And so begins the fall of soda...


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And so begins the fall of soda...

Postby shadedream » Oct 8th, '07, 15:12

Hello all,

Im pretty new here and quite new to tea in general as well. I've had a bad habit of drinking a lot of soda for quite a long time, and have developed an interest in the health benefits of green tea lately.

Because of this I've decided to attempt to ween myself off soda completely and acquire a liking for green tea. I've never been much of a tea liking person in the past but these days Im growing more and more interested in promoting good health in myself. About the only tea I've ever enjoyed was the tea served with the food at a chinese restaurant I used to frequent (I don't think it was a green, and it was very mild).

I recently purchased the green tea starter set from Adagio and have tried two of the teas with it so far, but Im wondering if Im doing something incorrectly? I've tasted the genmai cha and citron green, and both seem to have come out fairly bitter to my taste, even after the addition of some honey.

Now, this likely could be because of my normal consumption of exceedingly sweet drinks, but Im wondering also if Im steeping incorrectly? I heat the water up to near boiling, add it to the infuser, add the leaves and let sit for 3 minutes before draining.

Now assuming Im doing things correctly, is there any other types of green tea any of you more familiar with greens could recommend to me as I work to acquire this new taste? Im thinking I may order a sample of the raspberry flavored tea but am not sure what to expect after the citron green.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated as I continue this quest to adapt to this change and find teas to my liking.

-Nick
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Postby Wesli » Oct 8th, '07, 15:56

Try the Gyokuro, Sencha Premier, Dragonwell, White Monkey to start with. Also, let us know what you think of the individual teas you got (likes, dislikes). It will give us a better idea of what teas you might like.

Also, Green tea is not supposed to be bitter. If the tea turns out bitter, it's either because of too hot of water, steeping too long (3 minutes is, more often than not, too long for green tea). Splashing water on the leaves can also create bitterness, try to disturb the leaves as little as possible.

For the teas you have, I'd recommend 175°-180°f, and steeping for just under 2 minutes.

Welcome to the forums Nick!
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Postby shadedream » Oct 8th, '07, 16:00

Thanks for the response!

Sounds like I was more than likely steeping too hot and too long. Problem with the heat is I dont really have a thermometer to check temperatures so Im pretty much left to boiling, then letting them cool for what my best guess (probably a very bad one at that) is for it cooling to 180° or so...

Will give it a try with the shortened steeping time and see how it progresses.

EDIT

Just steeped some green pekoe for 2 minutes instead of the 3... water may have been too hot still, but MUCH better flavor this time (read that this one was much more mellow anyway). I will have to try this with the citron and see how I like it. Will be better (for now) with a little honey until I acclimate to tea a bit more :)
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Postby Space Samurai » Oct 8th, '07, 17:39

I'd defintiely reccomend the white monkey, its a very mild tea.

I'd also reccomend branching out to other types of tea as well. It took me a year to warm up to green tea and adjust my tastebuds to it. Green tea can be quite challenging, and its not as if one type of tea is super uber better for you than the others.
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Postby skywarrior » Oct 8th, '07, 23:35

I second Fatalitea's response. One thing someone told me here was to pour boiling water in a mug and then when the mug got warm, pour it into the mug you brew with. That seems to make a good cup of green, IMO. Or better yet, buy the Utilitea which has a green setting :idea:
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Postby Wesli » Oct 8th, '07, 23:51

Glad I could help! :P

Getting a thermometer is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Many people use thermometers religiously, and even more so when they're first starting to drink. Cheap ones can cost you only a couple of dollars, so it's no real investment.

Enjoy your tea!
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Re: And so begins the fall of soda...

Postby macatea » Oct 14th, '07, 09:03

shadedream wrote:
About the only tea I've ever enjoyed was the tea served with the food at a chinese restaurant I used to frequent (I don't think it was a green, and it was very mild).


Hello Nick

Congratulations on your revelation that soda may not be the best choice in consuming nowadays. The drinks on the market today are less natural than they were in the past with all of the artificial sweeteners and the sugar equivalents like high fructose corn syrup, and huge amounts of caffeine in energy drinks. I just hope that there are more people like you making a conscious decision to do something about it.

Now to get to your post, are you sure the tea you had at the chinese restaurant was green tea? Most chinese restaurants in my area serve oolong tea. I love oolong as much as green which is why I thought I'd mention it.

It sounds like you may have resolved your steeping issue. I agree with the person that suggested getting a thermometer. It sure beats boiling water, then guessing what the temp is after you boil it (or before) and then pouring the water on the precious green or white tea leaves hoping you didn't burn them. You can get them at Target for 10-15 dollars.

My next investment will probably be a digital scale. This forum has discussed scales in the past and the one I have my eye on is called a "My Weigh 300-Z". It's about 20 dollars online, but I still guesstimate roughly 3 grams per 6 fluid ounces. Or One table spoon for 6-8 fluid ounces. This varies among people and it's your preference, so the sky is the limit.

Also, you might try infusing the tea (steeping the tea) more than once. Loose leaf tea is usually good quality where you can infuse the tea (with a bit higher temps and for longer infusion times) and still not lose taste. It's a great way to drink lots of tea using the same leaves! Again, this is personal preference, but I've heard of people steeping tea for up to 5-6 times.

I'm still a beginner also, but love to learn about and enjoy tea.
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I can so relate

Postby Trey Winston » Oct 14th, '07, 12:15

I did the same thing as you, I stopped drinking sodas and switched to green tea and water. I was drinking about a quart of cola almost every day.

My first experience with green tea was much like you describe it, I found the tea too weak in flavor and too bitter. It took me about three weeks to begin to appreciate the much subtler taste of tea, so I guess I needed some time to get used to it. It is a pretty big leap when it comes to flavor - sodas tend to come on pretty strong.

Quitting sodas is going to be one of the best things you'll ever do - my sugar intake was more than halved, and I have much more energy than I used to.
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Postby skywarrior » Oct 15th, '07, 01:29

I seem to recall drinking pop when I was a teenager, but I tended to drink the diet stuff because it supposedly kept all that extra weight off you. I stopped drinking it when I got migraines because of the nutrasweet. In all this time, I was always a big tea drinker, so going from pop to tea was no big thing. But I did use an awful lot of sugar in my tea in those days.

I weaned myself off the sugar, (but I occasionally add some to iced tea). You figure you can't possibly add as much sugar as those soft drinks (well, you can, but that's undrinkable). I might suggest that part of the process going from pop to tea might be a bit of sugar to keep your system from going into shock :roll: , but if you can just skip the sugar, your pancreas will probably thank you.
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Postby Trey Winston » Oct 15th, '07, 13:57

skywarrior wrote: You figure you can't possibly add as much sugar as those soft drinks (well, you can, but that's undrinkable).


I quit after I saw a picture of a stack of sugarcubes, illustrating the amount of sugar in one liter of coke. It was a lot.
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Postby ABx » Oct 15th, '07, 17:05

I had a similar story. I was consuming rather insane amounts of sugar, at one time drinking 2 liters (sometimes more) per day while munching on candy - every day. Once I found the joys of tea, I just lost the craving for that kind of sugar intake without even trying. These days I drink mostly tea and iced water. I have an occassional can of soda, but I don't crave it like I used to and sometimes it just tastes too sticky sweet to enjoy like I used to.

I do still add a teaspoon of sugar to some of my teas because I like the taste, but I drink most tea without sugar and I think a single teaspoon is relatively negligible, and solely out of a desire for the taste rather than a craving for sugar.

As far as teas that will help you to get used to drinking them without any sugar at all, I would say to try the greener oolongs. Wenshan baozhong brewed in a gaiwan, especially, tastes plenty sweet without any sugar at all - even at a time that I would normally add sugar to even light and sweet teas.

There really shouldn't be many teas that turn out bitter, though, unless they are oversteeped. If you're not used to the drink not having sugar in it, it should simply seem not sweet enough, but not bitter unless, perhaps, you've got the taste of soda still in your mouth when you drink the tea.
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Postby Mary R » Oct 15th, '07, 22:10

Here's a new twist on it: before becoming such a tea freak, I could drink 4 cans of Dr. Pepper a day *easy.* Now, when I want carbonation, I'll get a little bottle of club soda--ginger ale if I'm feeling expansive.

Weird.
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Postby skywarrior » Oct 15th, '07, 22:21

ABx wrote:
I do still add a teaspoon of sugar to some of my teas because I like the taste, but I drink most tea without sugar and I think a single teaspoon is relatively negligible, and solely out of a desire for the taste rather than a craving for sugar.



Yeah, I find this as well. I still will add a teaspoon of sugar if the tea doesn't taste quite right. Sometimes the sugar will bring out a delightful taste I didn't catch with it being unsweetened. Does that even make sense?
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Tea Is Good

Postby jashnew » Oct 15th, '07, 23:00

I would start with Chinese green tea. The reason is because it's more nutty than grassy like Japanese green tea. The Dragonwell is good. But please DO NOT follow the seep time of 3 minutes. 3 minutes will make it to bitter. All you need is 90 seconds. The stuff you had in the Chinese restaurant was probably advertised as a Oolong. Chances are it was a Cinese Orange Pekoe. I also reccomend trying any of the non-flavored Oolongs. #8 and #40. Also remember all tea has health benefits. Try Yunnan Gold or a Darjeeling. Brew Yunnan Gold at 3 minutes and the Darjeeling at 2 minutes.
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Re: And so begins the fall of soda...

Postby augie » Oct 18th, '07, 23:24

shadedream wrote:Hello all,
I recently purchased the green tea starter set from Adagio and have tried two of the teas with it so far, but Im wondering if Im doing something incorrectly? I've tasted the genmai cha and citron green, and both seem to have come out fairly bitter to my taste, even after the addition of some honey.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated as I continue this quest to adapt to this change and find teas to my liking.

-Nick


Give yourself some time to "come down" from the soda! You're accustomed to the taste of HFCS or nutrasweet as the case may be.

In addition to proper brewing techniques everyone else has mentioned I also noticed that after moving on to other kinds of tea (white and oolong). I noticed I took a greater liking to the green tea later when I came back to it. I also bought a green sample set and wrote YES on the tins I liked. Later, when I ran out of other tea, I tried the stuff I liked and didn't care for again i had changed my mind.

Try some white tea too. Silver needle is my favorite.
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