Hello all, coffee addict slowly becoming a tea addict


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Postby Chip » Jan 27th, '08, 02:24

I owe coffee a lot of thanx, since it was my complete disdain for brewed coffee beans that sent me running to the brewed tea leaf.

I only like one aspect of coffee, and that is the aroma of the roasted bean...before it is married with hot water. I once bought some whole beans simply because their aroma was soooo good, never ever planning on brewing them.
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Postby mark_e_wallace » Jan 27th, '08, 03:51

osadczuk wrote:Don't worry Mark, though we are very out numbered, there are a few coffee drinkers around. I think we just need to introduce these people to the concept of good coffee. Smooth, well brewed elixir that it can be rather than the burnt over brewed Starbuckian glug...


Eh, no worries here. I can easily make up for feeling outnumbered by going over to one of my coffee forums for a while. 8)

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Zarafina Tea Maker

Postby TimeforTea » Feb 2nd, '08, 22:44

Hi, Duckworth!

I'm new to tea-converted over from coffee, too. What do you and your wife think of the Zarafina tea maker?
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Postby Mary R » Feb 2nd, '08, 22:52

I've got one of those. It's very fun to use--it's almost like watching a magic show in some respects--but it's a pain to clean. After I used mine for a month, I realized that I spent more time cleaning the machine than I would if I just whipped out an infuser basket and a digital timer in the first place. I think I might have used the Zarafina twice since then.

The Zarafina also really can't make a good green to save its life. Its green temps are in the 190s. Most come out bitter and/or stewed. In fact, the only green I had that it didn't stew was Adagio's Green Anji. Turns out that one is actually *better* brewed at a higher temp. Who knew?
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Zarafina

Postby TimeforTea » Feb 3rd, '08, 00:09

Mary R wrote:I've got one of those. It's very fun to use--it's almost like watching a magic show in some respects--but it's a pain to clean. After I used mine for a month, I realized that I spent more time cleaning the machine than I would if I just whipped out an infuser basket and a digital timer in the first place. I think I might have used the Zarafina twice since then.

The Zarafina also really can't make a good green to save its life. Its green temps are in the 190s. Most come out bitter and/or stewed. In fact, the only green I had that it didn't stew was Adagio's Green Anji. Turns out that one is actually *better* brewed at a higher temp. Who knew?


Hi Mary,

Someone else on amazon.com said that about the green tea, that it turns out bitter. That's too bad, because it looks like a convenient machine. Since I want to primarily drink green, white, and herbals teas, I will probably think twice. It seems the folks who used it for black tea seemed happiest...except for the one man from England who complained that the water did not reach boiling point of 212.

I'm thinking, too, after reading your post that the time spent cleaning the machine I could probably spend heating water, checking the temperature, and brewing my own tea....

Many thanks!! :D
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Postby Mary R » Feb 3rd, '08, 11:12

The guy from England was right...the highest it goes for me is 206ºF. However, 'boiling' is 212ºF at sea level. I think the point lowers 1 degree per every 100 ft you are above sea level, but I'm not entirely certain. I live in Indianapolis, and the altitude at our airport is 797 feet. I figure the 206º mark is about as good as I could hope for anyway.

If you're interested, a TeaChatter here--JamieMT--posted a comparison of the Zarafina with Adagio's machine, the TriniTEA on her blog awhile back. I think it's a pretty fair analysis of the two.
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Postby tenuki » Feb 3rd, '08, 16:36

Salsero wrote:Mmm, thick smooth espresso with crema!


Yes!
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Postby TimeforTea » Feb 3rd, '08, 17:15

Mary R wrote:If you're interested, a TeaChatter here--JamieMT--posted a comparison of the Zarafina with Adagio's machine, the TriniTEA on her blog awhile back. I think it's a pretty fair analysis of the two.


Thanks, Mary! I will look into the blog! :D
The sea level/temp. stuff...sorry, my brain shut off! :wink:
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Postby TimeforTea » Feb 3rd, '08, 21:13

Mary R wrote: If you're interested, a TeaChatter here--JamieMT--posted a comparison of the Zarafina with Adagio's machine, the TriniTEA on her blog awhile back. I think it's a pretty fair analysis of the two.


Mary,

Thanks for the link. It is now half-time, and I raced upstairs to catch up on teachat. I was disappointed to read the green tea did not do as well but thought the one comment about the possible baking soda issue was a good point.

Please let me know what your baking soda tip you gave to Jamie was?

Also, I do wish the pieces from Zarafina were dishwasher safe--I was surprised that the tea cups are not....
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Postby Mary R » Feb 3rd, '08, 21:31

I don't know why Zarafina says their cups and pots aren't dishwasher safe. I have a hard time understanding just what the dishwasher could do to them. They're a pretty hardy ceramic, after all. Sort of like the stuff run-of-the-mill coffee cups are made from.

The baking soda tip was to rinse the infuser basket parts in a smallish tub of water with a teaspoon or so of baking soda in it. When you rinse out the steeping chamber, you also add a little baking soda to that too. Of course, after you've done that, you do need to rinse everything in plain water.

The baking soda will pick up any residual tea flavors. The lingering flavors really aren't a problem if you use unflavored tea, but a lot of flavored tea uses really strong oils, and those things cling to the Zarafina plastic like nothing else. They really do require a detergent wash and a baking soda rinse to adequately remove them.
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Baking Soda

Postby TimeforTea » Feb 3rd, '08, 22:19

You are so extremely knowledgeable!! Now I see why one chatter referred to you as the "mom" on tea chat!!

I will definitely try your baking soda tip!

Perhaps I'll save the zarafina cups for non-flavored teas. I did order 2 glass cups and sauces from adagio, which I will use with the IngenuTEA. I had thought that the glass would be so nice to use, to see the color of the tea. However, I read on another forum that glass is not a good conductor of heat, is this true? That worries me, since I love my drinks very hot. (And I do not want to microwave tea...you'd all probably throw me off teachat if I did that, right? :wink: )

I will have to get used to drinking tea at a lower temperature than I used to drink my coffee at, too, since I'm planning to drink mainly green and white tea, which I've read is steeped at lower temps. than black tea...
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Postby Mary R » Feb 3rd, '08, 23:07

I guess there are worse things to be than the 'Mom' of TeaChat.

Glass is kind of cool in terms of insulator/conductor stuff. It's an insulator at temperatures around normal room temp, but becomes a conductor at higher temperatures. Granted, those temps are a bit higher than normal boiling water...but it's still fun trivial knowledge.

If you pre-heat any cup, no matter the material, with hot water while your tea steeps, the liquid you'll end up drinking will be hotter for longer.

Also, I think the Zarafina cups will be fine with flavored tea. The flavoring oils have a tendency to linger on the plastic steeping chamber and brewing basket. They pretty much wash right off the cups with a little Dawn or something.
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Postby TimeforTea » Feb 4th, '08, 01:07

Interesting to know about glass... What material, in your opinion, is best?

Good idea about filling the cup with hot water while seeping the tea. Perhaps I could boil a cup of water in a tea kettle and use that.

I'll keep it in mind, too, about the flavoring oils possibly staining the plastic.

Thanks again!! :D
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Postby Space Samurai » Feb 4th, '08, 02:05

Newbee2Tea wrote:Also, I do wish the pieces from Zarafina were dishwasher safe--I was surprised that the tea cups are not....


They're not? Oops.
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Postby Space Samurai » Feb 4th, '08, 02:09

Newbee: Last month I bought a glass infuser mug from Adagio and did a little experiment. I poured 8 oz of boiling water into the glass mugh and into one of my kyusu and measured the temperature after three minutes. There was only a 1-2 degree difference. I suspect that glass isn't that bad at all for brewing.
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