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Becoming a tea drinker.

Discussion in 'Social Life, Food & Drink, Travel' started by Mandrake9072, Jan 1, 2008.

  1. Mandrake9072

    Mandrake9072 Senior member

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    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.
     
  2. fcuknu

    fcuknu Senior member

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    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
     
  3. jpeirpont

    jpeirpont Senior member

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    Whole leaf teas are best. I'd say start with your normal Chinese Black teas and expand from there.
     
  4. GoSurface

    GoSurface Senior member

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    I like jasmine and green tea. Jasmine for the taste and aroma, and green tea for the health benefits.
     
  5. Mandrake9072

    Mandrake9072 Senior member

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    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.
     
  6. Philosoph

    Philosoph Senior member

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    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.
     
  7. Mandrake9072

    Mandrake9072 Senior member

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    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.
     
  8. texas_jack

    texas_jack Senior member

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    One of the keys is to not over steep the bag. Leave it in for no more than 4 minutes.
     
  9. blackgrass

    blackgrass Senior member

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    Stash brand Green Chai Tea....
     
  10. fatherseanfan

    fatherseanfan Senior member

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  11. DocHolliday

    DocHolliday Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    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. .
     
  12. kwilkinson

    kwilkinson Senior member

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    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.
     
  13. Hugo

    Hugo Senior member

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    Earl Grey is the best tea imo.
     
  14. crazyquik

    crazyquik Senior member

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    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 [​IMG]

    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...
     
  15. Connemara

    Connemara Senior member

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    I hate green tea. A lot.

    Generally, I drink little else but black teas. Earl Grey and Irish or English breakfast teas are fantastic.
     
  16. kwilkinson

    kwilkinson Senior member

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    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 [​IMG]

    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...


    Maybe you're not a dorky history buff such as myself, but on History International last night, I was watching a show about the Boston Tea Party. Pretty sweet. I mean obviously everybody knows the basic story, but a lot of smaller details and interesting facts were presented.
     
  17. jkennett

    jkennett Senior member

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    Irish breakfast tea with milk, no sugar. Bewley's preferably, but Barry's is my normal back up. 3-6 cups a day, and I could care less about health benefits. I take my vitamins, eat healthy, and exercise... I drink tea for pleasure, not health. I began drinking tea in this exact form and haven't deviated except for drinking Jasmine tea with Asian food. I'll be the odd man out and say I don't like Earl Grey tea.
     
  18. Countertenor

    Countertenor Senior member

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    +1 on Doc's comments about floor sweepings - I mean tea bags.

    If you're in it for the caffeine, go for black tea.

    If you're in it for the health benefits, go for green, or even more so, white.

    Since you say you envision drinking it at the end of the day, you may want less caffeine. If that is the case, but you prefer the taste of black tea, there is a simple way to decaffeinate loose leaf tea. Since over 99% of the caffeine is extracted within the first 20 seconds, you can simply toss the first steeping and drink the second.

    And yes, please do not over-steep your tea. 2-3 minutes should do. If you want a stronger flavor, add more leaves. And reduce the water temperature for greens and whites: 180 degrees tops.

    For those of you who want to go high-end (especially you New Yorkers who like to support local small businesses), I highly recommend the Brooklyn company In Pursuit of Tea. Fantastic buyers of all types of tea who travel all over the world to find it. Nice guys, too.
     
  19. javyn

    javyn Senior member

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    If you don't want the bother of messing with loose tea leaves, I wouldn't bother getting into tea at all. Yes, it REALLY makes that much of a difference.

    I'd recommend uptontea.com and try a few samplers, or select individual samples of teas that might interest you. Pay careful attention to brewing instructions regarding steep times and water temperatures. Upton isn't the best, but they are very good and will definitely get you started the right way.

    I like to buy my black teas and Rooibos from upton, and my green and white teas from funalliance.com.
     
  20. Mandrake9072

    Mandrake9072 Senior member

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    Okay I'll try and give loose tea leaves a shot. Since I won't have a stove in the dorm obviously, I'll have to rely on either microwave oven or a small coffee maker that my roomate has.

    Will this complicate things?

    Would I still be able to make tea by just placing some loose leaves in a filter, and let the coffee maker go at it? (apologies for the redundant question, never made coffee either, but it should be easy to make something quick, no?)
     

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