Spoiled Rotten

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Vanenbw
Posts: 176
Joined: Mon Dec 16, 2019 10:14 pm
Location: NJ, USA

Tue Feb 11, 2020 8:27 pm

No, I'm not referring to tea that's been sitting around my apartment in an unopened bag for the last ten years. I'm calling myself spoiled rotten. You see, I used to be an ordinary old chap. I dunked bleached tea bags in piping hot water in my trusty Starbucks coffee mug (I don't even drink coffee, mind you). I drank loose leaf green tea from Japan, but all I knew back then was Itoen and Yamamotoyama. Both were pleasing to my palette, which at the time accepted the cloyingly bitter notes accompanied by each cup of tea I consumed. That's just green tea, I figured. It's strong, perhaps an acquired taste some would say. Then I stumbled upon the forums and YouTube channels, and learned about various high-end Japanese green teas (as well as Chinese and Taiwanese teas, which I'm starting to try and very much enjoying) and the companies that sell them. Once I tried a premium sencha, there was no going back to what I previously had been drinking. I tried. In fact, I'm very low on tea right now. That's just some bad planning on my behalf, although in all fairness to myself both my parents landed in the hospital in the last few weeks (my father twice), and I have been pretty swamped at work, so ordering tea to ensure I'm well-stocked was the least of my worries.

I have possibly five grams or less of sae midori asamuchi from O-cha, and some genmai matcha from Ocha & Co. I also have a few samples of tea from Verdant and a couple from Hojo. I have two packages of tea en route from O-cha, but it's taking a little longer than I expected to arrive. As of the 9th, it was in Los Angeles. Hopefully I'll have it in a few days. I also ordered a bunch of tea from Verdant tonight. But to hold me over, I thought I might try a fresh bag of Itoen tea from Hmart (it's only five dollars and change). I dumped out my older tea (both aforementioned brands), which I had been storing in a tea caddy within the freezer (this was my old method; this tea had been sitting in the freezer for months). I opened the new bag of tea. The smell was pleasant, grassy. I applied the same brewing techniques I have been using with the higher-grade teas, but to no avail. This tea, while not awful, really offered nothing for my palette. I can't imagine what I saw in it in the first place. Now that I have tasted the sweet nectar of the tea gods, I'm afraid there is no going back to the second-rate -- or dare I say, inferior -- store-bought teas. I just can't do it. I had a few cups of the Itoen tea this morning. I wouldn't describe it as vile, but it was quite uninspiring. I came home tonight and redeemed myself with 4.65 grams of sae midori asamuchi in my 160m kobiwako houhin. I think I can push it to over 5 grams. It's a little on the mellow side, but very pleasant and grassy.

So that's it. I said my piece. I'm a convert, and now I'm spoiled rotten.
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nasalfrog
Posts: 122
Joined: Wed Dec 20, 2017 10:51 pm
Location: Tulsa, OK

Tue Feb 11, 2020 8:52 pm

I have been in a similar situation and purchased some sencha from Whole Foods. It actually cost more per gram than ordering from Japan... so I became even more spoiled and now keep a decent stash of tea in the fridge so that it never happens again... telling myself that doing so is more reasonable/economical... only to have 2 gallon freezer bags full of tea in my fridge right now... and another in my freezer...

May your parents be on the mend and may you enjoy the spoils of O-Cha when it arrives @Vanenbw!
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mrmopu
Posts: 186
Joined: Wed Dec 06, 2017 5:48 am
Location: Blacksburg Va.
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Tue Feb 11, 2020 9:19 pm

Best wishes and prayers for your family. In terms of tea, welcome to the rabbit hole as it is a wild ride...
Ethan Kurland
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Wed Feb 12, 2020 11:32 am

Vanenbw wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 8:27 pm
convert, and now I'm spoiled rotten.
I'll agree that you are a convert, as many of us are; however, why think of it as being spoiled rotten? I think we are blessed to have found pleasure from tea that we did not imagine. Not being able to enjoy the worst tea at all, is a small price to pay for the greater pleasure enjoyed when we do have the better tea.

I think it wise to have a good store of tea. As you have written, one may run out of the best tea when it is not easy (or even possible sometimes) to replace it.

Cheers
Vanenbw
Posts: 176
Joined: Mon Dec 16, 2019 10:14 pm
Location: NJ, USA

Wed Feb 12, 2020 6:08 pm

nasalfrog wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 8:52 pm
I have been in a similar situation and purchased some sencha from Whole Foods. It actually cost more per gram than ordering from Japan... so I became even more spoiled and now keep a decent stash of tea in the fridge so that it never happens again... telling myself that doing so is more reasonable/economical... only to have 2 gallon freezer bags full of tea in my fridge right now... and another in my freezer...

May your parents be on the mend and may you enjoy the spoils of O-Cha when it arrives Vanenbw!
I understand. I hadn't thought it would be an issue, but I'm dying for my tea to arrive. I also ordered a bunch of tea from Verdant last night, and placed my first order for three types of sencha from Thes Du Japon. At least I have the samples left and I still have some genmai matcha, which I enjoyed this morning after breakfast.

Thank you, so far no incidents this week. I'm hoping for the status quo this week so I can enjoy my niece's birthday party on Saturday, and hopefully my O-cha tea will arrive soon, too. Verdant shipped out the tea today, and it takes about three days, so I should have it by Saturday.
mrmopu wrote:
Tue Feb 11, 2020 9:19 pm
Best wishes and prayers for your family. In terms of tea, welcome to the rabbit hole as it is a wild ride...
Thank you very much. My parents are both doing better this week. Just taking it one day at a time. And thanks, yes. I am enjoying the ride already.
Ethan Kurland wrote:
Wed Feb 12, 2020 11:32 am
I'll agree that you are a convert, as many of us are; however, why think of it as being spoiled rotten? I think we are blessed to have found pleasure from tea that we did not imagine. Not being able to enjoy the worst tea at all, is a small price to pay for the greater pleasure enjoyed when we do have the better tea.

I think it wise to have a good store of tea. As you have written, one may run out of the best tea when it is not easy (or even possible sometimes) to replace it.
Well spoken, and I do agree with you. I just can't believe how long it has taken me to get here. I've been drinking the same substandard tea for probably twenty years or more before discovering what good tea is supposed to taste like. I remember the first time I drank some organic green tea I ordered from Japan (just a few months back), I identified flavors in the tea I have never tasted before. I just assumed green tea was strong and bitter, but hell, it's good for you, right? Ignorance is bliss. I loved it, but now I have no desire to drink it (referring to the store-bought Japanese green tea). I'm working through my genmai matcha tea and samples from Verdant until my O-cha order arrives. I'll be sure to place my orders well in advance next time so that I don't run into this situation. The last thing I want to have to do brew a cup of Itoen tea. No offense to the company at all, but I just don't like it anymore.
Vanenbw
Posts: 176
Joined: Mon Dec 16, 2019 10:14 pm
Location: NJ, USA

Thu Feb 13, 2020 2:51 pm

Phew...I was just about to start having withdrawal symptoms, when mercifully these two welcome friends arrived from O-cha today.
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nasalfrog
Posts: 122
Joined: Wed Dec 20, 2017 10:51 pm
Location: Tulsa, OK

Thu Feb 13, 2020 6:01 pm

Vanenbw wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 2:51 pm
Phew...I was just about to start having withdrawal symptoms, when mercifully these two welcome friends arrived from O-cha today.

Image
I am fond of that kabusecha. I hope you find it enjoyable, too! One of the best organic examples of the yabukita cultivar that I have found so far.
Vanenbw
Posts: 176
Joined: Mon Dec 16, 2019 10:14 pm
Location: NJ, USA

Thu Feb 13, 2020 11:06 pm

I'm looking forward to trying it. I haven't tried kabusecha before.
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debunix
Posts: 1034
Joined: Sat Oct 21, 2017 1:27 am
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Fri Feb 14, 2020 3:52 pm

I keep a bag of cheap armchair from Maeda-en around for sparkling sencha. I cold-brew the tea and then carbonate and drink it chilled. Nice armchair makes it even nicer, but it is a fine way to enjoy some not-so-fine sencha.
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debunix
Posts: 1034
Joined: Sat Oct 21, 2017 1:27 am
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Fri Feb 14, 2020 3:53 pm

Cheap sencha. Spell correct wrong again!
Vanenbw
Posts: 176
Joined: Mon Dec 16, 2019 10:14 pm
Location: NJ, USA

Mon Feb 17, 2020 9:49 pm

debunix wrote:
Fri Feb 14, 2020 3:52 pm
I keep a bag of cheap armchair from Maeda-en around for sparkling sencha. I cold-brew the tea and then carbonate and drink it chilled. Nice armchair makes it even nicer, but it is a fine way to enjoy some not-so-fine sencha.
I forgot about Maeda-en. I haven't drank their teas for a while. I doubt I'm missing much though. I don't know if I can return to the store-bought teas again. After my order from O-cha arrived, I threw out the remaining tea from Itoen. I just don't like it anymore.
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