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Fat Guy

I need to try to care more about tea

68 posts in this topic

I love tea forte's tea! The bags are very nice. I have the orange dulce from Mighty leaf and I do love how they have made their bags, the tea inside the bags look good as well.

Your tea closet looks like mine! :)


"I eat fat back, because bacon is too lean"

-overheard from a 105 year old man

"The only time to eat diet food is while waiting for the steak to cook" - Julia Child

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Should I start worrying that I have gone a bit too far? :unsure:

Naah.

This is just the work collection

5119717730_5d655b03cb.jpg

Tea at work ii by debunix, on Flickr

Haven't got a current photo of the home tea cabinet...

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No pic, but I have two three-drawer storage chests full of black, Oolong and green teas; a dresser top covered with various size tin Chinese tea canisters of various teas; a few Chinese porcelain tea jars and three Yixing tea cannisters. Plus three cardboard boxes full of teas. I have not tried counting it, but I am sure it's over 100 different teas, probably closer to 150, mostly sample size to 2 ounces each.

But this can not possibly be of help to Steven or anyone else wanting to make friends with tea. Not everyone needs to be possessed to enjoy a cup of tea. Keep it simple and start small, go to tastings or a class or a good tea shop and ask for guidance. Learn to brew to your tastes.

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I did start small, mostly 2 oz/50g or less of each tea at a time, and sometimes up to 4 oz/100g of teas I especially liked, participated in lots of tastings, and still rarely buy larger quantities except for the occasional full-sized cake of puerh, which are usually 300-400g apiece. I don't have very many of those--still well under a dozen. I do have a lot of teas around, because through reading, tasting, and brewing lots of teas, I've discovered that I like so many of them.

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WC - Sure, I understand. I was addressing that comment in light of the fact that most members of the Society who drink tea (or would like to) drink one cup of tea (usually black) once a day - at most three times a day. Most will never get as tea geeky as you and I. So I really don't want to put off people who would get a good deal more tea pleasure by finding one, two or three quality teas that they can brew easily and quickly in a cup or teapot. Some few may want to explore further, but most will not. And that's fine.

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I have a whole drawer full of tea, plus a couple boxes. they make nice decorative items I guess, as I rarely ever make a cup :laugh:

I'm always inspired in stores with a good selection, oh, this one's gonna be nice late at night just before bed, that one after lunch, but then I either have coffee (or a beer at night) instead. Mainly since the process of making tea just bothers me somehow. Coffee? Throw ground (and yes, I buy it ground, Pete's Major Dickason Blend or what it's called) in the filter, pour in water, tun button, come back in 5. Tea? Get out electric kettle, fill, turn on, get cup, get tea bag (or leaves), fill with hot water, wait for specific amount of time, remove bag or strain. Just seems like sooo much more work :cool: )

And oddly, many teas give me a sour stomach. I actually grew up on tea for breakfast, but somehow it bothers me nowadays. As a teen I was big time into flavored teas (caramel vanilla anyone?), we had a tea store, everybody had their 'handmade' tea set and only made it in "the sock", not a tea egg or heaven forbid tea bags. That's the early 80es in Germany for ya ;-)

Still, that hot steaming cup late at night does sound nice..... One of these days I'll install an instant hot water dispenser in the kitchen. (and then probably end up making "soup" with Knorr cubes late at night instead of tea, but hey, I tried!)

ETA: W. Crank, just wondering, where do you keep your files? :raz:


Edited by OliverB (log)

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I counted!

I have 94 different teas - although I do have multiples of some "varieties" they are from different "Estates" and have differing qualities.

I have several Assams: Dejoo 1st Flush FTGFOP, Toganagoan Estate 2nd Flush, Mangaiam BBOP, Borengajuli 2nd Flush FTGFOP, Digulturrung Estate TGFOP-1, Harmutty Estate "Golden Paw" 1st Flush SFTGFOP.

And some others that just are identified as "Assam" - all loose teas.

I really, really like Assams! :wub:

found another: Hazelbank FTGFOP1


Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

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I happen to have 'inherited' an office with one very large and one medium file cabinet in addition to the desk drawers. So at the tea overflowed the middle desk drawers, I had an inspiration about a better use for that desk file drawer. No regrets.

I keep a lot of tea on hand but also go through it pretty quickly there because I prepare some several times a day and share quite a lot of it with colleagues who mostly use tea bags for their own occasional brewing, but are very happy to enjoy my loose teas too. Most seem quite content with the occasional cuppa of the good stuff, with no burning desire to care more about it, and that's ok with me. Sharing means I do get to enjoy more variety of tea than I could otherwise if buying strictly for me.

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WC, you never know when it is going to "click" and become a habit. Or, an obsession.

For years one of my long-time friends worked within walking distance of Chado, often walking right past it.

After listening to me harp about tea and serving him and his partner tea whenever they visited, he finally wandered in to the tea shop and almost instantly became a fanatic. A few years later his partner joined in.

They have been to India, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Japan and China, visiting the tea growing regions and are planning a trip to Africa late this fall.

They bought Bruce Richardson's Great Tea Rooms of America and are checking off each one on their "life list" as they visit them. They have also spent a total of three months in the UK going through the author's book Great Tea Rooms of Britain.


Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

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If a tea tastes good to you, then you should enjoy it as you wish and to heck with anyone else.

I like some teas with milk and sugar, some with plain sugar or honey, some with lemon and some plain.

When someone begins telling me how I am supposed to drink my tea, I am on the way out the door.

And I like flavored teas, at which some tea fanciers turn their noses up.

If I want to drink my tea out of an old tin cup, that's my choice.

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I've recently started trying to learn more about tea on a recent trip I picked up a Wuyi Oolong - Heritage Aigiao and a Pu-erh - Grand Shou 1997. Along with those I picked up an inexpensive gawain and have been doing some experimentation and tastings, much like I would with coffee. I take notes, pay more attention and am enjoying the experience while learning.

I did grow up in a tea drinking family, the tea was a very different experience in terms of flavor and treatment. This has encouraged me to start learning more about teas as I never really noticed how different they are and complex they can be. That said, does anyone have a good suggestion for a few interesting 'daily drinkers' which aren't too expensive? The two I got above weren't cheap, but I was on a trip and I got a couple ounces of each as souvenirs. Also, I'm curious aside from the obvious taste what are indicators of high vs low quality tea? Any reading suggestions for someone newly interested in this world?


Andrew Vaserfirer aka avaserfi

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Also, I'm curious aside from the obvious taste what are indicators of high vs low quality tea? Any reading suggestions for someone newly interested in this world?

Sounds like you visited Red Blossom in SF?

Like with other beverages, I think connoisseurs may value different things than casual drinkers, who might value lack of bitterness or astringency, and presence of sweetness or certain kinds of tastes. Some of the things that many tea drinkers I know value (I don't advocate a really clinical way of evaluating tea -- I don't think you need to take notes and look for all of these exact characteristics; they're just things to look out for):

  • Texture or thickness - people sometimes talk about the "tea base". A tea might need time for a roast to calm down, or, in the case of pu'er and other post-fermented teas, might need time to mellow out or recover from very humid storage. But many people will say that the tea base is something you can't easily "fake". However, being able to tell when a tea is thick, whether from the texture in your mouth or from the appearance of the brewed tea, is not always easy.
  • Aftertaste - For oolongs, especially, the aftertaste is very important.
  • Aroma - Again, this is especially important with oolongs, to the point where some people use special aroma cups. While I don't personally usually do this, you can enjoy the smell in the empty tasting cup, under the gaiwan lid, as well as the smell from the brewed tea.
  • Feeling in the mouth / throat - the way the tea makes your mouth and throat feel.
  • Visual appearance of the tea - while a good tea isn't bad simply because it's cloudy, most tea should have a clear appearance when brewed. The color will obviously depend on the processing of the tea.
  • Some people are also very interested in the way drinking a tea makes them feel. This can get a little more esoteric, but I do think it's important. A good tea will often make you feel relaxed and comfortable, whereas another tea might make you feel more anxious or agitated. Call me a wacko, but I don't think it's as simple as the amount of caffeine.

As far as some external resources, two tea friends of mine have some sites which I think allude to some of the subjects above:

http://marshaln.com/

http://myteastories.com/

You can also check out http://teachat.com/ - it's a forum owned by a tea vendor, but they take a pretty hands-off approach, and many serious tea folks do hang out there, and you should be able to get some good tea / vendor recommendations.

Also, make sure to use good water. Water is "the mother of tea", and some teas may work better with one water than another. Mountain spring water with some mineral content, but not too much, is what most tea lovers I know prefer. Filtered tap water may also work well, depending on where you live and what type of filtration system (reverse-osmosis will take basically everything out, so it's not ideal). And pre-heat your brewing and drinking vessels.

There are some good "daily drinkers" out there, if you just want something that tastes pretty good and isn't overly astringent or bitter. But, if you think about it, even higher priced teas are a pretty good value - depending on your brewing style you can make quite a bit of tea with a fairly small amount of tea leaf.


Edited by Will (log)

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One of the many wonderful things about tea is that you can enjoy it with a pretty basic, straightforward approach and at an increasingly subtle and complex level if you wish. Will offers some helpful ideas above. There is also a great deal of information here in the eG Coffee & Tea Forum. There are topics on all the issues that Will mentions and many more, including those on all the major teas and tea growing regions of the world. Just scroll down the topics and explore whatever strikes your fancy.

You may also find some books helpful and my usual suggestion for someone wanting to understand more about teas of all sorts is "The Story of Tea: A Cultural History and Drinking Guide"by Mary Lou Heiss and Robert J. Heiss.

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Also, I'm curious aside from the obvious taste what are indicators of high vs low quality tea? Any reading suggestions for someone newly interested in this world?

Sounds like you visited Red Blossom in SF?

Like with other beverages, I think connoisseurs may value different things than casual drinkers, who might value lack of bitterness or astringency, and presence of sweetness or certain kinds of tastes. Some of the things that many tea drinkers I know value (I don't advocate a really clinical way of evaluating tea -- I don't think you need to take notes and look for all of these exact characteristics; they're just things to look out for):

  • Texture or thickness - people sometimes talk about the "tea base". A tea might need time for a roast to calm down, or, in the case of pu'er and other post-fermented teas, might need time to mellow out or recover from very humid storage. But many people will say that the tea base is something you can't easily "fake". However, being able to tell when a tea is thick, whether from the texture in your mouth or from the appearance of the brewed tea, is not always easy.
  • Aftertaste - For oolongs, especially, the aftertaste is very important.
  • Aroma - Again, this is especially important with oolongs, to the point where some people use special aroma cups. While I don't personally usually do this, you can enjoy the smell in the empty tasting cup, under the gaiwan lid, as well as the smell from the brewed tea.
  • Feeling in the mouth / throat - the way the tea makes your mouth and throat feel.
  • Visual appearance of the tea - while a good tea isn't bad simply because it's cloudy, most tea should have a clear appearance when brewed. The color will obviously depend on the processing of the tea.
  • Some people are also very interested in the way drinking a tea makes them feel. This can get a little more esoteric, but I do think it's important. A good tea will often make you feel relaxed and comfortable, whereas another tea might make you feel more anxious or agitated. Call me a wacko, but I don't think it's as simple as the amount of caffeine.

As far as some external resources, two tea friends of mine have some sites which I think allude to some of the subjects above:

http://marshaln.com/

http://myteastories.com/

You can also check out http://teachat.com/ - it's a forum owned by a tea vendor, but they take a pretty hands-off approach, and many serious tea folks do hang out there, and you should be able to get some good tea / vendor recommendations.

Also, make sure to use good water. Water is "the mother of tea", and some teas may work better with one water than another. Mountain spring water with some mineral content, but not too much, is what most tea lovers I know prefer. Filtered tap water may also work well, depending on where you live and what type of filtration system (reverse-osmosis will take basically everything out, so it's not ideal). And pre-heat your brewing and drinking vessels.

There are some good "daily drinkers" out there, if you just want something that tastes pretty good and isn't overly astringent or bitter. But, if you think about it, even higher priced teas are a pretty good value - depending on your brewing style you can make quite a bit of tea with a fairly small amount of tea leaf.

It was Red Blossom. I don't always take notes, but I have noticed I tend to learn more about tea (or other food/beverage) styles and brewing habits/results by taking notes. If I did it constantly the practice would get old, but occasionally I use it to learn about the food or beverage I have. Also, it can be interesting to use as a tool to track changes in my palette or the food/beverage being consumed.

One of the many wonderful things about tea is that you can enjoy it with a pretty basic, straightforward approach and at an increasingly subtle and complex level if you wish. Will offers some helpful ideas above. There is also a great deal of information here in the eG Coffee & Tea Forum. There are topics on all the issues that Will mentions and many more, including those on all the major teas and tea growing regions of the world. Just scroll down the topics and explore whatever strikes your fancy.

You may also find some books helpful and my usual suggestion for someone wanting to understand more about teas of all sorts is "The Story of Tea: A Cultural History and Drinking Guide"by Mary Lou Heiss and Robert J. Heiss.

Thanks for the info. I have some reading to do.


Andrew Vaserfirer aka avaserfi

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avaserfirer@egstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

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I don't always take notes, but I have noticed I tend to learn more about tea (or other food/beverage) styles and brewing habits/results by taking notes. If I did it constantly the practice would get old, but occasionally I use it to learn about the food or beverage I have. Also, it can be interesting to use as a tool to track changes in my palette or the food/beverage being consumed.

I do often take notes when I'm drinking alone, especially when I'm trying unfamiliar teas. It can distract from the experience, but I do find them really helpful to refer back to later on.

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One resource I find handy for keeping track of my tea notes is steepster.com. I don't use most features of the site much, but do keep my tasting notes there in one place. I copy/paste them in bulk to my own web site from time to time, but find their format handy for keeping up.

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What can I do to claw my way toward tea respectability?

I have very little to add at this point, but by the far the biggest tip I can give for black tea is use boiling water. Really, truly boiling, like the kettle whistles and rages, bring your cup or teapot over to the kettle and pour while it's still on the heat. I have yet to find a commercial establishment in the US do this.

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