Peet’s Tea – Lung Ching Dragonwell

This morning I’m enjoying a cup of this Peet’s tea. As far as tea that you can buy in chain store goes, I’m impressed. It’s not as good as artisan tea that you can get online, but it’s some decent stuff. I find that this tea does well with a cooler water (that is, not boiling). I pour boiling water into my pot, pour the water into my teacup, put the leaves in, then pour the water from my teacup back into the teapot to brew the leaves. This seems to be a good temperature for the first brew. Subsequently, I try to make the water a little bit more hot with each successive brew and increase the brew time, starting at somewhere around a minute / a minute and a half for the first brew. The first pour is pretty strong, with a bit of that pungent floral green tea scent and flavor. You also get some bitterness in the first pour. The second pour mellows out a bit and is slightly sweeter than the first. The third pour loses almost all of the bitter tinge, but is slightly weaker in flavor. From there I find subsequent pours just get progressively weaker and lighter. All in all, not as shabby as I was expecting.

 

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Late Night Tea

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Just enjoying a cup of late night tea as I listened to this podcast. It’s an interview with the founder of Mellow Monk green tea. I’ve been aware of Mellow Monk for a long time… in fact, I think their tea blog was one of the first blogs I found on tea many years ago. But I’ve never actually tried their tea. This podcast encouraged me to actually go ahead and buy a package of their Top Leaf Tea, which I will post a review of when it arrives.

 

Can Green Tea Reduce Skin Cancer?

I was making my usual rounds on the internet researching green tea today, and I stumbled across this article on the NY Times website. It talks about a laboratory study by some researchers at the University of Strathclyde and their findings that green tea antioxidant (EGCG) has some pretty potent anti-carcinogenic properties. Pretty cool stuff.

Green tea can reduce skin cancer

Where Can I Buy Green Tea?

Where Can I Buy Green Tea?



Here’s a question I get asked, and a question I see people on the internet asking: Where can I buy green tea? I think this question deserves a post devoted to it.

I think a good place to start is to tell you where I buy green tea. I buy my every day green tea from an asian market down in Hartford called Young’s. A good place to start looking is your local asian market if you’re new to buying green tea. Now that green tea is starting to become something people want to buy in the US, there are specialty tea stores popping up where you can buy green tea. Places like Teavana that are big chains, and small local owned stores. Personally I’m not a big fan of buying tea from those stores… I haven’t found any that don’t have overpriced low quality tea in fancy packaging. I’m sure there are a few exceptions, but generally the green tea you buy at those sorts of stores should be bought online. You can get the same teas in a higher quality and lower price.

At many asian markets (if you’re looking to buy Japanese green tea) they’ll have brands like maeda-en, which is my personal favorite. I haven’t generally found Chinese green teas in markets, but then there aren’t any specifically Chinese supermarkets around here that I know of. Maeda-en (or similar brands) will have bags of Sencha, Gemnaichai, Kukicha, or Bancha. I’ve tried most of the maeda-en teas, and they’re generally pretty good. That’s where I buy my everyday Sencha green tea, of which I consume a few pots a day normally.

So, if you’re looking to buy locally in a store, search for “Asian market” or “Asian grocery store” in google maps (add the closest city and your state after that). See what sort of stuff they have there. If you have questions about what you find there, feel free to shoot me an email or comment, and I’d be happy to try and help you out. So, in answer to our question “where can I buy green tea?”… try your local asian store.

Where Can I buy Green Tea Online?



I buy all of my special occasion and high quality teas online. I’ve looked around pretty extensively at online retailers (if you want you can check out my recommendations page, linked to in the bar above), and my personal favorite is Seven Cups at the moment.

The reason I buy green tea online is because, as I mentioned earlier, the stuff in specialty stores is generally not very good. I think the reason is because they’re generally catering to upper-middle class suburbanites who want to be sophisticated and are into novel things like green tea, but at the same time don’t know anything about buying real green tea. So, they can get away with selling fancily packaged lower grade tea with some cool name they came up with. I suppose I’m starting to sound condescending of my own demographic… so, I don’t mean diss the stores I’m talking about. They have their place. I guess. It’s not like they sell bad tea or anything, if it suits your fancy, it’s certainly much better than bagged teas you’ll find in a grocery store. I’m not disputing that. I just want to let you know there’s probably higher quality tea that you can buy for just as much money. That’s all.

So, with that out of the way, how does one start looking for where to buy green tea online? Well, a good place to start, as I mentioned a second ago, is my list of online retailers above. But certainly don’t feel limited to that. At the same time, it is pretty overwhelming trying to find somewhere to buy green tea online: quite a flood of people are starting to sell it. I would warn you that there are a lot of affiliate sites out there. If you see a link to something like Adagio or Teavanna, they’re probably affiliate links (meaning that if you go through the link and buy something the site that got you there gets a commission). So, they might be honest recommendations, or they might be ploys at making money. Kind of hit or miss… though after you’ve looked at a lot of sites like I have, you start to get a feel for whether a site is trying to make money through affiliates or not. So, it just takes a little (or a lot) of sorting through websites and lists of retailers. I’m sure you’ll come up with a plethora of them.

I’m sure by now you’ve noted that I have ads to the left. I try to pay for the upkeep of the site with those ads, but I don’t do any affiliate links. Just ftr.

So, where can you buy green tea online? In summary, either check out my list of retailers that sell green tea, or surf the interwebs with discernment and discretion. Cheers!

Best Green Tea Brand

What’s The Best Green Tea Brand?



I see a lot of people looking and asking what the best green tea brand is online. So, I thought I’d write an article on the matter, and hopefully help you out of you’re looking for some good green tea.

First off, I’ll say that if you’re looking for the best green tea brand, you’re probably looking at bagged tea, the sort that you can buy in a grocery store. If you’re just looking for the best green tea brand in your local grocery store, there really isn’t all that much variety in terms of green tea brands that you’ll find in a store. If you shop at Costco, I definitely recommend that you buy the Kirkland signature stuff. That, in my opinion, is the best green tea brand that you can buy in a store. It has the best flavor. It tastes great as far as bagged green tea brands go, the packaging is nice, and it’s relatively cheap compared to buying loose tea.

I think pretty much any grocery store will carry Lipton green tea. I’m actually not a big fan of Lipton green tea… in my experience it’s not the best green tea brand to go for in a store. It’s a little flat to my taste, and a little bitter. Certainly I would recommend that you try different brands and figure out what you like and what you don’t like for yourself. Maybe your green tea tastes are different from mine. Lipton, however, is generally relatively cheap, so if price is a concern in your search for the best green tea brand, you might go with them for that reason.

Bigelow is another common green tea brand that you’ll come across in the grocery stores. It’s alright. I should probably just come out and say I’m not a big fan of of bagged grocery store green tea brands all in all, I suppose. But that’s because I’m a snobby aficionado. So I’ll do my best not to compare apples with oranges… bagged green tea brands that you buy in the store are just a different ballgame than those loose leaf teas you buy elsewhere. But I’d go with Bigelow over Lipton in terms of taste.

Tazo teas taste good. I think they’re a little more expensive than other teas you’ll find in the grocery store, but it does taste good. Again, it doesn’t really compare to loose green tea, but as far as bagged teas go, I think Tazo is one of the best green tea brands that you’ll find in a store. Besides plain green teas, Tazo green tea mixed with other flavors are quite good. They have some good fruit and tea combinations going on.

If there are any asian markets near you, I would suggest checking out their selection of bagged green teas. They will almost always be superior to any green tea brands you’ll find in a regular grocery Store. If you’re truly looking for the best green tea brand locally, that’s definitely one place you want to look.

Stash is another widely available green tea brand. It’s decent. I’d rank it above Lipton and Bigelow, but that’s just a personal preference. It has a little bit more substance to it for a bagged green tea.

Twinings is a brand that I sometimes see in grocery stores. I’ve had it once or twice, but I don’t recall much about it. You’ll probably find some other brands here and there in your search for the best green tea brand. I recommend that you try a few different flavors. I’d try Tazo and Kirkland first if you can get them, those are in my opinion the best green tea brands widely available in grocery stores. But the key is experimentation… what I like for flavor in green tea you might not, and what I dislike in flavor you might think is the best green tea brand. Who knows? So, I encourage you to get on out there and start trying some tea! There’s a whole world to be discovered, and besides tasting great, a lot of research and studies point to it being pretty healthy for you too. Good luck!

There are also several other brands you might find in a grocery store,

What’s The best Green Tea Brand For Health Benefits?



If we’re looking at the best green tea brand of tea bags that you can find in a grocery store, then really, it doesn’t matter what brand you buy. All green tea is made from the same plant, the Camellia Sinensis, and I really don’t think there’s going to be any sort of measurable difference in terms of the health benefits. I’m not aware of any studies that have been done comparing the benefits of different grocery store green tea brands. So, again, I would say, if your concern is health benefits, don’t worry about the brand. Just go for which you think tastes like the best green tea brand. If you’re interested in reading about green tea health benefits, check out my linked article. Cheers!

Water For Tea And A Sweet Story

So, I’ve been reading this book, The Ancient Art of Tea. Great little book, I highly recommend it. (The links to my introductory post on the book).

So far, I’ve been fascinated by what Peltier has to say about water. Well, ok, it’s not Peltier, but the ancient Chinese tea masters (or… his translation of them… so I guess it’s both). But, according to the ancient masters, good water is vital to good tea. One of them said that a leaf that’s only an 8 with a water that’s a 10 makes a tea that’s a 10. But a leaf that’s a 10 with a water that’s only an 8 makes a tea that’s an 8. So, in essence: water makes your tea.

They review different water sources in Chine — they compare well water to river water to spring water; they talk about mountain water and different rivers and where to get water from different rivers… fascinating stuff.

Mountain water is best, river water is next, and well water is inferior, according to Lu Yu who wrote ‘Classic of Tea.’ I guess the Classic of Tea is a compilation of this guy during the Tang dynasty of ancient texts on tea (I’m looking into getting a translation of that next, if I can find one). According to Zhang You Xin (who Lu Yu excerpts in the Classic of Tea), the very best water in China is the Yangzi’s Nan Ling water. The Yangzi is a river (here’s the wikipedia article on the river). I’m not exactly sure where the Nan Ling part of the river is… the book isn’t real clear.

Another exceptionally good water is dew water. Wow. I’m not sure how you collect dew water, but how sweet would it be to drink tea made from the dew of a mountain or something? I really want to try that sometime. I’m trying to figure out how to collect dew water.

Certain types of rains were also considered good for tea. Melted snow was also used.

While I’m on Zhang You Xin, I came across this totally sweet story he tells in his work. It sounds like something straight out of The Golden Legend, lol.

So one day he meets Master Lu Hong Jian — a renowned tea master who traveled China testing various waters. So Zhang You Xin is all excited, and he begs Master Lu to instruct him about tea. So Master Lu tells one of Zhang You Xin’s trusted guards to fetch some water from the very middle of the river — from the Nan Ling. So, the guard goes off in his boat and fetches the water in a jar. But when he comes back, Master Lu looks at the water and says “This is not from the Nan Ling!” The guard argues otherwise, but Master Lu is adamant. He pours out the water from the jar on the ground, but then stops abruptly midway through and declares that *now* the water is the Nan Ling water. Everyone is awed when the guard admits that he got the water from the middle of the river as Master Lu instructed him, but spilled half the jar on the way back, and fearing that what was left wasn’t enough, ladled in some water from the shore.

Now if that’s not sweet, I don’t know what is. I mean seriously, isn’t that a great story? :D

Li Shan – Pear Mountain

I’ve been enjoying some tea from Li Shan in Taiwan (translated ‘pear mountain). Li Shan tea is widely regarded as the best tea in Taiwan. The mountain used to be quite the place for pears… thus its name.

glass of li shan tea

There are, of course, different grades of tea from any mountain. The glass I was enjoying above, is some stuff that a Taiwanese friend of mine gifted me. I believe it’s a winter tea (grown during the winter… pretty self explanatory). I love the Taiwanese teas that my friend has given me before from Li Shan. They truly are some superb teas.

The aroma from the bag is very grassy, but when brewed it becomes very floral: sweet and flowery with a hint of the grassy-ness still pushing its way through.

Personally, I like the first pour of this tea. It’s a little bit sharper the the second and third pour, but I tend to like stronger flavors. For this tea, I’ve found that boiling water is good. Especially on your second and third pours, if you have boiling (or just after boiling) water, it helps to bring the flavor out. It also depends on how fresh the leaves are, I think. If they’re a few weeks after opening, you want to use hotter water. If they’re just opened, you can probably go with water just a tad cooler.

When freshly opened, these leaves last me a lot of pours. I use a little yixing teapot that’s one teacup for me. I get maybe 5 to 7 pours out of one pot, which is a little less than a tablespoon of the leaves.

If you’re anything of a tea aficionado or connoisseur, you need to try some Li Shan tea at some point in your tea drinking career. It really is worth it.

Sweet Old Japanese Tea Farmer

This is a cool video. I was surfing around youtube this evening and came across it. Here’s the description from the youtube video.

While hiking in the mountains recently I met an 80 year old man who invited me to visit his mountain top green tea farm. The man bought and cleared the land at the top of this mountain over 60 years ago and has been climbing the mountain ever since to tend and care for his fields. He is one of the last tea farmers in the area to harvest all of his tea by hand and he uses no machines to assist in bringing the tea down the mountain. The large basket he carries on this back will be filled with the day’s harvest before he returns home in the evening. This man was very proud of his tea fields and his family’s long history of farming the mountains of the Japan Southern Alps.

If you ask me that’s pretty cool. I’m somewhat jealous. I’d love to have a little tea farm at the top of a mountain to take care of. Can you imagine how simple life would be, getting up early every morning, hiking up a mountain, and caring for a small tea farm? To me, life couldn’t get much better than that. I wonder how much he sells his tea for… and I wonder how he processes it. I assume it mus be without machinery. Anyways. Enjoy.