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I got my Den’s Green Tea Sampler for Novices today! I was so impressed with what was inside that little box: 4 samples of loose-leaf tea, 2 tea bags, 2 paper filter bags, a catalog, order form, pamphlet about Den’s Tea, a sheet of brewing instructions, and a large booklet all about the health benefits of green tea. If anyone doesn’t know, this was all for $3, with free shipping. Such a great deal.

So this was not only my first time with Den’s Tea, but my first time with an unflavored green as well. It took me a while to get over my fear of grassiness, but I’ve gotta take that plunge sometime, right? I didn’t know which tea to start with, so I plunged my hand into the samples and picked a random one.

These leaves were a medium brown color. When steeping, they honestly smelled like Pu-erh mixed with marijuana [I’ve been to lots of rock & metal concerts]. However, once decanted, it just smells a little like Pu-erh but less fishy and more woodsy/earthy. The liquid is brown, just like the leaves.

After that smell, I was a teensy bit scared to take a sip. I want to like green tea, but I guess I have to actually try it to like it, right?

It’s not nearly as heavy as I thought it would be. It definitely has a light mouth feel, medium body. If I didn’t know this was green tea, I’d mistake it for a light Pu-erh. It has most of the characteristics of a Pu-ehr; earthy, woody, and the tiniest bit fishy (but not in a bad way, I promise).

I like it. But I’m confused. It looks, smells, and tastes like a Pu-erh. What’s the deal? How is this considered green tea? I know it’s all about the processing, but… Can anyone enlighten me? Pretty please?

Cofftea

Holy crap… This is a scary one to try 1st! It’s made of twigs instead of leaf I think. I could be wrong. I’m having a HORRIBLE day and reading this made me feel better- thanks! I can’t wait to live vicariously thru your next tasting note=D

LiberTEAS

Hi Erin: Houjicha is not the twigs (that would be kukicha or bocha), houjicha is made from bancha which is similar to sencha tea, only of lesser quality. The bancha leaves are roasted over charcoal, which imparts the very deep woodsy and locks in a very earthy characteristic, which is what you’re detecting.

Erin

@Cofftea – Awwwww, I really do hope your day gets better, seriously.
@LiberTEAS – That makes sense… Is Pu-erh processed the same way?

Dan

That is a great deal, I just ordered my sample kit. Thanks…

LiberTEAS

Erin: no. There are several different types of pu-erh so I would need to know what type of pu-erh you’re speaking of before I can be completely accurate. Pu-erh can be either raw or cooked, and is generally pressed and aged. It also generally comes from ancient, wild tea trees. It is these unique situations that create the unique flavor that is pu-erh.

Erin

@LiberTEAS – Wow, thanks for the help! Having you on this site is like having a Tea Encyclopedia that can type!

Cofftea

I don’t like any tea that’s roasted (or roasty/toasty in taste). This and gen mai cha I think are the only 2 greens I’ve found I don’t like.

__Morgana__

Good to hear about your experience — I’m sitting here with an unopened Den’s tea box on my lap which ought to contain the things you just mentioned. This is going to be fun!

Cofftea

Morgana … open it! =D

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Cofftea

Holy crap… This is a scary one to try 1st! It’s made of twigs instead of leaf I think. I could be wrong. I’m having a HORRIBLE day and reading this made me feel better- thanks! I can’t wait to live vicariously thru your next tasting note=D

LiberTEAS

Hi Erin: Houjicha is not the twigs (that would be kukicha or bocha), houjicha is made from bancha which is similar to sencha tea, only of lesser quality. The bancha leaves are roasted over charcoal, which imparts the very deep woodsy and locks in a very earthy characteristic, which is what you’re detecting.

Erin

@Cofftea – Awwwww, I really do hope your day gets better, seriously.
@LiberTEAS – That makes sense… Is Pu-erh processed the same way?

Dan

That is a great deal, I just ordered my sample kit. Thanks…

LiberTEAS

Erin: no. There are several different types of pu-erh so I would need to know what type of pu-erh you’re speaking of before I can be completely accurate. Pu-erh can be either raw or cooked, and is generally pressed and aged. It also generally comes from ancient, wild tea trees. It is these unique situations that create the unique flavor that is pu-erh.

Erin

@LiberTEAS – Wow, thanks for the help! Having you on this site is like having a Tea Encyclopedia that can type!

Cofftea

I don’t like any tea that’s roasted (or roasty/toasty in taste). This and gen mai cha I think are the only 2 greens I’ve found I don’t like.

__Morgana__

Good to hear about your experience — I’m sitting here with an unopened Den’s tea box on my lap which ought to contain the things you just mentioned. This is going to be fun!

Cofftea

Morgana … open it! =D

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I have recently been forcibly transplanted from Princeton, New Jersey to Burleson, Texas. I’ve been recovering from culture shock ever since. When I’m not dodging scorpions and pickup trucks, I’m a college student, drummer, lover of music and animals, Harry Potter freak, and a vegetarian. I just got a job at a bookstore, which is the perfect place for somebody like me.

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