Tea drinkers unite

I'm trying to completely cut out diet pop, but havent yet because they're my only source of caffeine. I like Irish and English breakfast teas, but not really tried much else beyond that.

So what tea would folks recommend as a replacement?

Thanks for the heads up, folks. There shall be a tea strainer in my kitchen soon.

I had a wee Google for "tea leaves in Belfast" to see what came up locally. Suki Tea was the first hit. It appears that geography has blessed me, as this is practically right on my doorstep.

Here is a quick yet informative write-up on everything Suki Tea. This gives a shade more detail on their recent award wins.

I will pay them a visit at St. George's Market this Friday, before work. I see they offer a tea set for £29.95 which I may look to pick up.

I'm not too sure what my favorite teas would be, as I've simply been trying different flavors of bagged tea from the supermarket and been enjoying most of them. A few of my favored patrons (regular guests at the hotel where I work) recommended that I try loose tea for a more rewarding flavor, so that's what I am doing.

MilkmanDanimal wrote:

Avoid the tea balls; due to how they compress the tea together, the tea on the outside of the ball effectively gets far more access to water than the interior of the ball. A strainer steeps evenly, go for that.

Yeah, considering how much tea I start with before water (not much), and how much is in there after straining (a ton), it's pretty clear tea leaves need a ton of room to expand.

Personally, I just use something like this and hold it over my mug when I'm pouring. The teapot itself has a coarse strain, so the little hand-held guy catches all the tiny chaff bits that make it through anyway. I never have any trouble with errant leaf bits making it into the final tea.

US Residents who are not opposed to bagged tea -- Twinings is giving away free samples in return for adding you to their mailing list. Judging from the URL, this appears to be a Good Housekeeping promotion; I found the link elsewhere on the web.

http://pantry.twiningsusa.com/?utm_s...

Tea bits aren't really errant to me. I subscribe to the Japanese believe that a stem floating so it sticks out is good luck, and then all of that is a feature.

ranalin wrote:

I'm trying to completely cut out diet pop, but havent yet because they're my only source of caffeine. I like Irish and English breakfast teas, but not really tried much else beyond that.

So what tea would folks recommend as a replacement?

Don't know about caffeine content but some of my favorites are:
Golden Monkey Black Tea
Golden Assam
Yunnan Golden Pu-erh Tea

The Golden Monkey and Golden Pu-erh are from Teavana, the Golden Assam I have currently is from a local store but, I'm sure I've gotten it from Teavana in the past (although they don't currently have any). I'm sensing a Golden trend in my favorites.

Teavana is the only tea store I've used in the past, so my knowledge is heavily weighted to them. Now that I live close to a local place, I'm switching to their tea as I restock. I have recently switched from sugar, to locally sourced honey for sweetener too and, I've cut way back on the sweetness in my daily cups.

When shopping for tea online does it bug anyone else like it bugs me, when they don't show a brewed cup? I like dark teas in general and tend to buy the ones that look nice and dark in product shots. I have rarely been disappointed by this method.

I absolutely love the Perfect Teamaker. The holes are super-tiny; I've never had a single speck in my tea. The only downside is that it's a bit hard to clean.

I posted this at some point in this thread I'm sure, but after using lots of different infusion methods, including the "steep then rest on top to drain" style, and by far my favorite method is with the Finum tea baskets.

LiquidMantis wrote:

I posted this at some point in this thread I'm sure, but after using lots of different infusion methods, including the "steep then rest on top to drain" style, and by far my favorite method is with the Finum tea baskets.

I love those. I have 2.

ranalin wrote:

I'm trying to completely cut out diet pop, but havent yet because they're my only source of caffeine. I like Irish and English breakfast teas, but not really tried much else beyond that.

So what tea would folks recommend as a replacement?

Irish and English are both blacks which are going to give you the most caffeine. Caffeine content in order from strongest to weakest goes: black > Oolong > green > white and then herbal/rooibos which are caffeine free.

The nerdiness:

Diet Coke gives about 45mg of caffeine in a 12oz. can.
Regular Coke gives about 35mg per 12oz.

Regular brewed coffee gives 100-200mg per 8oz. cup. (all depends on the roast, etc.)
Starbucks staple coffee, Pike's Place gives about 260mg per 12oz.
Espresso is about 75mg per 1oz. shot

Red Bull is about 80mg per 8.4oz. can

Black tea gives about 45mg per 8oz. cup
Oolong = about 37mg
Green = about 25mg
White = about 15mg

Black tea will give you about 4.5mg of caffeine per fluid oz whereas your diet pop gives about 3.8mg per fluid oz.

The caffeine values will range depending on how long you steep, temperature of water, type of leaf used but these are fair approximations. Just remember that a cup of black tea is a sufficient replacement for a can of pop. And much much less sugar, too. Just stick to the generally accepted temperature/steeping times and the caffeine content listed above will be fairly accurate.

We're getting into Alton Brown territory here but I remember coming across an academic paper a few years ago which went into caffeine absorption rates for various beverages. Something about how caffeine metabolizes differently in our bodies from drink to drink. Coffee was absorbed the quickest, producing a virtually immediate cardiovascular response. Tea was on the opposite side of the spectrum, it's caffeine being metabolized over a longer period of time.

So while tea actually has more caffeine than most sodas or pops (nomenclature depending where you are in the world), it feels like soda has more because your body absorbs it far quicker than it does with tea. Keep that in mind for your initial migration to tea.

/slowclap

You, sir, are providing a service.

Something I've read is that if you're worried about caffeine, the first 60 seconds or so of steeping is where the caffeine is expressed, so if you want decaf, you can replace the water at that point and resteep. I do think that flavor would be affected for many teas, however. Still, we're at lower caffeine levels than coffee to begin with.

FSeven wrote:

We're getting into Alton Brown territory here but I remember coming across an academic paper a few years ago which went into caffeine absorption rates for various beverages. Something about how caffeine metabolizes differently in our bodies from drink to drink. Coffee was absorbed the quickest, producing a virtually immediate cardiovascular response. Tea was on the opposite side of the spectrum, it's caffeine being metabolized over a longer period of time.

I remember reading this as well. That's two of us, so it must be true!

Anyway, IIRC the paper pitched it as being a healthier, less problem-inducing caffeine release as opposed to the gut punch that coffee and soda are.

Thanks Fseven!

In other news, I just put in my "winter order" with adagio, during which time I'll probably drink 64oz of hot tea a day. A pound each of this and this, the latter of which is rapidly becoming one of my favorite cold-weather teas -- especially for the price. Oh, also 3 oz of this stuff.

What can I say? I like the oolongs and white teas in the summer. The winter is for the heavy black stuff.

Minarchist wrote:

In other news, I just put in my "winter order" with adagio, during which time I'll probably drink 64oz of hot tea a day. A pound each of this and this, the latter of which is rapidly becoming one of my favorite cold-weather teas -- especially for the price. Oh, also 3 oz of this stuff.

What can I say? I like the oolongs and white teas in the summer. The winter is for the heavy black stuff. :)

For some reason Golden Monkey has never been one of my favorites, but Yunnan black teas are delicious. I've had the Yunnan Noir and love it as well.

Holy crap... just found this thread.

Will skim through more later. Love black tea's with milk and honey mostly and will always have a place in my heart for tea from Three Happiness in Chicago's Chinatown... supposedly equal mix of green, oolong, and jasmine tea although I've never gotten it quite right.

I know it's not high level tea, but I love Argo tea (Starbucks like chain in Chicago and a few other places). Their Earl Grey Creme tea is my current favorite, although I like it when I make it more than when they do.

Also on my top list are
Earl Grey Green for normal during work.
Black (Mint) from Twinnings for when I feel a little sick/off/stuffy at work.

FSeven wrote:
ranalin wrote:

I'm trying to completely cut out diet pop, but havent yet because they're my only source of caffeine. I like Irish and English breakfast teas, but not really tried much else beyond that.

So what tea would folks recommend as a replacement?

Irish and English are both blacks which are going to give you the most caffeine. Caffeine content in order from strongest to weakest goes: black > Oolong > green > white and then herbal/rooibos which are caffeine free.

Don't forget Yerba Mate!

concentric wrote:

Something I've read is that if you're worried about caffeine, the first 60 seconds or so of steeping is where the caffeine is expressed, so if you want decaf, you can replace the water at that point and resteep. I do think that flavor would be affected for many teas, however. Still, we're at lower caffeine levels than coffee to begin with.

That's definitely one of the cool things about tea. If you have a particular favorite black tea and want to drink it before bed but don't want the caffeine that comes with it, dumping the top half of water after 30 seconds - 1 minute of steeping, and then adding fresh new water for the remainder of the steep will effectively make it decaf. Like you said the taste will not be as robust but it's still good to know, say if you're camping and only brought one kind of tea.

Minarchist wrote:

In other news, I just put in my "winter order" with adagio, during which time I'll probably drink 64oz of hot tea a day. A pound each of this and this, the latter of which is rapidly becoming one of my favorite cold-weather teas -- especially for the price. Oh, also 3 oz of this stuff.

What can I say? I like the oolongs and white teas in the summer. The winter is for the heavy black stuff. :)

Okay, something is up. Our musical tastes are aligned and now I learn you have the same tea preferences (Golden Monkey & Lapsang are two of my staples). I have much man love for you Minarchist.

I haven't yet tried Adagio's Yunnan Noir as I got hooked on Yunnan Gold in Adagio's early years and haven't deviated from it yet. Have you had Gold? If so, how do they compare?

manta173 wrote:

Earl Grey Creme tea is my current favorite, although I like it when I make it more than when they do.

For some reason I can't do Earl Grey's. The flavor is very unpleasant to me. Is Earl Grey an acquired taste or are my tastebuds just never going to let me enjoy one of the most popular teas on the planet?

sometimesdee wrote:

Don't forget Yerba Mate!

I have no experience with Yerba Mate, dee. Could you elaborate? Would love to know more about it.

Mate can have a kind of earthy flavor, and has the most caffeine out of all the teas, at 85 mg/cup.

FSeven wrote:

Okay, something is up. Our musical tastes are aligned and now I learn you have the same tea preferences (Golden Monkey & Lapsang are two of my staples). I have much man love for you Minarchist.

IMAGE(http://tf2chan.net/dis/src/130214864618.gif)

I haven't yet tried Adagio's Yunnan Noir as I got hooked on Yunnan Gold in Adagio's early years and haven't deviated from it yet. Have you had Gold? If so, how do they compare?

I really like both but currently I am more a fan of the Noir. I keep 3oz bags of yunnan gold around, but I think I've gotten a batch or two that was ever so slightly over-oxidized or somehow a bit off, and it's soured me on it a bit. The Noir is one of the most robust teas I've had, with lots of really rich notes like dark fruit and spice, and (at least from Adagio's suppliers) is a fuller, heavier leaf — I get less broken pekoe/chaff and more solid leaves. I'm beginning to lean more an more toward the golden monkey instead of yunnan gold when I want something still weighty but with more earthy notes like the golden teas tend to have.

So many fancy tea drinkers here. I'm just a blue-collar P.G. Tips type myself.

FSeven wrote:
manta173 wrote:

Earl Grey Creme tea is my current favorite, although I like it when I make it more than when they do.

For some reason I can't do Earl Grey's. The flavor is very unpleasant to me. Is Earl Grey an acquired taste or are my tastebuds just never going to let me enjoy one of the most popular teas on the planet?

You know, I did not like it much as a kid. I suggest hitting an Argo Tea if you are ever near one and grabbing their version. If that's unlikely my version is a good 5-7 min steep and add about 1/8 to 1/16 skim milk and then 2 spoons of honey.

EDIT: Key detail with the honey I guess is that I use a 16 oz (Standard size tervis tumbler) cup. My bad.

Coldstream wrote:

So many fancy tea drinkers here. I'm just a blue-collar P.G. Tips type myself. :D

I like Tips, too. It's my default drinkin' tea.

Coldstream wrote:

So many fancy tea drinkers here. I'm just a blue-collar P.G. Tips type myself. :D

What's P.G. Tips? My default used to be Lipton.

sometimesdee wrote:
Coldstream wrote:

So many fancy tea drinkers here. I'm just a blue-collar P.G. Tips type myself. :D

What's P.G. Tips? My default used to be Lipton.

I know it's really easy to get in England, but I can't get it easily where I am.

concentric wrote:
sometimesdee wrote:
Coldstream wrote:

So many fancy tea drinkers here. I'm just a blue-collar P.G. Tips type myself. :D

What's P.G. Tips? My default used to be Lipton.

I know it's really easy to get in England, but I can't get it easily where I am.

Does Amazon count as easy? People in reach of a Wegmans market can probably find it there, too.

Katy wrote:
concentric wrote:
sometimesdee wrote:
Coldstream wrote:

So many fancy tea drinkers here. I'm just a blue-collar P.G. Tips type myself. :D

What's P.G. Tips? My default used to be Lipton.

I know it's really easy to get in England, but I can't get it easily where I am.

Does Amazon count as easy? People in reach of a Wegmans market can probably find it there, too.

I wish I were within reach of a Wegmans...

Katy wrote:
concentric wrote:
sometimesdee wrote:
Coldstream wrote:

So many fancy tea drinkers here. I'm just a blue-collar P.G. Tips type myself. :D

What's P.G. Tips? My default used to be Lipton.

I know it's really easy to get in England, but I can't get it easily where I am.

Does Amazon count as easy? People in reach of a Wegmans market can probably find it there, too.

Don't know why I didn't think of Amazon. I'd guess any place with a decent selection of English brands would carry it. I think I've seen it at the Publix in Georgia near my parents' house.

I haven't had it, but from what I understand it is strong, meaning, as my English friends say, "it stands up to milk and sugar."

sometimesdee wrote:
Katy wrote:
concentric wrote:
sometimesdee wrote:
Coldstream wrote:

So many fancy tea drinkers here. I'm just a blue-collar P.G. Tips type myself. :D

What's P.G. Tips? My default used to be Lipton.

I know it's really easy to get in England, but I can't get it easily where I am.

Does Amazon count as easy? People in reach of a Wegmans market can probably find it there, too.

I wish I were within reach of a Wegmans...

Locally, Fairway, Stop & Shop and Food Emporium should all carry them. They might be in the English sections rather than the main tea sections, though. They're basically just a good working class black tea, like better tasting/stronger Lipton's.