Introduction plus a few questions


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Introduction plus a few questions

Postby Corymickey » Oct 30th, '07, 17:35

Hi everyone,

I've been drinking tea pretty seriously for a couple years now, but I've also been getting pretty much all of my tea/teaware/information from Teavana and I thought it was about time I broke free from their clutches. Which may sound more negative than I mean for it to, since I do drink their tea all the time and probably have them to thank for my interest in it.

I drink almost exclusively their blacks and oolongs, having discovered over time that I dislike pretty much all of Teavana's whites, greens, as well as almost all of their flavored teas. My favorite black is probably their assam, and I also enjoy their darjeeling, sikkim, and ceylon varieties quite a bit. Lapsang and Keemum I've never really been too fond of. Teavana really only carries a handful of plain oolongs, and I like their Tung Ting, Iron Buddha, and Monkey Picked all pretty well.

A couple questions which I'm going to ask here, since otherwise I'd have to scatter them around a number of different subforums:

I'm probably going to place an order with Adagio soon, if that is a decent place to try next? It seems like from what I've seen most of the people on these boards are at least familiar with it. Any advice on what to try? I definitely want to try their yunnan, since I've never had anything from that region. Also probably another darjeeling, since the only one I'm currently familiar with is Teavana's second flush makaibari. Any advice on oolong's though? I don't really know a lot about oolong variaties, just that I like them very well when I'm in the mood for something other than black. Thanks for any advice in this area.

Also, I've been considering purchasing a Yixing teapot for a few months now, but am not certain if I should wait awhile longer or not. I want to be able to pick a tea to exclusively brew in that pot (currently I brew pretty much anything and everything in a tetsubin) but I'm not entirely sure which. I'm thinking probably I will want it to be an oolong, but I thought I should learn a bit more about oolongs aside from the handful Teavana has to offer. I had been thinking about using it exclusively for Teavana's Monkey Picked Oolong but now I'm thinking maybe there are better options out there. I'm not entirely sure I have a specific question with this...but if anyone has any thoughts in general on buying Yixings, I'd be interested to hear them.

Thanks in advance to everyone who reads this and responds, especially anyone offering advice. I'm always anxious to learn a bit more about tea, so I'm glad I've found a website that might help with that. Sorry if this was a bit long for an introductory post, or if I was supposed to put those questions in other areas.
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Postby scruffmcgruff » Oct 30th, '07, 18:00

Welcome to the forum! First off, I think Adagio is a good first step away from Teavana. That said, they do certain things better and certain things... not better.

If you are already into single estate Darjeelings, I would consider trying stores that specialize in Indian teas-- PM me if you would like some suggestions.

As for oolongs, I haven't tried many of Adagio's offerings, but if you want a good variety, I would go for pouchong (aka baozhong, it's just a different romanization), oooh darjeeling, ti kuan yin (aka tie guan yin, or a multitude of other spellings), and wuyi ensemble. Those, combined with your previous experience with oolongs, should give you a pretty good idea of the spectrum of teas that fall under the "oolong" category.

If I were you, I would wait to get a Yixing pot. Unless you get into gong fu tea preparation, which you may want to do someday, the fact that a pot is made from Yixing clay isn't *really* going to matter. I would suggest getting a 4-5 oz. gaiwan (search the forum, there are plenty of discussions on this) though, as it is a great tool for experimenting with different teas, and it is a good "bridge" into gong fu brewing, should you choose to pursue it.

Well... I suppose a long question post deserves a long answer post. I hope this helps, and feel free to ask more questions.
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Postby Mary R » Oct 30th, '07, 18:07

If I was going to recommend 5 Adagio varieties they would be the

1) Yunnan Gold (black)
2) Silver Needle (white)
3) Dragonwell (green)
4) Wuyi Ensemble (oolong)
5) Ti Kuan Yin (oolong)

If you've not tried Yunnan blacks before, you might want to get a sample of both the Yunnan Gold and the Yunnan Jig. The Gold's a smoother, nicer brew...but the Jig more than satisfies the Yunnan itch. Oolongs sort of fall into two groups--those that are more green and those that are more black. The Wuyi is the former and the Ti Kuan Yin the latter. Personally, I like numbers #40 and #18 better for daily drinking.

As far as yixing goes, you'll likely be re-steeping oolongs at least two or three times...even if you brew them in the English method. Because of this, you might find that a smaller-sized pot would be better for your long-term consumption habits. Like Scruff mentions, I'd try the gaiwan route before the yixing route.
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Postby Space Samurai » Oct 30th, '07, 21:30

Hi and welcome to the forum.

I also reccomend starting with a gaiwan. When I first got into oolongs, I took a vote on another thread, yixing vs gaiwan, and almost everyont voted for gaiwan, if I recall correctly. They're just so versatile.

I also second the reccomendation for the yunnan gold and jig. I love yunnan black tea, also known as dian hong, more than any other black tea. The yunnan gold is comprised entirely of buds, so as Mary it said, you will get a smoother brew, quite unlike traditional black tea, but wonderful. The jig will have some of the same flavor, but its overall profile will be more similar to regular black tea.
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Postby kissmyhuman » Oct 31st, '07, 01:09

As for other sites to try for tea, I suggest Sevencups.com They specialize in only Chinese teas and they have a little better selection in things like display teas as well as carrying yellow teas and puer. They're also very helpful if you have questions.
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