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pork never goes bad
May 16, 2008

gin&milk!!!


I'm a PG Tips guy, in general, but recently I have been drinking Ahmad Tea English Blend #1. Usually Ahmad's stuff is pretty bad, as it is often very old by the time it hits shelves, especially in the US, but if you find some that isn't like 3000 years old when you buy it, the English Blend #1 is actually really good!

And don't pour milk in before removing the bag, ohnoyoudidnt is a philistine and his (or her) advice is heretical!

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pork never goes bad
May 16, 2008

gin&milk!!!


Devi posted:

At home I use a big ceramic mug and my tea goes from "too hot to drink very comfortably" to cold too fast. Now I get why those cute little tea/basket/lid sets have a lid and I want one. That may be what I need. Except for the basket. I haven't seen any kind of single serving set that has something for you to put the basket in when then tea is done steeping. There should be a cute matching saucer for it!

That is often the use for the lids once done steeping. they keep the tea warm while steeping, then you put the basket on the inverted lid!

pork never goes bad
May 16, 2008

gin&milk!!!


aldantefax posted:

I'm of the general opinion that any loose leaf is better than 80-90% of bagged teas, and the price comes out to be the same if you already have a teapot and a strainer. People in the thread appear to like it, though, and ultimately it comes down to personal preference, so if it works for you, by all means go ahead. Bagged teas have the primary advantage of "no muss, no fuss", and easy to discard, too.

PG Tips is an excellent bagged black tea for drinking with milk when convenience matters. I drink about 8-10 cups of tea per day at work, and the convenience bagged tea gives me is worth the slight trade-off in taste, for me, and especially in this context.

pork never goes bad
May 16, 2008

gin&milk!!!


Dang. That looks awesome.

What are some good physical tea shops in the bay area? I saw Lilly Golden Tea Shop that Gravity just went to, recommended by Aldantefax if I remember correctly? Are there any other good ones people can recommend, particularly in SF? I'm more into black tea (with milk), and Japanese green tea, than I am into Pu-erh or Chinese tea. I know that's a huge generalization, and I've had plenty of Chinese teas I like, but if I'm going to make a trip somewhere I'd rather it have more things I'd be stoked by.

(Sorry for not typing names exactly!)

pork never goes bad
May 16, 2008

gin&milk!!!


Thanks for answering that question! I usually order from Upton, but have been to Samovar as well. Just got an order in, and can report on 2 of the teas! I got the Belseri Estate CTC Organic Assam and Genmaicha in 125g tins. I also got samples of the East Frisian BOP blend, Mincing Lane Breakfast blend (I got this because of the name), Ko-kei cha, Tamaryokucha, and Formosa Oolong choice grade.

The East Frisian BOP is extremely robust. It's got a lot of body, and a lot of astringency. I tend to prefer heavier teas, but in this case I think I may prefer the TGFOP blend. I think this benefits from slightly shorter infusion time than other whole leaf Assam or Assam blends. Good with milk.

The Ko-kei cha is very interesting. It's tube-like extrusions that are, apparently, a byproduct of matcha manufacture. This brews up a clouded, dark green. I don't remember the flavor that well, but I will ask my fiancee what she thinks of it tomorrow. She is the big green tea drinker.

I also got some Ryokucha from Samovar for her for Christmas. It's essentially genmaicha blended with matcha powder. It takes well to multiple infusions. The first is a bright, almost fluorescent green that tastes predominantly of matcha. Subsequent infusions become maltier, and more like a traditional genmaicha. Big fan of this one, though I'm not sure if it's worth the large premium over Upton's genmaicha, or any other ok quality genmaicha.

pork never goes bad
May 16, 2008

gin&milk!!!


Orange Pekoe isn't actually a type or variety of tea, it is a grade. There is a good page on Upton that explains this, here: http://uptontea.com/shopcart/inform...INFOgrading.asp

With respect to your questions, though - I don't think that cheese and tea are the kinds of food that people normally think about pairing, so there isn't necessarily a "standard" reply. I would think that if your tea is more tannic, more astringent, then sharper hard cheeses would be better. For less tannic tea, you could probably match a wider variety of cheeses. I think the biggest piece of advice that I'd give would be to ensure the tea is properly steeped, and the cheese is at a good temperature to serve. As far as spiked tea, I have no experience. I have had drinks that use "gin tea" as an ingredient. I was not a fan.

pork never goes bad
May 16, 2008

gin&milk!!!


I have no idea about tea sommelier things.

I will definitely go to that tea festival though! Sounds fun. The site was down earlier today, and there isn't a huge amount of detail, so I hope they sell enough tickets for it to be worth it. That said, I'll go!

pork never goes bad
May 16, 2008

gin&milk!!!


What is a tea pet???

pork never goes bad
May 16, 2008

gin&milk!!!


What kind of pot is it?

Likelihood is that very hot water (even submerging the pot in boiling water for a period) and scrubbing then a long drying out would suffice for many pots for which soap would not be appropriate. If it is a porcelain pot, or the surface is otherwise sealed, use food grade alcohol to sterilize it after giving it a good scrubbing, and then wash once more.


So I went to that Lily's Tea Shop in Oakland that some folks earlier in the thread recommended. I bought a cheap gaiwan, as I only really have pots to make English style tea, and one small pot with a filter built into it which I use to make green tea for my fiancee. I also bought some Iron Goddess Oolong. The oolong is revelatory. I thought I didn't like oolong tea. I thought I only really liked black tea! I hate this loving thread, the oolong was like $40/lb and on the cheap end. I'm reading tea blogs now.

pork never goes bad
May 16, 2008

gin&milk!!!


Thanks! I am pretty sure I am going to that tea festival thing al dente facts recommended, so will probably try to explore some different options then.

The tea is actually called Elegant Iron Goddess, again, probably not super helpful. It yields a pale yellow liquor, the dry leaves are tightly rolled into a ball. Oh, and it's absolutely delicious. I'll probably go back to the same tea shop and say that I liked it, and I want to try a few others that are similar.

etrips - my fiancee likes Japanese green teas very much. These are some of her favourites: https://secure.uptontea.com/shopcar...asp?itemID=TJ30 (produces an interesting cloudy liquor and infuses multiple times very well)
https://secure.uptontea.com/shopcar...asp?itemID=TJ88 (great quality straight green tea)
https://secure.uptontea.com/shopcar...asp?itemID=TJ21 (the tea she drinks the most of, benefits from slightly shorter infusion times than recommended)

pork never goes bad fucked around with this message at Feb 24, 2012 around 05:54

pork never goes bad
May 16, 2008

gin&milk!!!


Mugicha is available on Amazon at a good price, they have the Home brand which is what is at the asian grocer I go to somestimes. I also found a cool-looking set of links where people roasted their own barley for mugicha on google. If you have a local asian grocery, they will probably have both available as well - at least, the ones near me do.

pork never goes bad
May 16, 2008

gin&milk!!!


Cpt.Wacky posted:

I'm really liking Twinning's Lady Grey, basically an Earl Grey but with some orange and lemon flavor instead of entirely Bergamot. Can anyone recommend some other black teas along that line?

Upton has some great options here.
http://uptontea.com/shopcart/item.a...0&categoryID=43
http://uptontea.com/shopcart/item.a...0&categoryID=43
http://uptontea.com/shopcart/item.a...0&categoryID=32
http://uptontea.com/shopcart/item.a...0&categoryID=32

Early Grey with Lavender is one I would recommend as an Earl Grey-like alternative to regular Earl Grey.

pork never goes bad
May 16, 2008

gin&milk!!!


^^^
I think I saw you there, and very awkwardly did not introduce myself. At least it felt awkward to me! I thought to myself - what if there is more than one big Filipino guy helping here, and psyched myself out. Either way, thanks for pointing it out. I got to drink a lot of really good tea, listen to some very interesting people talk, and found 2 new suppliers that I will be ordering from soon. (Fox and Moon had an amazing blend of green tea and mint, and some nice Oolongs; and Glenburn tea direct blew me away with some fancy Indian teas).

enthe0s posted:

So I got into tea a couple of weeks ago thanks to one of my friends and I bought a few different types of tea to try and learn what I like and don't like. However, I would like to greatly speed up the process of trying all the different "styles" of tea (not really sure what term to use), so are there any "standard" teas I should try? That is to say, can I get recommendations for tea that exemplify a certain type of tea so I can see if I would like that kind in general?

So far, I've tried a darjeeling, an oolong, and a green tea. I love the darjeeling, don't really like or hate the oolong, and find myself disliking the green tea, but mainly because I get a lot of "sediment" (once again, not sure what term to use here) when the more fine particles get through the strainer. It just leaves a bad taste in my mouth for some reason.

I would really like a different darjeeling to try along with some different styles I haven't tried yet experienced, so any sort of direction would be appreciated



Re: Green tea - I have a post I think on this or the previous page where I recommend a few green teas from Upton to someone based on my fiancee's preferences. She is a big green tea drinker. You could take a look there for some suggestions for green.

Looking at your black tea preference, though, I can make some suggestions for Indian tea exploration, as it is much more where my interests lie. I'm going to talk about it a bit, and then list links at the bottom to what I recommend.

You tried a Darjeeling blend made predominantly of second-flush Darjeeling. Darjeeling tea is harvested primarily in four flushes. First flush is just after the spring rains, second flush early summer, monsoon in the rainy season, and autumnal late in the year. Monsoon tea is less commonly exported as it is often considered of lower quality. Autumnal tea is more exported, but it is the first and second flushes that are typically considered best quality. Upton doesn't really have a good, inexpensive first flush. They have many excellent second flush teas. The Tindharia estate in particular is really nice, and they also have an Autumnal tea. This would let you try a pure second flush and autumnal flush Darjeeling from the same estate. It appears that they only have samples of the Autumnal, but they will almost certainly be restocked later this year. One thing to note about Darjeeling tea is that most of it is not completely oxidised. What this means, essentially, is that Darjeeling tea is technically Oolong tea.

India has three main tea districts. Darjeeling, which you have already tried and which is most delicate with a characteristic "Muscatel" flavor, is probably the most famous. The other two main ones are Assam, and Nilgiri. In Assam and Nilgiri the tea bush that is grown is usually of the Assamica variety, rather than the Sinensis variety grown in Darjeeling and China. This generalization is not universally true, and there are clonal differences as well, but it's alright as a heuristic. Assam tea is much more robust and malty than Darjeeling. Nilgiri is somewhere in between. Tea in Assam is often produced by the CTC process, or crush tear curl, which results in more complete oxidation than the orthodox process which is usually used in Darjeeling. Orthodox produced tea is certainly made in Assam and Nilgiri, as well.

For Assam, the Belseri Estate organic CTC is my favourite by a long shot. I drink a cup or three most days. I take it with milk, and it really works that way. It also makes excellent chai. For an orthodox produced assam that is great plain, with no milk, the top level Dejoo Estate is nice.

For Nilgiri, Upton doesn't have a great selection. That said, the Craigmore is nice and displays regional character well.

You could buy a sample of each of these for $6, and get a very well rounded look at Indian tea. There is also tea made in India in Sikkim, Dooars, Kangra, the Himalayan mountains, Kerala, but these are much smaller districts for tea production. I believe Sikkim has just one producer.

Two other things to mention with respect to Indian tea are Earl Grey, and Chai. I recommended some Earl Greys in a previous post, but suffice to say, Upton has good quality and good selection. For Chai, I prefer to make my own either with whole spices, or with a tin of chai masala from an Indian grocer, and use a robust tea (usually an Assam CTC or BOP, or even Fannings).

http://www.uptontea.com/shopcart/it...from=search.asp (the FTGFOP1 CL is the best second flush, but you can search Tindharia to find others as well as their Autumnal)

https://secure.uptontea.com/shopcar...0&categoryID=17 (Belseri)

https://secure.uptontea.com/shopcar...ype=new&begin=0 (Dejoo)

https://secure.uptontea.com/shopcar...from=search.asp (Craigmore)

Edit: Fixed link

pork never goes bad fucked around with this message at Mar 5, 2012 around 22:26

pork never goes bad
May 16, 2008

gin&milk!!!


enthe0s posted:

Thanks a bunch for this! I'll definitely try out all the stuff you recommended!

No problem! I think the Darjeeling link I posted is broken, here is a direct link to the particular tea I mentioned: http://www.uptontea.com/shopcart/it...from=search.asp

Tindharia Estate also makes a nice Autumnal Darjeeling, which you can search for. Let me know what you end up thinking of the teas you try!

pork never goes bad
May 16, 2008

gin&milk!!!


Thanks for more Oolong info Death Vomit Wizard! I have been meaning to order some more Oolong based on your previous advice to me, but this has even more helpful detail. Someone mentioned in IRC the store Life in Teacup (http://www.lifeinteacup.com/) who have many of the teas you mentioned and at very good prices. They also do free samples, though that section of their site appears to be broken to me. I have emailed them, so will report back what they say.

pork never goes bad
May 16, 2008

gin&milk!!!


I take all that back, it's working now. Not sure why it didn't for a while!

Adding some content to this post, here is a picture of the oolong I mentioned a few pages ago, labeled Elegant Iron Goddess. This is the leaves brewing in a Gaiwan.



And here is a picture of the truly excellent packaging:



And lastly, here is a picture of the spent leaves, with the packaging and the Gaiwan:



This is my first Gaiwan, and I like it very much so far. It's interesting, and while I still drink primarily black teas from India, brewed in the traditional British way, I am having fun exploring other teas. I placed a small order on the tea shop I mentioned above, including 3 Oolong samples, and an ounce of the Li Shan Oolong.

pork never goes bad fucked around with this message at Mar 8, 2012 around 03:19

pork never goes bad
May 16, 2008

gin&milk!!!


aldantefax posted:

That hopelessly generic bag looks familiar. Where'd you get that from?

Lily's Golden Tea Shop

pork never goes bad
May 16, 2008

gin&milk!!!


Great post - I'd love to see more people do these! That liquor looks delicious, a really great color.

Here's a cool fact about Darjeeling that not many people know - unlike most other black tea, tea makers in Darjeeling often wither the tea very hard, which results in less than complete oxidation, making it "technically" a form of oolong. If you look at aldantefax's leaves you can see a higher proportion of red, or even dark green, leaves than you would find in most black teas from Assam, Ceylon, &etc (these would be wilted more gently, and then pressed harder, allowing for complete oxidation). This is a large part of what contributes to Darjeeling's characteristic Muscatel aroma, and the overall delicacy of the liquor compared to other India tea.

Maybe I will photo-document the brewing of my morning pot. You will get to see how gross a tea sock gets after regular use!

pork never goes bad
May 16, 2008

gin&milk!!!


I am intensely saddened by ^this^ post.

pork never goes bad
May 16, 2008

gin&milk!!!


Dick Smegma posted:

Do you have any recommendations? I consider my "good" oolong to be my stash of Verdant Tea's Hand Picked Autumn Tieguanyin.

Try http://www.lifeinteacup.com/

They do free samples where you pay about $3 for shipping and get around an ounce of great tea, about 7-8 grams of three different kinds.

Also, come back to tea-chat sometime just to talk about tea! It is not normal for people to offer to buy you tea and ship it, that was kind of odd, but I think good intentioned!!!

ETA: Dick Smegma, Lilly's Golden Tea is a shop in the Bay Area with excellent selection and good prices (better than many or most online stores), but no online shop. They were just offering to pick you something up there and send it. They did offer to open an SA Mart thread if you'd like, as well.

pork never goes bad
May 16, 2008

gin&milk!!!


I can review 2 teas from Imperial Tea Court, as of this weekend! If there is a specific one that you are looking at, I could always head over to ITC and try it this weekend and give you impressions.

Samovar I can recommend a few more, but the prices there tend to be quite high. They have really good Sencha.

If you decide to sample from Life In Teacup, I've tried 7 or 8 teas from there, mostly oolongs. The Li Shan Oolong is really darn good, about the same price as the one you have from Rishi and I think a lot better.

pork never goes bad
May 16, 2008

gin&milk!!!


Hummingbirds posted:

AHHH thank you!! I just got to try ti guan yin for the first time because of this. Here I was, thinking I didn't like oolong very much. drat. And I'm only on the first infusion.

Sorry.

This was a rabbit hole I could have done without going down. That said, thank Bob_McBob for the vendor recommendation (he pointed me there). It's really his fault.

pork never goes bad
May 16, 2008

gin&milk!!!


Fortnum and Mason have some very nice Indian teas, Darjeelings &etc. They also have good teawares.

pork never goes bad
May 16, 2008

gin&milk!!!


If you chop it before drying, the cut edges will oxidize. This will affect the flavor - not sure if positively or not! The mint tea you get on a shelf, the leaves are dried roughly whole, and then crushed when dry.

pork never goes bad
May 16, 2008

gin&milk!!!


Stephane is great, he has many really great teas for sale. I keep going back and forth on some tea wares he has, very tempting.

---

To the folks talking about bag tea, lovely black tea with milk, &etc, you're killing me. A bunch of people have mentioned Upton in the past few pages - get some Belseri Estate Assam, or Mincing Lane Blend if you like a little smoke in your blacks, a tea sock, and make proper tea. It's not loving hard. If you're making water in the microwave, make the water first, pour it over the tea, steep about 20% longer, and you'll make OK tea. But, really, a water boiler from Black and Decker can be had for about $15 from a hardware store, or get this one from Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Proctor-Silex...34983786&sr=1-6

Then once the water is boiled, pour it over the tea, steep for 4-5 minutes (3 minutes for CTC or fannings grade tea - the Belseri Estate I recommend above is a CTC tea and works best at about 3.5 minutes). Then add the milk to the tea (or add the milk to the cup and pour the tea into the cup - don't steep the tea with milk).

It will be a revelation.

pork never goes bad
May 16, 2008

gin&milk!!!


I will again recommend Upton. Depending on the kind of tea you want, they have many good options, and even have an iced tea category, in fact.

http://uptontea.com/shopcart/catalo...&categoryID=215

pork never goes bad
May 16, 2008

gin&milk!!!


Zelmel - the two primary reasons I tend to advise against microwave boiling are risk and the fact that most people do it directly in the cup. Typically when someone microwaves hot water, they pull out water at significantly lower than boiling point. This might work for green tea, for example, but for a proper black tea it doesn't make a good cup. Going all the way to boiling the cup is typically extremely hot, and the water can boil over rapidly once you hit it with a spoon, or even just rock the cup. The second issue is that you will typically add leaves to the cup, rather than pouring water over the leaves when using a microwave. The mechanical action of swirling, roiling water hitting leaves encourages more rapid saturation of the leaves with water, which results in more even extraction. You could solve this by using a microwave--proof jug, and then pouring the water into a mug, but you exacerbate the safety issue there, and again, typically people won't end up heating the water to a proper boil.

It's less that the microwave is inferior in any absolute sense, but for a good strong cup of black tea a proper kettle is much closer to foolproof.

pork never goes bad
May 16, 2008

gin&milk!!!


Again, I don't think that microwaving is inherently inferior. It's that there are plenty of ways to gently caress up making tea when you use a microwave, especially if you do not know lots about tea. Compared to that, a $15 water boiler will likely be quicker, doesn't require someone to use an instant read thermometer (which is likely too spergy for lots of people), and has less ways to gently caress up. I stand by the advice, despite being very drunk when I posted it.

pork never goes bad
May 16, 2008

gin&milk!!!


Thermapen!

pork never goes bad
May 16, 2008

gin&milk!!!


Fryhtaning - how do you brew your darker oolongs? There are some which only really show well when you brew them in the Chinese style, others which will be more forgiving of more western style brewing. I recently tried this oolong at the shop, and found it to not brew up that well gongfu style, but the owner said that he often drinks this just by throwing some leaves in a travel mug and refilling with hot water whenever it gets about 50% empty, and that it's very well suited to that style of drinking. http://www.aromateashop.com/store/i...od&productId=21

If you do like to brew gongfu style, either in a gaiwan or a small pot, this was phenomenal: http://www.aromateashop.com/store/i...od&productId=73

Milpreve - Greener oolongs will often taste more like green tea than the amber oolongs. If you like amber oolongs, try to find a traditional green style oolong rather than the more modern style. The more modern style, which is a very bright green, is almost completely unoxidised and is often basically unroasted. Whereas a more traditional tie guan yin will have a good combination of the roasted and oxidised notes common to amber oolongs, but will also have some of that green characteristic. Sticking to Aroma Tea Shop recommendations, you could try something like this as a medium between modern green oolongs and what you're drinking now: http://www.aromateashop.com/store/i...d&productId=205 If you want to go all in on the green, try their Ben Shan oolong. It's incredible.

pork never goes bad
May 16, 2008

gin&milk!!!


In Russia and some surrounding countries, the Samovar is one of the two typical vessels used to make tea. A samovar is a large metal urn in which water is heated. Above it is a small teapot, in which zavarka, or very concentrated tea is brewed. Typically this tea is then put into a cup and diluted 10 to 1 with hot water from the samovar. If you want to brew tea this way at home, it's fairly easy. You need about 5 teaspoons of tea leaves per cup of water. Use a strong black tea, ideally with whole leaves (CTC and broken-leaf teas end up more bitter with lower extraction of other volatiles, which is not ideal). Flavored tea is very common in Russia, so Earl Grey, or a fruit tea, will often work well. Make sure to heat your brewing pot, and ideally add the leaves to the pot and then leave covered in the heated pot before pouring water over for 10-30 seconds. Brew for a long time, I'd say about 10 minutes. You can then pour this into the bottom of a cup and top off with boiling water. Jam or marmalade are common sweeteners in Russia, as are syrups like the ones Monin makes. Good luck Russian-tea-ing!

Wikipedia has a pretty good page on them.

pork never goes bad
May 16, 2008

gin&milk!!!


Most black teas are quite bitter - especially if cut, broken, or CTC processed. This is deliberate. This notion that bitterness in black tea is somehow bad is misguided. And the notion that adding milk to tea is somehow inappropriate is also misguided.

pork never goes bad
May 16, 2008

gin&milk!!!


In the UK and Commonwealth countries, lapsang souchong is often served with milk.

pork never goes bad
May 16, 2008

gin&milk!!!


Traditionally, tea is only drink with milk if smoked, otherwise particularly bold, or var assamica. Darjeelingand many keemun blacks would have been taken straight. Of course, now the British tea "tradition," or whatever you'd call it, has given way to teabags of very robust tea that is largely unpalatable without milk, so these sorts of finer grained distinctions aren't quite so true anymore.

pork never goes bad
May 16, 2008

gin&milk!!!


For black tea an actual kettle will work better than a water boiler because those last 2-3 degrees can make a positive difference with some black teas.

http://www.amazon.com/Aroma-AWK-115...keywords=kettle
if you are worried about plastic or care about looks just a bit

http://www.amazon.com/Proctor-Silex...keywords=kettle
if not

If you need it to look *~*~*nice*~*~* then get one of the Capresso glass ones, but those are like 90.

@Haier - many Darjeeling taste like Chinese oolongs because Darjeeling uses var. sinensis plants, and because most producers don't fully oxidize their teas seeking to maximize the characteristic "muscatel" aroma of Darjeeling.

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pork never goes bad
May 16, 2008

gin&milk!!!


Steve Yun posted:

Anyone got a recommendation on good tea tins?

The Upton tins and bags are excellent, if utilitarian.

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