which forum for total newbie questions?


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which forum for total newbie questions?

Postby OnTheBrink » Jan 18th, '08, 18:49

Where should I post for total newbie questions? Things like:
Which tea pot?
Which loose tea to try first?
Kind of a general tea primer, I guess!
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Postby scruffmcgruff » Jan 18th, '08, 19:02

Welcome! You don't have to worry too much about where you post, as long as it's reasonably related to the forum and you don't post the same thing in multiple forums. If necessary Mary or Chip will move it, but you won't get banned for posting in the wrong place or anything. :)

As for the newbie questions, try the search box first, but if you don't find your answers feel free to ask them in this thread here! Since you're new to loose leaf, I imagine you are coming from teabags. If you give us an idea of which teabags you like, we may be better able to point you in the direction of some loose leaf teas you'll enjoy. Which teapot you get kinda depends on that (to a certain extent).

Again, welcome!
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Postby Mary R » Jan 18th, '08, 19:07

Meh...here's as good a place as any, I guess.

Pots: for an all-purpose pot, look for something that has an interior glaze if you want a ceramic or iron pot. Glass or a modern gizmo like the ingenuiTEA should be find on their own. Try to keep the size down to about 1 or 2 cup's worth in volume if you'll be using it just for yourself, as many teas can be resteeped several times.

Teas: If you've got no clue, spring for samples of whatever sounds good to you. They usually run around a dollar or two each at any company, and if you don't like any particular tea, you won't feel like you've wasted money on a big tin.
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Postby Salsero » Jan 18th, '08, 20:12

Nice answer from Mary. I'd just like to reinforce the word small. If you are like most of us, you drink tea alone. When I first started drinking tea I bought several pots in different sizes, all of which sit gathering dust these days. I might use a teapot 2 or 3 times a year for guests.

For myself and my 14-year-old son (an occasional tea drinker), I find that a 6 to 7 ounce mug and a large basket type infuser is easy and practical. Unless I'm brewing gong fu with a kyusu, gaiwan or a yixing style pot, the infuser basket is all I use for most teas. I'll do one infusion for me in a mug and the next for my son (or vice versa) for good quality greens, oolongs, or blacks. I'll go anywhere from two to five infusions with the same leaves depending on the tea, less for inexpensive blacks, more for high quality oolongs an greens.
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Postby Wesli » Jan 18th, '08, 20:18

Start with that search box right above the Instant Messenger. You can try using google search too. Those topics have been discussed here over and over. But feel free to ask if you still can't find them.
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Postby OnTheBrink » Jan 19th, '08, 12:41

OK, so some of my newbie questions:

1. How do you store your tea?

2. How long does it (leaves) keep?

3. Does organic matter?

4. Do put the tea leaves in first or the water?

5. Do you ever turn it to iced or chilled?

I think that's it for now!
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Postby Mary R » Jan 19th, '08, 12:50

1. How do you store your tea?

In anything airtight and light tight (or at least UV tight...that's the light that really matters). Ziplock bags are not airtight.

2. How long does it (leaves) keep?

Most varieties keep about a year. Some green teas, especially senchas, are noticeably fresher in the months immediately after the harvest. They're still drinkable, though.

3. Does organic matter?

Not really. "Organic" is a hard thing to control outside of the US. And there have been studies done that show any pesticides remaining on the dry leaf don't readily diffuse into the water. Still, there are many gardens and larger operations that do produce great organic products. If you know what to look for, it can be well worth your time.

If you want to make your tea decisions based on a label, "Free Trade" is a better indicator than "Organic."

4. Do put the tea leaves in first or the water?

Leaves.

5. Do you ever turn it to iced or chilled?

Yes. It's yummy.
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Postby Wesli » Jan 19th, '08, 12:54

OnTheBrink wrote:OK, so some of my newbie questions:

1. How do you store your tea?

2. How long does it (leaves) keep?

3. Does organic matter?

4. Do put the tea leaves in first or the water?

5. Do you ever turn it to iced or chilled?

I think that's it for now!

1. Airtight container that doesn't let light through, away from other strong smells.
2. Depends on the tea. Once opened Japanese greens only last a couple months at most. Black tea can last up to a year. Pu-erh can go like 60 years or something.
3. Organic matters in the sense that you can't find a good organic Japanese tea. If you want to get into tea, it's pretty much impossible to go organic. But it's not like the tea plant absorbs all the chemicals.
4. Either is fine. I put the water in, then once the temperature is right, add the leaf. You have to make sure all those leaves go under and don't just float on top.
5. I'm not sure I understand. After making hot tea, you can stick it in the fridge and chill it, most people add sugar.
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Postby skywarrior » Jan 19th, '08, 13:26

OnTheBrink wrote:OK, so some of my newbie questions:

1. How do you store your tea?

2. How long does it (leaves) keep?

3. Does organic matter?

4. Do put the tea leaves in first or the water?

5. Do you ever turn it to iced or chilled?

I think that's it for now!


1. In containers that keep light out. Except the Adagio containers are specially coated, so they're good. I keep them in that as well.

2. Varies. Greens are more likely to spoil. Blacks and oolongs can improve with age.

3. Most organic teas aren't very good. Organic is nice, but the reality is they're just not as good as the premium stuff.

4. I pour hot water over the leaves in my tetsubin. The Tetsubin has a basket which strains the tea.

5. Yes.

And welcome aboard! :)
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Postby OnTheBrink » Jan 19th, '08, 13:54

Thought of another question:

Can you use a coffee press? My husband has this:

http://www.amazon.com/Bodum-Chambord-8-Cup-Coffee-Press/dp/B00005LM0S/ref=pd_ts_k_4?ie=UTF8&s=kitchen

Would it work for loose tea?[
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Postby Mary R » Jan 19th, '08, 13:57

People have been known to use coffee presses to brew tea. In fact, a decent teahouse in Indianapolis brews in this manner. It works out pretty well for the English method as long as you drain the entire pot after plunging. The leaves will continue to brew otherwise and make the remainder of liquid bitter.
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Postby LavenderPekoe » Jan 21st, '08, 12:56

Looks like everything was answered pretty thoroughly, I just want to add to the French press answer. If you go that route, be sure to do so in small amounts. If you use so many leaves that they get squished when you press, you could get a bitter brew out of them
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Postby Wesli » Jan 21st, '08, 13:18

I think Joel uses his for sencha too. As Mary said, you just have to decant it all into an intermediary pitcher once brewing time is over. What's interesting is that almost non of us squeeze our leaves after steeping, we just pour the liquid out. It'd be interesting to see how that changes the tea.
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Postby Chip » Jan 22nd, '08, 03:26

Pardon me for my late welcome...

Many questions and many answers, add to this lots of TEAfellowship and you are in TeaChat. Have many cups with us.
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A quick note...

Postby KG » Jan 24th, '08, 11:13

Welcome!! Very happy to have you here!


Also, as far as the coffee press goes, I learned this one the hard way. I have a very nice press left over from my coffee craze and thought to try it for tea. I had some nice Irish Breakfast, put it in the press, added the water, prepared for a great start to my day... and immediately started tasting coffee in my tea. Coffee leaves oils in whatever you store, drink or brew it in, thats why you can have a mug that someone uses for coffee and you can still smell it for a couple of washes later. If you have something that was used multiple times a day for years, like my press and most of my cups, then don't brew tea in it because you will always taste the coffee. There are cleaners that you can get to break down the oils which will help, but they will only do so much and are very harsh. I was so sad when I had to toss all of my old coffee stuff. Lots of great memories. Well, I think I'll go make a cup of tea to console myself.

Tea, (and coffee), are best when shared, (but not with eachother)
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