Tea Snobbery

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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby Kizyr » Wed Dec 02, 2009 10:06 pm UTC

Rinsaikeru wrote:I'm accumulating loose leaf tea at an alarming rate--faster than I can consume it anyway. I don't really think there's a way to make it stop either. Fortunately the result is plenty of very tasty tea.

The solution is to invite friends over for tea. KF
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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby Rinsaikeru » Wed Dec 02, 2009 10:46 pm UTC

Yeah, I did that once. They brought me tea as a gift. :|
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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby 01000011 » Fri Dec 04, 2009 10:33 pm UTC

Sell it to people if you get too much.

Mix flavours - tell them it's your own blend :mrgreen:
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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby thicknavyrain » Fri Dec 04, 2009 10:57 pm UTC

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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby Tyr_oathkeeper » Sat Dec 05, 2009 6:13 am UTC

I like tea.

I know that there is a lot of kinds of tea that I have yet to explore, but what I've found so far to be good is Twinnings English breakfast tea, with 3 milk, 2 sugars. I also have tried offshoots like Irish Breakfast tea or other ones like it, but I can't remember which ones I likes. I really need a book to write it all down in or something.
I also like darjeeling, as well as a lemony tea that they have at the Huntsman research center (that I tried on my field trip there) but I can't remember what it was called.

I will also drink green tea when in restaurants, or sometimes at home.

I do find that some teas smell better than they taste, which isn't that bad really.

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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby ginadagny » Mon Dec 07, 2009 8:17 am UTC

I love tea! I used to work at a coffee shop that sold so many different kinds of tea. After sampling many kinds, I have my favorites:

Chai, Earl Grey, Jasmine, Matcha, Genmaicha, Iron Buddha, Strawberry and Chamomile + more I'm probably forgetting

I'll admit I am a bit of a snob when it comes to tea. I like mighty leaf teas and their little mesh teabags :3 Hate tazo teas though...

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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby Kizyr » Tue Dec 08, 2009 3:02 am UTC

01000011 wrote:Sell it to people if you get too much.

Mix flavours - tell them it's your own blend :mrgreen:

On that note, I have about 3-4 of my 'own' blends.

I'm just very uncreative at names. I call them "Kizyr's Chai #1", "Kizyr's Chai #2", "Crap I forgot how to make this one", and "What do you mean you don't have any fennel?". KF
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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby Delbin » Sat Dec 12, 2009 12:29 am UTC

I'm somewhere in between. I enjoy my store-brand orange pekoe with lots of sugar, but I also get loose leaf tea from specialty shops when I'm in the area.

I'm lucky enough to live 30 minutes from the Celesial Seasonings plant, so I have a big ol' pile from their wholesale shop. I particularly like the Banana Apple Chamomile, but it was out of production the last time I went there. I'm desperately hoping they bring it back. I'd recommend any of their mint varieties. I also picked up some agave nectar to try as a sweetener while I was at the shop. It's odd, but in a good way, and it's starting to grow in me. Anyone else use it?

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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby ntietz » Mon Dec 14, 2009 7:25 pm UTC

I particularly enjoy my Earl Grey, but I'm also partial to English Breakfast tea (both loose-leaf, Twinings). I don't think anything can really beat Hibiscus, though - what got me hooked on tea was going to Chinatown on a tour, and they gave us a sample of Hibiscus spice tea, so I bought some, and haven't gone back since.

Delbin wrote:It's odd, but in a good way, and it's starting to grow in me. Anyone else use it?

Definitely not starting now, that sounds kind of dangerous.

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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby Rinsaikeru » Tue Dec 15, 2009 6:20 am UTC

I've found I generally don't like floral teas. There are a few exceptions--but I also don't prefer floral scents. I like spices much more.

I really can't stand crysanthemum or jasmine tea---I can tolerate some other flower based teas and tisanes.
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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby levicc00123 » Sun Jan 03, 2010 1:14 pm UTC

Where's a good place to buy loose leaf tea online? the nearest tea shop is in Denver.
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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby Kizyr » Sun Jan 03, 2010 5:09 pm UTC

levicc00123 wrote:Where's a good place to buy loose leaf tea online? the nearest tea shop is in Denver.

I happen to like English Tea Store (http://www.englishteastore.com/). They have pretty good prices for the amount that they give, fast shipping, and a decent variety. KF
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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby Delbin » Mon Jan 04, 2010 12:02 pm UTC

levicc00123 wrote:Where's a good place to buy loose leaf tea online? the nearest tea shop is in Denver.


Roughly which direction are you from Denver? In Boulder there's the Dushanbe Tea House and another one on Pearl Street (I really like their green earl grey.) Apparently both have online ordering. At any rate, I did a search for 'tea house' in Google Maps and found places all over the state. Any of those near by?

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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby Dibley » Tue Jan 05, 2010 3:24 am UTC

I am most definitely a tea snob. I only ever brew loose leaf tea, except for a few odd herbals, though I'll drink bagged tea if someone offers it to me, or it's all that is available. I get most of my proper teas from Peet's and chinatown in San Francisco, and I make a wide variety of herbal teas, mostly blends plants and occasionally mushrooms that I harvest, mostly in the wild but sometimes from my garden. I like to gather Mugwort, Candy Cap mushrooms, Turkey Tail mushrooms, wild Pennyroyal, Yarrows, wild mints, garden mints, Catnip, Lemon Balm, Basil, Blackberry leaves, sometimes pine needles, and various wild fruits. I also like to add malt and chrysanthemum, and sometimes cardamom or sassafrass. As for proper tea, I like nearly everything, but am fond of Lapsang Souchong, Sencha, Gunpowder, Genmaicha, Masala Chais of various sorts, and some Chinese yellow teas I get in Chinatown.

PictureSarah wrote:I don't know where you live, but it grows ALL OVER the place here. Like, along the road and stuff. I've never actually dug up the roots and roasted and ground them, but I had a neighbor who used to, and she loved it and said it was quite tasty.

I've always been disappointed trying to dig my own chicory. Maybe I just haven't looked in the right places, but in my experience it likes hard gravely nasty ground next to roads, and I'm always inspired to dig it when the ground is dry, without a proper shovel. so it's really hard to get it out intact, and then clean and get the woody core of the root out, and I only got a little and it didn't roast right, and I got an unsatisfactory product. I also live in northern california, though a ways from you (I used to travel to school past Shasta City, and talked with you years ago about stopping along the way and saying hi, btw). But anyways, chicory may grow differently there, and may be more worthwhile.
podbaydoor wrote:How long does fresh ginger last? I bought a big hunk of it about two weeks ago, made some tea from it and enjoyed it, then totally forgot I had the ginger. It's been in a ziploc bag in the fridge the whole time, and I'm not sure whether that's good or bad...

Ginger is generally pretty long lasting. Mos fridges are moist enough that you're better off keeping it out, though it may taste refrigeratory if you do. It's really obvious when it's not good though, so if you can't tell it should be fine. Just trim off the old cut end, as that goes bad first.

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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby dubsola » Tue Jan 12, 2010 1:55 pm UTC

Ginger lasts for MONTHS! Lemon, ginger and honey tea is super when you have a cold.

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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby Bakemaster » Wed Jan 13, 2010 5:46 pm UTC

A good way to store ginger is to peel it, cut it into usable chunks and/or slices, put it in a jar and cover with sherry, vinegar or vodka. Keep it in the fridge. Vinegar works but imparts a flavor; sherry rinses off pretty well; vodka doesn't really change the flavor, and works even if you dilute it 1:1 with water.
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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby Zohar » Wed Feb 10, 2010 11:59 am UTC

I wonder about the technique of tea preparation. Specifically, does it really make a difference? The instructions on my normal commercial tea say that I should boil water that haven't been boiled before. Why's that? Is more limescale released into the water this way? Then it says I should just dip the teabag for 4-5 minutes before drinking. Is there a difference between doing that and just dipping the bag, stir with a spoon for 20-30 seconds and remove bag? If it's a sweetened tea, does it matter at one time I put in the sugar?
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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby Nath » Wed Feb 10, 2010 12:17 pm UTC

The logic behind not using previously boiled water is that boiling reduces the amount of oxygen in the water, and this makes the tea taste 'flat' (apparently because oxygen helps extract some of the aromatics). Does it really make a difference? Try it and see. If you can't tell the difference, it doesn't matter.

A 4-5 minute infusion will make stronger tea than a 20-30 second infusion with stirring, though the latter may make the dark color spread faster, making the tea look done sooner. Stirring will also prematurely lower the temperature of the water, and this is bad. Experiment with various infusion times to see what works for you. I go from as little as a minute for a Darjeeling to 4-5 minutes for a strong tea that takes milk. (The sweet spot seems to be 3-4 minutes, with just a small splash of milk.)

If you add sugar and/or milk, do so after the tea has brewed, to avoid lowering the temperature. I don't think it matters whether you add the sugar before or after milk.

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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby Zohar » Wed Feb 10, 2010 12:24 pm UTC

Thanks, I should just experiment, really. Though, today a friend is bringing me some Japanese tea which I will hopefully like (if it's similar enough to what I had there), and you don't add anything to Japanese tea, and the powder dissolves immediately in hot water.
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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby Bakemaster » Wed Feb 10, 2010 6:12 pm UTC

If you've taken Chemistry you probably know that water tends to become a better solvent as its temperature rises. In other words, it can dissolve a greater amount of whatever you're putting in. Oxygen, however, is an exception to this rule; colder water can hold a much greater amount of dissolved oxygen than warmer water. Theoretically, this does make a difference as Nath explained.

Some types of tea also like slightly-cooler-than-boiling water. Most notably, green tea leaves steeped in boiling water will tend to release a bitter flavor much like that of black tea leaves do when left in for too long. When preparing green tea (although I doubt it matters with matcha, which is the Japanese powdered form), boil the water, then remove it from the heat and let it sit for 15-60 seconds before pouring. How long you let it sit can depend on personal preference, and on the material of which your teapot is made; particularly heavy pots such as those made from cast iron will retain their heat much better and will need to cool for a longer period to achieve the same reduction in temperature.

Personally, I have found that simply waiting until the water is no longer bubbling usually keeps my green tea from becoming bitter. But, it also depends on the variety of green tea you buy. I don't know the rules and I am by no means a connoisseur of green tea, but experimentation has convinced me not to pour boiling water over my green tea if I want that really wonderful, delicate flavor that green tea can have. Another thing that makes green tea bitter quite easily is over-steeping, and so I usually give it three minutes, or no more than four. Again, depends on the type of tea and the heat of the water.
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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby Nath » Wed Feb 10, 2010 7:46 pm UTC

Bakemaster wrote:Oxygen, however, is an exception to this rule; colder water can hold a much greater amount of dissolved oxygen than warmer water. Theoretically, this does make a difference as Nath explained.

My impression is that the amount of oxygen doesn't depend on the temperature at the time of steeping, but on how long the water has been boiled for. The longer (in total) you boil it, the more oxygen goes bubbling off.

Bakemaster wrote:Personally, I have found that simply waiting until the water is no longer bubbling usually keeps my green tea from becoming bitter.

I used to do this on the rare occasions I brewed green tea. The last couple of times, though, I used a thermometer and waited till the temperature came within the recommended range. This involved a longer than expected wait, but actually gave me a better cup of tea.

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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby Bakemaster » Wed Feb 10, 2010 10:33 pm UTC

Was there a recommended temperature range on the tea that you purchased, or did you use a recommended range for green tea in general? I'm interested to try it.

As far as the oxygen content of the water goes, you won't see it "bubbling" off in the same manner as the water vapor created by boiling. If you've ever taken a cold, sealed bottle of water and left it out to warm up (or even a cold glass of water that's left undisturbed to warm), you'll see little bubbles forming on the inside surface of the bottle (or glass). That's the oxygen coming out of solution. It comes out slowly for two reasons: first, the temperature change is slow; second, the container is undisturbed. If you were to stir or shake the container, the oxygen would come more quickly out of solution; but still not at a speed where you could see it bubbling up like the vapor bubbles in boiling water.

Now, I'm not a chemist, so my understanding is not complete; but from my knowledge of how water behaves as a solvent, upon boiling the water it should very quickly lose all of the dissolved oxygen in excess of what water just below the boiling point is able to hold in solution, because the boiling action disturbs the water. I would be surprised if how long the water was boiling had any effect on how much oxygen was lost. If you then let the pot sit and cool, the decreased temperature of the water will theoretically allow it to hold a greater amount of oxygen in solution. However, if the water is undisturbed, it will not tend to dissolve much oxygen, as the only interface across which this dissolution can take place is at the surface of the water where it meets the air; and the surface is undisturbed. If you were to disturb the water, especially in a way that incorporates small bubbles of air throughout (as with an aerator, such as is attached to a kitchen faucet or an aquarium hose with the express purpose of assisting in the dissolution of oxygen), then the water would dissolve atmospheric oxygen much faster.

I have seen video of a Japanese tea ceremony wherein the water is poured from a significant height and somewhat vigorously from the hot kettle into another container (it might have been the teacup), which would logically increase the oxygen content of the water. Still, aeration should simply speed the dissolution, reducing the time necessary for the water to reach its new level of saturation (because of the change in temperature); I don't expect it would supersaturate the water with dissolved oxygen.

For reference, I'm getting this info from high school chemistry and, more recently, undergraduate-level aquatic biology. Dissolved oxygen as it relates to water temperature is very important in limnology and fisheries biology. A bit of searching suggests that between the 0 and 30 ºC, the saturation point of oxygen in water drops by approximately 50% (Nomogram for Dissolved Oxygen Saturation). Graphs such as this one suggest that at temperatures above 30 ºC, the decrease becomes more and more gradual, such that water which has cooled from just under 100 ºC to 95 ºC, for example, shouldn't have a greatly different saturation point.

Interestingly enough, the loss of dissolved oxygen is part of why lukewarm water is less palatable, and why non-carbonated beverages still get "flat" if they sit out in an open container. The aerator attachment on the end of your kitchen faucet is there to incorporate oxygen to your water, making it more palatable. Possibly more healthy as well? I haven't explored that aspect.
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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby Nath » Wed Feb 10, 2010 11:07 pm UTC

Interesting. But if the disturbance caused by boiling releases more dissolved oxygen, one would expect that more boiling -> more disturbance -> more oxygen released.

I got the brewing temperature recommendations from here, I think. I was brewing a cheap bagged sencha.

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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby Bakemaster » Wed Feb 10, 2010 11:56 pm UTC

The main thing that disturbing the solution does is to facilitate the release of oxygen above the level that the water is able to normally hold at that temperature. This happens very quickly, and then it's over; the water is no longer holding more dissolved oxygen then it should be able to hold, at its new temperature. Compare this video, where the rapid release of a dissolved salt is initiated by the addition of a "seed" crystal to the solution (rather than by disturbing the solution), which takes place relatively slowly in comparison: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HnSg2cl09PI (Very cool!)
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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby mercutio_stencil » Fri Feb 12, 2010 6:37 pm UTC

I have a nice cake of Pu-Erh that 's going on ten years old. I'm waiting for a sufficiently momentous occasion to crack it open. It's smelling more and more wonderful by the day.

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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby minesweeper » Sat Feb 13, 2010 1:40 pm UTC

My standard gotos tend to be bog standard builder's tea in a mug or Earl Grey, although I'll happily hunt down a good green or something oriental. I usually insist on lemon with EG which is a little snobby, I suppose.
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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby Kizyr » Sun Feb 14, 2010 6:06 am UTC

The infusion times that're usually listed on the side of boxes I've found to generally be poor recommendations (and usually result in extremely weak tea). You're much better off experimenting on your own. KF
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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby Enderb » Sun Feb 14, 2010 9:44 pm UTC

I've taken to making sun-tea in my dorm window via two bags in an Aquafina bottle filled with warm tap water (remember, minerals can help to add flavor!)

As for additives, for me it depends on the tea. I make a mental note to categorize teas into two columns. "Western teas" (earl grey, breakfast teas, etc) can get a dash of milk and honey (more flavorful than sugar and less stirring! [splurge for the good stuff people: google "local farmer's market"]), and possibly lemon, all depending on what I feel like at that particular moment in time. I don't always like additives, it really just depends on my mood, same way I drink coffee.

Eastern Teas, however, (green, green with rice, lapsang [sp?]) are strictly naked, as per traditional consumption (even in a traditional Japanese mug if I'm at home).

I'm a real snob as you can probably tell, I even go so far as to taste it the same way you taste a fine wine or scotch: sip, let air in through the lips, let coat the tongue. Even bagged teas from the supermarket have a lot of subtle flavor to offer if your willing to look for it.

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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby Bakemaster » Mon Feb 15, 2010 12:22 am UTC

Have fun telling everyone how refined your tastes are while you fill your body with tea made in reused plastic bottles that you left sitting in the sun. Hope the great taste imparted by the "minerals" in your tap water—lead, chlorine, fluoride, arsenic, asbestos, etc.—is worth the reproductive toxicity. Oh, wait.
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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby Enderb » Mon Feb 15, 2010 1:38 am UTC

Bakemaster wrote:Have fun telling everyone how refined your tastes are while you fill your body with tea made in reused plastic bottles that you left sitting in the sun. Hope the great taste imparted by the "minerals" in your tap water—lead, chlorine, fluoride, arsenic, asbestos, etc.—is worth the reproductive toxicity. Oh, wait.


Hey man when I'm living in the dorm got limited resources, and the bottle's are completely clean, no reason to be a jerk. And yeah the water you use imparts flavor on the tea.

Again, and I can't stress this enough, don't attack someone who didn't do anything except innocently post relevantly in a thread, no matter how snobbish you think the poster is you narcissistic, self righteous, small person.

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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby Nath » Mon Feb 15, 2010 1:52 am UTC

While I have nothing against cheap tea and tap water, the Aquafina bottles are probably not a good idea. Get a cheap glass, or at least a bottle that is supposed to be reused. Don't want stuff leaching into your tea.

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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby PictureSarah » Mon Feb 15, 2010 7:23 pm UTC

Indeed, while I agree that Bakemaster was too harsh, and depending on where you are, there's nothing wrong with tap water, drinking out of plastic bottles left in the sun is not supposed to be great for your health.
http://www.popsci.com/environment/artic ... er-bottles
The plastic leaches BPA into your beverage when it's left in the sun or the heat, or you fill the bottle with something warm.

I got a big glass jar at the drugstore designed for making sun tea in for only 3 or 4 dollars. Probably worth it, for better taste and lack of toxicity.
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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby Bakemaster » Mon Feb 15, 2010 9:03 pm UTC

Enderb wrote:Hey man when I'm living in the dorm got limited resources, and the bottle's are completely clean, no reason to be a jerk. And yeah the water you use imparts flavor on the tea.

Again, and I can't stress this enough, don't attack someone who didn't do anything except innocently post relevantly in a thread, no matter how snobbish you think the poster is you narcissistic, self righteous, small person.

Do I really need to point out that you're the one who self-identified as snobbish? Your post was pretentious, patronizing and ignorant; cry me a river if I don't worship you in response. Have you even seen your local water quality report for 2008? Protip: it's not mineral water. The flavor of tap water near areas of significant urban or agricultural development comes from contaminants and disinfectants. Tough luck if you "don't always like additives", I suppose.

Yes, you truly are a "real snob" in the classic sense—which is to say, you pretend to some high, refined sense of taste you do not actually possess. Me, I'm an asshole. Snob, asshole, asshole, snob. If you want to avoid the scorn of assholes, maybe consider a little humility, rather than this rarefied wisdom act where you dispense knowledge of the mystical farmer's market to the unwashed masses.

(Although to be fair, I'm going to be an asshole to anyone at university who can't use apostrophes correctly.)
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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby PictureSarah » Mon Feb 15, 2010 9:17 pm UTC

Stop being an asshole. It makes you un-sexy.
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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby SecondTalon » Mon Feb 15, 2010 11:29 pm UTC

What Mrs. Bakerstein said.
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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby ntietz » Thu Mar 04, 2010 5:17 pm UTC

So, I recently started drinking some darjeeling tea. It is quite wonderful stuff. I ruined the first cup of it I made by steeping too long, but when I got the steeping time correct, it was great.

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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby Nath » Thu Mar 04, 2010 11:03 pm UTC

Yeah, I thought I didn't like Darjeeling the first few times I tried it, because I brewed it like I brew Assam. It's pretty great with a shorter steeping time, though.

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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby Lidwiz » Fri Mar 05, 2010 5:41 am UTC

Usually I drink Irish Breakfast tea, brewed for 4 minutes, no milk or sugar.

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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby podbaydoor » Fri Mar 05, 2010 8:42 pm UTC

Physics question: there's nothing more than I dislike than a cup or mug of cold tea.* The problem is, I tend to sip tea while I'm doing homework or other things, so it gets consumed slowly...and by the end, the tea's all cold. And I can't just keep on microwaving it indefinitely. What do you guys do to keep your tea warm?

*Disregarding iced tea or other variants
tenet |ˈtenit|
noun
a principle or belief, esp. one of the main principles of a religion or philosophy : the tenets of classical liberalism.
tenant |ˈtenənt|
noun
a person who occupies land or property rented from a landlord.

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Rinsaikeru
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Re: Tea Snobbery

Postby Rinsaikeru » Fri Mar 05, 2010 9:08 pm UTC

Option the first: Get a teapot and tea cozy. Pour out a small amout at once into your teacup. Tea cozies keep tea hot forever.*

Option the second: Get a thermal travel tea mug.


*Where forever means...a while.
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