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tayker

Tea

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One thing I liked about The Tinderbox chain in California was I can pick and mix my own pipe tobacky, when I used to smoke a pipe.

 

Now I'm extending that logic to brewing my own tea. I've seen the wire mesh baubles and the locket-ish spoons that hold leaves. Is there any sites worth frequenting for learning about herbs, tea making, etc?

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I'm sure there are some sites that sell some dandy tea-porn. I've seen some stuff around ebay every now and then. There's a very nice store here in town that has some of the best teas I've ever had, looseleaf and by the ounce.

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HA! Thanks.

 

The question is can they handle me. :twitchsmile:

 

Edit:

I hope tealeoni.com won't force me to duchovni.com because I don't have an addiction.

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After I did my research, I tried a few different places, but www.teavenue.com has been the best so far. Tons of sample varieties, preparation instructions clearly stated on package, very fresh and potent qaulity, and reasonable shipping. They only have loose leaf tea, which means less harmful caffeine (though a naturally occuring compound neutralizes it to some degree), better flavour, and a higher level of antioxidants are retained. Choosing an organic selection, which makes-up the majority of their stock, will accentuate these qualities.

 

I usually prefer organic white tea, though part of that reason is because I strictly limit the amount of caffeine I consume, white being the least potent.

 

The Organic Jasmine Pearls Green Tea is also AMAZING. It's a few bucks more than the others, but it is well worth it. I don't think I've ever finished a glass of tea so quickly in my life! :thumbup:

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Sorry folks...my wife and I have too many hobbies. Been neglecting my Wormwood Society forum crawling :dry:

 

But yes...Tea! A wonderful obsession to have.

 

It sounds like you enjoy the personalization of blending pipe tobacco, but really good tea is rarely blended. My favorite that we do actually make at home is Chai: Golden tip assam, cardamom pods, whole cloves, allspice, and rose petals. Brew in a water and milk blend and sweeten with honey. Yum.

 

There are so many ways to prepare very good tea...kinda depends what you're going for. Once you really get into it and start tasting the good stuff from China or Taiwan (that's not to say there isn't great tea elsewhere), I definitely think that preparing it in a gaiwan or Yixing clay pot is the way to go. The pots do eventually develop flavor characteristics of the tea you're brewing, though, so it's a good idea to have a few pots for different types of tea. For everything else though...I've found that a French coffee press is the absolute best tool. Easy to clean, and the leaves have a chance to open up.

 

Also might want to seek out a nice chinese or Taiwanese tea shop. Most have dozens of varieties of excellent teas lining the walls, so you might be able to find something that matches your tastes. But if you like pipes, I'm willing to bet that you'll love Lapsang Souchong, Gunpowder, and/or Pu-erh (aged, pressed tea cakes). I know Gwydion loved the latter. Great stuff, bad for your budget :(

 

At home, we usually drink our good tea "gongfu" style. Here's a decent video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=--jBK3QoMn8

 

Very basic steps:

  1. Put some tea in your pot or gaiwan
  2. Pour hot water over the leaves and quickly pour off the water into the pitcher (this is to rinse the leaves)
  3. Pour the "rinse water" to the cups to warm them up, then discard the water
  4. Brew the tea to your personal preference. Most teas don't need more than 30 seconds, honestly, especially the jasmine pearls mentioned above. It's great to have the taller cups in the video above, too. They're specifically for smelling the tea, and you drink out of the shallow ones after flipping it.
  5. Re-brew the leaves multiple times. Really good oolong from Li Shan or Ali Shan can be brewed up to 10-12 times, and the flavor keeps evolving.

mdtea.jpg

(me making Ali Shan Oolong the other night)

 

As for blending your own herbal teas, they aren't really tea, but they can still be very tasty. Here's a decent list of ingredients that you might use along with some descriptions:

 

http://www.boulderteahouse.com/blending.html

 

And here's a great place to buy them:

 

http://www.mountainroseherbs.com/

 

Experiment and have fun! My wife actually has a bit of a cold right now, so I made her a nice blend of chamomile, lavender, a lemon wedge, and a spoon of local honey. Wonderfully soothing for sore throats, and delicious to boot.

 

I could write a book, but for the sake of brevity, I'm going to stop myself here.

 

Maybe I should bring my tea setup to the event on the 12th?

Edited by -MD-

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Thanks for all of the information, too much is never enough for me. :)

 

I'm trying to piecemeal a tea setup and I'm having problems looking for the drip trays. Drip and water trays (pan cha, or whatever they're called) that I find aren't what I want, they look like they're either a part of some industrial contraption, some coffee related thing, or some martial art skill. I've seen some ornate Asian themed ones that I've liked, and I guess, thinking about it now, maybe I should have asked those people where they acquired their trays too. I do recall some of them said they found theirs at antique shops.

 

I'm putting together a coffee/tea table, and I found some tables I like. I'm just one of those people that get stuck on the minutiae on stuff until they understand the big picture before they move forward on buying stuff.

 

Edit:

Did a forum search on teachat and found tray information I needed.

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I'm guessing tea is not as much an American thing as it is here in Canada (or other British Commonwealth countries and Asia). Is that so? Do most Americans generally not go for it?

 

My preference in tea is organic jasmine. I drink quarts of it when we go out for dim-sum.

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I usually order my teas from http://www.therepublicoftea.com

 

Do most Americans generally not go for it?

 

Some of us certainly do. :thumbup: They sell alot of crappy bottled tea here though that I can't in all good conscience call tea... basically H2O, HFCS-55 and flavoring. Sigh. There's this new thing they do where they sell things to appeal to the health-conscious people using the word "tea" but very little of the actual plant is in the drink...

 

...gotta brew yer own, I say.

 

peace_smiley.gif - thetripscaptain -

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I went here several months ago with my family, and it was quite nice. We tried three teas, and the most impressive was a pomegranate black tea. I bought a large packet of that and have been enjoying it since, but it's nearly empty.

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I love a good cup of tea. I used to get my herbs from a local herb store but alas they moved, as have I, so currently my only options are commercially produced teabags or coffee shops. I stay away from bottled teas because of high fructose corn syrup. My tea ball is collecting dust. *sigh* I would really like to start an herb garden. I rarely order anything but tea from a local coffee shop unless I visit a barista. I abhor the big chain, though they are pretty damn decent to their employees which counts for a lot these days. We have one every couple of blocks in Denver. The average mark up for a cup of crap from starbucks is something like 900%. If they can sell that then I should feesibly be able to start an absinthe bar. ;)

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Ah.. the world of tea. The Gong Fu Tea looks very appealing. I would love to drink tea like that.

 

Must save up my money for a Gong Fu set... right after money for mead-making and the Vikingship.

 

I'm guessing tea is not as much an American thing as it is here in Canada (or other British Commonwealth countries and Asia). Is that so? Do most Americans generally not go for it?

 

During the Revolutionary War, the British had a very high tea tax (part of the reason for the Boston Tea Party...dumping all the tea in the water). So it became patriotic to refuse to buy tea as a way of refusing to pay the British taxes. Instead people began drinking coffee, which became the national drink of choice.

 

Coffee is still way more popular than tea today; although personally, I hate coffee. I prefer Southern tea, which is "Sweet Tea" where you add a load of sugar to it. Helps it taste better. Mostly only two kinds of tea: sweet and unsweet. But I also like Green Tea. I'd like to try out some other kinds of tea as well.

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Coffee is still way more popular than tea today

In the US.

 

Tea is the most consumed beverage in the world.

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Coffee is still way more popular than tea today

In the US.

 

Tea is the most consumed beverage in the world.

 

 

Right next to water. ;)

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I’m taking my annual fall-break from coffee and heading back to tea. Just picked up a Raspberry Riot Lemon Mate Tea from the local Teavana at the mall here. I tell ya what – it’s pretty darn good. And much like absinthe preparation, I like the ritual around preparing lose leaf tea. I find it calming.

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My girl and I are big fans of The Tao of Tea, and their 500 Mile Chai is our go-to tea for evenings when you want to relax with some stimulating conversation. High points go to their First Flush Darjeeling, as well.

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