Hello from New Orleans!


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Hello from New Orleans!

Postby Cagan » Apr 5th, '12, 14:25

After going to Teavana my (soon to be) fiance and I fell in love with loose leaf teas. We got the jasmin pearls, a peach tranquility, monkey picked oolong, and a samurai chai matte mixed with white ayurvedic. We really love all of our teas but after doing more research we found that we could order even better quality teas at a cheaper price! There's a tea and spice company here in new orleans, but I'm not sure if their quality is any good either. We really hope to learn as much as possible from this forum, as well as acquire numerous high quality teas! I see people posting all over the forums about tons of different types of greens, oolongs, and others. Can any of you recommend a place that we can get some really high quality versions of the teas that we got from teavana, as well as a place we can get some really nice taster packs so we can discover new ones? I really like the mate teas for the caffeine - and the oolong for the digestive benefits. Any store recommendations would be really great! We want to get started but there's just so much out there its overwhelming! We look forward to getting to know you all better and discovering this lovely world of tea!
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Re: Hello from New Orleans!

Postby teaisme » Apr 5th, '12, 15:01

Hi !

The straight teas, jasmine pearl and monkey picked are easy to finder better and cheaper versions of.
The blends you listed may be another story, lots more time and effort to source individual components of the blend, then extra time to tweak it.
Adagio does seem to do lots blends though...how they compare to teavanas I do not know

Jingteashop.com has good fairly priced teas along with options for 25g and 50g samples.
This is cheaper then the over priced monkey picked and is likely leagues better. http://www.jingteashop.com/pd-jing-tea- ... -ljtgy.cfm

Jasmine scented teas will be released soon at jing. Red tea taster may interest you. The Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong under red teas is fantastic if you like smokey stuff. Can't go wrong with the wuyi or dancong oolongs as well.

Nice to see such enthusiasm after discovering tea. May I recommend that you ensure your water source and water heating method are adequate before you venture tooo far. Once you get into straight teas the difference between same tea brewed with different waters can be drastic. Wouldn't want to waste the teas potential (that tea in the link has lots!).

Den's tea has a $3 green tea sampler http://www.denstea.com/bnew-to-dens-tea ... 7_386.html.
This will give you a good intro into some tastes japanese teas have. You mention you drink for caffeine as well. I find that japanese senchas can be very invigorating with energy, but the more calm less jittery kind since it seems other components in the tea help balance it out. They will definitely give you that morning kick many people seek.

Happy drinking!
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Re: Hello from New Orleans!

Postby Cagan » Apr 5th, '12, 22:30

Thank you so much for all of the information! For the straight teas, would bottled spring water be the best way to go? Or just purified water? Any other info would be great! I don't mind spending a few extra dollars for the high quality stuff. Does organic mean that its better? Do you like jasmine green tea dragon pearls? What exactly is that? Just jasmine scented green tea? Thanks!

EDIT: Is there a general agreement as to which countries produce the best types of teas? It seems that Japan has the best greens according to the denstea site. Thanks!
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Re: Hello from New Orleans!

Postby Chip » Apr 5th, '12, 23:08

Cagan wrote:Is there a general agreement as to which countries produce the best types of teas? It seems that Japan has the best greens according to the denstea site. Thanks!

Welllll, den's has an ulterior motive. However, I say they do! :mrgreen:

Seriously, that is a very subjective thing. A lot of variables come into play as well. However, seriously ... Japan has the best steamed green teas!!!
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Re: Hello from New Orleans!

Postby debunix » Apr 5th, '12, 23:32

Welcome!

Wonderful teas can come from many different sources. One of my favorite oolongs comes from Hawaii, and I've gotten a lovely white tea that was grown quite local to me, in the southern california coast. But when it comes to green teas, traditional styles vary so much between, say, Japan, China, and Korea that to try to rank them would be mostly pointless.

Rather than trying to focus on the one true absolute best of anything, I'd recommend the Den's sampler mentioned above (a 'gateway drug' to my current moderate sencha habit, and major contributor to my chinese and Korean green tea drinking as well), and lots of similar samplers and small quantities of teas from different sources, to play with and find out what you really prefer. Then you're in a better position to start to specialize in one or several categories of tea, or to continue as a confirmed tea omnivore (drinking all kinds).

I've really enjoyed small sampler orders from Norbu, Den's, Jingteashop, and Yunnan Sourcing.
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Re: Hello from New Orleans!

Postby Dresden » Apr 6th, '12, 07:28

Greeting from your neighbor to the south (Houma)...

Enough cannot be said about Den's $3 sampler for a good representation of what Japanese teas have to offer.

As for other styles of tea I recommend getting suggestions from the TeaVendor Guide section of the forum. There you will find a list of vendors for each style of tea as well as review threads for specific vendors.

You will find that many vendors there offer sample sizes of their tea. This makes it very cost effective to broaden your horizons. Be prepared though, because this whole tea thing becomes addictive!

All the best,
Mike
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Re: Hello from New Orleans!

Postby teaisme » Apr 6th, '12, 14:01

heh I will say that for me it has been a very beneficial addiction :mrgreen:

Cagan wrote:would bottled spring water be the best way to go? Or just purified water?


Filtered tap water can be more then sufficient depending on where you live. Unfortunately for me where I live (southeast) it's really not acceptable.
Some friends in ny and washington state though have some very useable tap water. I resort to bottled spring water unfortunately :twisted:

Walgreens, CVS, walmart etc all have 3L bottles of spring water under the nestle umbrella (deer park, poland spring, ice mountain etc). These are for the most part are pretty similar and can give you a middle of the road benchmark to compare to your tap. If you find them about the same lucky you !

Next your kettle should not put off any off smells, chemical, heavy metallic etc. No rubber gaskets etc where the water boils. If you have been using one of those kettles for a while though it may be fine since time and use washes away lots of the stuff that can leech out and affect taste. Smell (in kettle and cup) is a good indicator. Very simple stainless stove kettle or a more pricey decent electric kettle are good starter kettles. Later on you may wish to further explore other sources of heat and the intricacies and practical applications/benefits that come with them.

Cagan wrote:Do you like jasmine green tea dragon pearls? What exactly is that? Just jasmine scented green tea?


yes I do like a good jasmine, but it's very hard to find one that suits me (mellow, not too sweet and perfume smelling, thicker liqueur consistency). Here is a teavendor website you may enjoy reading through, lots of info on specific teas, brewing suggestions, articles on this and that. Gives you a good glimpse of some aspects of the tea world.

http://hojotea.com/item_e/s01e.htm
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Re: Hello from New Orleans!

Postby Cagan » Apr 6th, '12, 18:27

Thanks for all your information guys! We went ahead and ordered the $3 sample pack, as well as the oolong linked in the first reply. We also got the following stuff from Adagio:

earl grey moonlight 3oz
gyokuro sample
chamomile 6oz
mate sampler (herbal teas)
orchard sampler (herbal teas)
amber sugar crystals 10oz
tea cookies - white berry
3 storage tins

I'm going to assume that any of the vendors featured in the vendor forums are really good. Is that a valid assumption? I just want to make sure that we don't get something that's sub par quality. If we wanted that - we'd go to Teavana (according to a search I did on these forums Teavana has bad quality). There's so much we want to try and I just hope that, as long as we use the vendors on the forums, we are headed in the right direction.

Thanks so much for all your help. We really love tea and look forward to getting more involved in this world!
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Re: Hello from New Orleans!

Postby Dresden » Apr 6th, '12, 22:35

I would still do a forum search on a particular vendor just to be safe. Another good resource where you can browse by rating, company or tea type is Steepster. Before I try a new tea I usually search there to see if anyone had any experiences with that particular tea.

For some nice video reviews also check out Walker Tea Review.

Again, keep in mind that these are user reviews and your mileage may vary.

All the best,
Mike
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Re: Hello from New Orleans!

Postby Cagan » Apr 7th, '12, 00:15

Thank you all so much for your replies! It seems like the Steepster site has a wide array of mixed reviews. I'm not sure how to perceive that given that everyone brews differently. The Walker reviews are great and informative, I just wish there were more recent ones in the 92-95 rated section (I haven't looked at the other ones).

When I go to the TeaVendor forums it seems like there's some sort of nomination system to put a certain vendor on the thread. Teavana, for instance, isn't on any of those major threads. Of course I'll continue to search the specific vendors - but it seems that the recommended ones are pretty solid, right? My (very soon to be) fiance and I are so excited about getting all these Tea's. There is so much information that we're delving to (while drinking tea :)) but it is overwhelming. Your replies are helping immensely so again we thank you!
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Re: Hello from New Orleans!

Postby Chip » Apr 7th, '12, 00:30

No, Teavana has never been nominated for the TeaVendor forum. But there are a few topics on Teavana including this whopping 37 page topic: http://www.teachat.com/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=7509
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Re: Hello from New Orleans!

Postby debunix » Apr 7th, '12, 01:21

The TeaVendor forum topics are not really up to date--there are quite a few nominated but not yet included vendors, so it's good to keep in mind that they're not a comprehensive resource.
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Re: Hello from New Orleans!

Postby Chip » Apr 7th, '12, 01:34

... true ...

Though almost all nominated vendors are both listed in the nomination topics and a topic created has been created for many but locked waiting for completion.

I need to make this project a priority!
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Re: Hello from New Orleans!

Postby debunix » Apr 7th, '12, 01:35

(nudge nudge)
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Re: Hello from New Orleans!

Postby Cagan » Apr 15th, '12, 21:38

Quick question: I got the sampler package from Den's Tea. I'm reading through the manual they sent and it says that unopened tea should be stored in a refrigerated space. Is that important? I haven't put them in the refrigerator yet so I'm worried that they might be ruined. I just got it in the mail yesterday and I haven't opened any of the packets. So should I go ahead and put them in the refrigerator? Also, the package came with little tea filters. It doesn't say what to do with them. Besides just using premium water and boiling it at the specified temperature, is there something special I need to do to brew this tea? It doesn't say anything more specific than that in the manual but I assumed there was something more to it when I saw the little white packet labeled "Tea Filters"
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