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Tea awareness in Thailand

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PG Tips - can be bought at TOPS but expensive. Normally get friends to bring box loads with them when they come over.

Liptons - shocking if you want an English cup of tea. However, it was originally produced for the English abroad when they wouldn't use the local milk. So it is quite weak thus being ok for a cup of black tea or to make iced tea.

I am always offended when offered Liptons...it is awful awful stuff. Bland and makes you want to cry at the lack of a decent tea!!

What is your view on Dilmah and Heladiv product, both items are disappearing from availability where I live?

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Great that people are into tea and discussing it this much.

About cold tea (iced tea), it isn't favored much in tea enthusiast circles, but that shouldn't mean too much to anyone else. This article I recently read said cold tea isn't healthy because it stops the body from cooling itself otherwise, turns off heat responses, but I'd take that with a grain of salt too. People seem to get away with that everywhere that's hot. Some claim room temperature water is better for you than cold water, so there could be something to it, but seems not dangerous.

I wrote a little about using lightly oxidized oolongs to make iced tea in my last post, which I've been making for my wife and her mother. Black tea is more common of course, and different teas would work. Darjeeling works well, although I've not tried it many times, since I just drink teas hot. I'll cite a post and excerpt following about a recipe I found for cold-brewing Darjeeling, which I've not used.

You can brew any tea hot and then chill it to make iced tea, and with some sugar added only the most bitter / astringent teas would still not work well due to that bitterness, and for the most part adjusting brewing and using better tea would offset that. There is really no need to limit iced tea to only black tea, and even with black tea there are different types someone could mix if they wanted to go the next step towards experimenting.

Commercial black teas aren't necessarily bad (the Thai tea I posted a picture of, or teas from Ceylon (Sri Lanka), or Assam) but a lot of people would prefer other tea types if they got around to trying them. I mean teas like lightly or more oxidized oolongs, decent green teas, Darjeeling, etc.

Pu'er is sort of a different thing, compressed Chinese tea, it takes some work to sort out what types are and the costs are typically higher for even average grade types. It's not common for tea enthusiasts to advocate drinking teas with milk and sugar but if taken that way it doesn't matter so much about bitterness or even quality of the tea; those things mask a lot of the flavor aspects.

Someone might read all this and think I'm only saying people should buy expensive tea, and I'm really saying the opposite, that there are lots of choices that could be a gateway to experimenting with lots of teas that aren't expensive. $5 for 50 grams of tea gives a pretty broad range of options (150 baht for about 25 good sized cups of tea), 1/20th the cost of Starbucks, but of course you have to make it. Dilmah teas (someone mentioned) are really cheap, less than that, and not bad, but you can probably find slightly better looking around. It's still definitely the next level up from tea bags at about the same price, just much better if you buy their loose tea than their tea bags (the manufacturers almost always use low-grade tea dust in the tea bags, with a few exceptions).

That link about a Darjeeling review follows (my own blog post), along with a cold brew recipe copied here. Again I've not tried; it I'd just brew it hot, put it in something, and put it in the refrigerator, although I'd typically brew three different infusions and combine them, so not quite so simple:

http://teaintheancientworld.blogspot.com/2015/03/gopaldhara-gold-darjeeling-autumn.html

I have been cold brewing Darjeeling black, oolongs and green teas separately since the last 12 years [original author statement, not mine, with attribution in the post]. Formula:

1. Take 60 grams of good Darjeeling tea
2. Add 300 grams of ice to the tea
3. Add 300 grams of water to the above
4. Keep the utensil in a cool place
5. Strain the mixture after 6-8 hours of brewing, and if all the ice has melted, you will get 500 ml of tea concentrate.
6. Use 10-12 ml of this for a 200 ml hot tea drink but do not put the concentrate over a flame
7. Use 12-15 ml for an iced tea.
ENJOY

The picture here is of a shop in Paradise Park mall, but I'll write another post sometime about different places to get tea. The most obvious: Chinatown, but you have to be careful about buying a tea that's been sitting out in a relatively open jar for a few years.

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There was an story on SKY news today,that tea consumption is down in the UK,

because workers don't have time to stop for a cuppa, while in the past workers

stopped at least 3 times a day for a cup of tea and a biscuit,times change and

not always for he better.me I use Yorkshire tea bags,the worst tea in the world

has to be Liptons yellow label,you could leave the bag in the cup for days and

you still would not get a decent cup of tea,

regards worgeordie

Well done, I agree about the local Liptons, I used 2 bags to make a brew but it still wasn't a good one!

Then a friend took a trip out here and I got him to bring the Tetley round bags.

And more recently I brought some Yorkshire Tea back with me.

Now the rains have appeared I am back having an afternoon cuppa and biscuits!

You cannot beat a nice fresh box from home, but did you notice they still go stale in the heat?

What i do is seal them in a bag or jar, and keep ALL of them in the 'fridge.

The ones that have been left in the heat are too late to save, they are dead already....

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Valid tea storage input; tea needs to be well sealed, and even "baggies" allow for air exchange, and heat isn't good for storage, unless a tea type is good for aging, as with pu'er or even oolongs.



But we're back to tea bags, kind of a depressing topic for tea enthusiasts, like someone who loves coffee brewed from ground coffee beans talking about the merits of instant coffee. Blending different black teas together to make a more balanced flavor profile is a real thing, but the tea in tea bags, especially the kind you could find in a grocery store, is almost universally bad tea. Freshness is part of that, and so is original product grade, and also the issue of being ground to a dust (not the way to prepare dry tea for optimum brewing).



I mentioned talking about sourcing more, so how would one get around this in Thailand, or even Bangkok, for example, to find good black tea here? Not an easy task. It's sad to say but ordering it online might not be a bad way to go. I bought a decent standard black tea in a Bangkok shop in Silom relatively recently, so if someone loved English Breakfast tea they'd love this:



http://teaintheancientworld.blogspot.com/2015/06/keemun-from-peony-tea-shop-in-silom.html




But I kind of don't love the style. It's good, but not my favorite flavor profile in black tea. I liked this tea black much better from Vietnam:



http://teaintheancientworld.blogspot.com/2015/03/amazing-teas-from-vietnam-oolong-and.html




But that's back to mail order, even if it's not expensive tea and that's not so far to ship. I've had ok black tea from Thailand but that example from what they sell in Tops is only drinkable with milk and sugar, so I wouldn't count it. It's fine to make a masala chai, maybe better than Tetley or PG Tips, but I really wouldn't know. Thailand produces oolong, almost always prepared as lightly oxidized oolong, just not always; it is what it is.



To me tea awareness isn't really about trying to find a better version of what is in a tea bag though. For some people that would be their preference after a lot of exposure to different teas, but to a lot of others they'd like something else entirely. The trick is how to get there. Even if you walk into an ideal shop, where people are friendly and open to brewing up free samples of everything they have, they're still going to ask you what you like. If you've never had a decent green tea (or black tea), or don't know what different oolongs are, or white tea, never mind pu'er, how could you really answer that. This is what's stopping tea awareness from really going anywhere, I think. If anyone has thoughts on how to jump that gap I'd love to hear them.



My story, the short version: I visited Laos and bought coffee at a farm, and fresh tea they grew there. My wife kept buying me Japanese green tea after because she thought it was good for my health. On a trip to China the company we visited put on a tea ceremony, and I waited in a tea shop while others shopped in a market, and between those two inputs I was kind of hooked.




Longjing, also called Dragonwell, pan-fried Chinese green tea:



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Let me start off with a declaration: I am not an expert, or any sort of gourmand with respect to tea, but I do know what I like and can appreciate the difference between what I think is nice and what I think is "pretty normal".

Lipton yellow has been lambasted here.....I suspect it's in the brewing and/or the water. I don't think it's a great tea, but when made properly, it can be quite pleasant. It's what I have here as it's the only tea I can find aside from expensive Twinings and various green teas.

Personally, I never let the water boil rapidly. Just coming to the boil, with smaller bubbles than a rapid boil, but bigger than the tiny bubbles of a simmer.

And never let the water boil for long...as soon as it reaches that pre-rolling boil, turn it off/take it off the heat.

Since I am stuck with Lipton, I do the best I can......using the above heated water, straight onto the teabag in the cup. DO NOT AGITATE. Don't jiggle the bag....just let it sit for 2 to 3 minutes, then gently remove the bag.

Doing it that way results in a nice cuppa.

Having said that, my preference (as far as supermarket teas goes) is Dilmah Orange Pekoe, loose leaf. Wish I could get it here.

Green tea...Longjin is nice and full, but not bitter. Gunpowder. tea is ok too.

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Let me start off with a declaration: I am not an expert, or any sort of gourmand with respect to tea, but I do know what I like and can appreciate the difference between what I think is nice and what I think is "pretty normal".

Lipton yellow has been lambasted here.....I suspect it's in the brewing and/or the water. I don't think it's a great tea, but when made properly, it can be quite pleasant. It's what I have here as it's the only tea I can find aside from expensive Twinings and various green teas.

....

I think I've mentioned this but I'm not saying I'm a tea expert either. It's funny how I'm either in the role of very experienced in some places or a newbie in others (tea groups, where people have put decades into their tea obsession).

Do you live in Thailand? I'm trying to help with awareness of where to get better teas, not just the more expensive kinds that wouldn't appeal to everyone but also lower end more affordable teas. Twinnings costs something like 300 baht for 100 grams (about $10; I didn't check that, and don't buy it, just a ball-park) and that is kind of normal range for mid-grade teas, but there are bargains out there for lower-mid grade range. I might repeat that I don't sell tea, so that's not what's at stake for me.

To me most Thai oolongs fall in that range, some more like half that price rate for Twinnings, for decent teas. You have to be careful of what you buy in Chinatown or local shops but some black teas or dark oolongs are also available on the lower cost side.

I think it helps to keep in mind that 100 grams of tea makes 50 good sized cups of tea, so for the cost of a few cups of coffee in a shop or a few beers in a bar, or maybe a half dozen at home, someone is drinking a lot of tea for a month.

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Liptons is the tea equivalent of Carlsberg Special Brew (or Siam Sato for Thai afficianados). It is correctly called beer, but hardly approaching anything one could call a quality product. I think someone mentioned that it is so popular as it is good for making iced tea (i.e. it's far too bland to make a "proper" cup of (milk) tea. Dilmahs Ceylon is a much better alternative

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Dilmah's Ceylon (loose tea) is pretty decent as commercial grade teas go, it's just really astringent compared to a lot of other types of black teas (bitter).

If one makes it with milk and sugar that drops out completely, or prepared as masala chai. That is tea mixed with spices and usually sugar and milk, typically with cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, clove, and black pepper, but different blends would work. Made as a heavily sweetened iced tea it's also fine; the sugar gets rid of the astringency too. Really adding milk and sugar to tea isn't a bad thing, if one likes tea that way, but there are dimensions to better tea flavors that might never come up if one stayed with only drinking inexpensive blended black tea made that way.

I was just working on a blog post about a Thai oolong (Jin Xuan) that goes into why some people would never add sugar to tea, and how it relates to grades (more than types, but in this case it ties back to that). I'm only half finished but since grade ties directly to price I'll go straight to that to make a point. The tea I'm reviewing is from Tea Village, costing $2.07 per 50 grams (60 baht, roughly). The commercial grade Thai teas I showed a picture of from Tops were 135 baht for 100 grams of green tea and 170 grams of black, all quite inexpensive really, since we're talking about 50 to 100 cups of tea for that amount. Put in perspective, it's the cost of a cup of Starbucks coffee, or one large beer in a restaurant.

The point is the pricing is low enough that anyone drinking tea bag tea to save money beyond that might not be thinking it through. The oolong is much better tea (of course that's a judgment call; someone else might really like Lipton's better). It's not a fair comparison since one is black and the other lightly oxidized oolong anyway.

What would be the next level up, for grade? It's not exactly just a move upwards since tea-type flavor profiles differ but roughly speaking a reasonable grade of Tie Kuan Yin would be. That cultivar (plant type) can be grown in Thailand but it's not common, and most likely better versions would come from Taiwan or China. Of course how good a tea is depends on the tea, not where it's from, since it's based on lots of factors, some related to growing, others processing, even storage.

Tea Village sells a Tie Kuan Yin for $7.85 for 50 grams, definitely not a higher grade of the tea for that reasonable a price, but most of their teas are a good version. I think I did try it sampling different teas with the owner but I'm not really prepared to offer tasting notes. Compared to the Jin Xuan it would be more floral in flavor profile, a little sweeter, perhaps slightly "cleaner" flavors, more refined, and often it will brew more infusions than other teas (although that Jin Xuan can be brewed a number of times consistently, whereas black teas maybe two or three depending on how you make it).

I'm not pushing their tea with this example, the point is explaining how grades work. If you don't mind spending three times as much for a couple dozen cups of tea--still not a lot--the taste is different, and perhaps even the aftertaste or body (feel) of the tea. If that cost is a factor then adding a little sugar may make a similar difference, it just wouldn't be exactly the same.

By extension I'm sort of implying that if cost isn't a factor, that if someone has $20 or $30 a month to spare on tea, with no concern about that expense, then they might well drift towards drinking better teas, and keep drifting, exploring new and better teas. That can happen. I like to drink a lot of types of tea, to mix it up, and I don't mind some being common grade / everyday tea (just not Lipton's--too common grade), but I would sorely miss drinking some better teas as well.

I've paid $20 to $30 on a comparable amount of tea to those packages, or much less, and sometimes it seemed a good value. When I didn't really like the tea it was a bit sad, and I guess that range of expense wouldn't be for everyone, great tea or no.

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I wrote a blog post reviewing a Thai Jin Xuan oolong that overlaps with that last comment, and even refers to some of it:

http://teaintheancientworld.blogspot.com/2015/07/sweetening-tea-grades-of-tea-and-thai.html

To make a long story short, I explain that to me it's ok for people to add sugar to tea (some people are judgmental about that), but that it seems natural to me to drink it plain if it's better tea or after getting used to it that way.

And I explain why I think tea-bag tea isn't as good as inexpensive loose teas. I mean those teas taste better, and I don't go into why (tea-bag tea is dust, basically, I should have mentioned that). So it's about explaining what a decent inexpensive black tea is like, with a couple examples.

Jin Xuan is the main type of Thai oolong. It's the name of the plant type, or cultivar, usually prepared as a lightly oxidized oolong, or similar to green tea versus being similar to black tea.

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I've drank Chinese tea that gives off a hint of sweetness in the end, do you know what that type of tea is called?

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About the question about the Chinese tea, I'd assume you are talking about a black tea, since some of those seem really sweet to me. There are a number of different teas I've tried that are made in the style of a Golden Monkey tea that are like that, the last I reviewed here:

http://teaintheancientworld.blogspot.com/2014/11/comparison-tasting-dahongpao-and-golden.html

If we are talking about the same thing I don't like that style of tea. The sweetness is a bit much to me, like they've added some apricot preserves flavor to a tea.

This really mixes two completely different subjects in one post, but I also wanted to talk a little about tea cafes in Bangkok, related to visiting one in Chinatown recently, Double Dogs café:

http://teaintheancientworld.blogspot.com/2015/07/double-dogs-tea-room-visit-shui-jin-gui.html

Back to teas more than cafes, the tea I drank was in a style I really do like, Wuyi Yancha, or rock oolong (darker roasted oolong from the Fujian, China area). They're less oxidized than black teas, but much more oxidized than the "greener" oolongs you typically find in Thailand, which are usually made from different tea plant types, Jin Xuan or Ruan Zhi. Shui Jin Gui is the name of the plant, essentially, although it is possible for teas to have different names assigned to them. I think the name actually translates to something about a turtle, with more on the story about that in the blog post (two different versions). Wuyi Yancha teas in general have rich, woody, slightly sweet flavors, more towards toffee or caramel, with a lot of flavors possibly mixed in (leather, cherry, floral elements, etc.).

About cafes, in a lot of places that's a common way to experience tea, but not so much in Bangkok. There are a number of tea cafes, and I've written blog posts about other places, but people drink thousands of times more bubble tea, iced lemon tea, and "Thai tea" here (powdered tea with milk and artificial flavoring) than brewed tea. Related to cost, the people commenting here that feel put out by spending 200-300 baht for 100 grams of ordinary loose tea would be outraged to spend that on one pot of tea. I wrote a blog post about a café in Silom (Peony) which I think only charged 100 to 150 or so for lower grade loose teas by the cup (pot; a few cups), but still an order of magnitude higher cost than brewing at home. It has to be about enjoying the atmosphere.

The strange part is everyone walks into work in my office with cups of coffee and tea that cost between 30 to 150 baht every day (depending if it's powdered tea from a stand somewhere or a Starbucks with whatever added to it). On the low end it's not so expensive but someone just mixed a powder and water and served that to them; I'm not sure why they wouldn't buy the powder and mix it themselves.

The tea I bought in that cafe was 260 baht for a tiny pot (silly how small, really, it held about an ounce), with some "cakes," like a sesame biscuit. It was good tea, probably worth the 670 baht per 50 grams they charged to buy it loose, although that really depends on the person's judgment of value more than the grade (the primary reason teas cost what they do). On the lowest end Three Horses tea in a grocery store costs around 40 baht for a package (80 grams?) but the version I tried of it once was not worth any more than that.

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Greetings again! I wanted to mention on new experience that definitely related to tea awareness in Thailand. I visited a restaurant in Bangkok with "tea" in the name (Tealicious) and they served almost all tea-bag teas. I wrote a lot about that in a blog post:

http://teaintheancientworld.blogspot.com/2015/07/tealicious-bangkok-cafe-visit.html

Might seem like I'm being judgmental about both the restaurant and tea-bag teas, and I guess I sort of am. You can get much better loose teas than that, for roughly the same cost. I've tried "high end tea bags" (kind of an oxymoron in tea circles) in five star hotels but they're still no better than very mediocre loose teas.

To be fair, that restaurant served one loose tea I did get and liked, and the food was quite good, so I'd recommend the place, but definitely not as a destination for above average tea, or even tea on par with the relatively inexpensive versions I normally drink.

I think it just comes back to awareness. The shop owners and tourists know no better, or Thai customers, so tea bags are good enough. An online friend I talk to in England claims that's quite normal there, that awareness of teas is generally limited to a few grocery-store tea-bag brands, even though people do drink a good bit of tea in terms of liquid volume.

An intern from Nepal recently gave me a commercial masala chai tea, which I wrote about here: http://teaintheancientworld.blogspot.com/2015/08/masala-chai-revisited-tea-gift-from.html

At least they have different options available as commercial teas (there in Nepal), but it doesn't seem like tea awareness is on the same level as in China or Japan (or I guess in India, but I'm only familiar with better Darjeelings from there, not how the common person identifies with tea).

There is a tea enthusiast movement in America, and lots of online outlets and shops turning up, but the average person in America has never tasted brewed loose tea, aside from what they serve in Chinese restaurants (not a great example, but a start).

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At the risk of talking to myself, which has already kind of happened, I tried out the best tea I've been served in a tea shop in Bangkok recently, at the relatively new Peace Oriental tea shop.

The tea was Jin Guan Yin, a hybrid version of Tie Guan Yin, combined with a second tea plant type (details on that in a blog post, link follows).

I'd highly recommend this shop, along with the qualification that teas there are between 300 and 650 per small pot. It's enough to brew 9 or 10 one ounce cups of tea, or one relatively normal size cup of tea that takes a half hour to brew and drink in ten parts. It's definitely not for everyone, but for some people just the thing.

Two other places that may or may not sell equivalent quality teas come to mind, but it's likely you couldn't buy a close equivalent to any of the teas, at best different variations of the same quality level.

I'm an advocate of people enjoying whatever tea is appropriate for them, and there are lots of places to get more reasonably priced tea in Bangkok. Even there you could buy this tea for around 1000 baht for 50 grams, so you could brew it 10 or 12 times for three times what one pot costs, maybe even 15 if you use such a small teapot as they do. I've already mentioned other places to get decent tea that costs a fraction of that, just not quite as good.

http://teaintheancientworld.blogspot.com/2015/08/jin-guan-yin-at-peace-oriental-tea.html

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Hi!

I am looking for organic butterfly pea flower tea to import into the UK from Thailand.

Does anyone know the best way of sourcing this, or know anyone that does!

Thanks :)

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ID: 40   Posted (edited)

Fellow tea lovers,

There's a new place opened up in park lane Ekamai, best place for tea I have been too, in particular many good oolongs , the guy really knows his stuff. He does cold brews/slow drip too and depending on the tea serves gongfu style. Love this place!

https://www.facebook.com/7sevensuns?fref=ts&ref=br_tf

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Edited by noidontwantatuktuk

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Nice to see talk about tea!

About butterfly pea tea, here are some places to take a look, but these are retail. You really want the source where they are getting the teas, and that I don't know. Google might help with that but a search would go better in Thai language, always a problem for anyone that's not Thai.

Any tea vendor is likely to sell higher volumes for less but you'll still pay a good bit more than they bought the tea for, but it still can't hurt to check that rate:

http://tea-village.com/en/9-herbs

http://tea-side.com/herbal-teas-for-healing/

About the Ekamai shop, nice to hear of it; I'll take a look.

I finally found a good tea shop in Chinatown, Jip Eu, the kind of place that sells good teas for decent prices, and cheap teas for next to nothing, and doesn't sell the teas out of bins or large glass jars. Really such shops are all over the place, so it was more a gap in me never spending an afternoon wandering around Chinatown than such places being rare or hidden away.

Here is the link to my post about the place (trying a Ban Tian Yao, a relatively rare Wuyi Yancha, but of course they sell "normal" tea), and the shop Facebook page. About Ban Tian Yao, really unless someone is really set on trying versions of Wuyi Yancha they've never had the more common types are fine, just each different (Da Hong Pao, Shui Xian, Rue Gui, etc.). The real trick is finding a really good version, a tea grown properly in an ideal environment, roasted and prepared well, etc., not so much the plant type.

http://teaintheancientworld.blogspot.com/2015/09/ban-tian-yao-wuyi-yancha-from-jip-eu.html

https://www.facebook.com/threeshelltea?fref=ts

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Your thoughts and comments on tea labeled organic tea vs regular? A quick google search is showing that many Chinese and India Teas have EU banned pesticides, any truth to this?

I never buy chinese fruit/vegtables, mostly everything is from NZ and some veggies are Thai organic/ hydroponics / Royal Thai Projects, should the same rules apply to Tea? Also I've read even if a say a Chinese product is labeled organic the water source used for the plants might be filthy with contaminates.

How do you go upon finding a reputable tea/company if you are trying to avoid chemicals? Buying directly from a trusted friend farmer is one thing, but some loose leaf tea unbranded at an unknown shop, it would be hard to know the source.

Been drinking this Green Tea, how does it rate:

1333510821_Or_GT-01.jpg

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The only tea I buy here now, is loose TATA tea, in a green bag from Sri Lanka,.... usually Makro has it, but can sometimes be found in Indian or Burmese shops...

Now that's a good cuppa! thumbsup.gif

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About the question about pesticides and chemicals in tea, and the real value in buying organic teas, those are good questions. I'm not sure.

There are Thai certifications for organic products but I wouldn't be certain that means much in practice. It's hard to imagine how US or Canadian certifications could be meaningful here either. Then again, since very little tea is grown in the US or Canada if foreign standards can't be effectively applied overseas then labeling for all the products there doesn't mean much either.

What I've heard of such issues is just hearsay, nothing of enough credibility to pass on, but people seemed to interpret organic standards more positively in direct relation to them having an interest in using them for marketing.

I've recently read of problems related to importing teas from one place to another because testing to ensure safety is difficult (really a separate issue, but related), with too many potential contaminants to effectively test for even most, and different standards for different allowable thresholds in different countries. That was about a familiar name in tea, just one case of one failed test, so hard to extrapolate from that, just interesting reading related discussion points.

If it helps at all what one comes across related to the issue of risks also varies. Some sources (which could be more closely tied to tea sales interests) cite studies saying test results are generally positive across all categories, and that in general chemicals don't make it from application to leaves into a brewed liquid tea very easily. Of course other sources say the risks are real, and higher, that test results can identify contamination and this can pass on to what you drink.

In the end one might wonder how to minimize risk, aside from making friends with tea farmers, how much buying organic products seems to offset that. I really don't know. I doubt any amount of internet based research would point in any one direction, so at best one could try to judge source credibility and then interpret different findings after that step.

It's kind of a completely separate issue but I've never had any luck finding drinkable mass-produced Thai tea of any type (in reference to the one shown). It would seem more of a shame to risk long term negative health effects for tea that doesn't taste good to begin with. People sell semi-wild teas based on the claims that tea trees not cultivated through conventional farming methods would use no such chemicals, but I'm not sure, maybe not.

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Can anyone comment on where to buy real handmade yixing teapots? China town seems to be a minefield, many fakes, i'm sure there are some good teapot places in china town but it's knowing where to find them. Obviously there is paradise mall, but it's pricy. Anyone care to weigh in?

Cheers,

Paul

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This is really not my area of expertise but I did just discuss this at a tea shop in Chinatown, the Jip Eu shop I'd mentioned. They said one way to identify the real jixing pots was to review the certification letter that came with it.

If someone knew what they were looking for the stamp at the bottom of the pot also identifies maker, but then if the pot is a fake that's the kind of thing that could be faked. Really the certificate could be counterfeited too; it's just a paper record. I suppose it wouldn't help with review if it was written mostly in Chinese, but then that relates to the country the pots are typically coming from.

Someone might wonder, what does it mean for a clay pot to be fake? Those certificates list the maker and composition of the pots, and the whole point is that different types of clay have different properties (as I recall yixing is a regional designation that refers to the clay type used). I know nothing about all that, of course. If someone wanted to spend hundreds of dollars on clay pots they'd do well to research it further. That does raise an interesting question; what is the range of what such pots are supposed to cost? Again I'm not a good reference for the subject but I've seen them for next to nothing (surely not "real" yixing pots, whatever that means), and then from $60 to $500, with others surely costing more.

Someone might also wonder, what else is there to consider beside the type of clay used? Size, of course, and people into pots talk about the shape of the pot being critical, the thickness, the finish (outside and inside appearance and texture), how well the lid seals, even how fast the spout discharges the tea.

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Currently trying to give up caffeine and so am in the market for a reasonably priced, palatable green or herbal tea. There are no specialty shops in our area so it would need to come from Makro/Lotus/Big C.

I'm missing my routine of sitting down with a warm mug so I really hope there's something out there (don't like decaf).

Any suggestions greatly appreciated.

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Your timing is perfect for this question; I just spent a few years completely off herb teas / tisanes, and in the last couple months have started back in on them. So I'll answer the question in two parts, about what types of herb teas someone might like, and then about where to get them.

I've been drinking mulberry leaf tea (popular in Thailand, said to be healthy, easy to find lots of places), and lately sage herbs as a tea, and also rosemary as tea. Those last two are not different than cooking herbs. One I had a vendor send to use as a tea (the sage, which is not easy to find in good quality in Thailand, so I ended up getting it from Croatia, odd as that sounds). The rosemary I just had lots of so I tried it as a tea and I like it.

There are lots of others. I just posted a guest blog post on chrysanthemom tea, which is popular in China, and not so uncommon here. Thais also drink herb teas (tisanes--same thing) from things like bael fruit and goji berry, or really from any number of herbs. The catch might be that you don't really like the taste of most of those herbs, which run from fruity, or floral, or herbaceous, but they're not that much like tea (camellia sinensis types). The thing is they are never oxidized, like black teas are, or even like oolongs are, so if you already loved the grassy, vegetal taste of a green tea you'd be ok, but otherwise it might not seem so nice.

To buy the teas you could get tea-bag versions lots of places, maybe easiest in the small organic-themed shops they have like separate stores beside Tops, or separate in malls and even as stand-alone shops. As with regular tea you can get different versions, and the quality varies, so maybe once you find what you like you could refine sourcing a bit to get better versions. Tea-bag versions are usually just a bit of dust in that bag, and you can do a lot better with loose tea, and it's not that hard to make it, put it in hot water and strain it somehow.

I'll add a couple online shops as well, vendors in Thailand, since that will help page through what's out there, as well as provide more sourcing options:

http://tea-village.com/en/

http://tea-side.com/

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BANGKOK 28 March 2017 13:20
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