Long time lurker and reader of posts (particularly in the green and oolong sections). Finally decided to sign up to ask some questions and learn more about tea.
I first started getting into tea many years ago drinking chinese green tea bags from an asian grocery market. Then I went to live/work in Asia for about a year and learned about Teagschwendner from a co-worker. I was little bit hesitant to try loose tea and didn't know how to prepare it. Luckily my co-worker taught me, and I ended up buying a tea ball and experimenting on my own with chai and green teas. When I came back home, there wasn't many options for tea. I did find out about Teaopia at a local mall and subsequently got into white tea probably because of all the hype and marketing about it's health benefits (which I found out later to be a little exaggerated, at least in my opinion). Teaopia sold out to Teavana, and I started buying their white teas and matcha. Later I became more interested in Japanese tea and saw some sencha by Maeda-en at the same asian grocery market I frequented. I tried some but didn't like it at first, and I struggled to finish the rest of the tea (as I don't like to waste). After a while, I began to miss and yearn for the sencha and since then I've been buying it regularly. I also found this new local tea shop in town that specializes in loose tea and been sampling their chinese greens and just recently their chinese.
I've been meaning to order and try O-cha's teas from the rave reviews here (especially from member Chip ) but I haven't been around to it yet, probably because I'm scared of the shipping and duty tax :/. It's something I'm currently debating...
Anywho, looking forward to chatting and connecting with all the wonderful tea chatters!