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.Z.
Jan 12, 2008

que ojos tan lindos tienes...


Jenkin posted:

I'm going to be in Beijing and Shanghai soon and I want to get some tea for my girlfriend. She's pretty into tea and I don't know a ton about it; does anyone have suggestions for what I could look for that would make a nice gift? I realize this is a bit broad. Also, thanks for all the good info already in the thread.

Kinda depends on what she already has and her tastes.

But on the gear side of things Yixing clay pot, Gaiwan set, or a Gongfu set.

Personally I'd go with the Gaiwan if she doesn't have one yet, plus some tea leaves to go with it.

Leaves side of things no clue.

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Altair X89
Jul 27, 2002


Cpt.Wacky posted:



Watch out for this stuff. It is literally soaking in cinnamon and orange oils. A friend took a whiff a little too close and deep and was retching for a few minutes.

I got some of this stuff for Christmas and rather liked it. One time I sliced an onion and held it up to my eye to see what would happen. Hint: it wasn't the onion being the dumbass. It's not the tea's fault your friend got too close.

Cpt.Wacky
Apr 17, 2005


I warned him and he did it anyways. It is an oddly sweet tea despite not having any sweetener in it, but just too strong for my taste.

Does anyone add in fresh herbs while steeping? I tried a few mint leaves once but couldn't notice any difference.

DurianGray
Dec 23, 2010

King of Fruits


Jenkin posted:

I'm going to be in Beijing and Shanghai soon and I want to get some tea for my girlfriend. She's pretty into tea and I don't know a ton about it; does anyone have suggestions for what I could look for that would make a nice gift? I realize this is a bit broad. Also, thanks for all the good info already in the thread.

Ask her what she likes, or if you want it to be a surprise I guess you could be nosey and peek into her tea stash and see what she seems to have a lot of. Other than that, I like .Z.'s suggestion of getting her some China-specific teaware.

Cpt. Wacky posted:

Does anyone add in fresh herbs while steeping? I tried a few mint leaves once but couldn't notice any difference.

Mixing in herbs really only works well if they've been dried previously, fresh ones probably won't have much of an effect, especially mint. The character of fresh herbs is sort of delicate most of the time, at least the sort that you'd want to put in your tea. What might work is adding some in after you've steeped the tea and it's cooled to a more drinkable temperature. It's also possible that just using more of the herbs would help.

Blutnerd
Jul 22, 2007

Monoton und Minimal


I got me one of those Bodum french press travel mug combos and I gotta say I like it a lot. Saves me from faffing about with teaballs and all that, and I might be imagining things but I always preferred french press tea. Tastes better. Could be a solution for those of you with tight morning schedules as well, I guess. Just pop in some hot water and tea and off you go.

Magicmat
Aug 14, 2000

I've got the worst fucking attorneys

Blutnerd posted:

I got me one of those Bodum french press travel mug combos and I gotta say I like it a lot. Saves me from faffing about with teaballs and all that, and I might be imagining things but I always preferred french press tea. Tastes better. Could be a solution for those of you with tight morning schedules as well, I guess. Just pop in some hot water and tea and off you go.
So, wait, it's a french press that works for tea? Like, you just add hot water and loose leaves into this travel mug, then when you want to stop steeping, you depress the french press?

Does that work to truly stop the steeping? If I sip on it for the next hour, the leaves will be properly filtered out of my water, and won't continue to steep? How ungainly is the whole french press system when carrying the mug around?

windwaker
Jul 9, 2004

That's like killing a unicorn!


Depressing the leaves in the french press won't entirely stop the steep but it almost will, assuming you aren't shaking it around.

Magicmat
Aug 14, 2000

I've got the worst fucking attorneys

windwaker posted:

Depressing the leaves in the french press won't entirely stop the steep but it almost will, assuming you aren't shaking it around.
And if I have it in my backpack while I trudge across campus?

Assuming I steep my tea for the recommended time, then depress the plunger: how long before that tea turns sub-optimal?

windwaker
Jul 9, 2004

That's like killing a unicorn!


It depends almost entirely on the type of tea you're steeping, also.

Blutnerd
Jul 22, 2007

Monoton und Minimal


Ya, some of the water will be touching the leaves at alle times so it's not for the super-hardcore. You are making some trade-offs for practicality. I don't notice any change in flavour but I'm not that fussy about it to be honest. Nor are my choices in tea noted for being particularily fragile or demanding. Also note that they say on the box that it's not leak proof and not meant for transport, so sticking it in your backpack seems like a bad idea.

The french press system is like an antenna sticking out of the lid while the tea is steeping, and unnoticable when it's pushed in. Of course, you can't take the lid off to add sugar or milk or whatever, but the drinking hole is large enough for just about anything but sugar cubes.

horchata
Oct 17, 2010


so someone brought home this tin called genmaicha tea which has little bits of roasted rice and...popcorn?
im absolutely in love with it and i was wondering if there were any other teas with that roasty/nutty flavor

breaks
May 12, 2001



The popcorn is poprice.

You might try hojicha also, which is the Japanese roasted tea. No rice, the actual tea leaves are roasted instead. I have not had their hojicha recently but as a general matter Hibiki-an is one of my preferred vendors for Japanese teas.

There are a wide variety of oolongs roasted to different degrees which can also have some of those flavors. I can recommend the 2008 top grade roasted Tie Guan Yin at Teamasters as an excellent example but his prices are on the boutique side of the line.

Toadsniff
Apr 10, 2006

Fire Down Below: Crab Company 2

Stopped by to make a recommendation on vendors. Though they are fairly expensive Mighty Leaf has some great selections of tea and some excellent blends.
I mainly drink white tea as I think it goes very well with other teas perfectly. Especially herbal teas. One in particular that caught me by surprise as it tastes almost like Fruity Loops cereal, the Chamomile Citris.

I've found though that working with White Tea can be tricky when steeping as not to bitter the flavor from being submerged too long. A white tea in a pouch much like Republic of Tea's (a very good White Tea IMO) should only steep briefly, perhaps a minute or so, if it's full leaf, probably closer to 2-3 minutes until the water is above a tinted yellow. If you do stop by Republic of Teas white tea's only go for the Emperor's White, anything with flavoring in it is just a waste of good buds.

Cpt.Wacky
Apr 17, 2005


DurianGray posted:

Mixing in herbs really only works well if they've been dried previously, fresh ones probably won't have much of an effect, especially mint. The character of fresh herbs is sort of delicate most of the time, at least the sort that you'd want to put in your tea. What might work is adding some in after you've steeped the tea and it's cooled to a more drinkable temperature. It's also possible that just using more of the herbs would help.

I tried a pinch of dried marjoram with no effect, but 4 fresh mint leaves rolled up and bruised gave a very nice minty flavor.

Bees on Wheat
Jul 18, 2007

I've never been happy


Buglord

Anyone who is into minty tisanes should try adding just a little fresh basil to it. It might sound weird, but they're both in the mint family, and it adds a bit of depth to the flavor. I used to do this all the time when I had a ton of fresh peppermint, spearmint and sweet basil growing outside.

French press mugs are amazing, and I wish I still had mine. It was a Tazo/Starbucks branded one, but I don't remember the actual manufacturer. It might have been Bodum. Anyway, mine was clear, double-walled plastic with a black screw-on lid. The mesh strainer bit was much finer than that of a french press used for coffee, so pretty much any tea worked out. Not being able to open the lid was kind of a pain, but these days I end up adding milk and sugar to the cup before the water anyway. For some reason, adding the milk first seems to taste better. I don't know if there's actually anything to this, or if I just want to believe it because Alton Brown said I should.

As far as roasted teas go, it's really hard to go wrong with genmaicha and hojicha. I usually have a bunch of it around because it's very cheap at most asian markets. Fun history fact: genmaicha was invented as a way to make tea last longer! It's basically sad peasant tea, but it's so delicious..

Koaxke
Jan 18, 2009


So I'm finally taking the plunge and buying an electric kettle. Does this one look alright to you guys?

http://www.amazon.com/Aroma-AWK-115...17836639&sr=1-1

Also, would anyone happen to know of any good oolong or black teas that are sold on Amazon and prime eligible? I've only really ever drank green tea (the store bought kind that's in bags), so I don't really know my way around oolongs/blacks. I would also prefer it if it were loose leaf tea. I really want to start drinking good tea as soon as that kettle gets here.

edited for clarity

Koaxke fucked around with this message at Oct 5, 2011 around 19:15

Toadsniff
Apr 10, 2006

Fire Down Below: Crab Company 2

Koaxke posted:

So I'm finally taking the plunge and buying an electric kettle. Does this one look alright to you guys?

http://www.amazon.com/Aroma-AWK-115...17836639&sr=1-1

Also, would anyone happen to know of any good oolong teas that are sold on Amazon and prime eligible? I've only really ever drank green tea (the store bought kind), so I don't really know my way around oolongs. I really want to start drinking good tea as soon as that kettle gets here.

There's this really great Chinese retaurant near where I live that uses the Foojoy bags, they are a lot larger than normal bags (used for a whole pot). It looks cheap as hell but it's drat good with an little bit of orange squeezed in and an almond cookie

Koaxke
Jan 18, 2009


Toadsniff posted:

There's this really great Chinese retaurant near where I live that uses the Foojoy bags, they are a lot larger than normal bags (used for a whole pot). It looks cheap as hell but it's drat good with an little bit of orange squeezed in and an almond cookie

I was hoping for more of a loose tea if possible.

DurianGray
Dec 23, 2010

King of Fruits


That kettle looks fine to me. You mostly want to make sure that there isn't too much plastic that comes in contact with the water, because it can, sometimes, make the water taste a little off. I just had a look through Amazon's tea section, and it doesn't look like they have any tea at all that's on Prime, and most of it is either not loose, brands that you could buy for a lot cheaper at a grocery store, or from third party vendors I've never heard of.

Honestly, I'd try looking at some of the different vendors listed in the OP and see what samplers they have available. Especially if you're just getting into blacks and oolongs, you can't really go wrong with Adagio's various samplers (assuming you're in the US). They might not have the fanciest teas, but the quality is great for the price. I've always been pretty happy with their stuff and their customer service is really top notch.

QuentinCompson
Mar 11, 2009


Anyone have Adagio's UtiliTEA? Are you satisfied with it? It's the lowest-cost variable temperature kettle I could find anywhere.

DurianGray
Dec 23, 2010

King of Fruits


QuentinCompson posted:

Anyone have Adagio's UtiliTEA? Are you satisfied with it? It's the lowest-cost variable temperature kettle I could find anywhere.

I've got one. It's technically my boyfriend's, but I've come to prefer it over non-electric or single-temperature electric kettles. You can't really get perfectly exact temperatures on it, but it does pretty well in regards to having boiling or near-boiling water. I'd say it's a decent investment.

angor
Nov 14, 2003
teen angst

When I lived in the US, I had one of these: http://www.google.com/products/cata...IwAQ#ps-sellers

It was the greatest thing EVER. So sad to leave it behind .

curried lamb of God
Aug 31, 2001

we are all Marwinners


Have any of y'all tried Adagio's Earl Grey Bravo? I'm running low on loose-leaf tea, and my only options in the area are Teavana or the loose-leaf Twinings tin from the supermarket. I definitely prefer stronger earl greys, so I'm intrigued by the Bravo, since it includes pieces of orange rind.

DurianGray
Dec 23, 2010

King of Fruits


The Bravo is passable. It's not the best Earl Grey I've ever had, but it's by no means the worst. For the love of God, though, DO NOT get the Earl Grey Moonlight. It's the only thing I've ever regretted buying from them and it's still sitting around in the bottom of my tea box somewhere. It's possible I got a bad batch, but the stuff seriously tasted like soap every time I made it.

And when you say "stronger" EGs, do you mean darker tea, or a stronger bergamot (citrus) flavor? My local tea store has this Russian Earl Grey that's a bit pricier but really citrusy and has a pretty unique profile for an EG. It's also one of my favorite teas.

QuentinCompson
Mar 11, 2009


surrender posted:

Have any of y'all tried Adagio's Earl Grey Bravo? I'm running low on loose-leaf tea, and my only options in the area are Teavana or the loose-leaf Twinings tin from the supermarket. I definitely prefer stronger earl greys, so I'm intrigued by the Bravo, since it includes pieces of orange rind.

Upton's Earl Grey Supreme is... supreme. It's not extremely bergamoty though.

Comic
Feb 24, 2008

Mad Comic Stylings


I keep seeing an ad for it on the forums here, so I'm curious if anyone has tried the Royal Red Tea? I'm more interested in how it tastes as that's probably my deciding factor on whether or not I'll give it a try to test its claims on other things.

Sirotan
Oct 17, 2006

Sirotan is a seal.


College Slice

surrender posted:

Have any of y'all tried Adagio's Earl Grey Bravo? I'm running low on loose-leaf tea, and my only options in the area are Teavana or the loose-leaf Twinings tin from the supermarket. I definitely prefer stronger earl greys, so I'm intrigued by the Bravo, since it includes pieces of orange rind.

I just recently bought 100g of this from a local store:

http://shop.tgtea.com/store/product...rl-Grey-No.-69/

Its great. Its this exact tea I guess, Tea Gschwendner must be their supplier. Heavy on the bergamot, resteeps wonderfully. Love it.

curried lamb of God
Aug 31, 2001

we are all Marwinners


DurianGray posted:

The Bravo is passable. It's not the best Earl Grey I've ever had, but it's by no means the worst. For the love of God, though, DO NOT get the Earl Grey Moonlight. It's the only thing I've ever regretted buying from them and it's still sitting around in the bottom of my tea box somewhere. It's possible I got a bad batch, but the stuff seriously tasted like soap every time I made it.

And when you say "stronger" EGs, do you mean darker tea, or a stronger bergamot (citrus) flavor? My local tea store has this Russian Earl Grey that's a bit pricier but really citrusy and has a pretty unique profile for an EG. It's also one of my favorite teas.

I prefer teas with a stronger bergamot flavor - prior to switching to loose-leaf teas, I used to drink Stash's Double Bergamot Earl Gray. The two loose leafs I've tried so far are Ahmad Tea Earl Gray (delicious, but the nearest stockist is about 25 miles away) and Harrod's #42 Earl Gray (good, but the bergamot flavor isn't strong enough).

toenut
Apr 11, 2003

fourth and nine

So far I've only gotten the Lord Bergamot from http://www.smithtea.com, but I really like it. Once I get through it all I'll definitely be trying a few more blends since I can just pick it up in the shop.

mojo1701a
Oct 8, 2008

Oh, yeah. Loud and clear. Emphasis on LOUD!
~ David Lee Roth

I will second David's Tea in Canada as well. I've gone to their Sherway Gardens location once or twice. I usually drink non-flavoured teas, but I ended up trying 50g of their pumpkin chai tea (I've kicked sugar and therefore won't touch Starbucks' pumpkin spice latte anymore). The next time I went (I live an hour away), I ended up buying a whole 100g tin of it.

I usually end up going to Teaopia, though, since I end up going more to Waterloo. I'm not sure if they're better than David's Tea, but they're not too bad. If you buy at least 250g of tea, they give you a 10% discount, and 15% if you buy 500g. Last time I went there, an employee told me that they give further discounts if you bring in their tea cans for your tea. Not sure if the former applies online (I doubt the latter will), but they also ship free if you buy $50 worth.

adventure in the sandbox
Nov 24, 2005



Things change




mojo1701a posted:

Last time I went there, an employee told me that they give further discounts if you bring in their tea cans for your tea.

This is something that David's Tea does too. I have brought in airtight glass jars and tins from other loose tea companies and saved $1 off each purchase! The staff are great and warned me to keep my glass jars in a cupboard away from the sun. I already knew this, but I thought it was good of them to try to protect my $15 purchase of tea.

Picayune
Feb 26, 2007

Dog-Disciple Of
Shadow And Flame


Yam Slacker

Someone mentioned the Taylors of Harrogate Yorkshire tea on the last page--I've always loved English Breakfast tea, and after trying something like nine different brands, I found and latched onto the Yorkshire Gold kind. It's now my go-to when I want milky sweet tea. I can only find it locally in bags, but it's still my absolute favorite; once I use up my current box of teabags I'm going to internet me up some of the loose-leaf kind.

I'm also fond of the Ito En bottled teas, particularly the green jasmine (this stuff right here). I tend to look really askance at bottled green tea, because the American-made stuff is all super-sweet and gross, but Ito En's tea is completely unsweetened and the flavor is lovely. Whenever I hit up the Uwajimaya I come home with at least four bottles of this stuff.

Weirdly, Ito En makes a variety of their bottled green teas for the American market called Teas' Tea; as far as I can tell it's the same tea in different packaging with a higher price tag.

mojo1701a
Oct 8, 2008

Oh, yeah. Loud and clear. Emphasis on LOUD!
~ David Lee Roth

adventure in the sandbox posted:

This is something that David's Tea does too. I have brought in airtight glass jars and tins from other loose tea companies and saved $1 off each purchase! The staff are great and warned me to keep my glass jars in a cupboard away from the sun. I already knew this, but I thought it was good of them to try to protect my $15 purchase of tea.

Really? That's pretty awesome. Next time I go there, I'm bringing my old Twinings cans. I remember the girl at Teaopia told me that it had to be one of their tins, so if David's Tea takes any tins, that'll be great.

I have another question: what's the best way to remove an aroma from a used tea tin? I washed my cans in hot soapy water (and let it soak first), but they still sort-of smell like apple pie. It's not really something I'm worried about, but if there's really an answer, I'd like to know.

Jenkin
Jan 21, 2003

Piracy is our only option.

I ended up buying my girlfriend some (amazing tea) as well as Chrysanthemum tea.

The suggestions for the pots were good but I couldn't remember what she already has, so I'm sticking to just getting her leaves for the moment.

Edit: My girlfriend is also a goon, don't want her finding out the surprise.

Jenkin fucked around with this message at Oct 15, 2011 around 00:22

.Z.
Jan 12, 2008

que ojos tan lindos tienes...


Springheel Jill posted:

Weirdly, Ito En makes a variety of their bottled green teas for the American market called Teas' Tea; as far as I can tell it's the same tea in different packaging with a higher price tag.

The bottles of American Ito En I've tried have uniformly been overbrewed. They all had that bitter taste that comes from too long of a brew. Which was irritating because I like their Japanese market versions.

neogeo0823
Jul 4, 2007

NO THAT'S NOT ME!!


.Z. posted:

The bottles of American Ito En I've tried have uniformly been overbrewed. They all had that bitter taste that comes from too long of a brew. Which was irritating because I like their Japanese market versions.

Gonna second this. I think the only flavor I like of that stuff is the blueberry, which is only because the sweetness helps to drown out the bitter.

DurianGray
Dec 23, 2010

King of Fruits


I've only ever had the Oi Ocha from Ito En, and as far as bottled teas go, it's probably the best I've tried so far. I think I've seen the Tea's Tea stuff (if that's what you guys mean by the American Ito En) and I can't remember if I tried it or not. If I did, it obviously didn't leave much of an impression.

I went to my local tea place the other day and splurged on some chrysanthemum and a mix they have called 'Jazz Mint'. It's just a blend of a jasmine green tea and mint leaves, sort of like a Moroccan mint but wow, does the jasmine add a different profile to it. The chrysanthemum is really interesting too. The only other tea I've had that was just dried flowers before was camomile and it's a lot different. It's almost... peppery? I don't know how to describe it exactly, but it does blend with almost anything.

Jenkin, good call on the (amazing tea) that you got her. I saw what it was before you changed it and have heard a lot of good things about that one.

neogeo0823
Jul 4, 2007

NO THAT'S NOT ME!!


While I know how overpriced Teavana can be, I have to say I really like their samples of the mix of strawberry lemonade and blueberry bliss. It's like drinking fruit juice, but without all the weird chemicals or concentrates. I asked them how much their smallest size would be and they quoted me at $35, which is absolutely ridiculous, considering you get about as much as tea as you would in a box of Twinnings tea bags.

Can anyone recommend a comparable set of teas that aren't as expensive?

Hawkgirl
Jun 20, 2003

Jesus Died for Your Songs

I'm not familiar with those Teavana flavors, are they fruit tisanes (no actual tea)? If that's what you're looking for lots of gourmet tea providers should have them. Adagio does, at least. From reading the thread I guess this makes me a lame tea drinker, but I really enjoy my Adagio teas

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DurianGray
Dec 23, 2010

King of Fruits


Most of Teavana's really tasty stuff is just fruit/tisane blends. Honestly, if you really like blends like that, you can buy a lot of the 'raw' ingredients from various tea retailers for damned cheap and mix it yourself. You could also just make your own mixes. Adagio has a lot of fruits and flowers and the like for damned cheap and I love that company for so many reasons. Teavana's website lists a lot of the stuff that's in the blends you mentioned, if not all of it, so it's probably pretty easy to approximate.

Also, what the gently caress is SUPERFRUIT ENHANCED supposed to be (besides a marketing gimmick)?

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