Apr 19, 2012

Whoop-Tea-Deux

Burning my tongue here on a hot terracotta of oolong reminds me I should bump out a follow-up to that dainty tea post.   I'll answer questions that came up and toss in a quick tea house tour.  All this for three E-Z payments of $0.00 (plus $19.95 S&H).

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Anon:  For us tea novices, what's your suggestion for easing into the "real" stuff? Do you have a specific recommendation
Beard:  Go with a China green if you want a simple taste, spiced black if you're high maintenance and demand a cinnamon punch.  Most tea houses will brew you a sample or single serving.  Try a cup to see if you like it before purchasing an ounce or two.

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Ria:  All I know is the instant ones where you pop a tea bag in to a cup of hot water and presto, you have your own tea.
Beard:  Beard wept.

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Christina:  My daughter and I drink green tea and sometimes add honey or lemon. I swear it has literally gotten us past all kinds of coughs and ickies but that could be in my crazy head. I also reuse the leaves.
Beard:  Good point, tea is both healthy and reusable.  You lose most of the caffeine after the first steeping, so I'll brew a batch in the morning to help wake up, then re-brew the same leaves at night.  No caffeine in the evening pot means a solid night of sleep.  Click for tea's health benefits, including anti-cancer catechins.

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Mom of Boys:  I happen to be a coffee addict and have been thinking that I need to get away from it, but have been so intimidated by loose teas...so confusing!
Beard:  Coffee makes my breath raunchy, tea does the opposite.  Plus it gives a pick-me-up without the java jitters.  Remind me to give you a sample at church, my apologies if it looks like we're passing a baggy of hemp.

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Anon:  My favorite tea is Rooibos tea which wasn't mentioned at all.  Also spicy teas. I haven't given the light teas a fair chance, so this year I'm going to try a few whites, greens and oolongs to see what the fuss is about.
BeardRooibos is herbal, it doesn't contain any tea leaves.  Good for the body, I'll sample a cup next time I hit the shop.  Spiced are usually black teas with chunks of citrus and cinnamon added for flavor.

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Cassie:  What if you want to make a pitcher of iced tea?  And how much milk (or is it cream) to add to a cup of hot tea?
Beard:  Black tea holds up nicely to ice-dilution and sweetener.  I recommend brewing it double-strength, then dissolve in honey or sugar while hot.  Don't add ice until it cools to room temp and you're ready to serve, else it gets watery.  Chai is spiced black tea with milk and sugar added.  An ounce of 2% per serving should do it. 

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Brought Nikon on my last trip to Gong Fu.  It was a cold dull rain, a perfect day to restock and sip a pot of green.


 













































 -Beard

17 comments:

  1. I always thought chai was a type of tea and when you add milk it magically becomes a "chai latte." I'm a tea novice......

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  2. Gong Fu is lovely but pricey...if you make it up to the Twin Cities, check out TeaSource. That's been my go-to place for tea for about 10 years, even since moving to Iowa (they ship, but visiting the shop is better). Right now I am on an Irish tea kick (after a trip there in February--got to love a country where GOOD tea is served at all times of the day, even in pubs!) and am enjoying Lyon's and Barry's. It's strong enough that a tea bag will make half a pot.

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    1. Gong Fu has a range of prices, from $2.00 to $20 an ounce. I stay at the lower end of the spectrum, an $8 pooch of tea last me a month when brewing a pot every few days. Thanks for the heads up on the TeaSource, I'll check them out!

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  3. Ooh what a neat store. I need to find a pretty store to get lost in soon. And get myself one of those pots. You have at least one convert here. Well except for sun tea... black tea bags in the pitcher with honey and sunshine. A decent brand, but bags none-the-less. The husband drinks so much of it we would be sleeping in a cardboard box if I used to good loose stuff.

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    1. You'd probably also like the Eden shop next door, that area of the East Village has some nice privately owned small businesses. Agree on sun tea, use bags for that, save the loose for quiet time with your husband.

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  4. I always forget you're in Des Moines, and then I see a photo of my old stomping grounds. Thanks for the look back!

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    1. You should come visit DSM sometime, the place has stepped it up the last few years.

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  5. I used to hate hot tea, and lived off the bagged Lipton. Loose tea always tasted bitter to me. How was I to know that I was oversteeping and burning the leaves? It wasn't until I spent two weeks in Korea and fell in love with a green tea with toasted rice that I developed an appreciation for loose tea and the art of teamaking. I keep trying to develop a taste for white teas, but they're just too bland for me. I like so much more flavor.

    But oh do I love local tea shops. My brother lives outside DC, and when we go into town we get to play at teaism. (www.teaism.com) Best Chai tea blend I've found to make a big vat of it to keep in the fridge. I'm not big on herbal, but I love their SobaCha. And then locally we have Rostov's (http://www.rostovs.com/main.html)! So much fun to be had at the store, and then we love the locally named Richmond blend--Just a hint of orange and cinnamon, great on a cold night with a splash of milk!

    Thanks for sharing, Beard, always great to read!

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    1. I'd guess many people that dislike tea have never tried a properly brewed batch. Water temp, time and quality of the leaves makes a big difference.

      Enjoy your weekend, Kelly!

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  6. Worlds are colliding!...I admit, it's terribly immature, but whenever I need a good laugh, I go to your tea posts. Don't hold this against me.

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  7. Anonymous4/20/2012

    Whoa, that really does look like weed. Sorry, was laughing at the baggie church comment but then I saw the pics of the dragon pearls lol

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    1. Makes you wonder what those "dragon pearls" are really made of.

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  8. Yeay for rooibos, native to my SOuth Africa!

    It is so healthy and versatile, you can have it sans milk, with a slice of lemon and or honey. I like it strong, with hot milk and brown sugar. It also makes a lovely chai. For my kids, I steep one cup, plus a cup of pure fruit juice, some mint/scentedmavla leaves top up with ice & water, and there is their iced tea for the day.
    Enjoy!

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    1. Cool, a rooibos reader from S. Africa, thanks for visiting my neck of the woods.

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  9. Another great thing about making tea with loose leaves is that plants love them. Instead of tipping any leftover tea from the teapot (that is: without milk) into the garbage disposal or down the drain, water your plants (including indoor potplants). They'll thank you for it.

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    1. Do your plants nibble scones with their tea?

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Thanks for the note, check back for my response!