So...where do I start?

Hello all!
I’m a newly awakened tea…..whatever comes before enthusiast on the knowledge scale. I currently live in a town too small to have a proper tea room/house/cafe of any sort, so I’m turning to the internet in hopes to find learning and a bit of community validation in my endeavors.

I’m in the exploration stage of experience. Tea is something I’d like to know a lot more about and I feel the first step is to drink a lot of different ones and get a feel for what different flavors mean what to my tastebuds. A girl’s gotta start somewhere. :)

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to start/continue on my learning journey?

8 Replies
Anlina said

If you’re interested in books, I’d recommend the Harney & Sons Guide to Tea, by Michael Harney. It’s very accessible and unpretentious, and goes a bit into tea history and production, but focuses on exploring different types of teas with directions and tasting notes. It’s a fun, quick read, and I was able to get it at the library.

If you just want to taste a bunch of different things, I’d look for some sites that have reasonable/free shipping and that offer sample sizes (0.5oz or less). That way you don’t end up with a lot of something that’s not to your taste, and you can try a wide variety of stuff without spending a lot of money.

Here are a few different sites to look at, that do small quantities with reasonable shipping:

I’m sure others can add many more. The stash sales thread can also be a good way to try out a bunch of different things for little money.

Something to pay close attention to and experiment with is water temperature and steeping time. They have a tremendous impact on the flavour of your cup, and it’s not something that tea bag manufacturers tend to give good directions on.

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I have accumulated a list of awesome tea themed informative articles, ranging from beginner to advanced

Also this list of companies that sell samples though I need to update it with some new companies, just have not had the time :(

I second Analina’s suggest for Harney & Sons Guide to Tea, it is an awesome book. :D

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Thank you both! I’ll check everything out when I get off work/on my weekend. Look for tea books at the library….what a novel idea. xD I guess I get a little overwhelmed by all the things I don’t know, it paralyzes my thinking.

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If you would like to explore an assortment of unflavored teas from various countries, I recommend Upton Tea Imports. I especially favor them because they sell small samples (10-15g) for only $1 (or more, depending on the quality).

As for books about tea, my favorite is “Tea: History, Terroirs, Varieties” by Kevin Gascoyne, et al.

Good luck! And welcome to Steepster :]

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For info on Japanese teas, I recommend my blog:

I have tea reviews, articles, and interviews.

Best of all, it’s free : )

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Always very exciting to welcome a tea explorer. There is so much to experience and one of our recommendations would be to consider a variable temperature tea kettle. Steeping different types of tea at the right temperature is so important for optimal flavors, subtle notes and aroma. Here’s a how-to article on considerations when buying an electric tea kettle:

We second the recommendation, "Tea: History, Terroirs, Varieties” by Kevin Gascoyne, et al. Now in its 2nd edition!

Enjoy your journey!

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Keep an eye on the sales threads also, for deals. Most of them include their samples in the sales so it can be a good deal (although not necessarily because sometimes the free shipping threshold is pretty high) so they can be worth checking out.

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Jason select said

You could also try out one of the Traveling Tea Boxes (TTB) or a tea subscription. There are threads for both of those to join.

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