New to tea...how to learn?
I recently gave up coffee and have started drinking tea. I don’t know much about tea and am trying to learn more and figure out what I like and don’t like. Unfortunately there are no independent tea shops around where I live. There is a Teavana nearby and I’ve gone in there a couple times and picked up some things but 1) I know it’s likely very overpriced and 2) I’m not sure how to translate what I’m buying there to teas on other sites like Upton. The Upton site overwhelms me everytime I look at it.
Suggestions on how a newbie can begin to navigate through the world of tea?
A.) Stick around here. You’ll learn lots
B.) Go to the library and check out books
C.) Internet searching
Drink. Just drink tea. Lots of it, even things you think you won’t like. If there are any cafes that serve tea, have a cup. Ditto any other tea stores. I prefer buying tea in person (I like to see and smell) but I know that isn’t always possible. Are there any farmers markets around you? They might have fun things…
No, unfortunately we don’t have any tea stores closet to us other than Teavana. I wish we did. There are no tea vendors at the Farmers market either…just coffee presently. I’ve bought a few teas at Teavana to start to explore but know it’s not the best way to go about this due to price and the fact the names hide what the tea really is. I may order some samplers from Upton. I see Adagio has samplers too…do they do the same thing like Teavana and give their teas unique names?
I was in the same boat a few months ago, weaning off coffee, turning to tea, it was intimidating for sure. I lurked here for weeks, reading old and new discussions as well as tasting notes. I asked a few questions and have always gotten wonderful friendly answers.
Tasting tea is better than reading about it though!
One local source would be an Asian market if you have one close. I have found some “everyday” grades of some interesting varieties. Cheaper than the shops and no shipping!
Adagio is a great place to order teas from, especially when you’re a newbie. There are companies that sell better teas, but you can’t beat Adagio for variety and their inexpensive samples.
Adagio is where I started. . .Their samples are awesome!
+1 to Adagio.
I think Adagio Samplers, Den’s Tea Sampler Pack (for Japanese Greens) and Golden Moon’s Sampler pack are three items to get you started in the world of tea.
Definitely agree on Den’s and Golden Moon’s. Also Adagio’s savory teas and greenbush blends. Other than their cocomint green I think the others can be skipped, but that’s just me.
Take Cofftea’s advice – this place is a great resource! Plus you can participate in tea swaps, where you can try new teas.
And yes, agreed with JoeCool – Adagio rocks! Great place to start, good samples, good descriptions, great customer service. And fast delivery.
Plus, ask us questions! :)
I am obviously biased, but please check out our tea selection. Also, take time to go to our BLOG (click on the “Visit Our Blog” button on the upper right of the home page) for general tea information. But, as others have mentioned, there is no better way to learn about tea than drinking it. Now there is a labor of love!
When journaling/writing tasting notes about tea, I’ve found that I learn more about the tea when I write/observe the tea objectively, for what the tea is, vs what I like about it. That and when I leave my preconceived notions about a tea by the door I often surprise myself by enjoying a tea I thought I’d dispise. The BEST way to learn about tea is to not limit what you drink (unless of course you have a medical reason to avoid a certain tea/tisane).