Tea journey - what's next


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Tea journey - what's next

Postby Noonie » Jun 21st, '14, 20:57

I've been drinking quality loose tea from vendors recommend here for about two years. My current pattern is 2 cups of Sencha when I wake up, a couple more mid-morning and then a gong fu session with oolong after dinner. I also dabble with Gyokuro. In terms of oolong I've had Wuyi, TGY, Dan Cong and others (entry to mid price). I have a couple kyusu's and Gaiwans, and one yixing.

Those with more years experience have probably been in a similar spot...where you have a good grounding in varieties of tea, technique, some teaware, and varying levels of experimentation. So what's next? Continue to try different teas, aged teas, single bush and other specialties, different vendors (all of the above)? I feel like I know my Sencha and have ones I like more than others. But with Oolong there is so much out there...
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Re: Tea journey - what's next

Postby ethan » Jun 22nd, '14, 09:05

noonie, Others here have more experience & knowledge, but I reply because the ? comes up for me sometimes. First, if routine is serving you well, don't ruin it. Having room in your routine for experimentation & inclusion of new teas is different from abandoning a routine. Last, matcha or puerh, seems to be where many here go for variety & challenges. I tried pu for a while, then had a reality check. I don't have the $, space, & time for it (& probably not for matcha either). Then I decided to get into black. Black tea does not require special technique, teaware, nor storage but can be dynamic & wonderful in flavor & aroma.
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Re: Tea journey - what's next

Postby debunix » Jun 22nd, '14, 13:53

I'm now about 5 or 6 years into my 'real' tea journey--after many years of drinking a very restricted group of teas (basically two name brands that I knew well), and in the last couple of years what I've done to keep things 'fresh' is to keep slipping something different into my tea orders---a tea from a new region, a new style of a tea I've already enjoyed, ordering from a new supplier with different sources, or comparing different harvests from one region (e.g., a lovely set of winter/spring/summer/fall Alishans from Norbu some time back), or OTTIs.
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Re: Tea journey - what's next

Postby sherubtse » Jun 24th, '14, 07:16

You could also try different brewing vessels and styles, mixing and matching with different types of teas.

Best wishes,
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Re: Tea journey - what's next

Postby steanze » Jun 28th, '14, 04:56

If you haven't yet, I'd say try to work on the water. It's amazing the extent to which that can change your tea. I'd experiment with tap water vs various bottled waters, as well as trying different kinds of kettles (e.g. steel/ceramic/tetsubin)...
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Re: Tea journey - what's next

Postby ethan » Jun 28th, '14, 11:02

+1 to advice of Steanze
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Re: Tea journey - what's next

Postby Noonie » Jun 28th, '14, 11:44

I should clarify:

- i'm very satisfied with my green tea 'routines', even though I mix those up from time to time for fun and experimentation (different leaf, vendors, leaf/water ratio and brew time, etc.)
- I've tried different water and I'm happy with what I'm using
- I continue to look at acquiring new tea ware, but I'm patient and more interested in the leaf/liquor

So what I'm really after (and thanks for helping me understand) is "what's next with oolong". I say this because I see more depth...like a hierarchy diagram where oolong has so many layers beneath, both across and down. I've only touched on a few of those options, so I can go wider to try very different types of oolong, and/or deeper so I can explore one by age, bush, vendor, etc. For example, I really like Dan Cong after trying just one sample, but there looks to be so much Dan Cong options (as I read on Tea Habitat). For you oolong lovers, what was your journey (I know we're all different...but this is a public forum :) )

Hope this makes sense, and thanks!
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Postby bonescwa » Jun 28th, '14, 13:17

It's just tea. Buy stuff and drink it.
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Re: Tea journey - what's next

Postby JRS22 » Jun 28th, '14, 14:55

Noonie wrote:I should clarify:

So what I'm really after (and thanks for helping me understand) is "what's next with oolong". I say this because I see more depth...like a hierarchy diagram where oolong has so many layers beneath, both across and down. I've only touched on a few of those options, so I can go wider to try very different types of oolong, and/or deeper so I can explore one by age, bush, vendor, etc. For example, I really like Dan Cong after trying just one sample, but there looks to be so much Dan Cong options (as I read on Tea Habitat). For you oolong lovers, what was your journey (I know we're all different...but this is a public forum :) )

Hope this makes sense, and thanks!


It makes sense to me. I tried different types of oolong and fell in love with yancha. The way that I proceeded was by buying from some of the top vendors often mentioned here, that sell samples. For example, I contacted Tea Urchin by email and was able to buy 10 grams each of a variety of teas. That's a way to explore a category without loading up on vast quantities of tea that you may find you don't enjoy, which can prove expensive. They sell taiwan and dancong as well as yancha.

There are other vendors like Tea Urchin that sell sample sizes - its a way to create your own OTTI.
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Re: Tea journey - what's next

Postby hopeofdawn » Jun 29th, '14, 03:22

Personally, oolong is one of my favorite types of tea, and I love exploring different kinds. I would say that if you haven't already, try seeking out new teas, and possibly higher-end teas, as well as refining your techniques with old favorites. Taiwanese oolong is a very different animal than Chinese oolongs, and different regions of China produce very different profiles as well. And you don't have to limit yourself to oolongs--there are some really interesting teas popping up in Africa, New Zealand, Hawaii. Most of them are pretty pricey, but that's why I save them for special treats and only buy a little when I can afford it. It's very fun to explore how the terroir and skill of the teamaker can change a tea, whether it be an oolong, a green or even a white!
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Postby bonescwa » Jun 29th, '14, 20:39

Compare high end and low end and see if there is enough of a difference in quality to justify the price. Experiment with things you aren't "supposed" to do. Once you get over the idea that every time you sit for tea it has to be amazing, you start to experiment and find new ways. I know I was skeptical of this "gong fu cha" being as complicated as people make it out to be. Small things really do make big differences, and you want to brew enough different things that you develop an intuition. So for those just starting out, I would recommend high quality tea, lots of attention to leaf/water ratio, timing, etc to made sure they get something that tastes great and doesn't turn them off of tea. Once you get to the idea that you're going to stick with it, just make a lot of tea, every day if you can. Brew garbage tea, good tea, great tea every way you can think of. Compare vendors and qualities/price points. Invest in some nice equipment.
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Re: Tea journey - what's next

Postby mcrdotcom » Jul 2nd, '14, 07:54

Noonie wrote:I've been drinking quality loose tea from vendors recommend here for about two years. My current pattern is 2 cups of Sencha when I wake up, a couple more mid-morning and then a gong fu session with oolong after dinner. I also dabble with Gyokuro. In terms of oolong I've had Wuyi, TGY, Dan Cong and others (entry to mid price). I have a couple kyusu's and Gaiwans, and one yixing.

Those with more years experience have probably been in a similar spot...where you have a good grounding in varieties of tea, technique, some teaware, and varying levels of experimentation. So what's next? Continue to try different teas, aged teas, single bush and other specialties, different vendors (all of the above)? I feel like I know my Sencha and have ones I like more than others. But with Oolong there is so much out there...



Would you consider matcha to mix up the green tea spectrum?

Also, goashan would be a good place to go with the oolong. Start at the low end, and move up to the highest end you can get, slowly (no one wants to break the bank). Experiment with roasting your own green oolongs. Experiment with different levels of roasted TGY perhaps? There is sooooo much you can do to mix it up.

After some time we all become experienced tea drinkers with our own brewing styles and taste preferences, but in reality most of us know about 1% of the total picture. Tea is something not even a true tea master can achieve 100% clarity on, and this is why it never becomes boring :D There is a new harvest every year, and so there is always something new to look forward to!

Also, try comparing organically grown oolongs to non-organic...

Think outside the box! XD
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