Recommended source for Japanese teas?


Made from leaves that have not been oxidized.

Recommended source for Japanese teas?

Postby asterix2k10 » Jun 30th, '13, 23:10

I'm looking for great Gyokuro, Sencha, Matcha, and Hojicha (although I may try making my own.)

I'm looking at Ippodo, Den's, Itoen, O-cha, and Obubu.

How do these compare?

Thanks!
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Re: Recommended source for Japanese teas?

Postby Poohblah » Jul 1st, '13, 00:30

All good choices. I haven't purchased from Obubu though, so I can't speak for that vendor. The top recommendations around here seem to be Maiko for gyokuro and Ippodo for sencha, bancha, houjicha etc. Though I would recommend Maiko's sencha as well. Sorry, I don't have enough experience with matcha to make any recommendations there.
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Re: Recommended source for Japanese teas?

Postby JRS22 » Jul 1st, '13, 11:36

O-Cha has an excellent range of Japanese greens. I'm a particular fan of karigane (stem) tea and to my taste they have the best of that, with real character.
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Re: Recommended source for Japanese teas?

Postby Chip » Jul 1st, '13, 11:51

My current fave 5. Though I have not purchased matcha for too long and rarely buy Hojicha (I always manage to receive some kind of Hojicha gifted, etc.)

O-Cha for sencha, matcha and gyokuro
Zencha for sencha ... some of which have some gyokuro character, matcha
Maiko for sencha and gyokuro. have only had one matcha which was good.
Thes du Japon for sencha ... have not tried their gyokuro nor matcha ... yet
Den's for sencha and matcha
Ippodo for matcha and sencha. Have not tried their gyokuro yet

Oh, that is 6. WTH, one more.

Hakoniwado for sencha and gyokuro. have not tried their matcha
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Re: Recommended source for Japanese teas?

Postby lordmage » Jul 5th, '13, 01:42

well my first taste of a matcha was today at teavana. it was sublime however they used too much matcha and little frothing i ended up with tons of bits that settled to the bottom but it was still pretty good however 20 bucks for 4oz of powder seem overpriced to me. plus i dont know how long matcha in my hands would last. thinking about it thou.
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Re: Recommended source for Japanese teas?

Postby Oni » Jul 5th, '13, 04:30

I have recently received an order from Maiko, I bought the very last of shincha Kinari and Shincha Gyokuro, Fugenji Midori (excelent kuradashi flavour, very sweet and no bitterness, I highly recomend for beginners), and I bought Chiyo Mukashi, it is one of my regular shops.
I can also recommend Horaido teashop, Ippodo, O-cha, Zencha, yuuki-cha, all these are good vendors, don`t look for cheap alternatives, with Japanese tea there is no shortcut, you need to pay for the good stuff, and it is well worth it, every time you get the quality you paid for, which is very hard to say in the chinese tea world.
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Re: Recommended source for Japanese teas?

Postby lordmage » Jul 5th, '13, 05:53

it's not that i want cheapest price i just dont want to be overcharged when i might be able to find it from another source at a lower to door cost.
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Re: Recommended source for Japanese teas?

Postby davidglass » Jul 5th, '13, 09:25

Hi. This is my first post, and I am seeking advice about Japanese green tea vendors. I have read previous posts, so I know what you have previously recommended.
I started drinking green tea, especially gyokuro, in Tokyo many years ago. I would go to tastings at the big department stores and taste 10 or so gyokuros at a time.
I have been ordering gyokuro superior from hibiki-an (7.05 grams for $32, with free shipping for orders of $36.00 or more). I brew 1 1/2 tablespoons at 140 F for 1 minute and 40 seconds. Although I don't get the thick mouth feel of an expensive gyokuro, the aroma and taste are very very good.
Questions:
Why doesn't anyone recommend Hibiki-an?
Where can I get the best gyokuro (Hibiki-an has 7 choices, including sincha)?
Thanks so much.
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Re: Recommended source for Japanese teas?

Postby Chip » Jul 5th, '13, 11:41

Hibiki-an has slipped in "popularity polls" on TeaChat. Why is that? This is not a simple question to answer. Years ago, they were very pop here and mentioned pretty often.

I think part is because Hibiki-an was a gateway supplier for many of us for Japanese greens direct from Japan. However, I may suggest that there may be better suppliers who may also provide better overall value. I used to buy for them quite a bit early on, but I rarely do anymore, partly because I feel I have paid too much for what I received.

Maybe part of this is also because they choose not to participate in our tastings. Tastings provide fodder for discussion on vendors and they clearly increase discussion of participating vendors.
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Re: Recommended source for Japanese teas?

Postby davidglass » Jul 5th, '13, 11:59

Hi Chip,
Thanks for your reply.
In your opinion, what is the best gyokuro on the market these days? (I like the gyokuro superior from hibiki-an for an everyday tea, but I am searching for that ultimate taste experience.)
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Re: Recommended source for Japanese teas?

Postby lordmage » Jul 5th, '13, 12:50

while your at it what is your option on the teavana matcha. 40g for 19.95 plus tax according to the labeling harvested in Nishio, Aichi Prefecture listed ingredient id Tencha green tea.
according to the store employee all it was was ground imperial green loose leaf tea price for that was 20.00$ per 2 oz. mind you the employee was not told about a chacen (sp?) or anything else for that matter. they suggest using the bamboo wish in a cast iron pot.
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Re: Recommended source for Japanese teas?

Postby edkrueger » Jul 5th, '13, 13:23

Matcha isn't made like that. Its not just "imperial green loose leaf" –which appears to be their name for gyokuro– but ground. Matcha is made from tencha –a shade grown tea for grinding into matcha.
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Re: Recommended source for Japanese teas?

Postby lordmage » Jul 5th, '13, 13:45

well i fiqured they were misteaformed now i now why it says tencha on the label.

Edit: alto the two teas i had them step one was matcha yesterday the other was there gyro green tea today they both had very similar notes sort of like raw spinach just the matcha had a longer lasting after note.

Both teas were iced and both had 3 tsp of there german rock sugar (from beet root) both were very nice however they failed in the frothing step they simply used a large cup and electronic frother for a few mins rather than a two step wisk.
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Re: Recommended source for Japanese teas?

Postby amaranto » Jul 5th, '13, 13:53

according to the store employee all it was was ground imperial green loose leaf tea


Oh, my! You would expect the employees there to know what tencha is, or maybe not . . .

I like this matcha for the price and because I don't drink enough matcha to warrant looking any further: https://www.o-cha.com/green-tea/uji-matcha-kiri.html. It froths well with a chasen and if strained—no clumps or anything else along those lines. It also smells fresh and isn't bitter (at least the way I've prepared it).
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Re: Recommended source for Japanese teas?

Postby AdamMY » Jul 5th, '13, 22:04

amaranto wrote:
according to the store employee all it was was ground imperial green loose leaf tea


Oh, my! You would expect the employees there to know what tencha is, or maybe not . . .


Pardon me if this is off topic, but I wouldn't expect the average Teavana employee to know what Ceylon, Assam, or Earl Grey was, let alone TENCHA!
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