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Erin said

My name is Erin, and I'm a green tea novice.

I want to get into green tea, plain and simple. I used to be scared of green tea, because it tasted grassy to my blossoming palate. This thread, started by me long ago, helped me conquer my fears:

http://steepster.com/discuss/218-non-grassy-green-teas

Now I’m ready to delve into the fabulous world of greens. I’m appealing to a higher power – the Steepsterites! Is this http://www.denstea.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=377_386 worth getting? Where do I begin?

31 Replies
Cofftea said

Erin, it’s ABSOFREAKINLUTELY worth getting! And don’t forget to sign up for their newsletter to get a discount off your 1st purchase! Check out my tasting notes for the ones I’ve tried. Aside from matcha, their apple sencha is my fave. I’d seek out companies that exclusively deal w/ greens. Definitely check out their steeping paramaters. I’m not sure if the same goes for Chinese and other greens, but not all Japanese greens are created equal so don’t believe it even if a company gives you the typical steeping parameters.

Harney & Son’s has sample sizes of a lot of their teas as does Samovar.

As far as Adagio goes, both samplers look really good- here are the ones that I’ve tried- bold ones are my fave:

anji duet
dongshan dolce
dragonwell
genmai cha
gunpowder
kai hua crescendo
xue ya ballad
apricot green
artichoke green
citron green
cocomint green
ginseng green

mango green
rhubarb green
spiced green
green chai
vanilla green

If you find the flavored greens aren’t in your face enough, you can always steep them according to Premium Sencha parameters for more of a punch- I do that all the time.

Erin said

Since it’s ABSOFREAKINLUTELY worth getting, (lol) I will! The apple sencha also sounds really good. I love apples but have yet to try a tea that actually tastes like apples. Thanks for the help! Next time I put in an Adagio order I’ll probably try the ginseng green.

Cofftea said

I have an 8oz tin of ginseng and will get 4oz tins of cocomint, artichoke, green chai, and vanilla the second I have room.

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I definitely second Cofftea: GET THE SAMPLER! :D It comes with two bagged teas, and four loose samples. The loose ones that came in mine were Sencha Fukamidori, Genmaicha Extra Green, Houjicha, and Orange Sencha. The bagged were Sencha and Genmaicha Extra Green. It also came with a catalog, tea filters, and brewing instructions. REALLY a lot for $3! :)

Aside from the sampler, I bought Tencha-Kuki Houjicha and I LOVE it! It’s definitely one of my favorite teas EVER.

Erin said

I just bought the sampler. It really does sound like an excellent deal – free shipping and everything! I’m especially excited for the Genmaicha. I’ve never had tea with popcorn-like stuff in it!

Cofftea said

Popcorn I’d be ok w/… not toasted rice though… I don’t like roasty tasting teas.

Yaaay! I hope you enjoy it! :) I personally love their Genmaicha, so I hope you do too! And the popped rice looks like tiny popcorn. It’s so cute! (If a tea’s contents can be cute. :P)

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That looks like a great deal! I might have to get it too :) I’m not big on green tea either, for pretty much the same reason: “grassy” just isn’t something I look for in a beverage :/ Most green teas I’ve tried taste a lot less grassy when iced, though, so you could try that (if you haven’t already). Adagio’s Dongshan Dolce is also one of the less grassy greens I’ve had (I got it as part of a chinese sampler pack from them), much more of a buttery/nutty/bakey character

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Doulton said

I have just ordered and will soon receive a lot of small samplers from Upton’s Teas. I had a prejudice against green tea—-probably caused by an antique Gunpowder tea-bag when I was young. I thought it had no taste. Recently I tasted a couple of green teas and was a bit put off by the sense that I was in steep, danky vegetation. I got some neat ones to taste from the wondrous Travelling Tea Box.
I sent off the Tea Box to the next recipient and woke up one day absolutely craving that vegetal taste.

I am now awaiting green teas from Silk Road, Upton, and Tea Spring. There are a few places where you can get samples at a modest cost: Norbu is one of them.

I seem to be on a similar trajectory as you are, Erin.

Cofftea said

A lot of Upton’s samples are $1- can’t beat that. And they tell you the weight of them on their website so you can figure out cost/g easily. A word of warning though, I do believe they suggest 2.25g/6oz cup for all their teas.

Erin said

Upton is a company I’ve been meaning to check out – for all kind of teas, not just greens. I love when companies offer samples!

Cofftea said

I looked at their matcha set (I didn’t want to buy them a la cart as I didn’t have any matcha at the time), but passed cuz I didn’t like the chawan it comes w/. They do have some nice chawans though.

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I’m jumping on this bandwagon — it really does look like a great value! (Thanks for posting about this!)

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teaplz said

Yay, welcome to the world of greens! I’m a total newb myself, but they do grow on you!

The first thing that I can definitely say is that a sampler like Den’s is probably a good idea. I’ve never done Den’s, but from what I’ve heard, their stuff is high-quality. I think that’s the thing that really separates greens out from other teas. The quality of a green tea makes a tremendous difference. A mediocre black tea is forgivable. A mediocre green tea can be undrinkable.

A big thing about greens (especially those pesky Japanese ones) is steep time and temperature. Make sure that the temperature of your water is low for stuff like sencha (160 degrees) and even lower for some (gyokuro goes at 140, with the lid off). Steep times are usually a minute, tops for first steep on delicate stuff like sencha. Even kukicha isn’t steeped for too much longer than that.

Again, though, I’m still a newbie, and I’m slowly finding that I prefer the grassier Japanese greens to the Chinese greens, which sometimes taste too much like vegetables for me to handle.

maeda-en has some great greens. Auggy sent me some gyokuro from Teance that was to die for. I’ve heard good things about Den’s. Samovar and Rishi have some excellent greens. If you’re going green, go quality. Seriously. But more importantly, EXPLORE AND HAVE FUN.

Erin said

Thanks for the advice, especially the part about steep time/temperature. I think the reason why I was afraid of greens for so long was because the first time I tried having one, I was steeping it totally wrong. I mean… girl’s dorm bathroom water, boiled in my $5 Walgreen’s hotpot, and then left to steep for as long as it took me to go to the laundry room and get my stuff from the drier. I remember the taste of that so well… unfortunately.

Lord, I am so glad I found Steepster.

Cofftea said

Some Japanese greens do take boiled water, but definitely not all- and when it does the steep times are very short. I don’t think even Superman could get all that stuff done in that short of time:)

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Bethany said

I thousandth the recommendation for the Den’s sampler. Their greens are amazing and cheap. I love the Genmaicha Extra Green and the flavored senchas.

Erin said

From the sound of it, this will be the best $3 I’ve ever spent!

Cofftea said

And it will make you spend lots more w/ them!

Erin said

It’s nice that they’ll reimburse you if you spend over $15 on a future order.

Gah! I’m so excited!

Cofftea said

My 1st order w/ them was a matcha set so I didn’t have to worry about that, but yeah.

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Ricky admin said

Hi Erin,

Nice to meet you. Get DENS! NOW! =]

- Ricky

Sorry, I was just responding to the subject :)

Erin said

Nice to meet you, too! Funny, if we just met, then how did you know my address to send me wonderful tea a while back???

Anyway, I ordered it yesterday and am eagerly awaiting delivery. It still says they’re processing my order, though : (

Ricky admin said

Woaps, forgot to set an email alert on this thread. Have you received it yet? I guess I should just catch up on everyone’s tasting logs =]

Erin said

No I haven’t, and it’s ticking me off! The order still says ‘Processing’. Grrrrr.

Ricky admin said

Wow, that’s actually fairly long. Hmmm, it was really quick for me. I was actually surprised how quickly I received it. I guess it’s quicker when you aren’t expecting it =]

Erin said

Good news – it shipped today! Yes!

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I second (third?) the recommendation to watch your steep time/temperature. Every green tea is different from the next and one tea harvested in a different year might be different from one harvested earlier. So you’ll have to experiment with each tea to get it “right.” If you’re drinking a Chinese green and it tastes grassy or too vegetal, then consider reducing your steep time, reducing your temperature and/or reducing the amount of leaf you use in your brewing vessel. All three are important with fresh teas. When I say “right”, I mean the tea liquor has a light greenish tint to it (not yellow), and smells of fresh wild-flowers. This applies to fresh oolongs and white teas as well though with oolongs the smell is more of roasted honey. White tea is actually the absolute hardest to get right because the temperature variation to open up all the flavours and aromas is less than 2 degrees C. Anyway, experiment with temp/steep time and leaf quantity and just enjoy. When you hit that perfect cup, you’ll never forget it!

Erin said

That’s interesting about the “right” color not being yellow. And I totally agree about the white tea comment; I know from experience just how difficult it is to get it right! I’ve hit the perfect cup of white, and now I’m so looking forward to getting my first cup of perfect green tea! Thank you for your comments!

@Erin: you’re welcome! Always willing to share knowledge with a fellow tea aficionado.

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I love green teas!! In about a month (from what I am told) I will get 3 new green teas in. I have the samples that I just can’t give up because they are awesome. I owe Cofftea samples of them when I get them in.

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