Tuesday, January 10, 2012

FrugaliTEA Experiment: Tea From Japan vs. Tea From the US. Fight!

It's another edition of FrugaliTEA! This time we're testing sen-cha tea I bought back from Japan with sen-cha I bought here in the US. It's a light-bodied, grassy green tea, and the US and Japanese version taste nearly identical. The costlier Japanese tea wins for being smoother than the US counterpart.

It's been one month since I got back from visiting Japan. One month later and I still haven't made time to sort through and organize the photos, I took over 1,000! I'll let you know when I have them up on Flickr, divided into categories. I'll also have some travel journal and scrapbooking tutorials up soon that involve vintage supplies. I've been dying to share more photos of the vintage shop we found in the mountains!

* First photo is a grocery store tea display. Ah, I miss all of that inspiring attention to detail...

What's your favorite cold weather drink? Clearly mine is tea, hands-down!
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  1. Its very interesting that I was just browsing some tea for a swap Im in and I was thinking what kind send to my partner. Its pretty sad that we don't get a lot of tea here; puertoricans are not tea people. I used to buy it by ounces in spain and they also had tea bars <3. Awesome post!

  2. Miss Lou: I feel like we Hispanics in general are raised as coffee drinkers, we're hooked when mom lets us have that first small sip of cafecito. The smell of coffee is still one of the most intoxicated smells in the world to me...but I drink tea now.

    I never knew there wasn't much tea selection in PR. Sometimes I consider moving there but then again, I may wither and die from tea withdrawal ;)

  3. My favorite cold weather drink?: Beer. Preferably an Imperial Stout or any stout in general. Dogfishhead makes a really pricy stout but it warms me up on a cold winter day.

  4. Birdilicious: Now you're just tempting me. You stop that! :)

  5. Frankly, I just don't believe that these frugalitea tests stand up to full-time tea drinkers that have tried a lot of different (and real) teas. I'm not talking branded stuff like teavana or republic of tea or whatever, that's not actually good tea, that's just dust and broken throwaway leaves from the good stuff. I'm talking about the ones that tell you which tea garden they've come from, which seasonal flush they're from, who owns the gardens, etc. That's real tea. Looking at this I'd have said you are comparing a cheap tea with something I would not even consider tea. Looking at the visual comparison though the extremely cheap green tea is obviously not fresh and is actually partially fermented - might even be an oolong by now. The slightly more costly tea is at least actually bright green the way it's supposed to be. But with a comparison like this you're still going to get a bitter, nasty tea regardless. Green tea doesn't keep for more than half a year and I bet they were sitting on the shelf for a month or two already. I'm not surprised they taste almost the same because one is barely better than the other. Actual expensive teas from the estates might cost $20 an ounce (hey, some estate teas cost $3 an oz so you can still get good tea for less), but the flavor is unmistakably better. There's no bitterness or horrible aftertaste. In fact, some don't even need sugar to taste heavenly, and they're strong enough to brew multiple cups. Tasting one of these compared to a cheap dusty tea shows an obvious and huge difference.

    These "frugaliteas" might be good enough for the person who doesn't know tea or drinks it rarely (let's face it...most of america.) but to me, this is kind of a joke.

    But I hate green anyway :) Black all the way.

    1. Woah, didn't see this comment until months later.

      Any links/recommendations for the quality tea of which you speak would be helpful. I'd love to try them. I do buy actually expensive tea from time to time but since the theme of the site is thriftiness I like to keep the taste tests accessible- it does help most of America at least ;)


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