Organic green tea recommendations?


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Organic green tea recommendations?

Postby rickslide » Jun 1st, '11, 00:18

Hi everyone, I'm new to the boards and I'd like to ask for some recommendations. I have been a daily green tea drinker for a few years now. I drink Hibiki-An Organic Sencha Superior (the Premium is to expensive for me to drink every day), and I have not really tried any other vendors (boring I know). I am looking to try some other vendors but I don't know where to start. I want to stay organic, and I think I want to stick with sencha or gyokuro. What vendors do you guys prefer for organic sencha or gyokuro that are around the same price as Hibiki-An?
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Re: Organic green tea recommendations?

Postby NOESIS » Jun 1st, '11, 00:34

I'd definitely check out Yuuki-cha. Imo, a very reliable vendor of organic Japanese teas.
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Re: Organic green tea recommendations?

Postby Chip » Jun 1st, '11, 00:47

Welcome to the forum, rick.

Well, first of all, cheap gyokuro is nasty. And cheap organic gyokuro is just the nastiest. A waste of money! IMHO.

O-Cha has a very good selection of organic teas. Oku Yutaka is a good bet once they restock it and in your price range.

Other vendors, Rishi, Maiko ...

A good way to enjoy and afford more premium selections of Japanese greens in general is to make smaller steeps, 3, 4, 5 ounce steeps are great for premium selections. This reduces the amount of leaf you need to use and makes even premium sencha very affordable and a better value IMHO.

Regarding Yuuki-Cha ... http://www.teachat.com/viewtopic.php?f=60&t=11657&start=30
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Re: Organic green tea recommendations?

Postby NOESIS » Jun 1st, '11, 01:31

I've purposely stayed out of the infamous Yuuki-cha "debate" on this forum. Although some have had issues with this vendor, I've ordered from them consistently for the past three years, 2 or 3 orders per year, and have never had reason to complain. Of the many teas that I've purchased, most were excellent quality. Also, their prices are reasonable, and they offer good shipping options. Gotta say I've been most impressed with their asamushi senchas (which is my favorite style of Japanese green). Tried them all, and they definitely rock. The fukamushis have been more hit or miss. Haven't tried their gyos, but I'd probably not choose an organic version anyway (I've been more than pleased with non-organic versions from Ippodo and O-Cha).
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Re: Organic green tea recommendations?

Postby Chip » Jun 1st, '11, 01:41

Glad you had positive experiences with them. There are clearly 2 sides to the Y-C coin and the coin never lands on its edge.

It is not my intention to discuss this here, thus I posted the link without comment. I will say no more. I prefer to focus on the positives.
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Re: Organic green tea recommendations?

Postby NOESIS » Jun 1st, '11, 01:53

Chip wrote:A good way to enjoy and afford more premium selections of Japanese greens in general is to make smaller steeps, 3, 4, 5 ounce steeps are great for premium selections. This reduces the amount of leaf you need to use and makes even premium sencha very affordable and a better value IMHO.


I absolutely agree with this philosophy.
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Re: Organic green tea recommendations?

Postby Chip » Jun 1st, '11, 02:04

NOESIS wrote:
Chip wrote:A good way to enjoy and afford more premium selections of Japanese greens in general is to make smaller steeps, 3, 4, 5 ounce steeps are great for premium selections. This reduces the amount of leaf you need to use and makes even premium sencha very affordable and a better value IMHO.


I absolutely agree with this philosophy.

I am glad we agree on this. :wink:

Anyway, I had to figure this out on my own, before the days of TeaChat ... it took me years. :roll: :lol:
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Re: Organic green tea recommendations?

Postby Xell » Jun 1st, '11, 06:37

I think most teas in Japan can be called organic, but only small percentage of farmers go through certification. Think about trying teas without organic label too.
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Re: Organic green tea recommendations?

Postby Tead Off » Jun 2nd, '11, 05:17

Xell wrote:I think most teas in Japan can be called organic, but only small percentage of farmers go through certification. Think about trying teas without organic label too.

I don't think this is true about 'most' teas in Japan. Pesticides and non-organic fertilization are commonly used. If we go to most online vendors who sell Japan teas, we find much less organic than non-organic. I'm sure there are small farmers who don't get certification but why wouldn't tea sellers tell you this since it would be a good marketing touch to sell their teas?
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Re: Organic green tea recommendations?

Postby teaisme » Jun 4th, '11, 13:03

I enjoy yuuki as well for my japanese green tea
You may also want to check out zencha.net and rishi has a few organic sencha too, also ocha , I have not tried any of these 3 vendors yet though

but yeah yuuki gyokuro I treat more like a sencha/kabusencha because I never seem to get as many steeps as I would like when brewed very heavy with minimal water, seems to fade rather quick with longer potent infusions

I think they understand this though, hence the price is comparable to their sencha offerings
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Re: Organic green tea recommendations?

Postby gingkoseto » Jun 5th, '11, 14:12

Tead Off wrote: If we go to most online vendors who sell Japan teas, we find much less organic than non-organic. I'm sure there are small farmers who don't get certification but why wouldn't tea sellers tell you this since it would be a good marketing touch to sell their teas?


My understanding is, in Japan, as in US, it's illegal to label a product (on the pack, shelf or web store) "organic" unless it's certified by an approved agency. Vendors may give additional explanation about organic practice, but cannot literally label uncertified product "organic". Such regulation is quite important because everybody can define what organic means to themselves yet the standards may not be the same. This may somewhat explain there is almost no self-labeled organic products in Japan, although some uncertified products may well comply with organic standards.

I have the impression (which has yet to be confirmed) Japan has very strict policies on use of pesticide. But I am not sure about inorganic fertilizer.
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Re: Organic green tea recommendations?

Postby Tead Off » Jun 6th, '11, 00:01

gingkoseto wrote:
Tead Off wrote: If we go to most online vendors who sell Japan teas, we find much less organic than non-organic. I'm sure there are small farmers who don't get certification but why wouldn't tea sellers tell you this since it would be a good marketing touch to sell their teas?


My understanding is, in Japan, as in US, it's illegal to label a product (on the pack, shelf or web store) "organic" unless it's certified by an approved agency. Vendors may give additional explanation about organic practice, but cannot literally label uncertified product "organic". Such regulation is quite important because everybody can define what organic means to themselves yet the standards may not be the same. This may somewhat explain there is almost no self-labeled organic products in Japan, although some uncertified products may well comply with organic standards.

I have the impression (which has yet to be confirmed) Japan has very strict policies on use of pesticide. But I am not sure about inorganic fertilizer.

Is there a law against vendors stating on their website that a tea is grown without the use of pesticides but not certified?
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Re: Organic green tea recommendations?

Postby entropyembrace » Jun 6th, '11, 01:50

Strict controls of the types and quantities of pesticides used is quite a bit different from pesticide free farming.
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Re: Organic green tea recommendations?

Postby gingkoseto » Jun 6th, '11, 12:35

Tead Off wrote:Is there a law against vendors stating on their website that a tea is grown without the use of pesticides but not certified?

I guess not. But it's a complicated issue. For example, is homemade spray from certain natural tree bark considered "pesticide"? Who is the one to judge? My local ranch in MA, when addressing the organic issue, they would say, they can't afford USDA certification. But they got an agricultural program in University of Massachusetts to inspect their operation and product, and certified that their practice complies with all USDA organic standards. From this statement, I see "what" the standards are, "who" endorses it and "when" this claim is valid. Without these "w" factors a statement doesn't include enough information in my eyes.

Certified organic products are allowed to use certain approved organic pesticides, although a producer may choose not to. So use or not use of pesticide doesn't necessarily relate to organic conditions in either way.
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Re: Organic green tea recommendations?

Postby a.serrao » Jun 6th, '11, 16:53

gingkoseto wrote:
Tead Off wrote:Is there a law against vendors stating on their website that a tea is grown without the use of pesticides but not certified?

I guess not. But it's a complicated issue. For example, is homemade spray from certain natural tree bark considered "pesticide"? Who is the one to judge? My local ranch in MA, when addressing the organic issue, they would say, they can't afford USDA certification. But they got an agricultural program in University of Massachusetts to inspect their operation and product, and certified that their practice complies with all USDA organic standards. From this statement, I see "what" the standards are, "who" endorses it and "when" this claim is valid. Without these "w" factors a statement doesn't include enough information in my eyes.

Certified organic products are allowed to use certain approved organic pesticides, although a producer may choose not to. So use or not use of pesticide doesn't necessarily relate to organic conditions in either way.


There are pesticides that are allowed in organic farming. For example (I live in Italy so I can comment only about that country) the insecticide Success produced by Eli Lilly and Dow Agro is based on spinosad, the active ingredient of which is derived from a naturally occurring soil dwelling bacterium called Saccharopolyspora spinosa.
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