runreadtea said

New-ish to tea, feeling overwhelmed..

Hi all! Found the site yesterday and poured over a lot of the discussions. I decided to register and post this thread hoping to find some answers. Let me start by explaining how I drink tea..

I boil water on my gas stove and use my teavana tea maker. I know different teas have required water temperatures and steep times. I don’t have a thermometer so as long as the water isn’t boiling I add it to my teavana perfect tea maker and steep for the allotted time before dispensing into a cup. I’ve made a few different types of tea in it so I think I’m going to purchase one of DavidTea’s bubble pots to start as the first ‘piece’ of my collection. The YiXing is tempting but I feel I’m too much an amateur to be going down that road. I mainly drink green tea and sometimes ‘java matte’. The loose leaf I own are mainly the ones I bought my teavana pot with initially and haven’t really branched out yet. I’ve been under the impression teavana was the go-to place but after stumbling upon steepster, I’ve been ‘enlightened’.

I am also getting a thermometer but I suppose my main question is.. where do I begin with all the choices of different teas and tea companies? Obviously I’m not going to buy the $10+ 2oz varieties. Should I stay on the low end of the spectrum or go middle of the road? Mainly seeking advice from tea drinkers who’ve been around the block, so to say :)

Thank you so much, I LOVE tea (and coffee) :)

23 Replies

If you like Japanese green teas, I’d suggest Den’s tea. They have a fantastic “beginner” sampler package that costs $3 and it’s certainly well worth that. You’ll get a nice variety of several different Japanese greens so that you can expand your knowledge of and your palate to Japanese tea.

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tperez said

Adagio has a lot of fairly cheap teas with pretty good quality

I second Adagio! I’ve been a customer of theirs for over a year now. You can’t beat their samples.

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mrmopar said

stash tea has pretty good ones too and don’t forget to try some good pu-erh! i am only doing this to jazz tperez i think i converted him on it. read reviews and ask any one of us on here this is a great community. be sure to check out bonnie, azzrian and TeaEqualsBliss. they have a lot of great tasting notes.

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I’d check out your local teashops, if there are any nearby. They will be able to answer those spur of the moment questions (the ones I always forget to look up after getting home)
Also, check out the try me packs at Della Terra teas:

or the samplers at Butiki:

They are both amazing tea vendors!! :)

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momo said

Upton Tea! They have tons of teas from all over. The best part is a lot of them are $1 for 15g to just try out before you buy more.

I second this suggestion! Teavivre and Verdant tea also sell sample sizes and both are excellent for quality and service.

Go slow and try one thing at a time. Look at the swap thread to try a variety.

Have fun!

JasonCT said

Upton is where I would have sent you. Be sure to subscribe to their catalog – they have an ongoing history series on tea.

Feel free to ask lots of questions here – these are a great bunch of enablers.

Claire said

I definitely recommend Upton as well! Lots of samples and I’ve been impressed by their quality and prices. My friend Becky is getting into tea and I sent her a little sampler like this:

1 Chinese black tea
1 Darjeeling
1 Chinese green tea
1 Japanese green tea
1 Oolong (tikuanyin)
1 White tea

This is a nice way to find out what kind of flavor profiles and teas you enjoy, and from there you can try more teas that you think you may like. :)

runreadtea said

Great idea Claire! Thanks!

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@runreadtea there’s no need to stress about the vast number of options. You’ll be knowledgeable before you know it, just try different teas here and there, one by one.

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Welcome! If you’re interested in trying a lot of straight teas, check out Teavivre. They’ll send you samples if you review them. Also, if you have anything you’re not really fond of, post them in the swaps and see if anyone will trade with you. Unless you’re weirded out by taking tea from strangers. My mom thinks it’s scary. But I haven’t died yet…

Dustin said

Where do you find the swap section? Still trying to figure out the navigation on this site.

momo said
runreadtea said

Haha that’s interesting, swapping tea with other tea-heads. Maybe I will if I do purchase a tea I simply don’t like.

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Lynxiebrat said

runreadtea, you don’t need to give up on Teavana’s if you don’t want to, as there are plenty of people here that are fans of them still. Including me! :) But also do check out the other suggestions, both online tea sites as well as any local opportunities. Check ethnic markets, fruit markets, in addition to checking out local shops. You can start your search for local shops in the ‘Places’ section at the top page of this site. If it doesn’t yield much where your at, (Like say if your in a small town.) try the next biggest town/city and see what comes up. Also, if you’ve ever tried bagged tea and think that now your more into tea that you have to stop….Not so! While generally speaking loose leaf to me does taste better, bagged tea is little bit more convenient for me to buy. (Long story;)) I just started down the journey of loose tea myself in April and joined this site in July, (Could of sworn it was earlier then that!) and so for the rest of the Spring and all summer went thru a tea frenzy. Wanted to buy every tea in site, (Well ok still do, but because of budget and space constraints, managed to nip that in the bud. Though if I win the lottery, it’ll be interesting to see how long I last before buying a whole crapload of tea.)

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runreadtea said

Thank you all for taking the time to submit recommendations and advice. I will definitely heed the advice to take it slow, try teas one by one and not rush into it. Yesterday I bookmarked about 10 different online tea stores (lol).

@Lynxiegrl I don’t have any issues with bag tea although I do find the flavor more robust with loose leaf. I agree that the bagged tea helps with mobility and I use bagged at work since I only have access to a hot water dispenser in the kitchen. I want to splurge but I need to learn to pace myself and be patient haha :)

@Ricardo Caicedo Definitely! Thank you.

@Indigobloom Bookmarked butiki yesterday and will check them out as well. Cheers!

Dustin said

Maybe you need a tea infuser mug for work? Put the tea in the basket at home and add hot water later. I have one that I love, but the basket is a little small for some teas to expand fully.

There was a great post I read when I started here recently but I can’t find it now recommending checking out the places that do samples. It was great for me, the only one I can think of off the top of my head that I didn’t see mentioned yet was Nuvola.

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Zeks said

“Obviously I’m not going to buy the $10+ 2oz varieties. "

Delusions, delusions… XD

Lol, oh obviously. I remember thinking that. :)

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