Weaning off milk and sugar


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Weaning off milk and sugar

Postby girlfrommars » Jun 26th, '07, 14:59

Hi I'm new and just getting into drinking tea. I've always drunk English Breakfast type tea, strong with milk and 2 sugars however I'd like to branch out and try other kinds but most other teas require no milk and I'm finding it difficult to enjoy.

I've tried Ceylon, Assam and Darjeeling tea bags from Whittards and enjoyed them with milk and sugar but the Darjeeling states on the packet best without milk but this just tastes bitter to me.

I also bought some vanilla tea mixed with black thinking I should be able to drink this without milk but it still tastes harsh. Is this just something to get used to or am I doing something wrong?

Help me quit the milk lol!
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Postby Mary R » Jun 26th, '07, 15:22

You might just not care for black tea (which can be quite harsh) without milk. You might want to try different varieties of oolongs, greens, and whites--which can be much softer and often very sweet in themselves.

The black teas you've listed also come from India and Sri Lanka, and those blacks are the ones that hold up best to the whole Western milk & sugar routine. You might want to try the Yunnans and Keemums from China, which are (again) a bit softer and sweeter than a lot of Indian varieties.
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Postby Salsero » Jun 26th, '07, 17:33

A lot of the Indian teas, especially cheaper ones like you find in even the best tea bags, are pretty harsh without milk or sugar. I second Mary's suggestion that you try some of the high quality Chinese Yunnan or Fujian blacks that Adagio offers, like Yunnan Gold or Golden Monkey. I find these to be enormously less bitter and smoother.

Also, reducing your brew time to 1 or 2 minutes and using a bit cooler water can help get along with those bad boys. Especially with the darjeelings I lean toward cooler water, maybe 180 degrees. And many teas that I can't abide at a 3 or 4 minute steep are just fine at 2 minutes.

As far as I'm concerned, tea is always best sans milk or sugar.
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Postby scruffmcgruff » Jun 26th, '07, 19:14

Yeah, I would guess part of it has to do with brewing too long. Milk and sugar seems to buffer the effects of overbrewing, so try bumping the steep time down a few minutes, and play around with it to suit your taste.
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Postby Chip » Jun 26th, '07, 19:40

Most bags only need a minute or two to brew, since I see you use bags. Loose leaf tea will tend to brew a little lighter and smoother and fuller while lacking the harshness of many bags.

If you are able to just make a clean break from the sugar and milk, you will be surprised I think to see how quickly your taste buds adjust.

But I would recommend you try some good loose leaf tea. By the way, Darjeeling can be incredible straight up if it is good loose leaf to begin with. China Keemuns are also very good, and English Breakfast is traditionally China Keemun.

Irish Breakfast is traditionally Assam. I have always had trouble developing a taste for Assam, and Assam is the one tea that is most often softened with milk.
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Postby teaspoon » Jun 27th, '07, 08:06

I got off of sugar just by experimenting. Some black teas I still need to add sugar to, and generally I like sugar in my tea anyway, but I've come to realize that if I steep for 4 minutes instead of 5, I get a cup that I can drink without sugar.

Darjeeling is my favorite black tea, and I find that 3 minutes can be plenty, especially for a spring Darjeeling.

~tsp
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Postby Aqueoustransmeg... » Jul 6th, '07, 17:51

I completly weened myself off of sugar in college. I went from drinking 6 ounce cups with 2 sugar packets to nothing sweetening any tea I drank....

it kinda sucked :P

It was a great idea to ween myself off of sugaring my teas to that extent and that's basically what I did I just gradually stepped it down until I wasn't using anything. I set myself on a schedule like I'll use 1.5 packets for 3 weeks, 1 packet for x weeks, 1/2, 1/4th et cetera. I can really taste the *tea* now. Of course the negative affect of that is I've had to up the quality [and price] of the teas I drink....but I enjoy the tea a lot more now too :)

Since weening myself off though I discovered a lot of teas do taste better a little sweet....espicially chai and other black teas drank with milk...so I sweeten again. [I'm also not so rigid about what I eat in general] I just use it moderation....a fraction of my old usage.Honey is a great, healthier alternative too...don't get me started about the wonderful world of honey! Everything is good in moderation....including sweetener...and it can enhance not cover up the flavor of tea if used in smaller doses. Once you stop using a lot of sugar in your tea you can drink more too because there go your callories out the window!

....I dunno how to get off putting milkin it...I can't imagine my morning tea without some milk!
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Postby Elle » Jul 7th, '07, 03:47

Try just weaning off the sugar first. I find milk is a nice compliment to certian blacks - english breakfast definately, ceylon, sure, not a fan of assam. Darjeling and darjeling wanabees, depends - the high quality darjeling I recently got in Adagio's svant sampler has a fruity acidity that milk would just deaden, the cheep "darjeling" I once got from a nearby coffee place I liked with milk on ice. In chinese teas: I'm a fan of golden monkey for a lot of my everyday drinking and can go either way with that...yunan gold is just so good and complex that I can't immagine drinking it any way but straight up. (My opinion of chinese teas in general is much higher than any of the Indian or other former british colony varieties and I've yet to taste any two varieties alike, even those comming from the same region.)

The first time I try a new tea though I'll taste it straight first. Exception: masala chai *always* with lots of milk and a good amount of sweetener.

Finding tea that doesn't come in bags might also help...
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