A few questions from a beginner...


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A few questions from a beginner...

Postby toasterburn » Nov 7th, '13, 20:01

First a quick history of my experience with tea:

Last year I decided that I needed to start living healthier and try to lose some weight. I was used to drinking several sodas a day and knew I needed to break the addiction, so I started looking for a healthier alternative. I tried every "diet" drink I could find but I didn't like any of them.

Then one day I was walking by a Teavana store in the mall and was offered a sample. I had never tried hot tea before, but I instantly loved it. I tried every sample they had ready and decided on two favorites. When it was time to check out, I learned that the two I liked were actually blends of several teas, so I had to pay for multiple scoops which got expensive fast. My total was around $40, but I was assured that it was enough tea to last me months. In reality, it only lasted weeks. I realized that I couldn't afford Teavana.

So, I started trying grocery store teas like Bigelow and Tazo. They didn't taste nearly as good to me, but at least I could afford them. At first, I didn't like the flavor of plain tea. I could only stomach "fruity" teas, and only after I added a little sugar to sweeten it. After a while, I got used to the taste and I didn't need the sugar anymore. Then I started to loose my taste for the fruity teas altogether, they started to taste bitter to me. At this point, I re-tried plainer black and green teas and they tasted great to me. I suppose it's a learned flavor, at least for me. Now I start every day with a cup of black tea with mint or green tea with ginger and I really look forward to it. Also, I've been able to completely give up sodas..

Questions:

I'm happy with my tea, but I'm curious what else is out there. I'd like to learn more; like the various types of tea I don't know exist, what vendors have the best flavor at a good price, what is the best style cup to use (I use a coffee mug), ect. So if anyone wants to throw some information or opinions at me or point me somewhere, I'd appreciate it.
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Re: A few questions from a beginner...

Postby JBaymore » Nov 7th, '13, 22:10

Welcome aboard (both to tea and to TeaChat).

I'd start off by spending some time reading the various threads that are located here. There is an unbeliveable wealth of information here.

Start there.. and then you can focus down to some more directed questions.

There is a WORLD out there. :D

best,

................john
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Re: A few questions from a beginner...

Postby Chip » Nov 7th, '13, 22:56

JBaymore wrote:Welcome aboard (both to tea and to TeaChat).

I'd start off by spending some time reading the various threads that are located here. There is an unbeliveable wealth of information here.

Start there.. and then you can focus down to some more directed questions.

There is a WORLD out there. :D

best,

................john

+1! There are forums here for many types of teas and we have many vendor members as well.

Heed john's advice and just start reading! We will be more than glad to help you start your never ending TeaJourney . :mrgreen:
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Re: A few questions from a beginner...

Postby chingwa » Nov 7th, '13, 23:31

I learned that the two I liked were actually blends of several teas, so I had to pay for multiple scoops which got expensive fast.

:shock: that sounds like the biggest scam... just shy of my car service center.

For what it's worth, I get all my tea online, and don't even bother with storefront merchants anymore. Like said above, you'll find enough info on these forums to keep you busy for a very long time :D
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Re: A few questions from a beginner...

Postby debunix » Nov 8th, '13, 03:30

[quote="chingwa"]For what it's worth, I get all my tea online, and don't even bother with storefront merchants anymore./quote]

+1, for the most part. I get selected teas from a local chinatown tea shop, but I am very selective about which teas I buy there and when (related to usual harvest times). As for other types of teas that are out there, I think none are more widely approachable than oolongs. They come in very delicate teas that are close to greens in flavor but far less bitter, to teas that are deeply roasted and toasty/earthy, and every sort of sweet, floral, spicy, and fruity in between. But the key to them for a beginner, as I recommend them, is that they're easier to brew well than greens (where time & temperature need careful attention to avoid a bitter brew) and blacks (where bitter is almost unavoidable in most). Some puerhs are equally approachable, but some that are now among my favorites can be so harsh if brewed carelessly that they could extinguish your interest before given a good chance.
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Re: A few questions from a beginner...

Postby toasterburn » Nov 8th, '13, 10:44

Ok, might try an oolong next.

This might sound dumb, but so far the only thing I've figured out is that I don't like "fruity" teas, and the teas I've liked have tasted either "earthy" (see black tea) or tasted kind of like honey (the blend of teas from Teavana).

I guess the problem is that there are hundreds of choices out there and I can't afford to try more then a few. And I'd hate to blow my entire tea budget on teas that I wouldn't like. Wish there was a way I could sample several at once, but besides Teavana there aren't any tea shops around here.
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Re: A few questions from a beginner...

Postby ethan » Nov 8th, '13, 12:01

toasterburn, The flavors that you like come together in Yunnan Jig which is sold by adagioteas. You've been well advised by others w/ what was said about reading, oolong, etc.; however, as you journey into tea & want to keep costs down, you might buy a quantity of that to keep you happy about flavors & cost.
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Re: A few questions from a beginner...

Postby Chip » Nov 8th, '13, 12:58

toasterburn wrote:I guess the problem is that there are hundreds of choices out there and I can't afford to try more then a few. And I'd hate to blow my entire tea budget on teas that I wouldn't like. Wish there was a way I could sample several at once, but besides Teavana there aren't any tea shops around here.

There are online tastings including TeaChat's OTTI. I generally target one "kind" of tea and offer ~4-6 selections from either one vendor or several. Sometimes member/vendors will also conduct similar tastings.
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Re: A few questions from a beginner...

Postby toasterburn » Nov 8th, '13, 13:18

ethan wrote:toasterburn, The flavors that you like come together in Yunnan Jig which is sold by adagioteas.


I'll add that one to my "try list". Thanks.

Chip wrote:There are online tastings including TeaChat's OTTI. I generally target one "kind" of tea and offer ~4-6 selections from either one vendor or several. Sometimes member/vendors will also conduct similar tastings.


This sounds interesting. I'd definitely like to be included in the next one.
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Re: A few questions from a beginner...

Postby toasterburn » Nov 9th, '13, 15:21

For the record, I just put in an order from Adagio for some Yunnan Jig, White Blueberry, and a custom blend that I think will be close to the Teavana tea I liked. After that I might try some of their sample packs.

Still looking for the right tea ware.
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Re: A few questions from a beginner...

Postby MIKE_B » Nov 9th, '13, 17:45

I might suggest you look into a small gaiwan and cup or maybe a tea testing set like Adagio carries. Then you can buy lots of samples and drink smaller amounts. This allows you to try a lot of teas without breaking the bank and ending up with large bags of tea you don't care for.
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Re: A few questions from a beginner...

Postby toasterburn » Nov 9th, '13, 20:30

I do want to get a gaiwan; and also a kyusu. I browsed some antique stores today and they didn't have anything like that, I'm sure I'll have to order online. But I did come home with this teapot ($6). Hopefully it can get me by until I can find something better.


Image

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A few questions from a beginner...

Postby mcrdotcom » Nov 12th, '13, 18:55

Firstly, welcome :)

Now, as someone who is relatively new to the world of tea and teachat I can try and offer some advice from what I've learned (and I'm still learning).

I think the first important thing it's to be patient, tea is impossible to get right over night. So pick teas you think you will like and go from there, slowly try different samples (maybe buy one or two samples with every order you place for a tea you know you like?). And diversify, if you try a greener oolong one week, try a roasted one or other tea type completely the next :)

With the teaware, I usually try to get cups or brewing vessels every 2 or 3 orders (I usually throw in an inexpensive cup set or Gaiwan with large orders). You can get good enough Gaiwans for €10 (I guess that's $15ish?).

Ask! Use the instant messenger! If you really want to try oolong, look at the recommended oolong vendor list, ask whoever is online on the messenger, or hey, private message someone from this thread :) I had no idea about puerhs, Oolongs or yixing (still don't but sure,
I try :L) but I asked for help and I was pointed in the direction of a teachat vendor who's advice and help has helped so much! I'm starting to get a grasp on Oolongs, I feel more confident in general about ordering my tea and teaware! :)

I know you got into tea as a healthy alternative to soft drinks and it's a great convenient, tasty drink to have! But at a closer look, it's a hobby, it's fun, it can be exciting! I spend most of my time lately just thinking about what tea to get next XD So just experiment, ask for help and have fun :)

+1 to all those recommending oolong as a way forward! So so tasty, you can get savoury butter like tea that satisfies those guilty cravings we all get, or spicy and chocolate flavours that remind you of Christmas and winter XD And every other flavour in between XD I would suggest white tea (silver needle specifically) because it's not terrible hard to brew (temperature is essential though) and it yields a light but nice flavour (can be sweet, grainy, vegetal) and it kick started my love for loose leaf (I've been drinking black tea bags with milk my whole life).

So yeah, hope that was some help! I'm currently drinking a 20 year old Tie Guan Yin thrown into my last order by the vendor mentioned above, and this time 6 months ago I didnt even know what TGY was, let alone it could be 20 years old! :P

:)
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