Absolute Beginner - Europe buying tips

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Mar 20th 18 2:16 pm
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Absolute Beginner - Europe buying tips

by DWatts » Mar 20th 18 2:16 pm

Hello,

I'm an absolute beginner in tea. I've been drinking Clearspring Sencha on sachets. Recently I came across youtube videos from Mei Leaf and found those very informing so I decided to delve a bit more on the green tea topic.

For the folks living in Europe where do you guys buy your tea from?

Thank you!

Mar 20th 18 5:50 pm
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Re: Absolute Beginner - Europe buying tips

by MuYun » Mar 20th 18 5:50 pm

If you can tell us the country you are from, you can probably get some help from the fellow tea lovers.

:)

Mar 20th 18 10:36 pm
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Re: Absolute Beginner - Europe buying tips

by DWatts » Mar 20th 18 10:36 pm

Portugal :)

Mar 24th 18 2:26 pm
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Re: Absolute Beginner - Europe buying tips

by DWatts » Mar 24th 18 2:26 pm

So far the best I could find with reasonable shipping (without customs being involved) to Portugal is Adagio UK. I guess their Sencha Overture may be a good first experience for a beginner like me?

Also, is Clearspring Sencha any good?

Mar 26th 18 12:56 pm
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Re: Absolute Beginner - Europe buying tips

by MuYun » Mar 26th 18 12:56 pm

I thought you are looking for local vendors/tea shops. If your question was about webshops then there are a lot actually, depending on what kind of teas you are drinking.
From what you posted so far it looks like you like Japanese teas, I have no experience ordering from them but the following tea shop looks promising:
https://www.sazentea.com/en/

Mar 26th 18 6:37 pm
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Re: Absolute Beginner - Europe buying tips

by mrsencha » Mar 26th 18 6:37 pm

Hi Guys,

I was wondering whether you could provide me with some feedback regarding this supplier named 'Paper and Tea'( https://www.paperandtea.com/ ). I've visited Berlin like 2 weeks ago and picked up their Mighty Green Sencha which turned out to be quite pleasant - for me at least. I was wondering if generally speaking this is a good place to buy high grade green tea?

Mar 26th 18 11:10 pm
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Re: Absolute Beginner - Europe buying tips

by DWatts » Mar 26th 18 11:10 pm

Thank you MuYun! Perhaps I wasn't clear enough. I would like good pointers to webshops in Europe in exclusion of Japanese or US-based webshops to avoid extra customs charges. Sazen involves customs charges, unfortunately.

@ mrsencha Thank you for pointing to another webshop I wasn't aware of! Too bad free shipping is only for orders above 150€.

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Mar 27th 18 7:21 am
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Location: Norway

Re: Absolute Beginner - Europe buying tips

by Balthazar » Mar 27th 18 7:21 am

I know you want recommendations for vendors in Europe, but if you're interested in Japanese green tea I'd recommend you first check out Thes du Japon. Even his most reasonably priced senchas are likely to give you a better experience than what's on offer from any European vendor, and their shipping to Europe is really affordable too (I've never found a European vendor with better shipping rates). (Protip: Make your order using the Japanese language version of the website, prices drop quite a bit when given in Yen).

Your experience may differ, and maybe you've already done the math. But for me (I live in Norway), Thes du Japon is the way to go. Because the value of the package, shipping price included, may not exceed NOK 350 ($35-40 depending on the exchange rate the day the package reaches Norway) before taxes are levied, I usually split up my orders. A few years ago the limit was NOK 200 (USD 20-25), had no problems back then either, just carefully split up my orders to ensure I was well within the limit.

What's the current value limit in Portugal/EU? Does the sum include shipping?

Mar 27th 18 7:10 pm
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Re: Absolute Beginner - Europe buying tips

by 12Tea » Mar 27th 18 7:10 pm

I recently discovered https://puerhtea.eu
They're based in the Netherlands and ship to countries in Europe. Decent prices, especially considering that you don't have to pay customs and the shipping is much faster than ordering from China. But as the domain name already emphasises they're a source options when you're into pu erh.

Mar 28th 18 9:17 pm
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Re: Absolute Beginner - Europe buying tips

by DWatts » Mar 28th 18 9:17 pm

Excellent pointers Balthazar and 12tea! Thank you very much!

@ Balthazar: The customs limit in Portugal (shipping included) is 22€. Thes du Japon was already on my bookmarks. Will try it soon with your pro tip ;) Would you recommend a specific sencha from them as a first-time experience with "good quality" green tea?

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Mar 29th 18 7:42 am
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Re: Absolute Beginner - Europe buying tips

by Balthazar » Mar 29th 18 7:42 am

DWatts wrote: @ Balthazar: The customs limit in Portugal (shipping included) is 22€. Thes du Japon was already on my bookmarks. Will try it soon with your pro tip ;) Would you recommend a specific sencha from them as a first-time experience with "good quality" green tea?
Geez, that more strict than I'd have thought. Still, it should give you some options, especially if you order just one tea at a time. For my last order (two senchas, 200g in total) I paid JPY380 (EUR 2,8) for shipping from Japan to Norway. Assuming shipping will be approx. the same to Portugal, that means you could get teas for just under EUR 20 and still be safe.

As for specific reccomendations, I'm afraid I don't have much to offer. I made my last order a few weeks ago, the one before that was made more than 6 months ago and the teas I offered then (which I loved) are no longer available. Frankly, I have yet to be disappointed by TDJ, and I find the descriptions of each tea to be quite accurate, so most times I will just browse through a bunch of teas and get those that seem "right" for me. Of course this is easier with experience. I much prefer futsumishi senchas (normal steam) though, and suggest you start with those.

My last order (the one I made some weeks ago) consisted of the following two teas:

Sencha from Hon.yama, Ôkawa-Ôma, Yabukita cultivar
Sencha from Kawane, Oku-hikari cultivar

As for the English/Japanese price, the first one is USD 21.3/JPY 1728 (=USD 16.2) and the second one is USD 18.67/JPY 1512 (=USD 14.2). So we are talking about a 24% discount for both teas simply by changing language :).

I haven't had time to try either yet. Since I quite rarely drink senchas these days (only on weekends), I open one at a time and finish the bag before starting on a new. Still have a bit left of the order I made before this one, so I'm afraid I won't be able to give feedback on these two for some weeks yet.

Mar 29th 18 9:35 am
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Re: Absolute Beginner - Europe buying tips

by DWatts » Mar 29th 18 9:35 am

Yeah, Customs is very strict not only on the value limit but also they apply taxes over taxes that sometimes seem completely random to release them. Not to mention that it is very frequently for orders to became stalled in customs for months...

I can attest the 22-24% discount just changing the language. Cool tip! :)

Thank you very much for the suggestions Balthazar! ;) Shouldn't I be worried of Fukushima radiation in the Shizuoka Prefecture? I found a paper stating that some agricultural products were identified positive at levels exceeding standard limits:

http://www.mhlw.go.jp/english/topics/20 ... esults.pdf

Mar 29th 18 6:52 pm
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Re: Absolute Beginner - Europe buying tips

by MuYun » Mar 29th 18 6:52 pm


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Mar 31st 18 11:31 am
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Re: Absolute Beginner - Europe buying tips

by Balthazar » Mar 31st 18 11:31 am

DWatts wrote: Thank you very much for the suggestions Balthazar! ;) Shouldn't I be worried of Fukushima radiation in the Shizuoka Prefecture? I found a paper stating that some agricultural products were identified positive at levels exceeding standard limits:

http://www.mhlw.go.jp/english/topics/20 ... esults.pdf
I don't have a definite answer for you, but I don't think there is much of a reason for concern.

The current limit for radioactive cesium in "General foods" in Japan, is 100Bq/kg (lowered from 500 Bq/kg after Fukushima), which (if I am not mistaken) is 1/10 the amount allowed in the EU and 1/12 the amount allowed in the US.

Shizuoka produces something like 40% of all the tea in Japan. From what I understand, measurements are fairly common and there have been very few problems with teas from this areas exceeding the limit. The link you provided shows that there were 3 agricultural products from Shizuoka shown to exceed the limit in that measurement period. Out of a total of 149 agricultural samples, this seems rather high at 2%. However, those three samples were all of mushrooms, which are known to accumulate more radioactivity than other vegetables.

Again, I haven't researched this extensively and am by no means an expert on the issue, but from what I have been able to gather there seems to be little reason to worry. As for myself, I only drink senchas once or twice a week anyway.

Apr 10th 18 9:21 pm
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Re: Absolute Beginner - Europe buying tips

by rossa » Apr 10th 18 9:21 pm

I became interested in tea recently - bought some Clearspring Sencha and was somewhat underwhelmed.

My curiosity led me to Mei Leaf - placed quite a large order (teaware and teas). Much of it has really impressed me but I have nothing else to compare with - but certainly some of the flavours have been a revelation.

I did a quick look at other sites and thought their prices seemed about right.

I think their videos are very valuable.

What do experienced tea drinkers think of Mei Leaf products?

Also no import tax into Europe - at least pre-Brexit!