I am going to Ranch 99 today. Can anyone recommend a brand of green tea? or are they all pretty much the same? Thanks
Your best bet is to go to a japanese supermarket such as Nijiya (west LA and Little Toyko), Mitsuwa (West LA, Little Tokyo, Torrance) or Marukai (Little Tokyo) to purchase your green tea since it is more of a Japanese tea. There are various types of green teas sold: Sencha- basic green tea; genmaicha- green tea with toasted barley; and other types as well. I think these are the two most common. Any brand of green tea at the japanese supermarkets are superb.
if you need to get it at the 99 Ranch Market, I would suggest Ten Ren Teas. Their quality is good and they have a good name.
"Your best bet is to go to a japanese supermarket such as Nijiya (west LA and Little Toyko), Mitsuwa (West LA, Little Tokyo, Torrance) or Marukai (Little Tokyo) to purchase your green tea since it is more of a *Japanese* tea."
I think a billion-some Chinese would beg to differ! ;-)
That said, you can pick up Yamamotoyama at 99...
(P.S. to Trojans: Google DDT myths...)
Don't buy your teas (esp. loose leaf teas) at Chinese markets, regardless of variety.
Go to a specialty tea shop.
If you live near sherman oaks, there is a store in the sherman oaks fashion square called Teava that sells many types of loose teas, good green teas among them.
I like Genmai Cha-brown rice green tea, for a nice, roasty flavor.
Ashitaba green tea reportedly has all sorts of medicinal properties. It's grown exclusively on one island in Japan. 99 Ranch sells it, but it's quite pricey, so the store keeps it behind the counter with the expensive liquors. Ashitaba's distributor is located on First Avenue in Arcadia. Ashitaba tea tastes lovely, not too tannic or too overpowering. However, I prefer the taste of Genmai-cha and it's brown rice nuttiness.
Green teas are definitely not all the same. Green just refers to a degree of oxidation / roasting (very little, in the cast of green teas). You can get green teabags, green tea that's been scented (like jasmine green tea, for example), full leaf green teas from different countries and with very different flavors.
If you are actually looking for good quality tea leaf, I would definitely second the suggestion of going to a specialty tea shop. You could have a look at other threads on CH, including this one:
Green tea isn't really my area of expertise, so I won't recommend any particular store in the LA area. But definitely, if you can find some place good that will let you try the tea, that is a big plus.
I wouldn't blanket avoid any particular type of tea, personally. And there are some amazing Chinese green teas that are very different from Japanese green teas - whether you like one or the other better is up to you.
Korean wild green tea is also amazing if brewed correctly (very subtle, though). I have heard that there might be a place that sells it in LA (in K-town somewhere), but the only place I know of for sure that carries it is Franchia / Hangawi in NYC. (http://franchia.com/). Theirs is excellent, but quite expensive (IIRC, ~ 40-120 for 3 oz of leaf).
Keep in mind that green tea often requires cooler water than other types of tea. This is especially true with the higher grades, many of which are quite delicate. So be careful, when brewing tea, to:
* preheat your brewing vessel and drinking glass(es
) * use water that's the right temperature
* give the leaves room to expand fully
I was quite interested in your recommendation for Franchia's Korean wild green tea. I was having some difficulty with their website (I was not able to shop), so I called them. The gentleman with whom I spoke was extremely patient and helpful in explaining their offerings.
Franchia currently has three Korean green teas: 1st, 2nd and 3rd picks. The first is the most delicate and the most expensive. They only have 3oz. packs to sell (which for me is a lot on my first order if I just want to try it). The 1st pick pack of 3oz. is $100 while the 3rd pick pack of 3oz. is $35; the 2nd pick is somewhere inbetween (sorry, I don't remember exactly how much).
Thanks for this resource. Since I am in Los Angeles, I will scout the Korean markets here as you have suggested; perhaps I can find a smaller quantity. You have certainly sparked my attention for this Korean wild green tea!
The second and third picked are pretty good. The first picked is very delicate - it's almost like drinking water, especially if you brew it with water as cool as they recommend. Not to say it's not good, but I'd say start with the 2nd or 3rd picked stuff and see if you have a taste for it. I think you have my email - if you send me an email, I can send you a small sample of the second picked, with the caveat that it's maybe a year and a half old or so by now... still tastes pretty good, but not totally fresh.
There are some similarities in taste to a high grade Long Jing, but the taste is maybe a bit more subtle if anything.
I heard some place in K-town has some (don't know if it's good, and I can't seem to find the post I'm thinking of from doing a couple quick searches) - but maybe see if Hwa Sun Ji has any? I don't know if you'll have luck finding good quality wild green tea at the regular Korean markets (and I've looked through the tea sections at places like HK Market, and didn't see anything), but specialty shops in K-town might have something.
Hey, will47, I thank you for all of your info and your very kind offer. Before I inconvenience you, I will look around K-town; we are in that area at least a couple of times a month...and I love having an errand as an excuse to shop!
You are telling me exactly what the gentleman in Franchia told me; especially the first plucked batch of Korean wild green tea is extremely subtle in taste. He told me that if I were a first time tea drinker he might recommend it. When I told him that my favorites now were oolongs, he was worried that it might be too mild for me. He was also encouraging me to try the second or third pick because it would be just a bit more flavorful. He did caution, however, that I watch my brewing technique because it does become bitter if not brewed properly. All of this is consistent with exactly what you have posted...so, again, thanks!