I'm new to tea, but this seems off.


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I'm new to tea, but this seems off.

Postby Crafty_Mom » Mar 26th, '10, 10:59

We are relatively new to tea, but have tried a few companies and intend on buying more. The first company we tried had simply amazing tea, but some customer service issues. We tried another company that came very well recommended, but I'm getting the impression that something isn't right. I went to brew some of the tea, (in an ingenuiTEA maker) but found it to be fairly weak, even if I over brewed or used a higher temperature and noticed that some of the leaves weren't unfurling like I'd come to expect. On closer inspection I found a very large number of stems in the tea. Not leaves with stems still attached. Just the stems. I'd say they made up maybe a quarter of the tea. The other teas I bought from this particular company (not adagio, a different one) also had a high number of stems and very weak flavor.

Now, since I'm pretty new to loose leaf tea, having just started around December, I'm not sure if this is typical or if I've just found a company with poor standards. Can anyone fill me in?
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Re: I'm new to tea, but this seems off.

Postby Chip » Mar 26th, '10, 11:04

Some more details would be helpful since certain teas are going to contain stems and/or leaf veins by design.

One thing to consider, if the weak teas are more fluffy when dry, more tea leaf volume needs to be used.

Also some teas are naturally lighter in all aspects ...

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Re: I'm new to tea, but this seems off.

Postby Crafty_Mom » Mar 26th, '10, 11:07

Thank you! I'm enjoying it. My husband is taking this little journey with me. The specific tea in question was English breakfast, but I have several other varieties of black tea I purchased from them at the same time with the same issue. I wouldn't consider them to be fluffy, assuming I would know fluffy if saw it. :)
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Re: I'm new to tea, but this seems off.

Postby Chip » Mar 26th, '10, 11:21

And where are the weak and stemmy teas from?
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Re: I'm new to tea, but this seems off.

Postby Victoria » Mar 26th, '10, 11:24

I think it's pretty typical of midrange sellers. If you are looking for premium whole leaf, you need to go to smaller specialized vendors.
There are a few midrange vendors who carry premium leaf, you will know by the price.

What type of tea are you looking for? We can probably give you some
good recommends.

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Re: I'm new to tea, but this seems off.

Postby Crafty_Mom » Mar 26th, '10, 11:24

I'm ashamed to say I bought into the hype, but they are from Teavana.

I really like black teas, especially English breakfast and chai, and then certain herbals as well. I just placed an order with Mountain Rose Herbs...a small order, because I feel stupid about how much tea I bought from Teavana that I don't like. We're just trying different places now to see if we can find the same quality. Any suggestions on place would be fantastic.
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Re: I'm new to tea, but this seems off.

Postby Chip » Mar 26th, '10, 11:33

Well, I guess you won't be going back to Teavana for tea. :lol:

English Breakfast can mean a blend of blacks or a Keemun straight up. Given your experience, it sounds like a blend and not a good one.

There are lots of vendors to choose from, many are either listed in the individual tea type forums, but also in the TeaVendor forum here that is admittedly still pretty new.
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Re: I'm new to tea, but this seems off.

Postby Crafty_Mom » Mar 26th, '10, 11:42

Oh, my goodness, never again! :lol: I had never heard of them before this, since we don't have any of their stores in our area. I just thought they were a speciality tea store. I also didn't like the flavorings. I like flavored tea, but it has to be flavored with real ingredients.

Thank you, Chip and Victoria, for all your help!
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Re: I'm new to tea, but this seems off.

Postby entropyembrace » Mar 26th, '10, 11:44

I´ve had a few good stemmy teas and only one of them was a black it was a yunnan that was processed so the stems were very heavily oxidized, dark and soft...this just sounds like they blended stems with the english breakfast to cut costs...

I buy my black teas from Thunderbolt, Jing Tea Shop and Steeps (which is local but they do have a website with some teas for order online though I´ve never tried using it since the physical store is just a short walk away)

Also like Chip said you can check the Tea Vendor guide on this forum :)
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Re: I'm new to tea, but this seems off.

Postby Crafty_Mom » Mar 26th, '10, 11:52

Thank you so much! I guess we're just chalking this one up to a learning experience, like where not to buy from.

Thank you all again for the help and the welcome! I do believe I'll be sticking around.
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Re: I'm new to tea, but this seems off.

Postby Alucard » Mar 26th, '10, 12:49

I dont recall ever seeing stems in black teas i have had...maybe I wasnt looking close enough.

If you have a store near you that sells Rishi's tea by the ounce (whole foods and wegmans around here) you should give them a try. You can get a small amount of tea for a few dollars. I recommend you try their china breakfast, it's fairly strong and malty...I do not follow their suggested brewing, it makes the tea way to strong for me.

Store Locator http://www.rishi-tea.com/locator.php

China breakfast http://www.rishi-tea.com/store/china-breakfast-organic-fair-trade-black-tea.html
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Re: I'm new to tea, but this seems off.

Postby Crafty_Mom » Mar 26th, '10, 13:02

I'm unfortunately in an area where we don't have a lot of specialty anythings. I do know Wegmans, but we don't have any here. Walmart. Target. Publix. That's pretty much it. :? The next nearest large shopping places would be like a day trip, not just a few minutes. Online is the way we have to go.
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