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Becoming a tea drinker.

post #1 of 147
Thread Starter 
Alright so a random thought came to my mind today, and I've decided that I would like to become a tea drinker. I'm young and I don't drink coffee (I've never been able to handle the bitterness of most drinks). Usually when I head to coffee places, I order the usual frozen frappuccino with whipped cream.

So I'm asking you SFers who drink tea for advice as to how I should go about starting. I'll probably start at the university. And I have access to a microwave oven and a coffee maker. What types should I look into? Health wise (I realize this would be green tea) what should I look into? Taste wise?

My main priority is taste. I want to be able to relax at the end of the day to a nice cup.

Any recommendations would be much appreciated. (and preferably some brands that I can acquire without having to order online, etc...)

I have access to basic grocery stores from Meijer, Kroger, Giant Eagle, etc... to Trader Joe's, Whole Foods.
post #2 of 147
Earl Grey has always been my favorite. I have had a couple of organic brands, along with various other brands, but Twinnings has always been my favorite (they claim to have invented Earl Grey). You can buy it pretty much anywhere. Its black tea with a hint of bergamot, very aromatic, subtle, and tasty
post #3 of 147
Whole leaf teas are best. I'd say start with your normal Chinese Black teas and expand from there.
post #4 of 147
I like jasmine and green tea. Jasmine for the taste and aroma, and green tea for the health benefits.
post #5 of 147
Thread Starter 
Whole leaf teas? Pardon my inexperience, but does that refer to just straight up tea leaves? If it does, I would prefer to just use tea bags, for convenience sake.
post #6 of 147
As far as health benefits go, all teas have them, not just the green kind.

I'll second the suggestion of Earl Grey to get you started (worked for me). I also recommend the Twinings brand, and you can find it in most grocery stores.

Whole leaf tea does refer to straight tea leaves. The same stuff that's in tea bags, just not all ground up. Yes, it really is better, but probably more hassle than you need or want right now. You can make tea bags in either the microwave or coffee pot. I've done both, and they both work fine. I find about 2.5-3.5 minutes in the microwave is good, depending on how powerful it is. With the coffeemaker it works the same way as coffee. Stick in a filter, drop your tea bag in it, and turn the machine on. Voila. Sweeten and add milk or not as preferred. I highly recommend you try milk with black teas at least once.

Hope this helps.
post #7 of 147
Thread Starter 
Oh yes, coming from an Indian family, I'm not completely new to tea. My parents drink tea at least twice a day. I was actually shocked at the fact that people drank tea w/o milk, since I was always used to seeing family members drink with milk. But a recent health study found that adding milk negates any of the major health benefits.
post #8 of 147
One of the keys is to not over steep the bag. Leave it in for no more than 4 minutes.
post #9 of 147
Stash brand Green Chai Tea....
post #10 of 147
Anything but Lipton.
post #11 of 147
Originally Posted by Philosoph View Post
Whole leaf tea does refer to straight tea leaves. The same stuff that's in tea bags, just not all ground up. Yes, it really is better, but probably more hassle than you need or want right now.
Just to elaborate a bit, the stuff that ends up in many teabags is actually the dregs of the tea leaves. The leaves are sorted by size, with the whole leaf tea the most valuable. Then there are the broken leaves, which are used for loose tea, and the smaller fannings. The fannings are used in better teabags, but many bags contain nothing but the leftover dust. The tiny size of the tea means you get a fast brew, but it can be harsh and unpleasant. If you end up with a box of this, best to toss it out and start again. That said, I've found several teabags I quite like, and it's nice not to have to fool with the mess of loose-leaf tea. I'd suggest sampling a variety of teas to see what you like. I'm not much on white tea in general, but I like green and black. .
post #12 of 147
Personally, I like Green Tea with a bit of honey in it to sweeten. Although, if you're looking for a caffeine kick, don't go with this, as it has barely any. Go with a black tea if you want something to wake you up. That's just ime, though.
post #13 of 147
Earl Grey is the best tea imo.
post #14 of 147
Go get a sampler pack of tea. It will probably include a few packs of a green tea, some Earl Grey, some 'English Breakfast', and maybe a few others. For a few dollars you'll get to try 5 or so different teas. Then you can focus in on different brands of the same variety, whether you like cream/sugar/honey, etc.

Eventually you'll start brewing burgandy colored loose leaf Moroccan teas in a French press coffee pot

I prefer Earl Grey, but I'm a bit of a traditionalist.

If it weren't for that revolution and the Boston Tea Party we'd still be tea drinkers...
post #15 of 147
I hate green tea. A lot. Generally, I drink little else but black teas. Earl Grey and Irish or English breakfast teas are fantastic.
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