Tea Virgin


Made from leaves that have not been oxidized.

Tea Virgin

Postby teachat » Jun 8th, '05, 12:19

Hi
I am new to the whole tea scene and seem to be struggling. I purchased some of the samplers and have tried a few. I first researched how to make tea, acquired what was needed and made it. The first time I used 1 tsp/cup and the second time I used 2tsp/cup and the tea was mandarin orange. I left it in exactly 3 minutes and the temp was 180 degrees. So can anyone tell me why it seems to taste so weak? Or is that just the way tea is? I don't really want to add anything to it, i.e. sugar, because that is the whole thing I am trying to do, get away from sugar.......help!!!

Karla Edmondson
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Postby teachat » Jun 8th, '05, 12:20

Karla--

Thanks for the post.

Sounds like you did your homework! Unfortunately, you may be suffering from Black Tea-itis. This is a common condition caused by drinking too much black tea, which causes one's tastebuds to believe that all teas should be as strong as black teas.

However, this can easily be remedied by repeated doses of green tea. Through this, you'll find that, while it may not be as strong as the tea you're used to, it's probably more complex.

Please-- whatever you do-- don't add milk (sugar's tolerable, unless you're from South Beach).

Hope this helps,

Chris
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Postby PeteVu » Jul 15th, '05, 23:29

I found that when i introduced green tea to people, they really treat it like medicine, which is utterly OFFENSIVE! ^^ after appologizing to your tea, brew a cup and dont let it sit on the table. Hold it in your hands and breathe in wonderful steam. the biggest mistake i found in the newbies is that when they thought of it as medicine, they drank it so slow it cooled down, and i would rather drink gross tap water than a lukewarm cup of good tea. Try filling your glass only half way and keep coming back to your pot for more, this should keep your tea the proper temperature.

-Pete
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tea leaves

Postby tea fan » Nov 15th, '05, 23:34

To taste the full rich and strong flavor of tea, I find that leaves are much better than any crystallized stuff. Green tea is good, except for most of the stuff you get in the US since it's the crystallized stuff. Get fully reason leaves with no additives, just the pure tea. i have a method that brings out the true flavor of tea and getting rid of the smell of the processed stuff. Rinse the tea once with hot water before you brew it, and don't add anything less than boiling water. It's the only way to bring out the true flavor of tea.

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Postby tea fan » Nov 15th, '05, 23:37

Oh yeah, I hate additives to tea as well. That hides the flavor of the tea too much. I also depise anyone who drinks tea bags, and sugar and milk, and cream, etc. They are not true tea, just processed crap. I apologize to all English and Americans reading this, but I don't think the stuff that comes in the bags are tea, just cheap extracts.

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Postby Marlene » Nov 16th, '05, 12:57

Amen, teafan, amen!
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Moo Moo Bring on the Milk!!!

Postby bluemoon » Mar 2nd, '06, 21:35

Hey Karla,
I just have to disagree with everyone else. Maybe I am not as hardcore of a tea warrior but I cannot imagine it being as enjoyable without milk or sweetener. Now personally, I don't want sugar and I don't trust the fake sugars so I use the herb stevia as a sweetener. And I cannot stomach milk so I use rice milk, which is pretty watery so that may have a different effect than actual milk I don't know. I'm just saying, do whatever tastes the best to you. I figure the English are some of the biggest tea drinkers so I don't take it as an insult to be compared to them by drinking it that way. Bottoms up! Although, I don't drink green tea so I can see why milk may not go well with green. I drink black, rooibos, and herbal this way. I tried a white this way and I liked it but I could taste the rice milk and I can see how that could be a turn-off for some people.
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Postby Warden Andy » Mar 3rd, '06, 00:53

Bluemoon, I used to think the same thing (only I never liked milk in tea) but that has changed. After some time of drinking black tea with sugar, I started to not like it as much. I eventually stopped putting sugar in tea, and enjoy tea way more than I ever did before. Although I did switch to green, white, wulong, and pu-urh after (although I still like black tea).

Although I kind of doubt you'll like tea much after switching to no sugar. I pretty much gave up black tea after switching, so I kind of doubt you'll still like it after switching.

All in all, this was a pretty pointless post.

Also, white is just like green in the fact that nothing should be added to it.
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Postby bluemoon » Mar 3rd, '06, 01:17

Andy,
I think you helped articulate what I meant in a way. I guess I meant that I'm not going to start doing something that I don't enjoy. You're right I probably wouldn't enjoy it as much the other way. I tried the blueberry black tea without milk and found it to have quite the bitter aftertaste. And I've had plain green tea and well I could come up with some bodily things to compare it to but lets not :). But anyway I think my point was don't succumb to peer pressure. Do what tastes right because you like the taste.
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Postby Marlene » Mar 3rd, '06, 01:45

I always put sugar in the flavored teas. I agree about the bitterness. In the unflavored blacks though, I rarely add sugar. And never in oolongs unflavored greens, or whites. :) Follow your bliss! No one can argue with your taste, it's yours!!
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Postby yresim » Mar 3rd, '06, 05:15

I always find myself saying this: you can add anything to tea. Anything. It is all a matter of taste.

Just remember that, whatever you add, it should enhance the flavor of your tea, not hide it.

Additives I have found that work best include: sugar, honey, vanilla, milk, pepper, lemon juice, and cinnamon.

In general, black teas take additives better than other teas. A good earl grey stands up well to milk & sugar. A good assam can stand up to almost anything.

If you are used to drinking things with tons of sugar in them, you probably aren't going to be happy cutting it out completely.

If you are used to drinking coffee, I would suggest starting with 8 ounces of a good, smooth earl grey or assam. You can also start with a chai (Adagio calls their chai "oriental spice"). Avoid over-brewing, as this will make it taste bitter. Put a small amount of sugar (either half of what you were using earlier, or 2 tsp max, whichever is less), and a small amount of milk. Drink that for two weeks (unless it doesn't taste sweet enough, in which case keep going until it does). Then halve the sugar again. Once you get down to a half teaspoon of sugar, wait two weeks, and then start branching into other teas without adding any sugar at all. You can work backwards from blacks to oolongs to greens to whites; or you can just pick one that sounds good. Whatever you like.

Another route is to drink a sweet fruity tisane (herbal tea), such as blood orange or wild strawberry. These are usually so sweet that they really don't require sugar. And Adagio's chamomile is perfect with only a half teaspoon of sugar (otherwise, the taste is a little cloudy).

You might prefer a jasmine oolong, such as Jasmine #12. It is light, crisp, and sweet. And I find that you can make it pretty strong by adding extra pearls. You might find that you like it without sugar.

And yet another route is to start with a really light tea. The lightest tea you can find (for example, buy a white tea and brew 1 tsp/cup for 4 minutes at a 170 degrees F). Then, pretend it is water. Warm water, but water nonetheless. After a while, a month or so, it won't taste like water anymore. And you will find that your taste buds are accustomed to lighter flavors, and that you enjoy other teas more.

A few additional notes:

1. Water quality is essential. You start with crappy water, you get crappy tea. Find a water that tastes good to you. If your tap water isn't very good (like most tap water), use spring water, or mineral water, or a 3-stage water filter (PUR makes one). Just don't use distilled water.

2. Make sure you are using a large non-steel basket-style filter. Basket filters allow the teas to expand more, imparting more flavor. And steel can impart an unpleasant taste. Recommened personal-size filters include the ingenuiTEA by Adagio, and the Yoyo by Bodum. The latter can be purchased on-line or at your local Target.

For groups, you can either get a tea pot with a glass or gold basket filter, or you can get a tea pot that doesn't have a filter (just a strainer in the spout). I am sure others here could recommend one if you are interested.

3. If a tea is bitter, brew it for less time. If a tea is weak, you can either brew it longer or add more leaves (depending on whether or not brewing it longer makes it bitter). How long you brew any particular tea is a matter of taste. So don't feel like you're doing something wrong if you are adding extra tea leaves, or brewing it longer, or even brewing it shorter.

~Yresim~

P.S. If you find a tea you genuinely don't like the flavor of, there is no shame in that. Most tea lovers have a few teas they don't like. Just try a different one.

P.P.S. Good luck!
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Postby kodama » Mar 7th, '06, 01:22

I find it hard to really taste the tea with any milk or sugar, but then my tastes are nearly opposite. Greens, some whites and mild oolongs. Herbals are for when you are sick except the occational flower in my case.

If you find it week, I guess just start with some milder blacks or stronger greens (good green like matcha or good sencha can be very intense) and working your way down.
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Postby yresim » Mar 7th, '06, 03:30

kodama wrote:I find it hard to really taste the tea with any milk or sugar, but then my tastes are nearly opposite.

Sugar is a "push" taste. This means that, rather than cover other flavors, sugar tends to push them forward.

In general, if you add a small amount of sugar to something, you will find that the overall flavor strength of the item is increased.

Add sugar to something bitter, and it will become more bitter (milk or lemon are much more effective at counteracting a bitter taste).

Add sugar to something with a soggy taste, and it will tend to bring out (or "clarify") the flavor a little bit.

The problem is that sugar will accentuate some flavors more than others. So you may lose the flavor you like most because it is overpowered by the flavor of something that you don't care for. In the case of particularly subtle flavor combinations, this can be a nightmare: the taste that sugar pushes forward will completely dominate over all other flavors, leaving you with a single flavor, whether you like it or not.

So, if you like more subtle varieties of tea, it is not remotely suprising that you don't like to add sugar to them.

I only add sugar to certain black teas and tisanes. These have a strong enough combination of flavors that the flavors that are pulled forward do not easily dominate the other flavors. Adding sugar to a white tea is just asking for trouble, since the thing that makes this tea so enjoyable is its combination of very subtle flavors. As for green teas, I find that adding sugar to them tends to accentuate the flavors I don't like, making them positively undrinkable.

There really is no difference between buying a flavored tea and adding flavors of your own (except, maybe, that you have more control when you are adding your own flavors). And, just like other flavors, sugar can have a very positive effect on the overall flavor of certain teas, while at the same time having a negative effect on the overall flavor of other teas.

Just because George Orwell didn't like sugar in his tea doesn't mean that sugar in tea is wrong. Nor does it mean that those who add sugar somehow like tea less than those that don't. There are certainly people out there, like my SO, that add as much sugar and millk as possible to cover up the flavor of the tea (this is why I only give him herbals now). However, there are many other people out there, such as myself, who add sugar in small quantities, to bring out the flavor of the tea.

The thing to remember is that everyone's tastes are different, so just because I like sugar in a particular tea doesn't mean you will. This doesn't mean that one of us is right and the other wrong. It just means that we are different. We can choose to either embrace those different from us, or discriminate against them. Personally, I prefer the former.

Happy drinking!

~Yresim~
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