I would like to hear from you all who have purchased whole hops from different suppliers what experiences you have had w/ the quality of the product, be it how green and aromatic they are, how much loose petals there are vs. whole flowers, how accurate and dependable there alpha acid estimates are, how they were packaged, etc. It would probably also be good to include when you bought them (like if they were from a nearly year old harvest like most that one would buy now would be, or fresh from the vines). I've seen some quite diverse prices out there, and just wonder if the quality of hops you get from someplace like Hopteck, who seems to charge a bit more, is comparable to what you get direct from a grower like Putterbaugh farms.
To start it off, I bought 2 pounds of hops, 1 of cascades and 1 of tettnanger from Heartshomebrew.com. The cascades were about $6 and the tet were about $9. Shipping prices seemed fair. I bought them around Feb. so they were from last harvest, but they seemed in pretty good shape, not many of the brown crusties or burnt looking hops, most all were nice and green. The packaging could probably leave something to be desired - they came in big bags that were just tied off, no vacume sealing or anything, and I'm not sure what sort of bag they used, or if that was what they were stored in at the distributor. I suppose using a vacume sealer for that large a quantity would be difficult? Rather broken up, quite a few loose petals, and I can't really say how exact the alphas were (i guess they generally decrease as the batch gets older?). I used the cascades for dryhopping of my latest APA, and the aroma and flavor are great.
So overall, quite pleased, especially with the pricing, but they were my first whole hop purchases, so I don't have much to compare them with (hence this thread).