[SOLVED] Cheap everyday sencha


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[SOLVED] Cheap everyday sencha

Postby sencha » Nov 21st, '11, 01:11

I'm considering buying Chinese sencha from Upton Tea Imports. Does anyone have any experience with sencha grown in China? I'm wondering if it'll taste anything similar to Adagio's "Sencha Overture," which I absolutely loved, but I'm looking for a cheaper alternative to buy in bulk. I'm new to loose leaf teas and I've sampled a few of Adagio's offerings (and loved them), but Upton is a lot cheaper on almost everything and they have such a large selection. I know they're probably not top quality, but I don't need and can't afford many of the more expensive teas, so as long as the tea is decent, I'll be happy. So my second question is: is Upton a decent tea company for someone like me?

I did a search but didn't come up with any satisfactory answers specific to my question.

Thanks 8)
Last edited by sencha on Nov 10th, '12, 15:54, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Chinese vs Japanese sencha

Postby Chip » Nov 21st, '11, 01:40

Hi Sencha, it is amazing nobody ever too that name on TeaChat.

Chinese sencha is generally bad, period. And frankly Upton has too many teas for them to be fresh, especially greens ... IMHO. I used to buy a lot from Upton but once I moved on, I never looked back.

Having such a large selection is seductive to a tea lover, but she is a siren at best.
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Re: Chinese vs Japanese sencha

Postby sencha » Nov 21st, '11, 01:49

Hey Chip,

Thanks for the fast response :D If not Upton, what are my other choices for fairly cheap greens? I don't need top quality. I'd like to buy in bulk and the most I can afford is Adagio's gunpowder at the moment. If I went with Upton, I'd be able to buy other types of tea as well considering they're cheap. However, being cheap and good at the same time is an oxymoron I guess.

Thank you :)
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Re: Chinese vs Japanese sencha

Postby Stentor » Nov 21st, '11, 08:37

Take a look at this thread for affordable sencha options:
http://www.teachat.com/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=15886

I recommend Maiko's "Kamo" as a budget sencha. Maiko say that you can buy from them in larger quantities so I am sure you could work something out with them if you really wanted to buy in bulk.

However, remember that freshness is a concern with sencha, so I would suggest to buy several smaller bags instead of one big one and keep the unopened ones in the fridge.

Also, you don't want to buy something in bulk of which you aren't certain that you'll like it. So make a few small purchases before you decide on what to commit to for a larger purchase.

And I just wouldn't buy Chinese sencha..
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Re: Chinese vs Japanese sencha

Postby sherubtse » Nov 21st, '11, 08:40

sencha wrote:If not Upton, what are my other choices for fairly cheap greens? I don't need top quality.


I think that O-Cha has some great teas that are reasonably priced. Take a look at them. (For example, the Daily Sencha is a very nice tea for a modest price.) Hard to know what you mean by "fairly cheap", though, so perhaps you could elaborate.

Best wishes,
sherubtse
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Re: Chinese vs Japanese sencha

Postby rdl » Nov 21st, '11, 15:38

sencha,
there is great advice to be had on TC but every question can be subjectively asked and subjectively answered. best to purchase a sample from upton and taste it, make up your own mind if you like it or not, and decide what to do from there. if you're looking for a tea to drink don't compare to other teas, just taste and accept or reject. you already know the quality level you're buying into from upton.
as you are ready to spend more and look for other tea, you did come to the right place. lots of really experienced tea drinkers here who are generous with helping.
you can also check a store like mitsuwa. they carry big company tea brands - some blended with tea from outside japan, some not. but the price/quality may be what you're looking for. however if you're ethics of buying tea is to avoid corperations, best to find another alternative.
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Re: Chinese vs Japanese sencha

Postby teaisme » Nov 21st, '11, 17:12

rdl wrote: best to purchase a sample from upton and taste it, make up your own mind if you like it or not, and decide what to do from there. if you're looking for a tea to drink don't compare to other teas, just taste and accept or reject.


+1
I know a group of people who are perfectly happy drinking china sencha and adore it. Make your own preferences by trying as many different sencha as you can. Stick around here for a while, opportunities to try different things will likely show themselves.
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Re: Chinese vs Japanese sencha

Postby Chip » Nov 21st, '11, 18:02

Why stop with Chinese sencha ... there is Brazilian sencha offered by Yamamotoyama. :arrow:

Since the OP asked for an opinion on Upton's offerings, I offered my own personal experience. their greens were terribly unpredictable and often tasted very old ... and they almost never provide harvest info on their greens.

Funny coincidence. A few days ago I found the old tin of Chinese sencha I had purchased probably 10 years ago ... maybe it is better now. :lol:

Lesson gleaned from this discussion. I agree, try new teas but since you are trying to watch your TeaBudget ... buying in bulk might sound tempting, but we have all had buyer's remorse with teas we have purchased. And like this Chinese sencha, it sits and sits as a reminder of money wasted.

Good luck in your search! :mrgreen: And ...

"... like what you drink, drink what you like."

(oh, a last warning. often a tea you bought cheap ... when you go to rebuy it could be replaced by a whole new lot of better or worse tea)
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Re: Chinese vs Japanese sencha

Postby David R. » Nov 21st, '11, 21:25

I'd say this is a little like wine, in my mind at least. You can find some truly good ones made from different countries, but if you want to know what the real stuff is like, you'll have to try french wine sooner or later (and please, not the Beaujolais Nouveau... :roll: )

You may find some decent chinese sencha, but if you want to know what real sencha is like, not necessarily for a lot of money, you will find some good advice on this forum to find some japanese ones.
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Re: Chinese vs Japanese sencha

Postby rdl » Nov 22nd, '11, 00:48

David R. wrote:I'd say this is a little like wine, in my mind at least. You can find some truly good ones made from different countries, but if you want to know what the real stuff is like, you'll have to try french wine sooner or later (and please, not the Beaujolais Nouveau... :roll: )

You may find some decent chinese sencha, but if you want to know what real sencha is like, not necessarily for a lot of money, you will find some good advice on this forum to find some japanese ones.


do you really mean "real"? is a USD25 vin de cahors more real than a USD125 Brunello di Montalcino from italy?
but i understand... oh, la douce france :D where is the fingers to lips kiss smilie?
i absolutely agree. to taste the best of sencha it must be japanese. but to enjoy an everyday tea, why not brasil, or vietnam, china or wherever else the japanese have gone (like the french venturing to california to plant vineyards) to grow tea?
from the previous post -
"(oh, a last warning. often a tea you bought cheap ... when you go to rebuy it could be replaced by a whole new lot of better or worse tea)"
i have never tried green tea from upton but i did suggest the big company brands that blend their teas to keep a consistent brand taste. upton, like most companies, offers a generous return policy on bad tea or tea bought and not wanted. my point was not to buy from upton as much as it was that by tasting a tea is the best way to decide if one likes it or not, regardless it's origins.
i know what i am expecting with wines from the Languedoc, (it's not bordeaux if i would be told to buy the best of french wine) but i cannot resist from trying some of the wine from the young winemakers there. and it's where wine grapes were first grown in France, just like tea and china! :lol:
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Re: Chinese vs Japanese sencha

Postby Chip » Nov 22nd, '11, 00:59

rdl wrote: "(oh, a last warning. often a tea you bought cheap ... when you go to rebuy it could be replaced by a whole new lot of better or worse tea)"
i have never tried green tea from upton but i did suggest the big company brands that blend their teas to keep a consistent brand taste. upton, like most companies, offers a generous return policy on bad tea or tea bought and not wanted. my point was not to buy from upton as much as it was that by tasting a tea is the best way to decide if one likes it or not, regardless it's origins.

Heh, my comments were not directed at anyone ... just the topic. :idea:

I do however have a lot of green experience with Upton ... and yes, they do have a pretty liberal return policy.
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Re: Chinese vs Japanese sencha

Postby rdl » Nov 22nd, '11, 01:15

Chip wrote:
rdl wrote: "(oh, a last warning. often a tea you bought cheap ... when you go to rebuy it could be replaced by a whole new lot of better or worse tea)"
i have never tried green tea from upton but i did suggest the big company brands that blend their teas to keep a consistent brand taste. upton, like most companies, offers a generous return policy on bad tea or tea bought and not wanted. my point was not to buy from upton as much as it was that by tasting a tea is the best way to decide if one likes it or not, regardless it's origins.

Heh, my comments were not directed at anyone ... just the topic. :idea:

I do however have a lot of green experience with Upton ... and yes, they do have a pretty liberal return policy.

chip,
my computer knowledge is probably as poor as my tea knowledge :lol: if i could quote from 2 different posts in a single post of mine i think the general idea would have been clearer that the problem you mentioned can/does happen often and i mentioned a few safeguards.
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Re: Chinese vs Japanese sencha

Postby Chip » Nov 22nd, '11, 01:22

rdl wrote: my computer knowledge is probably as poor as my tea knowledge :lol: if i could quote from 2 different posts in a single post of mine i think the general idea would have been clearer that the problem you mentioned can/does happen often and i mentioned a few safeguards.

Actually, Upton is the only tea company that I returned tea (and/or asked for a refund) on a tea purchase.

BTW, if you look below the new post window (where you type a new post), recent posts are listed along with "quote" icons for each post that you can click to add multiple quotes to a post. I hope that helps.
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Re: Chinese vs Japanese sencha

Postby Oni » Nov 22nd, '11, 02:49

Look at the teachat`s japanese tea vendor guide, many of them have a sencha for every budget, I say buy 400 grams at once, and buy again when it is gone, it is that simple, and later on you will be able to tell the diffrence between teas. Stay away from vendors like teavana, and upton, and generally those who sell teabags only.
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Re: Chinese vs Japanese sencha

Postby sencha » Nov 25th, '11, 18:49

I took everything everyone said into consideration but decided to buy a few samples from Upton to see if they're satisfactory enough for my tastes. I did buy a sample of their Chinese sencha, but I also got some sencha and gyokuro from Japan, just to compare. I didn't spend much money, so if it turns out to be old/stale, that's okay. I'll drink regardless, unless it's rotten or moldy of course... :P I'll let you guys know how it turns out.

Chip wrote:Why stop with Chinese sencha ... there is Brazilian sencha offered by Yamamotoyama. :arrow:

What exactly makes a sencha a sencha? Do any steamed green teas qualify, or is there more to it than that? I'm drinking Stash's bagged premium green tea right now whose description is:
Stash Premium Green tea is grown in Yamamotoyama's Brazilian tea gardens. Our Premium Green tea is expertly processed. Beautifully handled leaves are steam processed in the traditional Japanese style to preserve the flavor, fragrance, and color of the fresh leaf. The finished tea leaves are a vibrant green that brew into a bright golden-green liquor with a delicately herbaceous, slightly sweet and nutty flavor.

So am I technically drinking sencha, even if it's not anywhere near the quality of loose leaf sencha?

Thanks for your opinions everyone! If it does turn out to be a bad experience, I'll listen to you guys next time. :wink:
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