. And they seem to have several web sites, too. The link below goes to what looks like the "main" site.

          And, to my unsophisticated palate, the green and white teas from Stash and Republic of Tea are pretty good, although neither is organic. I'm currently drinking lots of Fusion Geen and White Tea (Stash) and Emperor's Asian Jasmine White Tea (RofT) in the morning, when I'm too groggy to make loose-leaf tea. (I know, I know - it's not that hard, but I'm REALLY out of it in the morning.)

          Anne

          Link: http://www.tenren.com/organictea-orlo...

          1 Reply
          1. re: AnneInMpls
            l
            liu RE: AnneInMpls Jun 22, 2006 07:26 PM

            Anne - thanks for your response and suggestions. Yes, I am familiar with Ten Ren teas and have visited one of their Los Angeles shops. They have a wonderful array of various teas!
            I also know of Stash (not my favorite) and Republic of Tea. I do like some of the latter.

          2. m
            Morton the Mousse RE: liu Jun 22, 2006 04:23 PM

            Teance is an excellent resource. High quality, small farms, organic.

            www.teance.com

            2 Replies
            1. re: Morton the Mousse
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              liu RE: Morton the Mousse Jun 22, 2006 07:22 PM

              Thank you for the teance.com suggestion. "Green, high quality, small farms, organic"...just what I am looking for!

              1. re: Morton the Mousse
                liu RE: Morton the Mousse Jun 14, 2007 05:25 PM

                A few posters of about a year ago mentioned Teance. During the past year I have made a career out of tasting from various purveyors. In that time I have moved from green tea to oolongs, and my favorite shop at this time -- having tried many! -- is Teance. Indeed, they have some wonderful oolong teas. Thanks, Morton the Mousse, for this resource.

              2. a
                applehome RE: liu Jun 22, 2006 05:07 PM

                O-cha.com, below is a very good site for Japanese green tea.

                Also, Maeda-en is a "new style" tea that is really tasty. I've bought this at the Mitsuwa in NJ before they closed down their fine internal tea store. I dug up this site, but I've never ordered from them:

                http://www.maedaen.com/store/productd...

                Link: http://www.o-cha.com/

                2 Replies
                1. re: applehome
                  l
                  liu RE: applehome Jun 22, 2006 07:20 PM

                  Thanks! I know about Maeda-en teas, but I don't know about O-cha.com. Thanks -- I will check it out!

                  1. re: applehome
                    liu RE: applehome Jun 14, 2007 05:29 PM

                    Although I mostly prefer oolongs these days, I really do like the quality of Maeda-en teas. They have an iced tea (about 60 bags to the pack) that is amazingly refreshing and green. Just pop a few bags in some really good water and place in the fridge overnight. You will not need sugar because the flavor really comes through.

                  2. d
                    Don Shirer RE: liu Jun 22, 2006 07:24 PM

                    To be honest, I've never liked green tea. But recently my wife brought home a box of Stash Green Chai Tea, and I liked it enough to ask her to buy some more. Has hints of spices like cinnamon or nutmeg in it.

                    Link: http://www.stashtea.com/

                    1. m
                      moto RE: liu Jun 22, 2006 09:38 PM

                      hello, try redblossomtea.com, family owned and operated on Grant Ave. in SF chinatown by very helpful people, well worth a visit for extended tastings should you come north. Wide selection of many types. My favorites are jade oolongs (slightly oxidized, nearly green) of which they have many both from China and Taiwan. Their prices are consistently better than teance, for equal quality. Not much in organics, but in my experience the tea growing world is far too vast and diverse for the organic certifiers to reach a significant portion, and conversely, the nasty pesticides and fertilizers also don't reach a lot of it. cheers

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: moto
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                        liu RE: moto Jun 22, 2006 11:51 PM

                        Moto -- your response is very helpful and informative. I never really thought about the organic issue in the way that you have related. Do you think that when you go outside the more industrialized countries or when you get outside the large cities, "organic" takes on a different meaning?

                        In all my searches, I have not heard of redblossomtea.com, but I will surely peruse their website. Also, thanks for comparing it to teance.com; since it received TWO high recommendations on this post, I thought I might try it next. However, I will now consider redblossomtea.com. Jade oolong...sounds good! Thanks, again!

                        1. re: liu
                          m
                          moto RE: liu Jun 23, 2006 03:34 AM

                          Hello, you're welcome, traditional, pre-industrialized, pre-mechanized cultivation is the part of the essence of "organic". The best of the best tea in China was consigned for imperial tribute and/or consumption by the mandarins/elite and their households, and in these capitalist times the best stuff, much of it with lineage back to that era, is very competitively marketed. Some of it might get chemical fertilizers, but the harvesting has to be done by hand, and the savvy buyers would know if anything had a pesticide taint from their own inspection and cupping methods. My daily first tea is a green tea, Long Jing, and the non-organic stuff from Red Blossom has subtle sweet and fruity notes that organic versions from Ten Ren did not.

                          Cupping yourself is always best, and if you make it up to SF, bring your own teacup/bowl to the Red Blossom shop, as they use styrofoam disposable to cut costs. Health dept. rules dictate the use of chlorine sanitation for public serving, which means extensive rinsing and drying, more facilities, staff etc.(something that comes to bear in the "wine corkage" fee debate). When we went, it was one of the owners who gave us a labor-intensive cupping of three varieties, so taking shortcuts is not otherwise their style. cheers

                          1. re: moto
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                            Low Country Jon RE: moto Jun 23, 2006 11:18 AM

                            On the subject of organic vs. non-organic tea, on a recent visit to North America's only commercial tea plantation here in the Charleston, SC area, I was told that tea is naturally quite pest-resistant. They said the only spraying they do is between the rows of bushes and not on the plants themselves. This probably means they can't be certified organic, but the tea itself is not directly exposed to pesticides.

                            1. re: moto
                              l
                              liu RE: moto Jun 23, 2006 02:11 PM

                              This is very interesting...thanks!

                              Long Jing (I assume this is also known as "Lung Ching") is one of my favorite teas. I have tried several various sample sets of teas, and this one always wins as my favorite!

                              Please do let me know if "Lung Ching" is not the same as "Long Jing." Thanks!!!

                              1. re: liu
                                m
                                moto RE: liu Jun 23, 2006 06:24 PM

                                Hello, sorry for my assumption from your moniker that you'd know--they're just two different transliterations from the Chinese for "dragon well" , I often use pin yin by default, if the word isn't from a regional dialect. It's a tea with specific ties to the Hangzhou area, famous for scholars' tea gardens; fermentation/enzymization is "fixed" right after plucking by pressing the leaves by hand against a hot wok, accounting for the flattened, ironed appearance of the cured leaves. When it's processed in large quantities by bigger dealers, it's still done by hand in a compound filled with rows of woks. enjoy

                        2. d
                          david kaplan RE: liu Jun 23, 2006 12:49 AM

                          After trying numerous kinds, I have settled on Japanese sencha from www.mygreentea.com. They are the US distributor for a very small Japanese tea producer, and their tea is available either online or at a handful of stores and high-end restaurants, mostly in the Seattle area. Their sencha is bright, spinachy, and sweet -- the best I've had even including lots of varieties during my travels in Japan.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: david kaplan
                            l
                            liu RE: david kaplan Jun 23, 2006 02:06 PM

                            I appreciate your very specific recommendation for their SENCHA. I know you have also assisted someone else who posted here who was looking for a "spinachy" tea. I will definitely try this!

                          2. Gary Soup RE: liu Jun 23, 2006 03:45 AM

                            I second Red Blossom Tea, particularly in person if the OP (who appears to be in LA) happens to visit SF. Alice and Peter are as friendly, helpful and knowledgeable (without condescension) as you could imagine, and very generous with the tasting. They also sell on-line.

                            A couple of on-line sources I've used are Todd Holland (http://www.todd-holland.com/) and Gray & Seddon (http://gray-seddon-tea.com). They're both on the pricey side, but have wide selections of the very top of the line teas.

                            1. f
                              fauchon RE: liu Jun 23, 2006 07:55 AM

                              Have you tried Ito En? A Japanese company with a beautiful shop on Madison Avenue in NYC. Very high end with a superb range of green teas.

                              Also, their bottled teas (unsweetened and particularly clean in taste) are excellent...elegant packaging, too....

                              Link: http://www.itoen.com/leaf/index.cfm

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: fauchon
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                                liu RE: fauchon Jun 23, 2006 02:04 PM

                                I know about this tea, as many are available on the shelves of the Asian markets that I frequent. Nevertheless, I will check their site for more selection. Thanks!

                                1. re: fauchon
                                  liu RE: fauchon Jun 14, 2007 05:36 PM

                                  fauchon -- Just a few months ago I placed my order with Ito-en: King Tie Guan Yin, Taiping Houkui and 20-Year Iron Goddess. They were good, and I often take Ito-en bottled tea with me to the gym in this hot weather, but I think I prefer the taste of the Maeda-en teas.

                                2. m
                                  MSPD RE: liu Jun 23, 2006 11:31 AM

                                  We have a wonderful tea shop here in St. Paul, MN.

                                  www.teasource.com

                                  I don't think the web site does justice to the thoughtfulness of their offerings, but if you read the descriptions you'll get the idea.

                                  Good luck.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: MSPD
                                    l
                                    liu RE: MSPD Jun 23, 2006 02:02 PM

                                    Thanks! I have not heard of this site, but I will give it a look.

                                    1. re: MSPD
                                      m
                                      MyNextMeal RE: MSPD Jun 23, 2006 03:18 PM

                                      http://www.taooftea.com/

                                      Out of Portland OR. That's where I buy my tea.

                                    2. n
                                      Nancy Berry RE: liu Jun 24, 2006 04:22 PM

                                      I've bought high quality green teas from Imperial Tea Court in San Francisco both on-line and in one of their 2 shops. Their website is very infomative and nicely designed.

                                      http://www.imperialtea.com

                                      1. Pei RE: liu Jun 26, 2006 04:58 PM

                                        Not a fancy option, but I just bought the house brand (365) organic green tea from Whole Foods. A box of 80 tea bags for $4, I think.

                                        The thing that struck me about this green tea is how little it tastes like green tea. Personally, I dislike the astringent bite that green tea often has. Whole Foods's version tastes more like black tea than green tea, in fact. It might not be for everyone, but it's a good compromise for black tea loving me and green tea loving SO.

                                        1. f
                                          Fran RE: liu Jul 3, 2006 10:52 PM

                                          Have you tried Adagio Tea on line? They have a great selection of green teas.

                                          1. liu RE: liu Jul 3, 2006 10:58 PM

                                            Thanks, again, to all who have posted here in response to my search for green teas. I appreciate all the resources you have offered, and over time, I will thoroughly check out each one.

                                            1. k
                                              Krispy Kringle RE: liu Jul 4, 2006 10:15 AM

                                              The folks from In Pursuit of Tea travel widely to obtain the small batches of their featured green, white and black teas, many of which are not available elsewhere. They do sampler packages, too. http://www.inpursuitoftea.com/

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: Krispy Kringle
                                                liu RE: Krispy Kringle Jul 4, 2006 05:01 PM

                                                I have not heard of them, so I WILL be checking in on the website you have so helpfully provided...thank you.

                                              2. carswell RE: liu Jul 4, 2006 05:21 PM

                                                Quebec-based Camellia Senensis, one of the premier tea shops in North America, has a fine selection of green and other teas, many of them "vintage" dated. See their website at http://camellia-sinensis.com/php/navi...

                                                And here's a description of a recent tasting that will give you a feel for the place:
                                                http://endlessbanquet.blogspot.com/20...

                                                As far as I know, there aren't any problems with shipping tea and coffee across the border. Still, you'd be wise to ask them before placing an order.

                                                7 Replies
                                                1. re: carswell
                                                  liu RE: carswell Jul 4, 2006 09:20 PM

                                                  Oooooh...this sounds VERY intriguing. Thanks for going the extra mile to provide me with some websites, and I appreciate the source you have provided!

                                                  1. re: carswell
                                                    liu RE: carswell Jul 5, 2006 04:31 AM

                                                    Carswell -- I just went on the camellia-sinensis website. It is very interesting and easy to navigate. This is just what I am looking for, and again I thank you. I have emailed them and really look forward to ordering some sample packets and trying their teas!

                                                    1. re: carswell
                                                      Gary Soup RE: carswell Jul 5, 2006 03:43 PM

                                                      Did you say "vintage?" For the green teas I noticed that some are labeled 2006 and some are not. I guess knowing that your tea is 2006 is a small comfort, but with young green teas you almost need to vintage date them by fortnight. A Longjing picked in the first week of April is orders of magnitude more "fine" than one picked a couple of months later, and might cost three to four times as much. CS was forthcoming enough to reveal the location of growth (which was certainly the "right" neighborhood), and I hope would be able to provide a more precise date if pressed. Otherwise there is no way to even evaluate their pricing to start with.

                                                      1. re: Gary Soup
                                                        liu RE: Gary Soup Jul 5, 2006 03:56 PM

                                                        Interesting...I am learning so much from your conversations! Keep talking, and thanks for letting me listen in!

                                                        1. re: liu
                                                          liu RE: liu Jul 14, 2006 05:28 PM

                                                          Gary - this is a very specific question: you said here that you don't like the jade oolongs because you don't like the "viscosity" of them. What exactly are you detecting here? I am becoming a convert (from green to jade oolongs! because of Red Blossom), but I am not sure that I am able to discern a "viscosity." They do seem a little "richer" in flavor; some of the green teas now, to me, seem too mild.

                                                          Please do elaborate here on your findings. Perhaps this is just a linguistics repartee...thanks!

                                                          1. re: liu
                                                            Gary Soup RE: liu Jul 14, 2006 09:20 PM

                                                            It's a certain buttery-ness that seems to coat the tongue and the palate. I always feel like I need to cleanse my palate with something a bit astringent like longjing tea after drinking the stuff! That's just me, though. Some would account it a positive attribute.

                                                            1. re: liu
                                                              liu RE: liu Jul 14, 2006 11:49 PM

                                                              "...a certain buttery-ness..." I will pay more attention to this next time. Thanks for your response, Gary.

                                                              Red Blossom's Heirloom Lishan (Spring Formosa Oolong) is the best I have had...everything else pales to it.

                                                      2. moto RE: liu Jul 5, 2006 06:08 AM

                                                        hello, liu, since you mentioned a fondness for Long Jing/dragon well, the shop in SF chinatown that sells on line(redblossomtea.com) that I mentioned earlier just got two early spring long jings, greener and lower fired than the norm(more expensive also), including one called dragon tip, which is unique for the way it's cured and hence its delicate flavor characteristics. It isn't flattened when it's fired, consists of single shoots/leaves and has a uniform bright green color, which the flattened leaf style, usually 2-4 leaves sharing the sprout, does not. you're welcome

                                                        16 Replies
                                                        1. re: moto
                                                          liu RE: moto Jul 5, 2006 02:35 PM

                                                          Moto -- Your response tickled me so...I feel like I have a personal tea shopper!

                                                          Yes, after trying several different sample packets from many different sources (perhaps I have tried well over 100 different specialty high-end teas -- this does NOT include the Lipton's from my local grocers!), my choice is always the Long Jings (so you really have "my number" on this!!!)...

                                                          Moto, I am grateful to you for this information, and I will contact them immediately to take advantage of this. Thanks for thinking of me AND for taking the time to explain the dragon tip process to me. It gives me that much more appreciation for the tea.

                                                          Is this what you drink? liu

                                                          1. re: liu
                                                            liu RE: liu Jul 5, 2006 03:25 PM

                                                            Moto -- previously you said you like the Jade Oolongs. While I am ordering, is there one or two you would recommend that I might try along with my order of the Long Jings? Thanks!

                                                            1. re: liu
                                                              liu RE: liu Jul 5, 2006 06:16 PM

                                                              Moto -- Alice at Red Blossom Tea (#415.395-0868) was extremely helpful! She is really excited about their "special" teas and does mention in conversation the exact date (part of the month) of harvest...WOW! This store is a great find! Perhaps I need to put their number on speed dial!

                                                              When I mentioned your name with Jade Oolong, she did suggest to me that I try one of their very fine Jade Oolongs. I will let you know more when I taste it...perhaps as early as tomorrow! I also ordered several Long Jings which she recommended (certainly one of which is the one YOU suggested: the Dragon Tip).

                                                              Moto -- again and again, I thank you! liu

                                                              1. re: liu
                                                                liu RE: liu Jul 5, 2006 06:21 PM

                                                                Just one other thing that impressed me about this company -- Red Blossom Tea -- is that they do not have a hard catalog because they upgrade and change their listings with the varying harvests... in this matter, the internet serves them best.

                                                                1. re: liu
                                                                  Gary Soup RE: liu Jul 6, 2006 12:24 AM

                                                                  Alice is the absolute jade oolong nut. She tries to sell me on them even though I drink nothing but longjing and biluochun. But I don't like the viscosity of them.

                                                                  1. re: liu
                                                                    moto RE: liu Jul 6, 2006 09:34 AM

                                                                    hello liu, just a few days ago we spent more than two hours with Peter tasting long jings and jade oolongs, and that was my first taste of the dragon tip. They currently have a special jade oolong from Li Shan in Taiwan which they call 'heirloom'. The Li shan oolongs are among my favorites but this version stood out; Peter explained that the curing takes twice as long and it's lower fired. In case Alice didn't remind you, the dragon tip needs a cooler(165-170 F. I think) steeping temp. because of its delicacy. you're most welcome and enjoy the teas.

                                                                    1. re: liu
                                                                      liu RE: liu Jul 6, 2006 02:24 PM

                                                                      You went there? You tasted? You talked tea? You are having WAAAAAY too much fun!

                                                                      I am not quite sure what Alice sent me -- she did enclose some "extras" beyond my order that she thought I should try! I will receive them today or tomorrow...I will report back in time. It might take me awhile!

                                                                      Yes, she did explain to me to treat some of them gently. In fact, she advised that I place the tea in the hot water on some of them, rather than the reverse. Thanks for reminding me.

                                                                      Moto -- you have been most attentive and interesting. Please do continue to post your findings; I have learned so much from you.

                                                                      1. re: liu
                                                                        liu RE: liu Jul 6, 2006 02:31 PM

                                                                        Gary -- where are you finding your Long Jings and Bilouchuns? Are you buying from Todd-Holland and/or Gray-Seddon, or are you preferring the teas that Red Blossom offers?

                                                                        Yes, Alice is a "kick!" It is very refreshing to talk with someone who is truly passionate about what they do and know!

                                                                        1. re: liu
                                                                          Gary Soup RE: liu Jul 6, 2006 06:17 PM

                                                                          Getting the good stuff from RBT, now that I know them. No need to do mail order any more.

                                                                          1. re: liu
                                                                            liu RE: liu Jul 6, 2006 06:41 PM

                                                                            Gary -- I am so glad to hear that you like RBT (initials...pretty familiar now, aren't we!) My "drop" is due today. Uh-oh -- I am seeing all the signs of addiction!

                                                                          2. re: liu
                                                                            celeste RE: liu Jul 5, 2006 09:09 PM

                                                                            Hi Liu, coming to the discussion late - I third (or is it fourth at this point?) the rec for Red Blossom Tea.

                                                                            If you're trying jade oolongs, I *insist* you try their Silk Oolong Formosa. It is my favorite kind of tea - any kind of tea from anywhere. The tea leaves are fired with milk which gives it an incredible light sweetness.

                                                                            (full disclosure - I am personal friends with the proprietors, but my opinions on the tea are unbiased!)

                                                                            1. re: celeste
                                                                              liu RE: celeste Jul 5, 2006 09:24 PM

                                                                              Celeste - thanks for the confirmation! Just this morning I ordered from Red Blossom Tea -- some Long Jings and one Jade Oolong (ooooh, sorry, but I am not sure which one!). After expressing my preferences, Alice, in the store, suggested some teas that I might like. I am SO looking forward to trying their teas, and with YOUR recommendation, I am even more excited...can't wait! I will report back. Thanks, again. This seems like a very fine shop.

                                                                              1. re: celeste
                                                                                liu RE: celeste Jul 5, 2006 11:52 PM

                                                                                Hi, Celeste! Well, I think I have met the whole family at Red Blossom! Peter answered the phone when I went to add your suggestion of the Silk Oolong Formosa to my order (whoops...I was too late. They had already shipped my order from this morning -- wow!). Then, I spoke with Peter's sister, Alice (the children took the business from their dad...real family affair...I love that!) and Alice marked my chart so that I can order the Silk Oolong Formosa next time; she was carefully watching my purse so that I didn't spend all of my $$$ on shipping -- for just one small order.

                                                                                Even more impressive, Alice said that she gratuitously sent me several teas above and beyond my original order to try.

                                                                                It is truly a pleasure to do business with such nice people who really care! And they did speak highly of YOU!

                                                                                Thanks, again. liu

                                                                                1. re: celeste
                                                                                  celeste RE: celeste Jul 6, 2006 12:22 AM

                                                                                  Liu, glad to know you're having a good experience with Red Blossom. They are good people running a family business with a quality product. But as I said, I *am* biased about the people, as opposed to the tea. ;-) Please do report back on your tea thoughts once you have tried them! And I hope you do try the Silk Oolong Formosa.

                                                                                  (And I'm replying to myself as for some reason your replies to me are not showing up with a reply link... a bug?)

                                                                                  1. re: celeste
                                                                                    liu RE: celeste Jul 6, 2006 12:26 AM

                                                                                    Celeste, your last post -- just a few moments ago -- also lacked a "reply" link ??????

                                                                                    It might be awhile until I drink all the Red Blossom teas I have in my order, but I will be sure to reply eventually. Happy sipping to you, too! liu (online name)

                                                                                    1. re: celeste
                                                                                      liu RE: celeste Jul 6, 2006 01:07 AM

                                                                                      I just posted on the "Cite Board" about our lack of a "REPLY" option. You can check this out, if you wish; basically, there is a limit to how many replies a post will take, and beyond that one needs to reply to the original post to get around this limit.

                                                                              2. b
                                                                                Babs RE: liu Jul 5, 2006 08:59 PM

                                                                                I purchase HerbaSway's HerbaGreen Tea from thegreenteacompany.com
                                                                                There's is a liquid concentrate, comes in a 2 ounce bottle and I add one dropperful to 8 oz. of hot or cold water. They have concentrated the health benefits, the polyphenols. So if you are drinking for your health you get the same benefit from one of their cups as from 15 green tea bags. It comes in an original flavor and also several fruit and spice flavors. It has no calories or preservatives. It is naturally sweetened with a Chinese herb called lo han. Give it a try.

                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                1. re: Babs
                                                                                  liu RE: Babs Jul 6, 2006 12:10 AM

                                                                                  Thanks! I will look into this further. I don't love flavored teas, however, and I will need to check on the herb called "lo han;" I am not familiar with it. Nevertheless, this looks like another interesting taste experience.

                                                                                  1. re: Babs
                                                                                    w
                                                                                    wpg RE: Babs Feb 11, 2007 03:45 AM

                                                                                    Hello Babs. Please tell me more about the HerbaSway's HerbaGreen Tea. How long have you been taking it ? What differences do you notice by taking it ? How much do you take a day and how long does a bottle last ? - Thanks

                                                                                    1. re: Babs
                                                                                      Sparkina RE: Babs Jul 15, 2012 05:35 PM

                                                                                      Oh, that HerbaGreen tea is some tasty stuff. I know it's marketed as a supplement but I just drink it as a beverage for pleasure and view the benefits as a bonus. Refreshing, flavorful, and subtly sweet. Comes in peach, original (plain), caffeinated, manadarin-mango, raspberry-lime and honey-lemon. Wish it came in more flavors (cinnamon, tropical punch, cherry, mint and vanilla would be nice) Great stuff, though. Soothes my throat when it's sore or rough and has a calming effect on me. Just great stuff and I recommend it highly.

                                                                                    2. f
                                                                                      flywheel RE: liu Jul 5, 2006 09:16 PM

                                                                                      Red Blossom is a wonderful shop, as is Dynastea (also in SF). I love to visit them both when I am in town. I haven't found anywhere to beat Red Blossom for sublime high mountain oolong teas, and Dynastea has these amazing "art tea" blossoms that unfold before your eyes as they brew, and taste as amazing as they look.

                                                                                      http://www.dynasteaclub.com/

                                                                                      But for Japanese green tea, Ito-En is the place as far as I'm concerned. They have a HUGE variety of green teas - if you're interested in organic, try the organic gifu sencha.

                                                                                      Just wanted to add - I believe Tao of Tea in Portland gets their tea from the same supplier as Ten Ren. I could be wrong but I remember being told that by a friend who used to work there. Either way, it's good stuff.

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: flywheel
                                                                                        liu RE: flywheel Jul 6, 2006 12:05 AM

                                                                                        This is good info. Thanks, Flywheel! I am familiar with Eto-En, Ten Ren, and now Red Blossom (I ordered from them this morning!). Dynastea is new to me, so I will check their site and perhaps order some sample-size packets in time. Someone else just before you on this same post has suggested Tao of Tea in Portland; I will look at them as well.

                                                                                        Repeating myself, I know -- as I just posted a bit ago, Red Blossom has been wonderful! I am glad to know that it also gets YOUR vote! Thanks!

                                                                                      2. The Dairy Queen RE: liu Jul 6, 2006 06:43 PM

                                                                                        I hope this isn't considered off-topic, but, since you have so many green tea experts in this thread, I thought I would ask about powdered green tea, which, I understand is the variety to use if you're making green tea ice cream.

                                                                                        I've just begun my search, but have already struck out a couple of times. Any recommendations on where to find it? Is there a wide range of quality in green tea powder as there is in green tea for brewing?

                                                                                        Thank you!

                                                                                        ~TDQ

                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                          Gary Soup RE: The Dairy Queen Jul 6, 2006 06:48 PM

                                                                                          It's not something I know much about, but I know Ten Ren sells it.

                                                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                            liu RE: The Dairy Queen Jul 6, 2006 06:59 PM

                                                                                            Hello, TDQ. I am the OP here, and as you will see from scanning this post, there are some wonderfully knowledgeable people here: Moto, Gary Soup, Carswell, and several others. I have learned a lot from them in their discussions here; I hope they might respond to your question about green tea powder.

                                                                                            Additionally, I suggest you call several of these above-mentioned tea houses (Red Blossom Tea, Ito-En, and others) or write them online; most love what they do and are very helpful.

                                                                                            1. re: liu
                                                                                              The Dairy Queen RE: liu Jul 6, 2006 08:10 PM

                                                                                              Thank you both liu and Mr. Soup. I shall probably follow both your suggestions.

                                                                                              I went to Ten Ren's website and searched on "powder." Here's what came up: "Ten Ren's Milk Green Tea Powder. Contains 12 individually sealed packets of Green Tea Powder for quick, easy-to-make hot or iced milk green tea. This tea is ideal for those who enjoy adding sugar and milk to their tea. The tea leaves are steamed instead of pan fried and then grounded into a fine powder with powdered milk and sugar added. "

                                                                                              Does this sounds like the right stuff? It sounds just like the Green Tea version of Instant Iced Tea, which very well may work for making ice cream, although, I may have to play with the sugar content.

                                                                                              ~TDQ

                                                                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                                Gary Soup RE: The Dairy Queen Jul 7, 2006 04:34 PM

                                                                                                OK. A little Googling brough up this link (on the first page of results for "Green tea powder:"

                                                                                                http://www.teanobi.com/products/powde...

                                                                                                Better? But maybe you should start a thread in Home Cooking.

                                                                                            2. re: The Dairy Queen
                                                                                              liu RE: The Dairy Queen Jul 7, 2006 05:13 PM

                                                                                              I have the Special Tea (out of Connecticut) catalog in front of me, and I noticed a blurb about Matcha that may interest you:
                                                                                              "Matcha is best known for its use in the Japanese tea ceremony. This top-quality Matcha is produced by steaming, drying, ad grinding top-grade green tea into a fine powder. It is best prepared in a Matcha bowl by adding hot (not boiling) water to the powder and rapidly beating the mixture with a Matcha whisk until a thin layer of foam appears. The result is a cloudy, green tea with a pungent, sweet-vegetal flavor and lingering aftertaste. Matcha may also be used for cooking to add a pleasant green tea taste to a wide variety of dishes. Our favorite is Matcha-flavored ice cream. Please note that this tea is sold in airtight tins of 40 grams (1.43 oz.) net weight."

                                                                                              TDQ -- I highly recommend this store (the many teas that I have tried from there have been quite good!), and you can email them at www.specialteas.com or call them toll-free at #888-365-6983. I hope this will offer you some new information.

                                                                                            3. f
                                                                                              flywheel RE: liu Jul 7, 2006 04:31 PM

                                                                                              I've tried the green tea powder from Ten Ren - passable for making ice cream, pretty awful for drinking. It's just not their thing. If you want a high quality green tea powder, look for matcha - Ito-En sells it, as I'm sure many other places do too. I've had ice cream made from the Ito-En matcha and it was amazing. Yes, there is a huge range of quality, and it does matter even for making ice cream. Matcha has a deep, almost chocolately flavor, which makes it ideal not only as an ice cream flavor but in dairy drinks (I've had matcha milk drinks in Japan and they were very good, though I find straight matcha tea to be a little too rich and strong for my taste). FYI matcha is a Japanese style of tea, so you will likely have better luck with places that specialize in Japanese teas or foods (I've found very good powdered tea in Japanese supermarkets) rather than places that specialize in Chinese or Taiwanese tea (like Ten Ren). Actually this is my rule of thumb for buying any kind of tea. Hope this helps.

                                                                                              1. liu RE: liu Jul 7, 2006 05:04 PM

                                                                                                While I am waiting for my most recent order of "sample" packets of teas to arrive from Red Blossom Tea in San Francisco, I have been drinking the teas (mostly Japanese and Chinese GREEN teas) that I last ordered from SPECIAL TEAS (Stratford, CT -- www.specialteas.com). I am extremely happy with everything I have tasted from Special Teas. I ordered about 20 different small packets, and I can highly recommend their teas!

                                                                                                1. liu RE: liu Jul 12, 2006 07:42 PM

                                                                                                  I am the original poster, and I am extremely pleased with the teas I ordered from RED BLOSSOM TEA (redblossomtea.com in San Francisco...talk to Alice). Red Blossom was recommended by several hounds; my thanks to Moto, Gary Soup, Celeste, and Flywheel.

                                                                                                  I was a green tea fanatic, but Moto recommended their jade oolongs, and I have become quite fond of them as well; these jade oolongs are very gentle and sweet, unlike others I have had from other tea shops.

                                                                                                  I am still moving along my list of other stores to try, and I will report back if something tops my current favorites from Red Blossom.

                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                  1. re: liu
                                                                                                    liu RE: liu Jul 14, 2006 05:58 PM

                                                                                                    Once again, Red Blossom Tea Store shines!

                                                                                                    I just called there with a question, and Peter (one of the two sibling owners) offered me about a 30-minute lesson on teas. He is so passionate, knowledgeable and willing to share that information!

                                                                                                    This is a wonderful company, and I urge anyone even thinking about tea to call them with your questions.

                                                                                                  2. steinpilz RE: liu Jul 15, 2006 05:24 PM

                                                                                                    I'll recommend Murchies in Vancouver CA, an old British tea company with lots of varieties including green.

                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: steinpilz
                                                                                                      liu RE: steinpilz Jul 16, 2006 03:41 AM

                                                                                                      This is the first time I have heard about this shop. Thanks, Steinpilz. I will see if they are online.

                                                                                                      1. re: liu
                                                                                                        steinpilz RE: liu Jul 16, 2006 04:15 AM

                                                                                                        Glad to be helpful, they are online (I think it's murchies.com). I found out about Murchies visiting Vancouver and Victoria, stopping for high tea at the Empress Hotel in Victoria - a trip I'll recommend! I have pleased my tea drinking parents buying Murchies variety packs for Christmas.

                                                                                                    2. c
                                                                                                      crasemink RE: liu Feb 6, 2007 01:25 PM

                                                                                                      wonder teas by strauss herb is good I've tried it and they were good enough to please me of course I don't advice any other strauss herb is good just the wonder tea strauss herb.

                                                                                                      1. m
                                                                                                        Main Line Tracey RE: liu Feb 11, 2007 11:18 AM

                                                                                                        I buy, and love, GenMai-Cha, green tea with toasted brown rice. The rice gives the tea a very rich flavor. It's a nice combination of the rich rice flavor with the earthy, sweet green tea. I really like this one company-Takaokaya. Their website is www.takaokaya.com. I drink about 4 cups a day because it's so wonderful.

                                                                                                        1. purple goddess RE: liu Jun 13, 2007 10:46 PM

                                                                                                          www.tobysestate.com.au

                                                                                                          Insanely good tea.

                                                                                                          1. icey RE: liu Jun 14, 2007 09:05 AM

                                                                                                            Although I am not sure where to get it online, I bought my new favourite green tea from a Chinese Grocer. It is the type of tea that is served at my favourite Japanese restaurant, and is sometimes referred to as POPCORN tea. I dont know what its real name is but it is a blend of green tea and toasted brown rice, and some of the rice pops and looks like popcorn. It has a very grassy taste, reminiscent of hay, and is sooo soothing to me. It is an acquired taste (or smell) to many bc my bf and my mom are both bothered by the smell, but I LOVE IT!!!!

                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                            1. re: icey
                                                                                                              liu RE: icey Jun 14, 2007 11:26 AM

                                                                                                              icey -- Check out Main Line Tracey's post just a couple above yours here. The tea you are referring to is GenMai-Cha, which is toasted brown rice tea; yes, it looks like it contains popcorn! It does have some caffeine because of the mix with green tea, but it is low. And yes, the smell is like pouring how water on popcorn...a little burnt and farmy smelling. But for me it is a nice, rich tea for the afternoon and evening -- often instead of more highly caloric snacks because it has so much flavor on its own.

                                                                                                              Main Line Tacey has mentioned the brand Takaokaya; I like Maeda-en in a green, plastic bag. This tea is quite available in many general markets in the Asian section, and always available in Asian Markets.

                                                                                                            2. spades RE: liu Jun 14, 2007 10:16 AM

                                                                                                              Best tea I have come across is Mighty Leaf. Loads of green teas to choose from.

                                                                                                              http://www.mightyleaf.ca

                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                              1. re: spades
                                                                                                                liu RE: spades Jun 14, 2007 11:31 AM

                                                                                                                spades -- I also like Mighty Leaf teas! This current issue of "Cook's Illustrated" just did a test on supermarket teas: "Can You Buy Good Supermarket Tea?" (p. 26)
                                                                                                                Since a majority of people drink black teas, they focused their study on black teas. However, in this same article, they asked in a side box: "Is Fancy Tea Any Better?" Their conclusion -- and my point, finally! -- is that their "plain winner" was Mighty Leaf! They specifically tasted the Organic English Breakfast flavor (no milk added) and preferred it over other high end teas and supermarket teas.

                                                                                                                Beyond this, I think the next level is to order teas on line from various purveyors; my current favorite is Teance, mostly for green or golden oolongs. When I want green tea, I still enjoy Maeda-en green teas.

                                                                                                              2. jpr54_1 RE: liu Jun 14, 2007 07:59 PM

                                                                                                                www.imperialtea.com
                                                                                                                www.shanshuiteas.com
                                                                                                                www.thefragrantleaf.com

                                                                                                                shan shui teans has a great selection of green teas especially from Korea

                                                                                                                7 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: jpr54_1
                                                                                                                  jpr54_1 RE: jpr54_1 Jul 16, 2012 05:00 AM

                                                                                                                  i would like to add

                                                                                                                  www.jingtea.com

                                                                                                                  1. re: jpr54_1
                                                                                                                    liu RE: jpr54_1 Jul 16, 2012 12:10 PM

                                                                                                                    Hello, jpr54_1.
                                                                                                                    I like what Jing Tea offers and they appear to be serious about their teas.

                                                                                                                    What have you ordered from them and what have you liked?

                                                                                                                    1. re: liu
                                                                                                                      jpr54_1 RE: liu Jul 16, 2012 12:33 PM

                                                                                                                      red blossom tea in s.f is also good
                                                                                                                      www.thefragrantleaf.com

                                                                                                                      1. re: liu
                                                                                                                        jpr54_1 RE: liu Jul 16, 2012 12:41 PM

                                                                                                                        I have ordered glass teaware-pitcher-cups-small teapot
                                                                                                                        I enjoy lightly fermented oolongs
                                                                                                                        I have ordered oolongs and baozhong teas

                                                                                                                        Korean teas are interesting-besides franchia ,shanshui teas,
                                                                                                                        han ah reum has excellent teas

                                                                                                                        r u familiar with korean tea ceremony?
                                                                                                                        there is excellent video and book
                                                                                                                        i have to find book in my library and then post info

                                                                                                                        1. re: jpr54_1
                                                                                                                          liu RE: jpr54_1 Jul 16, 2012 02:33 PM

                                                                                                                          I like baozhongs! Yes, they do seem to specialize in glass wares.

                                                                                                                          I do not know han ah reum as you have recommended. I will give them a look. Thanks!

                                                                                                                          1. re: liu
                                                                                                                            jpr54_1 RE: liu Jul 16, 2012 04:00 PM

                                                                                                                            han ah reum aka h mart is a natl korean grocer
                                                                                                                            they have markets in several states.
                                                                                                                            I lived in Bergen cnty NJ where there was a large Korean population

                                                                                                                            1. re: jpr54_1
                                                                                                                              liu RE: jpr54_1 Jul 16, 2012 04:22 PM

                                                                                                                              I live in Los Angeles which also has a huge Korean population. Our Korean markets offer fair tea selections; however, I find much better (fresher with more concentrated flavor) Korean tea online.

                                                                                                                  2. d
                                                                                                                    demitasse04 RE: liu Jul 16, 2012 02:42 PM

                                                                                                                    Harney and Sons is very 20=years ago. Upton, as you know, has a great selection of green teas White not so much. Art of Tea, Teacuppa.com and Silk Road are my faves.

                                                                                                                    1. jpr54_1 RE: liu Jul 17, 2012 06:45 AM

                                                                                                                      i would like to also add this canadian shop-lovely shop-i have visited them several times

                                                                                                                      http://camellia-sinensis.com/tea/

                                                                                                                      and yahoo group teamail

                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                      1. re: jpr54_1
                                                                                                                        f
                                                                                                                        foodlovergeneral RE: jpr54_1 Sep 10, 2012 05:58 AM

                                                                                                                        They are a very nice shop. They are one of hte best shops for having tea-they actually attempt to prepare teas in some sort of semblance to the traditional techniques employed, by, say Japanese or Chinese tea drinkers. They even have some decent pots that have some traditional approach to it. I wish the teas were of higher quality in the gyokuro category and in the Chinese category.

                                                                                                                      2. t
                                                                                                                        teaherb RE: liu Sep 10, 2012 02:26 AM

                                                                                                                        My favorite drink green tea, I often visit this shop, which has a relatively complete Chinese tea, if you are a Chinese tea lovers, then I recommend you have look at the store:
                                                                                                                        http://www.teadietpills.com

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