Thanks for all the warm welcomes, everyone!
Chamekke--My loose tea experience is still pretty limited, compared to what I've read on some of the threads here. Most of the ones I've tried have been from adagio...and a few from teavanna and some from a place in Western MD called "the tea cupboard" (the lady there was so awesome, btw). That said, I'm really enamoured with wuyi ensemble and oolong #40 right now. I was disenchanted with black teas for a while, but I think its because I was ordering the flavored ones and they brew a little bitter for my tastes. Recently, I went to a tea tasting where it was predominantly black teas. After that, I realized I have to give black tea another chance. I just tried yunnan gold and I enjoyed it quite a bit. I have a "bolivian black" from the aforementioned tea cupboard shop that is so unique and interesting--very dark and earthy, which I enjoy. I'm excited to try all my new ones (my most recent order had quite a few black tea samples included). What else...oh, I'm still a sucker for caramel rooibos, cocomint and valentines!
Riene--I'm looking forward to cooking with tea experiments, too! I've been chatting with soapy over on the teachef section since I signed up--come join us!
Question for all you seasoned tea-drinkers/forumnites....is there a good place to go to learn the basics? I thought I had a decent tea-drinking foundation, but I've been wandering around here aimlessly reading about all sorts of things that I've never heard of....For instance, I saw a poll for eastern vs. western brewing styles, and I have to admit--i don't know what it was talking about!
Is there a tea tutorial or something that you could recommend?