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Tea Appreciation

post #1 of 74
Thread Starter 
A while back I started a thread here on SF in order to become a regular tea drinker. I've definitely come a long way since then. I regularly drink anywhere from 2-4 cups a day (loose leaf of course!).

My current morning rotation:

Earl Grey (from AdagioTeas)
Irish Breakfast (Adagio)

Afternoon:

Masala Chai (Adagio)

Evening:

Golden Monkey (Tehku, local tea shop at home)
Lady Earl Grey (Tehku)


I'm particularly fond of Black teas, but I'm looking to branch out. I would love any and all recommendations. I'm also especially interested in becoming familiar with Darjeelings, so any recommendation for good vendors and leaves in particular would be really helpful.

Just wanted to stir up a discussion with other fellow SF'ers who are regular tea drinkers. What's in your cup atm?
post #2 of 74
Mariage Freres makes some really nice ones. I've always loved the Earl Grey French Blue in the morning and Rouge Bourbon at night. I've been buying fresh Chamomile and Lavender and brewing them, but I prefer the dried blends. Or, if you're well-heeled, you could just go for T601:
Quote:
"This tea is harvested exclusively with golden scissors and only from the top of the tree which is the tea bud. It's then sun dried and placed into closed containers to slightly heat the tea leaves so they can release the polyphenols that they contain and give a yellowish colour to the leaves and a very soft and flowery taste," said Mallochet. The tea is then painted with 24 carat gold flakes which, in Asia, are considered very good for you, and give the tea a beautiful golden shimmer. Mallochet claims that the gold provides nutrition, as well -- it's a mineral, after all.
post #3 of 74
You're missing a great aspect of tea with your lack of green, yellow, white and oolong (IMO). If you truly like black tea as much as you say, get a darjeeling and learn to love it. This is just a small list of what I have on hand right now, but these are some of my favorites on hand right now.

Green:
Dragonwell (longjing) - standard green to have around.
Angel - a premium bold green (and comes with a price tag, and tends to come in larger quantities only, but highly acclaimed). I get mine from Vital in SF. The first 3-4 cups are a kick-in-the-gut-cleanliness (strong); the last 3-4 will be delightfully sweet, citrusy, but still provide the unique feeling of cleanliness - I've found no better tea for detox personally.

White:
Peony (bai mudan) is a good start - it's what really brought me to good tea.
Silver needle (bai hao yin zhen) is a must for any tea drinker, IMO. Extremely delicate / fruity with a background of sweetness.
Snowbud (xue ya) - I keep this on hand because it's economical, delicate and slightly sweet.

Oolong:
Monkey Picked (tieguanyin) - my current oolong drinker. Not as bold as many oolongs, but earthy and fantastic.
Dancong - Very high in oxidation, giving it a grey-black hue and taste that you would probably like.
Royal Red Robe - (da hong pao) - I suggest this to you as it is very close to a black tea, and being you have nothing but blacks listed, this is certainly up your alley. 80% oxidation gives it a red, vibrant liquor and taste close to that of black. It's literally one of the most oxidized oolongs.

Black:
Get some darjeeling of some kind. Each estate will vary a great deal. Find something you like and stick with it. Greys are great, but darjeeling is like the cognac of black tea. I'm currently drinking a estate 2nd summer that is extremely bold, dark and vibrant. Darjeeling have a very finicky lifestyle - while I recommend savoring all your tea, it must be drank as soon as possible (from the brew), as it will bolt randomly after the first minute.
post #4 of 74
The best tea I have found locally is jasmine pearl green tea from China. The tea leaves are rolled into round 'pearls' by hand and scented/flavored with jasmine. It is available at the local Wegmans for about $75-$80 per pound if I remember correctly. A little pricey for tea, but it is well worth it.
post #5 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by mordecai View Post
Mariage Freres makes some really nice ones. I've always loved the Earl Grey French Blue in the morning and Rouge Bourbon at night. I've been buying fresh Chamomile and Lavender and brewing them, but I prefer the dried blends. Or, if you're well-heeled, you could just go for T601:
Have you tried Marco Polo?
post #6 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by mm84321 View Post
Have you tried Marco Polo?
Yes, I thought it was wretched.
post #7 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by mordecai View Post
Yes, I thought it was wretched.

I enjoy smelling it.
post #8 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by mm84321 View Post
I enjoy smelling feet.


Well that explains why you like it I guess.
post #9 of 74
No, it smells fruity...tutti frutti.
post #10 of 74
anastasia is nice.

i like the russian teas though.
post #11 of 74
Have a can of loose tea leaves sitting on my office desk at all times. It's jasmine today.
And those fancy shmancy new age fruit and spice infusion 'teas' belong in the trash can.
post #12 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by blahman View Post
Have a can of loose tea leaves sitting on my office desk at all times. It's jasmine today.
And those fancy shmancy new age fruit and spice infusion 'teas' belong in the trash can.

You do know that Jasmine is no puro, right?
post #13 of 74
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cladnin View Post
You're missing a great aspect of tea with your lack of green, yellow, white and oolong (IMO). If you truly like black tea as much as you say, get a darjeeling and learn to love it. This is just a small list of what I have on hand right now, but these are some of my favorites on hand right now.

Green:
Dragonwell (longjing) - standard green to have around.
Angel - a premium bold green (and comes with a price tag, and tends to come in larger quantities only, but highly acclaimed). I get mine from Vital in SF. The first 3-4 cups are a kick-in-the-gut-cleanliness (strong); the last 3-4 will be delightfully sweet, citrusy, but still provide the unique feeling of cleanliness - I've found no better tea for detox personally.

White:
Peony (bai mudan) is a good start - it's what really brought me to good tea.
Silver needle (bai hao yin zhen) is a must for any tea drinker, IMO. Extremely delicate / fruity with a background of sweetness.
Snowbud (xue ya) - I keep this on hand because it's economical, delicate and slightly sweet.

Oolong:
Monkey Picked (tieguanyin) - my current oolong drinker. Not as bold as many oolongs, but earthy and fantastic.
Dancong - Very high in oxidation, giving it a grey-black hue and taste that you would probably like.
Royal Red Robe - (da hong pao) - I suggest this to you as it is very close to a black tea, and being you have nothing but blacks listed, this is certainly up your alley. 80% oxidation gives it a red, vibrant liquor and taste close to that of black. It's literally one of the most oxidized oolongs.

Black:
Get some darjeeling of some kind. Each estate will vary a great deal. Find something you like and stick with it. Greys are great, but darjeeling is like the cognac of black tea. I'm currently drinking a estate 2nd summer that is extremely bold, dark and vibrant. Darjeeling have a very finicky lifestyle - while I recommend savoring all your tea, it must be drank as soon as possible (from the brew), as it will bolt randomly after the first minute.

Thanks for taking the time to write up this!

I'll focus my efforts on Whites and look into Darjeelings.

Any specific online vendors I should look into? I hear Tea Emporium is good for Darjeelings.
post #14 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by cladnin View Post
You're missing a great aspect of tea with your lack of green, yellow, white and oolong (IMO). If you truly like black tea as much as you say, get a darjeeling and learn to love it. This is just a small list of what I have on hand right now, but these are some of my favorites on hand right now.

Green:
Dragonwell (longjing) - standard green to have around.
Angel - a premium bold green (and comes with a price tag, and tends to come in larger quantities only, but highly acclaimed). I get mine from Vital in SF. The first 3-4 cups are a kick-in-the-gut-cleanliness (strong); the last 3-4 will be delightfully sweet, citrusy, but still provide the unique feeling of cleanliness - I've found no better tea for detox personally.

White:
Peony (bai mudan) is a good start - it's what really brought me to good tea.
Silver needle (bai hao yin zhen) is a must for any tea drinker, IMO. Extremely delicate / fruity with a background of sweetness.
Snowbud (xue ya) - I keep this on hand because it's economical, delicate and slightly sweet.

Oolong:
Monkey Picked (tieguanyin) - my current oolong drinker. Not as bold as many oolongs, but earthy and fantastic.
Dancong - Very high in oxidation, giving it a grey-black hue and taste that you would probably like.
Royal Red Robe - (da hong pao) - I suggest this to you as it is very close to a black tea, and being you have nothing but blacks listed, this is certainly up your alley. 80% oxidation gives it a red, vibrant liquor and taste close to that of black. It's literally one of the most oxidized oolongs.

Black:
Get some darjeeling of some kind. Each estate will vary a great deal. Find something you like and stick with it. Greys are great, but darjeeling is like the cognac of black tea. I'm currently drinking a estate 2nd summer that is extremely bold, dark and vibrant. Darjeeling have a very finicky lifestyle - while I recommend savoring all your tea, it must be drank as soon as possible (from the brew), as it will bolt randomly after the first minute.

Of the stuff you list, probably Oolong and Darjeeling is the most accessible in the west, decent longjing and Peony are harder to come by. Haven't really seen any good da hong pao in London so far, though definitely easier to buy more variety of tea in London than NYC.
post #15 of 74
+1 on Mariage Frères ; Marco Polo personally...
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