Tea-man said

Green Tea that doesn't taste like 'cardboard'?

Most straight green teas taste like you’re drinking cardboard dipped in hot water (not that I’ve tried that!) Any suggestions for a straight green tea from DAVIDsTEA? It’s the only shop that’s close to me!

13 Replies

I’ve never been to, nor ordered from, DAVIDsTEA. It’s on the to-do list.

It is possible that a straight green tea may not be for you though. Personally, there’s not a lot of room in my cupboard for straight green teas. When I want a green tea, I reach for my Gen Mai Cha (from Serendipitea, but DAVIDs has one that looks the exact same).

While I don’t necessarily have the largest breadth of green tea experience, being more of a black tea fan myself, the smooth toasted flavor that the husked rice adds to the gen mai cha really makes me a happy camper. I’ve never had a green tea that was as soothing or comforting as the toasty notes of this tea provide.

Like I said, I can’t specifically recommend the one from DAVIDs… but give it a shot. Judging by the reviews, as long as you don’t steep it too long (roughly a minute… maaaaybe up to two), it should turn out pretty tasty.

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Kittenna said

I liked their Gyokuro Yamashiro, but honestly have only tried that and the Japanese Sencha from DavidsTea, and I can’t remember the flavour of the latter. Gyokuro Yamashiro, if I recall correctly, is grassy and buttery and delicious. Be sure to use a short steep time.

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Tea-man said

I have tried Genmaicha from another source and, I have to admit that it was ok. Maybe I haven’t given green teas a fair shake (?) I now have a Breville kettle so I won’t add the wrong temp. water to the tea..Now I just have to steep it for a shorter time!

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I haven’t tried DavidsTea, but I’ll say, if your green tea tastes like cardboard, my intuition is that you are probably not drinking the best green tea, or possibly, that you’re brewing it too hot.

Many Americans dislike green teas, but they usually describe them as having a grassy or vegetal flavor, or, especially in the case of some Japanese teas, a “fishy” quality. Some green teas people describe as harsh, too bitter, sour, or just foul tasting — usually this is an issue with brewing with water that is too hot, or tea that’s just not very good.

If you’re experiencing “cardboard” in there, rather than vegetal qualities or overall harshness, my explanation would probably be stale tea or low-quality tea.

Tea-man said

It wasn’t that DAVIDs green tea was “cardboardy”, it was green tea in general. I have chosen DAVIDs Silk Dragon Jasmine to try straight green tea again. Any other types that you’d recommend?

Hmm, it’s hard to say without knowing about your tastes. I could point you to my favorites, but you might not like them. I haven’t tried them, but from what I know of DAVIDsTEA’s catalogue, I might recommend trying their Korean Sejak, or their Organic Yun Cui, those are the ones that I’d be most inclined to try. I don’t really know where that company’s strengths and weaknesses lie though…if their Japanese teas are better, you could try one of their two senchas.

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Are you brewing teas in a bag? A couple of times, I’ve put loose leaf tea in a paper bag for an on-the-go-solution. Unfortunately, the bag ended up steeping faster than the tea, leaving me with paper (cardboard) water mixed with green tea.

I got rid of the bags, made tea with fresh (not coffee-maker-at-work) water, and tada! No more paper-tasting tea.

The paper taste accompanied all of my tea that way, but since green tea is generally lighter, it was most pronounced with them.

Tea-man said

In the beginning, I was using teabags. Maybe that was where I got that feeling that green teas tasted like cardboard?! Now, its only loose leaf tea and a variable temp. kettle. I got some jasmine tea yesterday and, it wasn’t too bad!

It was more than likely was the paper filter bags used. I used to drink green tea from tea bags and noticed it never tasted like a restaurants tea. Once I started brewing loose leaf tea I noticed it tasted much better. I don’t use paper tea bags anymore because of the additional taste the paper gives to the tea isn’t pleasant. As others have said too when brewing green tea is to not use too high a water temperature and not to let it steep too long, both will result in a bitter cup.

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DukeGus said

Sounds strange to me that green tea tastes like cardboard to you.

Green tea tastes very tasty and mainly vegetal and sometimes flowery or citrucy. Do you brew it properly? Green tea is a bit difficult to brew for an amateur… How hot is your water and what steeping times you use?

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Have you tried adding a pinch of sweetener? I know some will disagree with me, but I think a touch of sweetener helps enhance the flavor of some teas.

Other than that, I second the recommendations of brewing at lower temps and for short times (3 min. or less). Also, I often use more than the recommended 1 teaspoon per 8 oz of water — I like my tea stronger, so I’ll brew it stronger than that; I think it yields a better flavor. Oh, and I always use filtered water. I’ve never ordered from David’s, but my favorite types of green teas are gyokuros and senchas, and sencha “extra green” (with matcha mixed in). I love the vegetal/seaweed-y flavors of Japanese greens.

I hope you can find a way to make green tea work for you!

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Will said

Everyone’s taste experience and way of describing things is different, but, like green tea or not (and I’m not a huge green tea drinker), I have to say, if your green tea tastes like cardboard, switching teas is probably the most obvious thing to do.

I would try some green teas (obviously not flavored or scented) that are well regarded by others, and then experiment with brewing parameters to see what tastes best to you. It’s definitely possible to both over-brew and under-brew green teas, and different greens will respond best to different brewing styles.

Dumb question… did the tea come in cardboard or paper packaging?

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David Lau said

I also think that if you’re tasting cardboard in your green tea then you’ll want to check if you’re using any paper during brewing, and if your water has the taste.

A standard grade Japanese Sencha would be a good tea to try. It’s not as savory and rich as a Shincha. You can also give Chinese green tea a shot. There’s a very popular varietal called Dragonwell (Long Jing) #43. It’s also often called Jade Cloud or Clouds and Mist. It’s a good green tea that’s more resistant to over brewing.

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