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Devi
Jan 15, 2006

CYCLOPS
WAS RIGHT


Tea thread! How exciting! I just found a great tea place about a month ago. I was going to dinner across the street and we had some time to kill so we wandered over. If you're in there area, [url=http://www.sereneteaz.com/]Serene Teaz[/i] in Wheaton, Illinois is worth checking out. They have a location in Elmhurst as well, but I haven't been there yet. Bright shop, all the teas have little jars for you to sniff, the prices are good from what I can tell, and the people who work there are really knowledgeable and friendly. They'll brew up anything in store for you to try. I took their Tea 101 class because while I've tried a lot of teas, I know I've brewed them/had them brewed incorrectly. I went in thinking black tea is my favorite and left in love with white tea. They sell their tea online, too.

I drink Peony White Tea almost every day and usually some flavored rooibus or another blend as well. I have a Dream Steeper which is basically the same as the IngenuiTea. Love it because I can rebrew easily. I have a little basket strainer from Republic of Tea that I like, but it's smaller than most of my mugs and tea will float out. For work, I have the 4 mug size T-Sacs. They're easier to fill and maybe the tea gets more room to move around. I want to get one of those French press style travel mugs now, though.

It's amazing how good a good cup of tea is. I've got a bunch of little bags of teas now and I get stupidly excited about picking what to brew next and planning out what I'll do if it's one that can be resteeped.

I've always liked those little pot/cup/saucer sets but until recently I didn't drink enough tea to justify them. Now that I do, it seems silly since I've got a good setup going. A small teapot would be nice. I could make cozies for it.

Someone mentioned Dobra in Madison a page or so back. I went there last year while I was in town for a class and wish I'd gotten some tea to bring home. I really enjoyed the tea I had there and loved the sweet couscous dish I had with it. Someday I'll find an excuse to visit Madison again and spend some more time there.

I really wanted to get milk oolong from Serene Teaz but it's four times the price of most of their tea and I was getting a few other kinds already. It's on my wishlist. Has anyone had milk oolong? Anything to say about it? I know it can and should be resteeped so the price isn't that terrible. And it smells so good...

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Devi
Jan 15, 2006

CYCLOPS
WAS RIGHT


A friend of mine raved a while ago about double walled cups/mugs/glasses from Bodum. Teavana has some double walled cups and one of them claims to keep tea hot for up to 2 hours. I'd just like something that I can sip from for a half hour or so that will keep it from going totally cold in that time. Preferably something that can hold 16 oz. Even the guy at Teavana didn't think the double walled glasses could do that. If the works-on-commission-would-up-sell-a-disposable-cup-lid guy wouldn't back up the two hour claim, it makes me think that double walled is bunk. But my friend said otherwise and there's science there. Has anyone used any double walled mugs they like?

Devi
Jan 15, 2006

CYCLOPS
WAS RIGHT


aldantefax posted:

...
I'll take a look around for some actual products to recommend, but provide a price point so we can shop for you, I guess!

QuentinCompson posted:

My Contigo travel mug from Target keeps tea hot for 3-4 hours, usually. Black tea goes from 'boiling' to 'comfortably hot' in that time frame and green tea becomes a step above lukewarm, but it's passable.

Whoops, sorry! I meant a cup for using at home that isn't a travel mug. I have a Contigo, an Oxo somethingoranother, and a few others for work and travel that keep my tea hot/warm for plenty long. The Contigo and Oxo do a great job but the one I use most is a travel mug from 7-11 with very little insulating power and there's no chance it won't spill when dropped. But it's my favorite.

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!

Devi
Jan 15, 2006

CYCLOPS
WAS RIGHT


But then how do you keep your tea warm?

All the sets that aren't packaged or bound together do have a basket that fits in the lid. But now I have other plans for the lid. And most lids have a knob on them and can be easily tipped over. I love tea, but I don't want wet tea leaves everywhere.

Speaking of things to put tea in--Argo Tea has iced teas that come in really great bottles. I got one about a year ago and held onto it since it's perfect for bringing a drink with me to work when I have lunch or dinner there. I just put some genmaicha in the fridge for tomorrow. Much tastier (and cheaper) than buying bottled tea.

Devi
Jan 15, 2006

CYCLOPS
WAS RIGHT


I leave mine in the infuser. I try to plan out when I'll steep the leaves again so I don't brew something late at night that I won't drink again for a while. I'm drinking the third infusion of some white tea now. and i'm pretty sure i burned it on the second infusion

Devi
Jan 15, 2006

CYCLOPS
WAS RIGHT


aldantefax posted:

Yo Devi, I added some extra bits for your at-home cup question. Hopefully you find a decent cup!

Thanks! I love that last cup!

I'm thinking I should start using an insulated travel mug or Thermos at home. I brought tea to work in a Contigo yesterday and after 5 hours it was still nicely warm. Large vessel, small cup might work well.

Devi
Jan 15, 2006

CYCLOPS
WAS RIGHT


aldantefax posted:

In DIY news there are things that are basically hotplates or trivets designed to have a tealight set under them (nominally that is why it is called a "tea light", but whatever); you put a pot or a cup on top of it, and then the tea light underneath the trivet, and boom, instant keep-warm action!

Instructables sent me this pretty solid design but I'd worry about the actual metal plate on top being too hot. Other designs like the one I have are made out of a glass flower brick with the tea light in a recess, so there's no accidentally burning yourself.

World Market has cast iron teapot warmers for $10. I almost got one last night but I don't know if something wider than a cup would work so well. Personally, I'd buy that one before I'd try to build one but I don't have access to the right tools.

I went to World Market for a cup and I found one with a cover and basket. As expected, the basket let a lot of small bits of tea out and I shouldn't have used genmaicha. The lid didn't help retain heat at all. I'd be okay with that because it's a pretty set and I could just use the basket with larger leaf teas but the handle gets really hot where it meets the mug and because of the shape of it, that's where my fingers are when the mug is full. I might end up with a pretty pen cup. Back to searching for my Thermos.

A couple of people have mentioned PG Tips. I've seen them at World Market and the supermarket I go to. Are they worth picking up to try if you have access to a fancypants tea shop? I don't have any black tea except for old Lipton bags.

Devi
Jan 15, 2006

CYCLOPS
WAS RIGHT


aldantefax posted:

Hi! Some people were talking about genmaicha and such and because this is a thread that needs some love I figured I would say hello.

Try brewing cold! Use a disposable tea bag and pack it with 4-5 tablespoons in one pitcher (3L or more). The longer you let it steep the better, overnight is good.

Set this up last night. I made one serving in the glass I use to bring tea to work, a disposable tea bag, and a little more than 1 tsp of genmaicha. Very tasty and a very pretty green. This is great. No worrying about putting hot tea in glass in the fridge.

Are there any teas that shouldn't be cold brewed? Any that are really good this way?

Devi
Jan 15, 2006

CYCLOPS
WAS RIGHT


neongrey posted:

So I haven't placed an order to see (since I just buy at my local shop), but David's Tea's website now says they have $5 shipping within North America.

So, if you've thought about ordering from them but high shipping to the States has held you off, now's your chance! The new winter collection is in, too. Chocolate chili chai is a returning tea from last year and is yummy if you like such things.

I mostly shop there for the crazy fruit blends because I am a ~girl~ but a friend swears by many of their more ordinary teas as well.

The mugs and samplers are making me consider cheating on my tea store. The only holiday mugs I go for are Halloween ones, but I really want the Space Invaders sweater-style perfect mug. And some samplers. Dammit, I just got three new teas a few hours ago!

Devi
Jan 15, 2006

CYCLOPS
WAS RIGHT


Lavender Philtrum posted:

Would you guys suggest I go and find a cafe where I can get a good cup of tea and see if I like it first, or just drop some cash on some good, quality tea and make it myself? Apparently Adagio operates very close to me, maybe I could go do some shopping there?

edit: Worth mentioning I'm a trainride away from the city of Chicago and I'm willing to spend a silly amount of money on a cup of coffee/tea, so going to an Intelligentsia or something is possible. I just want to know what would be best for a first timer.

Yes, find a tea shop! I was in the same boat as you, mostly. I'd had some loose tea and bagged tea and liked it but I only went for the flavored black stuff and thought the rest was terrible because whenever I got it or had it, it wasn't brewed properly. When I stumbled on a tea shop that does regular Tea 101 events to introduce people to different kinds of teas, I went to the next one so I could see what this stuff is supposed to taste like. Tea is really good when it's done right.

If you're in the suburban Chicago area, I can't recommened Serene Teaz enough. They have locations in Wheaton and Elmhurst. They'll brew samples of anything you want, answer all your questions, and they have a great selection of teas and everything is available to sniff.

It's been a while since I've been to Adagio but I remember being stunned at the amount of tea. They'll definitely brew you a cup if you pay and given the kind of store they are, that cup will be made right. I don't remember if they did samples. But from what I've read, they're reasonable priced. Go there or anywhere else before Teavana (if you go there). You'll want to learn stuff elsewhere and not get suckered into buying hundreds of dollars of tea and teaware.

Go to a tea shop. Every cafe (be it indie place, Starbucks, Caribou, or Seattle's Best) has ruined bagged tea. They use water that's too hot for anything but black tea (or teas that they don't even carry) and they don't tell you how long to steep it. Those places are why I didn't like green or white tea. It was always burnt.

aldantefax posted:


With regards to the bubble tea thing, it is just black or green tea steeped in milk plus garnishes (tapioca 'bubbles', jelly, etc) - you can have it hot or chilled. It tends to be quite sweet, so a nice summer treat chilled, and a mostly pleasant one hot in the cold season. I could probably do a how-to on it since I have like six pounds or so of tapioca balls that I haven't done anything with for awhile.

I had no idea bubble tea could be hot. Oh man. I need to revisit the tea shop that doesn't have much but tea drinks and try this.


axolotl farmer posted:

Go to a good sushi place and order green tea with your meal. That's the only decent tea you will get served at a restaurant or cafe. Usually you just get a cup of tepid water and a tea bag.


That's great advice. I fell in love with genmaicha again after having it at a Chinese place. As much as I hate to admit it, Benihana has a really nice tea blend.

Devi
Jan 15, 2006

CYCLOPS
WAS RIGHT


I think I'm going to go to Adagio tomorrow since I'll be in the neighborhood and I'm ashamed of not visiting it earlier. Does anyone have any recommendations?

I've been drinking coconut tea and it's very nice. So I got some light coconut milk thinking that this would be awesome. It's...not bad. A little better with some sweetener. But not mind-blowing like I expected. I should have just added honey since a little bit of honey has made every tea I've tried it with so much better. And I never used to like honey in tea.

Devi
Jan 15, 2006

CYCLOPS
WAS RIGHT


Teavana's prices are another good reason not to go back.

Every other tea shop I've been to has had friendly people who are happy to help out and talk without any pressure at all.

I'm pretty much only drinking tea these days. I've had pop a few times and the occasional coffee drink but otherwise it's all tea. At work we have a water dispenser that does hot water but it's in the staff room and I don't like sitting around waiting for tea to brew so I've been using T-Sacs so I can just take them out and toss them wherever I am. Baskets/infusers are too much mess at work. But I haven't been very good about remembering to fill bags ahead of time. Then I saw this wacky thing at Barnes & Noble and I think it's going to solve my problem. The Essential Infuser by Aladdin has a basket in the lid that flips up or down with a lever on the outside. When it's up, the basket is totally contained in the lid and doesn't touch the water. When it's down, it's fully submerged in the water as long as it's filled up. You flip it up when your tea is done brewing. I love this thing because I don't have to worry about removing and getting rid of a hot, drippy bag. Theoretically it'll work for resteeping tea but I've only tried that with rooibus so far and I learned the hard way that that stuff doesn't resteep well at all.

Speaking of rooibus--at Adagio I tried the Hazelnut Honeybush and was surprised at how much hazelnut flavor came though. The guy who made it told me that they brew their samples very strong so you get all the flavor. Now I do the same with rooibus and I'm liking it a lot better. It doesn't turn bitter or get too strong like tea can.

Devi
Jan 15, 2006

CYCLOPS
WAS RIGHT


Quixotic1 posted:

So this Christmas I was gifted this out of nowhere:
http://www.teavana.com/tea-products...na-tea-gift-set

The closest I've ever been to drinking tea is supermarket sweet iced tea, which I think barely counts. I tried the Fruta Bomba green tea and tasted mostly of water after following the instructions I've found. I don't know if it's my philistine taste buds, maybe the instructions need tweaking or perhaps that tea is just no good. Whats the protocol for sugar,honey adding. I'm entering a brave new world here and any tips could of use. Also I just ordered an electric kettle to do this proper rather than my microwaving water.

How much water are you using to tea? Usually the ration is around 1-2 tsp per 6-8 oz of water. The Fruta Bomba calls for water at 175 and green teas will turn bitter with water that's too hot so investing in even a cheap thermometer will help you get better tea. You may be steeping it at too low a temp if it tastes so watery.

Sugar, honey, milk, etc are all added to taste. Add liquid after the tea has steeped so you don't lower the temperature of the water as it's steeping. Depending on your steeping set up you'll probably want to add sweeteners after steeping as well. I have a similar thing to the PerfecTea Maker in that set and what I do is put any honey I want in my cup before releasing the tea into it so that it gets incorporated right away.

Devi
Jan 15, 2006

CYCLOPS
WAS RIGHT


I've been using a Rival Hot Pot to heat water for tea and until a few minutes ago I thought it was fine. I decided to check the temp with a thermometer. I'm making genmaicha so I wanted 180 degrees. Was concerned when it didn't read 180 until the water was at a rolling boil. But I've been known to terribly misjudge things. I poured the water in my mug and took the temperature again. Over 200. Let it cool down to 180 and I'm now drinking the only good cup of hot genmaicha I've ever made.

Now I'm looking for an electric kettle that will heat water to specific temperatures. I don't need or want one of the $100+ tea makers. I've only found one or two models so far that let you choose the temperature you want the water heated to. Does anyone use an electric kettle like that? Any recommendations? I can't justify spending more than $50 on this when I could just use more water in the Hot Pot but I'm impatient and would like something that can do this on it's own.

Devi
Jan 15, 2006

CYCLOPS
WAS RIGHT


After a cup of tea I realized I was being lazy *and* dumb. Putting more water in the Hot Pot didn't increase the heating time that much but it did make getting an accurate temperature reading possible. Thanks for the recs (and things to put on my wishlist) but since I can gauge the temperature properly with what I have and I don't make a lot of tea at one time, I'm going to stick with the Hot Pot. More money for tea now.

To make up for my oops, I'll recommend something. I just got a small tea pot (a New Amsterdam teapot in sea foam) and it doesn't come with a basket. Took it into my friendly neighborhood tea shop and was bummed that the less expensive baskets didn't fit. But of course the most expensive one did. I looked up reviews online hoping to find bad ones but they were all sterling. Ended up paying $20 for a HuesNBrews Universal Infuser. It's a stainless steel infuser with small holes, the handle has a silicone cover, and there's a silicone lid that doubles as a coaster. It fits perfectly in a mug and even fits in my travel mugs. I haven't used it in the teapot yet but I haven't used my Dream Steeper since getting the Universal Infuser. Since it goes right in my cup, I don't have to guess at how much water to use and it keeps me from overfilling my cup. Clean up is easier than with the Dream Steeper. So far it's worth the price.

Devi
Jan 15, 2006

CYCLOPS
WAS RIGHT


aldantefax posted:

Don't you live in Chicago? There has to be some Asian supermarkets around there that will sell cut-rate Zojirushi (and other brands of) water dispensers.

I hadn't thought of that. Haven't been in an Asian supermarket in months. Partially because I'm afraid of how many cute little teacups I'd come home with.

Speaking of Asian supermarkets--as someone with access to nice, affordable, totally great loose tea should I skip the tea aisle at Asian supermarkets or might there be something tasty and new? I'd think that as long as I can get what I want from a tea shop I should stick with that but maybe there's something in the market that my shop doesn't have.

Devi
Jan 15, 2006

CYCLOPS
WAS RIGHT


Hawkgirl posted:

I got this one for Christmas: http://www.amazon.com/Made-Order-Es...25820540&sr=1-2

I have that and I love it. It solved my tea-brewing woes at work and has encouraged me to drink more green tea since I can just leave it in the basket to steep again later. There are other travel mugs with baskets in them but I've never seen one that lets you get the basket out of the water. With the other kinds you have to either keep the tea in there and let it overbrew or take it out and that doesn't work for me at work.

If you're just looking for an infuser type thing and not just a travel mug, I have one similar to this one and I really like it. It fits in all the cups I've used it in and works in travel mugs. Easy to clean and the top doubles as a coaster. And then there's the IngenuiTEA type teapots[url] that are pretty awesome. I've seen similar ones in lots of places.

Undeclared Eggplant posted:


I've been getting more and more into tea lately. I highly recommend the book [url=http://www.amazon.com/Tea-Enthusiasts-Handbook-Guide-Worlds/dp/158008804X]The Tea Enthusiast's Handbook
which talks in excruciating detail about the six different types of tea (black, green, white, oolong, puerh, yellow). Reading that got me to try some yellow tea when I finally found some at Dobra Tea in Madison last weekend.

I'm a librarian and a dork but I haven't found a tea book that actually keeps my attention. I'll try that one. The ones I've seen are a bit out there. Though I'm some kind of tea poser who likes flavored teas and knowingly brews black tea at too low a temperature because boiling is too hot.

I was in Madison for a week a year or two ago and stopped at Dobra Tea once. I seriously want to make the trip again just to go there. I was a really casual tea drinker then. I knew enough to realize it was a great place but not enough to confidently get some tea to bring home. And the sweet couscous they have is one of the best things I've eaten.

Devi
Jan 15, 2006

CYCLOPS
WAS RIGHT


I second the Adagio recommendation. Huge variety and good prices.

Take a look at teas (and tisanes) with fruit in them. The sugar will compliment the flavors and you shouldn't need much to bring out the sweetness.

Devi
Jan 15, 2006

CYCLOPS
WAS RIGHT


Dick Smegma posted:

Would it do any harm to brew enough green tea for a few cups and stick it in a thermos?

The only "harm" I could see would be if you left the leaves in and even that might not be so bad since it's green tea (and you don't use boiling water). Time doesn't hurt tea--especially a couple of hours or a day.

I accidentally left some green tea steeping for an hour. By the time I realized I'd left it, it'd already been 16 minutes and I was too embarrassed to tell my boss I needed to go deal with tea. After an hour it was still drinkable. The flavor (cinnamon toffee) was gone but it wasn't bitter or anything. I didn't try rebrewing it later, though. Figured the leaves had given their all and I have some bagged tea at work from before I became a tea snob.

Monday I had some Strawberry Paraiso at a friend's house. It's really good. Good enough to get me to get over my dislike of Teavana enough to go tonight. I picked up 2 oz of it and 2 oz of Golden Jade since it's 75% off. The salespeople were annoying but not enough to get me to walk out. I did want to smack one guy with a cast iron teapot for not getting the hint that I wanted to look, but that was a common theme at the mall today. I got a cup of Amandine Rose to go and now I want that, too. Thankfully the saleslady tried to sell me a pound of the Golden Jade (it'd be such a bargain! The tea is guaranteed for one year with one of their over priced canisters!) and that kept me from buying more.

My friend who had the Strawberry Paraiso also has the Zojirushi Gold Hot Water Dispenser and I saw that at Teavana. That thing is wonderful. If I had more counter space and $150 I could harmlessly spend on something I don't need, it would be mine.

Devi
Jan 15, 2006

CYCLOPS
WAS RIGHT


dik-dik posted:

Do any of you who use metal thermoses find that they make your tea taste different? I was thinking of getting one, but I recently had some tea served in stainless steel cups and it tasted kind of metallic.

Put more directly—what's a good way to carry around a day's worth of tea?

One of the travel mugs I use is stainless steel. I've kept tea in it for around 6 hours but that's probably less than 16 oz of tea. Never had any strange taste from it. But I don't drink anything too delicate, either.

dik-dik posted:

In other news: a friend of mine bought me a green tea from Starbucks. How did they manage to make a green tea that tastes like fish?

Chain coffee shops made me think I hated tea for years. The only tea I liked was chai from some places and that's really drat hard to screw up since it's mostly milk (the way they do it, at least). A friend of mine loves Starbucks vanilla rooibos. I have a chocolate rooibus from SereneTeaz that I don't love and I was going to give it to her but I'm afraid that since it's not whatever terrible crap Starbucks is peddling she won't like it.

Your pictures of your tea setups are making me jealous, overwhelmed, and shameful. But I love them. I don't drink anything that requires special teaware and I haven't even used my teapot yet (or the nifty pot warmer) but it's nice to think that someday I may have moved beyond flavored teas and have the room to store fancy teapots and cups. But my teapot is way cuter than any cast iron one. I at least have that.

Devi
Jan 15, 2006

CYCLOPS
WAS RIGHT


Hummingbirds posted:

It's a little expensive but I have this and love it.

I saw a similar one at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. I think it may be a step down since it didn't cost as much but it looks almost the same.

For once procrastinating has paid off. I never got a fancier water heater. But I'm going from part time to full time in about two months and the really nice water heater at Teavana (or wherever) is on my list of Fancy Expensive Things I Don't Need But Can Now Afford. More white tea is on the list, too. Just have to start finishing off the tea I already have...

My mom has gone to the tea shop with me a few times and she always tries something. She usually likes what she tries but she's a diehard coffee drinker. She fell in love with some Spice Tea but it's a black tea blend and she tried cutting caffeine because of stomach problems. Next time she went to the shop she was shown Spice Rooibus--same as the black blend but with rooibus instead. It's her favorite thing now. I got some Strawberry Parisio from Teavana that she took, too. I used to want her to try all the tea I got but now I'm afraid she'll like it and take it.

Devi
Jan 15, 2006

CYCLOPS
WAS RIGHT


What's with cornflower petals? I see them in so many teas but haven't seen anything saying what they add other than looks. Like in this Earl Grey Blue Flower from Upton. One of my favorite teas is Earl Grey de la Creme and it has the flowers. The flavor is milder than regular Earl Grey and I assumed it had something to do with the flowers but when I see them in other teas, there's no notes about what the flowers do. I asked at Teavana and the girl got confused and asked me if they were for decoration.

Devi
Jan 15, 2006

CYCLOPS
WAS RIGHT


If you have a Whole Foods around, check out their tea selection. Lots of variety and the quality is better than most supermarket stuff. Something is always on sale, too.

I've been succumbing to bagged tea lately and I honestly regret it. Filling your own bags with loose tea is easy, no mess, and you can get some of the great loose tea that's been recommended here. I've been too lazy and indecisive to bag my own despite having bags and tea. I haven't felt like drinking hot tea lately, anyway.

Since I want cold tea and I don't want to lug in a giant pitcher of it at work, I'm using Rishi Sencha Tea Powder. It's just tea, no sweetener or flavor. And it's awesome. I love this stuff. It's pretty strong so I'll add some more water after a while and it'll still be good. It's perfect because it tastes good, is easy to make, and I don't have to have a stash of tea in the fridge. The price is the only downside but I've had one box for two weeks and I still have some left.

I forgot about my Aladdin infuser mug! It has the infuser in the lid and you can flip it up or down. Great for teas that you can steep multiple times. I love that thing. Wash it at home and no mess at work.

Devi fucked around with this message at May 17, 2012 around 17:23

Devi
Jan 15, 2006

CYCLOPS
WAS RIGHT


Sirotan posted:

That's a good question. I just...assumed it was. I always run it through the dishwasher after I bleach it too, and it soaks in probably a 10% bleach/water mix. Doing some googling, the makers of Tritan say it will stand up to bleach without causing any wear/damage. Google also gave me a page where people advise you not to use bleach on Lunapads. So yeah, thanks for this.

Edit: You could probably use vinegar and baking soda for the same purpose too, then there's no worry about 'chemicals'. But then you might smell/taste the vinegar.

Dammit! I should have researched before bleaching my Lunapads in my DreamSteeper. I was so impressed with myself for doubling up on tasks, too!

I've used vinegar and water to clean a plastic water bottle and a metal one. Once each. The smell lingered past repeated rinses. I got rid of the plastic bottle and eventually gave up and started using the metal one. The smell went away after a few uses and it wasn't that bad but it was there. I stick with really hot water and soap now.

Went to a French market Saturday and there was a tea vendor that I've never heard of. It was all of three blocks away from my favorite tea store but the place at the market sells 1 oz bags and the smallest quantity the tea store has is 2 oz. The small bags were all around $2.50 and I couldn't resist getting one. I got organic Keemun--my first plain black tea. Also the first tea I've had with milk and honey. Rosemary honey (also from the market) and coconut/almond milk to be exact. The Keemun on it's own is boring. With the milk and honey I can understand why plain black tea is still sold.

Devi
Jan 15, 2006

CYCLOPS
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aldantefax posted:

I'm looking for tea stuff to write articles about. Any suggestions?

You've talked a bit about matcha in the thread but is there anything more to say?

Different teawares? Like samovars, different infusers, that mug that holds the leaves in one part and you tip it to stop the brewing that probably doesn't work well at all but seems really cool...

Devi
Jan 15, 2006

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neongrey posted:


(oh god I bought a tassimo from a friend at work and I have been drinking nothing but a) lattes and b) tea lattes ever since, I have betrayed both the coffee and the tea gods if I never post again here it is because they have struck me down )

Before you're smited, please explain how you make a tea latte in that thing. I've never used a Tassimo. Do you use one of the prepackaged tea cups or make your own?

I have a Senseo (got it back when the free offer was going around here) that's been packed away somewhere but blaspheming with tea sounds like fun.

Devi
Jan 15, 2006

CYCLOPS
WAS RIGHT


Is the tea in anything? Usually you have it in a bag or a strainer that you can take out. If it's just in there with the water then it will sink. Just strain it out before you drink it if that's the case. You can use a fine sieve.

Devi
Jan 15, 2006

CYCLOPS
WAS RIGHT


Just chiming in on the themed teas: if someone got me some teas themed along something I like, I'd be totally thrilled even if they weren't anything I'd normally drink. Like Paramemetic said, it's fun just trying things out and it's pretty cool when two hobbies are linked like that.

Unless rooibos is involved. I don't care what fandom the tea comes from, if someone gives me rooibos I'm going to be pissed.

Devi
Jan 15, 2006

CYCLOPS
WAS RIGHT


Genmaicha is my favorite tea. I got a couple of things from Davidstea and was going to get some genmaicha, too, to see how it stacks up to my normal stuff but I figured that a tea that was made to be cheap shouldn't be expensive now. Mine is $6 for 2 oz. It's considerably more everywhere (unless it's in bags and the stuff I've gotten like that is awful). Is there any reason to get genmaicha from a fancy tea place?

There are two independent tea shops near me. The one I don't go to as often has matcha. They had a special in the summer where they did a flight of three cold matcha drinks. They were all good and matcha is the only thing I'd ever choose over a bubble tea now. I wanted to get some matcha to bring home, but I'm cheap. The other tea shop has matcha that's way cheaper so I got a bag. It's terrible. Very bitter and not even sugar helps. I'll have to try baking with it because there's no way I'd drink it. I got good stuff from the other tea shop. It's great.

The shop with the (good) matcha started carrying Blender Bottles as matcha bottles. I picked that one up with my matcha and it works really well. No leftover powder clumps and the bottle itself doesn't leak. It's the 20 oz one which is a good size for that kind of drink. I got coconut matcha and I've been blending it with the coconut milk/almond milk from Almond Breeze. I was planning on keeping the blender, matcha, and milk at work so I could make a quick drink but I think I'd just make one and finish it off quickly. Normally a thermos of tea lasts me all day. But a thermos of tea doesn't taste like dessert.

Devi
Jan 15, 2006

CYCLOPS
WAS RIGHT


If you're making matcha cold and want to be really lazy about it, get a Blender Bottle. It has a whisking ball in it and you shake the thing like crazy. Makes a really good matcha latte--even gets it all foamy. I put in some almond milk, then the matcha, and then top it off with a bit more milk. Putting matcha in first will leave a lot of it at the bottom. I have the SportMixer mini but I've seen the regular ones at Target for around $8.

I love genmaicha but it's hit and miss when I make it at home. Going to try it with a shorter steeping time right now.

Devi
Jan 15, 2006

CYCLOPS
WAS RIGHT


detectivemonkey posted:

With all this talk of temperature, I decided to get a thermometer to keep at work to see what our hot water dispenser was giving us. It came today and I immediately tested the water. It turns out the hot water, in which I've steeped hundreds of bags of tea, is 150 degrees. Let this be a lesson to all of you office-dwellers. The thermometer was 12 bucks and my tea is much, much better for it.


We got a new water dispenser at work a little before I started drinking tea more. The old one had seriously hot water. The new one makes terrible tea. I brought in a thermometer and I think it was 140. Not hot enough to make the most delicate tea. I was grousing about that (and about how I hate using the microwave to boil water) to someone and they pointed out an electric kettle that I'd overlooked. So I started using that and all was good. People teased me about it (I may have groused to more than one person) but now a bunch of people use it for tea.

Now I just have to get them off of the cheap bagged stuff. But at least when I get bags I don't like, I can bring them to work and they get used.

Devi
Jan 15, 2006

CYCLOPS
WAS RIGHT


Eeyo posted:

The Ingenuitea is nice and all, but I'd recommend an in-cup strainer over one of those. I find it easier to clean up and there's pretty much no mess, and if you buy a good one it will last a long time. And you don't need to worry about the dripping since they usually come with some type of cover that you can invert on your desk and place the strainer on after you're finished. Then shake out the leaves and manually remove the stragglers and rinse. Or you can be more lazy with the cleaning like me. They're only good for 1 cup though (unless you buy a kettle).

I recently bought one of these and it works but lets finer particles through (a few mint leaves for example), and I've used this one previously for a while but the plastic and fine mesh got a bit grody after a while.


Seconding this. I have an Ingenuitea-type thing but I prefer the in-cup strainer. I have one like the first link. Easier to clean and I always have the right amount of tea. But I use the Ingenuitea for travel mugs since the other one doesn't fit in most of them.

If you really want convenience--especially if you're using a tea that can be resteeped--look at the Aladdin tea infuser mug. It has a basket at the top that you put your tea in and you just flip it back up when it's done steeping. I've used it for oolongs at work and it's great because there's no mess at all. Just don't leave it in the sink for a few days with leaves in it. Ew. The basket isn't the greatest since it's pretty small and doesn't give the leaves all the room they need but I've never made a bad cup with it. I've seen them at Barnes & Noble and Target may still have them (in more colors, too) if you want to see it in person.

Devi
Jan 15, 2006

CYCLOPS
WAS RIGHT


I used to love Celestial Seasonings way before I really got into tea. Then I got a couple of flavors that were heavy on the anise and got turned off. So when I heard that there was a tea shop not too far away, I got exited because I figured they'd have teas that don't taste like licorice. I still won't drink most CS teas.

Someone brought some London Cuppa tea to work and I made a cup since the only other options were CS. That stuff is amazing! I wasn't expecting much but I just let it steep for a few minutes and it was great hot and just as good as it cooled. I've never seen it in a store but the person that brought it in got it from Marshalls and I've read that TJ Maxx has it as well. I've been stalking both stores. It's $2.99 for 40 bags in store and around $9 for 80 bags on Amazon. I'd have gotten it there if it wasn't an add-on item (or if I could find enough stuff to add on). I'm seriously embarrassed by how obsessed I am with this tea. It's just black tea. I've tried plain black teas at my tea shop and haven't liked any of them enough to have a pot.

I was poking around on Amazon to find something to get up to $25 so I could get the London Cuppa and I think I might look at teas again. The good thing about buying teabags is that if I don't like them, I can bring them to work and they'll get used. (and also I can make tea when I'm feeling lazy)

Devi
Jan 15, 2006

CYCLOPS
WAS RIGHT


I'm still using a Rival Hot Pot and just gauge the temperature by the bubbles. My mom had gotten an electric kettle from Aldi where you can set the temp but because of the amount of water you have to put in, it took longer than the Hot Pot. And the temperature was way off for anything that wasn't boiling. To be expected from a kettle that was around $30 at Aldi.

A few months ago I was at a craft show and there was a woman selling tea. She doesn't have a storefront or website. I got a black strawberry flavored tea from her and it makes the best iced tea. Tastes and smells more like chocolate. Kind of weird since none of the chocolate teas I've tried ever taste like chocolate. She said that she flavors her teas more strongly than most and I want to try more of them.

I don't know if this is new or just new to me but I saw a white Earl Grey cream at my local tea shop and picked it up on scent alone. It's pretty great. I've been drinking that or a black Earl Grey cream as my hot teas.

Devi
Jan 15, 2006

CYCLOPS
WAS RIGHT


Molten Llama posted:

If anybody else is interested, Verdant Tea's currently running a 5 for $5 special for new customers.

Five bucks gets you 10 gram samples of their Laoshan Black, Laoshan Green, Hand Picked Tieguanyin, Yunnan White Jasmine, and Shui Jin Gui Wuyi Oolong. USPS shipping and a $5 coupon are included in the price.

I've been receiving their newsletter for about a year but never bought anything because I couldn't make a decision (or it sold out before i did). Five teas for no dollars and no choices to make was an easy sell.

Just got mine today. Haven't tried any yet since I just got home from work. It's a good amount of tea for $5. Especially since you get a code for $5 off an order with it.

But now I have to watch the water temperature and pay attention. I got a Breville One Touch Tea Maker from Woot and I quickly got used to dumping things in the pot and letting the machine do all the work. I've only used a kettle maybe twice when I was making black tea and wanted an exact amount. There's not enough in the Verdant samples to make the smallest amount in the Breville but I can at least use that to get water at the right temperature.

This was going to be my research project tonight (Friday nights in a library tend to be quiet) but I actually didn't get a chance and this would be a good place to ask. I have a lot of travel mugs and most of them are scented now from tea. I make tea in the morning and drink it over an 8 hour period (I need to drink faster). I usually come home and rinse the cup out but sometimes I don't do that until the morning. Now most of the cups smell like whatever tea I was drinking a lot of when I last used them. They don't smell rank but mint or berry or whatever clashes with other tea. Does anyone have any good ways of getting smells out? Or recommendations of travel mugs that don't absorb odors?

Devi
Jan 15, 2006

CYCLOPS
WAS RIGHT


I've been curious about teas that can be left in a cup to steep. There's a travel mug meant for that with a strainer that keeps the leaves back that every place sells (this one: https://chachatea.net/cups/tea-traveler). I've used oolong like this and topped it off with hot water one time and it worked pretty well. I'm wondering if any other teas would work with this kind of brewing and if any adjustments should be made (cooler water, less time).

I have a travel mug from Ikea that is kind of like the one I linked but it's not insulated. I'd like to replace it with a better one but want to know more about the whole leaves-left-in-the-mug thing. Does that kind of steeping have a name?

Devi
Jan 15, 2006

CYCLOPS
WAS RIGHT


I have an Aladddin mug (my second one, actually) and a steeper thing that goes on top of the mug. And a Breville One Touch Tea Maker that I use most mornings. I'd just like to try something new. But it looks like the kind of mugs I was looking at don't retain heat well.

Someday I'll find the perfect mug. Until then, I'll stick with a big Kleen Kanteen.

Devi
Jan 15, 2006

CYCLOPS
WAS RIGHT


CommonShore posted:

I'm going to be making a David's Tea run this weekend and I have three empty cans any suggestions?

I got their dessert sampler and really like the Chocolate Orange Pu'erh. I had just decided to give up on pu'erh, too.

I'm in love with one of the teas they brought back for Halloween but it's not available in stores. It has coffee beans and almonds in it. Yum!

Some of the winter teas look really good. I've given strong hints that I want the holiday sampler but that wouldn't give me much time to try out teas and buy them. I might have to switch my present requests to things that are available year-round and get the limited stuff early.

Their samplers that have little tins have more tea than I expected. I've made two batches of the Chocolate Orange Pu'erh to take to work in a 20oz mug. The second batch was a little weak so if I do that again, I'll use less water one or both times. But that's 5-6 cups/mugs worth of tea in one little tin.

Devi
Jan 15, 2006

CYCLOPS
WAS RIGHT


Is there a Trader Joe's near you? One of their winter items is a Tasting of Ten Teas. It's a pretty good variety and there's enough of each tea to get a good idea of if you like it or not. TJs also has a decent selection of bagged (and maybe loose) teas.

Whole Foods has plenty of bagged and loose tea that's a little better than supermarket stuff.

Have you checked to see if there's a tea shop around you? They're usually good about helping people find something and making samples. Starbucks and Teavana don't count. They both have tea but don't sample and going into Teavana as a first tea shop is probably not a good idea.

Adagio sells sample sizes as well as sample boxes. They also have reviews so you can see what other people think about the tea.

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Devi
Jan 15, 2006

CYCLOPS
WAS RIGHT


I think I have a representative from every way to steep tea. The fillable bags were the first things I got (had some tea balls but only used them before I really got into tea) and I've replaced them as needed. I used to just use them for when I was running late in the morning and didn't have time to clean up or for teas that might stain the Ingenutea-type infusers (cinnamon). I have a metal infuser that I really like. But I've been using the bags more because clean up is so easy. I have the size 2 that I use for travel mugs and single cups to give the tea some more room to move. There's another kind that opens wider and has a stick you put in the top to hold it open and keep it from falling in. Those are nice but a little more expensive.

I haven't noticed any difference in the taste of the tea whether I use the Breville One Touch, a metal infuser, the Ingenutea, or bags I've filled. Granted, I'm not using super fancy tea. I just go with whatever method fits my needs and mood.

It's been a long while since I've made tea in a pot. For that I would use an infuser.

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