Tea Time

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Wock
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Mon Jan 03, 2011 5:26 pm Post

If you have to avoid caffeine and you want a flavored drink there are products like Crystal Light. My wife drinks Crystal Light (Raspberry Ice Flavor) and she loves it as an alternative to drinks such as Coffee, Tea, or soda. (She has to avoid caffeine as well).

Myself I love milk and orange juice as an alternative.
The wheel is turning but the hamster is still dead.

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brett
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Mon Jan 03, 2011 9:47 pm Post

Jenn , I know there are plenty of books and websites that could get you started. For me, the move from bags (which I've heard but can't confirm contain the stuff that falls off the table after the good leaves are taken away for the loose leaf buyers), to loose leaf made a tremendous difference. Ms ybe start with exploring varieties through samplers : green, oolong, good blacks, whites, sencha et al. Then explore within the categories you like. Get advice from a good tea shop and importer. Different varieties require different brewing temperatures and steeping times. I'd start eith oolongs (semifermented) as they're closest to blacks (fully fermented) than are greens (unfermented)' and for me have the richest flavors. And I still love Earl Grey; in fact it's just tea time 4 pm and I'm making my mum and myself a nice pot of twinings Lady Grey, which adds other citrus flavors to the usual bergamot. Good luck!

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alexwein
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Tue Jan 04, 2011 5:20 am Post

brett wrote:Thanks for the update, Alexandria. Glad youre enjoying Ashland and sorry I didn't make it down there last year. Maybe you can introduce me to the joys of mate when I do. I've yet to try it. And please keep posting recommendations here. Of course you and other scriveners can order Tao teas online. And yes it's possible to swing both ways; I enjoy my morning dose of stump town coffee as much as my afternoon and evening teas!


Yes, please let me know if you ever make it down here. I'd love to show you around the town and the coffee house circuit!

To order Tao teas directly from them, it appears you have to join their club? Do you know of another way to get their teas? I see they have some very interesting looking yerba mate teas! And of course I have favorite teas I can't get anywhere else.
Inspiration is for amateurs...the rest of us just show up.
-Chuck Close
http://alexandriapallas.com

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alexwein
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Tue Jan 04, 2011 5:23 am Post

Oops, never mind. I see I can order tea without joining. Excellent! Thanks for the tip!
Inspiration is for amateurs...the rest of us just show up.
-Chuck Close
http://alexandriapallas.com

Je
JennK
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Tue Jan 04, 2011 7:04 pm Post

Thanks for the tips! I've heard there's a Teavana at the mall down in Albany. Methinks I'll make my way down there this weekend and hopefully broaden my tea horizons. I have a deadline coming up and will be toiling away at the keyboard for the next few months, so it's a good time to develop new habits!

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Jaysen
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Tue Jan 04, 2011 7:28 pm Post

Teavanna lost me as a customer when they kept raising prices on their already overpriced mid quality products (a completely subjective opinion, but I was ruined by a supposedly loving relative). Look at www.specialteas.com. I am a big fan of their "Hairy Crab Oolong".

That said, a contact over there near Mr X sent me an "American teas suck" package that makes my relative seem like a sweetheart. I am no longer able to drink tea out of my own house and even in my house it is a a battle of will to save my "special" tea for truly special occasions. I am now convinced that any tea that is packaged with any form of English writing on it will disappoint. Evil evil evil package from heaven.

Mr X I blame you for this!
Jaysen

I have a wife and 2 kids that I can only attribute to a wiggle, a giggle, and the realization that she was out of my league so I might as well be happy with her as a friend. 26 years marriage later, I can't imagine life without her. -Me 10/7/09

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vic-k
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Tue Jan 04, 2011 8:10 pm Post

As a professional, you, are your one and only asset. Without integrity you are worthless, but with it, you are priceless.

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xiamenese
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Wed Jan 05, 2011 4:27 am Post

Jaysen wrote:Teavanna lost me as a customer when they kept raising prices on their already overpriced mid quality products (a completely subjective opinion, but I was ruined by a supposedly loving relative). Look at http://www.specialteas.com. I am a big fan of their "Hairy Crab Oolong".

That said, a contact over there near Mr X sent me an "American teas suck" package that makes my relative seem like a sweetheart. I am no longer able to drink tea out of my own house and even in my house it is a a battle of will to save my "special" tea for truly special occasions. I am now convinced that any tea that is packaged with any form of English writing on it will disappoint. Evil evil evil package from heaven.

Mr X I blame you for this!


Harrumph! You will please note that I have never, to my knowledge, disparaged anyone's taste in tea, merely passed on what is held to be the truth in the Land of Tieguanyin. But, if your contact — I'll make a guess who, but keep it to myself ;) — sent you tea from here, then I am not surprised.

Some years ago, my brother and sister-in-law visited me — she professed on arrival not to like tea — but within two days was totally converted, bought local tea-sets for herself and their son, plus tea, and went back to Beijing. A few months later, she rang me up; "Could you get me some more tea, please? I've used up the tea I bought in Xiamen and I've bought tea from the different shops here, including Tenfu (the biggest, in the sense of most outlets and most aggressive marketing) but it's just not the same."

She was right ... if you buy tea here — that is Oolong, Tieguanyin and green teas, jasmine tea, etc., but not Pu'er with which the older the better — it's much fresher and you can taste it. If you can, buy Tieguanyin in little one-brew-time vacuum packs and keep them in the freezer. Locals say even when you do that you should use it all up within 18 months. The problem is that, when you're buying elsewhere, or abroad, you don't know how they've been storing it or how long they've had it in store. For a bit more on tea-drinking here, well, "tea tasting" really, and how to do it:
http://www.talkingoffood.com/watch/1-vi ... n-tea.html
And note, contrary to the Christopher Hitchens, English way of making tea, the water should be just off the boil.

:)

Mark
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Jaysen
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Wed Jan 05, 2011 5:01 pm Post

Yes Mr X. You-know-who is responsible.

I have yet to find a bad way to make that tea. I have enough for a few more months, and then…

I don't want to think about it.
Jaysen

I have a wife and 2 kids that I can only attribute to a wiggle, a giggle, and the realization that she was out of my league so I might as well be happy with her as a friend. 26 years marriage later, I can't imagine life without her. -Me 10/7/09

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shrumpkin
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Thu Jan 13, 2011 11:03 pm Post

I too order my teas from The Tao of Tea, and have been for many years now. I've also seen Samovar, but I've only ordered from The Tao of Tea and Seven Cups. Seven cups has the entire range of teas: from inexpensive to pricey indeed. In the land of coffee domination and colonization of the tea leaf by Lipton, us Americans–especially–cannot fathom spending more than a few bucks for tea. Most of us don't understand that it's like the world of wine. And the tastes are that subtle (and not so subtle) at times.

And how the tea leaves are rolled and pan fired, etc., it's such an ART! And one that I don't want to see die. Many indigenous "factories" have been replaced my machines that do the rolling, drying, etc. But there are still some family-owned plantations that make me smile, within the Fujian province.

Oh, and whoever mentioned Ali Shan oolong: That is a sublime tea! From one of the highest mountains in China.

To all the tea-bag users out there: You don't know what you're missing with loose-leaf teas (real tea!). What you're getting in bags are the dust from the leaves. And because they are so "dusty" and fine, they become bitter very quickly, as opposed to whole leaf teas that can be steeped for a long time, but never get bitter.

Xiamenese: Thank you so very much for sharing your tea knowledge with us. I believe we all appreciate that. I love Chinese tea (after all, where else to go than the source?). I do love Pu'er tea as well. I have a separate clay jar that is not airtight, yet protects it from dust, etc. Pu'er loves to breathe and age. I order the "Topaz" free type, but also the cakes. Some of them go for BIG bucks! I have indeed tried Lapsoung...so smokey, I love it. Isn't sometimes referred to as "Russian Caravan Tea," from when they traveled through China and kept it on the fire or something like that? OH: And if you ever feel gracious enough to share amazing tea that is from Fujian province or superior Tie Gwan Yin, one certain American will be overjoyed–to put it mildly. :D

P.S. I have three different Yixing teapots: one for oolongs, one for pu'ers, and one for green (although I understand many in China don't use Yixing for green tea, but a Gaiwan (which I also have).

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Fluff
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Fri Jul 15, 2011 7:47 pm Post

Tea is alright with me!
by BobbyMiller on Fri Jul 15, 2011 4:14 pm

I know this is a latte friendly place, but I wanted to discuss loose leaf tea! I've been buying online from Adagio.com for years now and then recently tried out Art Of Tea. I think I might make the switch. Regardless - where does everyone buy their tea? What teas do you like?

I find tea and writing goes hand in hand with me. Usually I'll do a black tea in the morning, black in the afternoon after lunch (or oolong) and then green anytime after! (And of course some sort of herbal thing in the evening if I don't wanna be up all night.)
-Bobby
http://www.thebobbymiller.com

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Mr Bobby,
Welcome to the leaky old tub we call ScrivMary Celesteener.
As you will see if you do a search; much to the chagrin of my human, Vic-k, the topic of TEA DRINKING, has been discussed ad nauseam,(and indeed nausium), aboard this ship.
I hope you'll forgive the impertinence, but have taken the liberty of adding your almost inaugural post to this Tea Time thread.

Take care
Fluff
Sent from Pangur ban's Astral iPad

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BobbyMiller
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Sat Jul 16, 2011 3:25 am Post

Fluff,
I've deleted my original post. It's LIKE MY NEWBIE-NESS NEVER HAPPENED!

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AmberV
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Sat Jul 16, 2011 3:37 am Post

I would tentatively recommend Teavana. It looks like they acquired my old favourite, SpecialTeas. Some of the best tea I've ever had came from that distributor. So I don't know anything about Teavana, never tried them, so I can't vouch for them except to say that if their acquisition of SpecialTeas was to buy all of that great research and networking with the farmers SpecialTeas had---then they've probably got some good stuff.

I usually try to stop everything that I'm doing when I'm drinking tea. I make that a special time where the mind can be let to drift for a little while. Doing the (Westernised, no doubt) rituals of preparation are something I enjoy as well.
.:.
Ioa Petra'ka
“Whole sight, or all the rest is desolation.” —John Fowles

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LinnyP
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Sat Jul 16, 2011 11:55 am Post

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Last edited by LinnyP on Tue Sep 13, 2011 10:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

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kewms
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Sat Jul 16, 2011 6:21 pm Post

Meh. Teavana is okay, I guess, but I've never been that impressed with their selection or quality. I get a lot of mail order through Peet's.

Samovar is one of my favorite stops when I'm actually in San Francisco. My experience with their mail order is limited, but positive.

Katherine
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