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Recommendations for in-season teas

I am getting ready to venture into my second big tea phase (this time I have a job that pays above minimum wage!). I am reading currently working my way through Heis & Heis’ “The Story of Tea” and want to start exploring the different classes by buying 5-6 samples within one class of tea to try side by side. My current teaware includes two 3-oz teacups, one 120-ml gaiwan, one 2-cup kyusu, and an electric gooseneck kettle where you can set the temperature. I just can’t decide where to start with teas. Here is what I’m thinking:

I want to try fresher, more recently picked teas. I know that unoxidized and semi-oxidized teas, especially the greens, are best enjoyed within a certain time frame. I am currently more interested in exploring some classic Chinese greens or Oolongs (don’t worry, I’ll be doing in depth sampling for all the other classes in time :-)). Any recommendations for where I might start?

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Also, good places to buy whatever tea you recommend. I am leaning towards tea trekkers, because I am reading their book and trust the quality of their teas and Verdant Tea because their business seems respectable. It is hard to separate online the Teavanas from the businesses that have relationships to tea farmers and offer high quality leaves. Thanks a bunch.

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chadao said

Definitely check out verdant tea. Their spring/summer/autumn tieguanyin and their dragon well style laoshan green are especially innovative and noteworthy. Seven Cups is also a good resource for information and product. Some outstanding classics of theirs are the Shi Feng long jing, which is made from the original long jing cultivar by a tea master who has practiced his craft for sixty years; their da hong pao, which also comes from the original da hong pao cultivar and farm. They also offer some rare and innovative teas that are becoming popular in china, including the yellow guan yin rock wulong, golden guan yin Anxi wulong, a Keemun made of only buds and tender leaves, and even an orchid scented tea.

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Uniquity said

Teavivre gives harvest info and also has really affordable samples and shipping. I’m not much for greens or green oolongs but Teavivre is great!

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Thanks a lot! It is hard to filter through the marketing fluff in the tea world. I have a lot of good things to check out now.

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