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Jun 16, 2009 12:17 PM

Green Tea in Bulk

I'm almost at the bottom of my tea tin, and wondering where to get nice quality -- but affordable -- sencha tea -- in bulk by the pound.

I'm curious to hear from fellow hounders about their fave purveyors -- preferrably local, but I'm open to mail order as well.

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  1. Visit Red Blossom Tea company in Chinatown. Very friendly and knowledgeable people with very high quality tea. I'm not sure if they have sencha, although I think they have genmaicha. Plus, they have an enormous selection of green teas from China and Taiwan.

    Red Blossom Tea Company
    831 Grant Ave, San Francisco, CA 94108

    6 Replies
    1. re: sfbing

      I saw them mentioned by someone in an earlier post on black tea. Curiously enough, that company doesn't post sencha on their website. Perhaps someone knows if there's a Japanese emporium that would have a nice selection of sencha?

      1. re: escargot3

        Red Blossom has many more teas in the shop than on their website. It is very possible that they have sencha in the shop. Plus, they offer tastings which is very nice.
        Nijiya has a typical selection of Japanese teas, but in small packages.
        There is also a tea shop in the Bloomingdale's mall (I'm not really a fan because they have a lot of synthetically flavored teas), but they should have a variety of Japanese teas.

      2. re: sfbing

        Red Blossom deals in Chinese and Taiwanese teas exclusively. Sencha is a term for Japanese green tea, which is processed differently from Chinese and Taiwanese green teas.

        1. re: Xiao Yang

          They specialize in Chinese and Taiwanese teas, but they also have genmaicha, rooibos, moroccan mint, vietnamese lotus tea, thai vanilla, chai.....

          1. re: sfbing

            RBT does carry some herbal and novelty teas because they are requested. But for serious teas, because they source all their teas directly and in person (no brokers or middlemen) they limit themselves to Chinese and Taiwanese teas. The Chais and other blends they do in house.

            There are places that specialize in fine Japanese green teas (and I'm not talking about $29.95/lb stuff) though not being a fan I don't know any to recommend other than Camellia Sinensis in Montreal, which actually sends a specialist to beat the bushes, so to speak, in Japan every year.

      3. Rainbow Grocery in SF?

        And if you go on Wednesday or Thrusday with the coupon from the yellow pages there is an additional discount.

        Don't know the quality of the tea though.

        Where do you shop ... SF, East Bay, North Bay, Peninsula, South Bay? What is reasonable to you? How much are you looking for?

        7 Replies
        1. re: rworange

          rworange, can you tell me the cover image on the yellow pages that has Rainbow coupons? I've heard mention of them before. The ones delivered to my apt. bldg. don't have any. Thank you

          1. re: rworange

            I live in Oaktown, but am often in SF, Marin and south bay as well for work or to visit friends. So location is not an obstacle.
            I'm looking to buy a pound. The place I used to get it at thru the mail no longer carries it.
            but last year, it cost about $40 a pound.

            1. re: escargot3

              If you are over in Marin, you might try LaCoppa coffee. Their website still lists it as Bonvita, the former name.

              I haven't had their tea, but their coffee is quite good. The sencha is $9.75 for 1/4 pound which they sell in bulk, so a pound is no problem. They give some discounts on coffee, don't know if it applies to tea. They also have some cafes, so you could get a cup to see if it makes you happy.

              Of course, if you want to treat yourself for every now and then, there's Teance.

              They will sell as much as you want, but a pound will cost you

              1. re: rworange

                One place I forgot that might meet your price requirements, Infusions Teahouse in Sebastopol. Again you can buy a cup to see if it is what you like.

                1. re: rworange

                  Thanks! great suggestions. Infusions seems like a good excuse for an adventure to Sebastopol.

                  1. re: escargot3

                    Just read about this place in SF. They seem to get good reports on the web and the sencha is $29.95 lb online ... howver, I think from what I've read the in-store prices are lower

          2. Peet's will sell tea by the pound if you pre-order, and their Sencha is quite good.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Deeg67

              GReat suggestion. I enjoy their sencha sold in tins. I agree with you that the quality is good. Didn't know they also sold it by the pound, which I assume is cheaper.
              Many thanks.

            2. SF Herb and Spice has sencha green for $7.85 lb. They are very reliable, and well-established nationally.

              1 Reply
              1. re: OldTimer

                Thanks for mentioning SF Herb. I finally got there today to stock up on teas, dried red peppers, and spices. Clean, fresh, inexpensive, and very friendly.

                I appreciated that everything was clearly labeled with ingredients including country of origin.

                San Francisco Herb Co.
                250 14th St, San Francisco, CA 94103

              2. If you are willing to do mail order, you might consider Upton Tea http://www.uptontea.com/ I have been a long time customer (10-15 years??) and have always got extremely good service. If you call their number you can generally talk to people who have tasted the teas. Shipping is quite reasonable, and is extremely prompt. I just took a quick look at their site and saw a number of sencha items.

                Quantity sizes 500gm and 1000gm bags. They also offer samples (at a small charge), so if you are thinking about getting a large amount of routine tea, but possibly a smaller amount of a premium type, you can try before buying.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Tom Simonson

                  I've had black tea from Upton in the past. Didn't remember or know about their sencha as well. And I really appreciate the mention of getting samples. I didn't know they had it. Great idea! Thank you.

                  1. re: escargot3

                    mountainroseherb.com online had great organic teas at great prices
                    also azurestandard.com