Tea Time

Teavanna lost me as a customer when they kept raising prices on their already overpriced mid quality products (a completely subjective opinion, but I was ruined by a supposedly loving relative). Look at www.specialteas.com. I am a big fan of their “Hairy Crab Oolong”.

That said, a contact over there near Mr X sent me an “American teas suck” package that makes my relative seem like a sweetheart. I am no longer able to drink tea out of my own house and even in my house it is a a battle of will to save my “special” tea for truly special occasions. I am now convinced that any tea that is packaged with any form of English writing on it will disappoint. Evil evil evil package from heaven.

Mr X I blame you for this!

Hey up!! Here comes Hitch!: guardian.co.uk/theguardian/2 … NTCMP=SRCH

Harrumph! You will please note that I have never, to my knowledge, disparaged anyone’s taste in tea, merely passed on what is held to be the truth in the Land of Tieguanyin. But, if your contact — I’ll make a guess who, but keep it to myself :wink: — sent you tea from here, then I am not surprised.

Some years ago, my brother and sister-in-law visited me — she professed on arrival not to like tea — but within two days was totally converted, bought local tea-sets for herself and their son, plus tea, and went back to Beijing. A few months later, she rang me up; “Could you get me some more tea, please? I’ve used up the tea I bought in Xiamen and I’ve bought tea from the different shops here, including Tenfu (the biggest, in the sense of most outlets and most aggressive marketing) but it’s just not the same.”

She was right … if you buy tea here — that is Oolong, Tieguanyin and green teas, jasmine tea, etc., but not Pu’er with which the older the better — it’s much fresher and you can taste it. If you can, buy Tieguanyin in little one-brew-time vacuum packs and keep them in the freezer. Locals say even when you do that you should use it all up within 18 months. The problem is that, when you’re buying elsewhere, or abroad, you don’t know how they’ve been storing it or how long they’ve had it in store. For a bit more on tea-drinking here, well, “tea tasting” really, and how to do it:
talkingoffood.com/watch/1-vi … n-tea.html
And note, contrary to the Christopher Hitchens, English way of making tea, the water should be just off the boil.



Yes Mr X. You-know-who is responsible.

I have yet to find a bad way to make that tea. I have enough for a few more months, and then…

I don’t want to think about it.

I too order my teas from The Tao of Tea, and have been for many years now. I’ve also seen Samovar, but I’ve only ordered from The Tao of Tea and Seven Cups. Seven cups has the entire range of teas: from inexpensive to pricey indeed. In the land of coffee domination and colonization of the tea leaf by Lipton, us Americans–especially–cannot fathom spending more than a few bucks for tea. Most of us don’t understand that it’s like the world of wine. And the tastes are that subtle (and not so subtle) at times.

And how the tea leaves are rolled and pan fired, etc., it’s such an ART! And one that I don’t want to see die. Many indigenous “factories” have been replaced my machines that do the rolling, drying, etc. But there are still some family-owned plantations that make me smile, within the Fujian province.

Oh, and whoever mentioned Ali Shan oolong: That is a sublime tea! From one of the highest mountains in China.

To all the tea-bag users out there: You don’t know what you’re missing with loose-leaf teas (real tea!). What you’re getting in bags are the dust from the leaves. And because they are so “dusty” and fine, they become bitter very quickly, as opposed to whole leaf teas that can be steeped for a long time, but never get bitter.

Xiamenese: Thank you so very much for sharing your tea knowledge with us. I believe we all appreciate that. I love Chinese tea (after all, where else to go than the source?). I do love Pu’er tea as well. I have a separate clay jar that is not airtight, yet protects it from dust, etc. Pu’er loves to breathe and age. I order the “Topaz” free type, but also the cakes. Some of them go for BIG bucks! I have indeed tried Lapsoung…so smokey, I love it. Isn’t sometimes referred to as “Russian Caravan Tea,” from when they traveled through China and kept it on the fire or something like that? OH: And if you ever feel gracious enough to share amazing tea that is from Fujian province or superior Tie Gwan Yin, one certain American will be overjoyed–to put it mildly. :smiley:

P.S. I have three different Yixing teapots: one for oolongs, one for pu’ers, and one for green (although I understand many in China don’t use Yixing for green tea, but a Gaiwan (which I also have).

Mr Bobby,
Welcome to the leaky old tub we call Scriv[size=85]Mary Celeste[/size]ener.
As you will see if you do a search; much to the chagrin of my human, Vic-k, the topic of TEA DRINKING, has been discussed ad nauseam,(and indeed nausium), aboard this ship.
I hope you’ll forgive the impertinence, but have taken the liberty of adding your almost inaugural post to this Tea Time thread.

Take care

I’ve deleted my original post. It’s LIKE MY NEWBIE-NESS NEVER HAPPENED!

I would tentatively recommend Teavana. It looks like they acquired my old favourite, SpecialTeas. Some of the best tea I’ve ever had came from that distributor. So I don’t know anything about Teavana, never tried them, so I can’t vouch for them except to say that if their acquisition of SpecialTeas was to buy all of that great research and networking with the farmers SpecialTeas had—then they’ve probably got some good stuff.

I usually try to stop everything that I’m doing when I’m drinking tea. I make that a special time where the mind can be let to drift for a little while. Doing the (Westernised, no doubt) rituals of preparation are something I enjoy as well.

Meh. Teavana is okay, I guess, but I’ve never been that impressed with their selection or quality. I get a lot of mail order through Peet’s.

Samovar is one of my favorite stops when I’m actually in San Francisco. My experience with their mail order is limited, but positive.


Mr Bob,


Well, that’s a pity to hear then. I guess the tea I used to get from there will have to be consigned to the realms of Proust.

Why so Mr I? As, His Crassness, vic-k, will tell you: "The lazy old fecker made everything up! All his memories were in his mind (<-play on words Mr I…but true, nonetheless), he’d have a thought today, and then regurgitate it tomorrow as a memory of events from behind the, ‘Swirling Mist Curtain’. Feckin old fraud couldn’t tell a madeleine, from a Crawford’s cream cracker or dunking doughnut!"

Whereas your memories, Mr I, are fresh and vibrant, and as you point out, of the excellent products you recieved from specialtea.com/ Who appear to be still there in our other colony, just up the road from you.

Bonne chance, Marcel

Good to know you are a tea lover, me too, i like Chinese white tea.

Famous for its silver-colored leaves and liquid, white tea is a kind of special rarity in Chinese tea. With pekoe on its tender leaves, the boiled tea is covered with silver-colored pekoe, always looking like wearing “white clothes”. White tea is slightly fermented in a degree of 10%. The two key procedures in tea-making are withering and drying, which keeps its special pekoe, fresh taste and also the natural vitamins that are beneficial to peopled health.

This is produced on a very limited scale in China (originally in Fujian Province) and Sri Lanka. The new buds are plucked before they open, are withered to allow the natural moisture to evaporate, and then dried. The curled-up buds have a silvery appearance (and are sometimes referred to as Silver Tip) and give a very pale, straw-colored liquor.

Renowned for their delicate aroma and their refreshing properties, white tea are a specialty of Fujian Province, which is divided into three main regions: Fuding, Zhenghe and Jianyang. Now, however; several estates in Darjeeling are producing white teas, and this trend seems to be spreading to other countries.

Traditionally produced from precious harvests that last only a very short time (about two weeks) in the spring, white teas were once reserved exclusively for emperors and other high-ranking officials. These teas are the most minimally processed of all.

White teas are usually divided into two types: those made only from downy buds (such as Yin Zhen and silver needles) and those made from a mixture of buds and leaves (such as Bai Mu Dan and Shou Mei).They are processed in two main stages, withering and sorting.

Good to see this topic revived!

I’ve been a loose-leaf tea brewer ever since 1973 when my then girlfriend bought me three tins of Jackson’s of Piccadilly, being an orange tin of Orange Pekoe, a green one for Ching Wo and a blue one containing Earl Grey.

From those humble beginnings I ventured into many teas unknown. To this day, my favourites are Ceylon varieties, thank you Sri Lanka. Brewed pretty strong using water that is boiling - not merely hot - tea leaves resting and expanding in a basket which is removed from the pot after 4 minutes, you get that pungent, aromatic, hot beverage which is real tea. You simply cannot achieve the same sensory result using bags, however convenient that invention may be.

I found it easy to give up whiskey and gin, which I did about 15 years ago; I can imagine saying goodbye to beer at some point; but never will I abandon tea.

Recently I came across the ex-girlfriend. She’s still a tea-drinker, too.

P.S. I advised the current mrs. K. to start munching chocolate only after the first cup of tea, otherwise the taste of the tea would be lost on her.