How much is TOO much?!
I have just started this journey into loose leaf and full leaf teas and I have 13 different teas in my cupboard (and I am sure that will grow, a lot) but I had a co-worker (and tea lover) tell me that I should “pace myself” too many teas means too much waste.
Is it possible to waste tea? Really? and furthermore, how many teas on the tea shelf is too much… Considering I have already had to re-locate some plants.
So I started drinking looseleaf tea in February. Of this year. Between my wife and I, our cupboard has 195 different teas. Some are samples, but a great many of them are not. The DT tins say they will keep tea fresh for up to three years, so I don’t think you’re in any real danger of wasting anything. But, obviously, I’m of the “there’s no such thing as too much” school of thought.
I started getting really into loose leaf teas after the first of the year and I don’t even know how many teas are in my collection. They are all in proper airtight/light resistant containers so they should be good 1-3 years. My only problem is forgetting just what I have. I’ve been slowly making a list to place on the crates and laying out what I’ll drink each day so as not to miss out on all the great tea I own. Nerdy but true.
This is all completely based on your own personal drinking consumption and can’t be answered by anyone but yourself. For instance, I purchase matcha 400g at a time. Would I recommend this volume for anyone but my crazy, matcha addicted self? Heck no. But I can go thru a 100g bag (the size my matcha comes in) in 2 weeks so even my last bag I open in an order is only sitting on my shelf for 6 weeks before being opened. I wouldn’t suggest buying a pound of a tea that you only drink a cup a week of just because it’s the cheapest price. I have a TON of varieties in my stash, but they’re all the smallest sizes available. I think the number of teas in your stash should be related, not only to how much you drink, but the sizes of the containers.
Then there’s “rehoming” your tea. Is there anything wrong with giving some of your tea away? Absolutely not! But do you want to give away 90% of your tea stash or spend 90% of your tea budget on tea that you gift? Not likely. But to what extent you want to rehome or spend money on tea for others is up to you.
Now for the one question I can (in my opinion at least) give you a definitive answer. Is it possible to waste tea? Yes. Ways I believe tea is wasted: drinking tea that’s so hold that it has no flavor; throwing away tea leaf that’s old, choking down tea that is fresh but you just don’t like it.
I suggest putting labels on your tea with the date it arrived (or you picked it up if you picked it up in person vs. ordering it online), you also might want to organize your cupboard in order of these dates (or what I suggest, by type first then date within the tea type groups).
I’m about a year into my tea journey, and my cupboard has been holding steady around 125 different teas for a while now. Occasionally I make a conscious effort to finish a tea, but I just really love having options. Lots of them. When I finish a tea I didn’t particularly enjoy, I just make the decision not to replace it and then free up room for new tea. If I don’t like something enough to drink it, I move it along. There may be a world of “too much tea” but I doubt that (m)any of us are close to it…As long as you are drinking it, enjoying it, or willing to give it to someone that would drink and enjoy it, then you’re spot on! : )
As for your coworker, perhaps she or he only enjoys a few select types of tea and drinks them regularly. I know that I love a tremendous variety as opposed to 3 or 4 tried and true favourites, and you could be like that as well. If you think you have too much, then it’s a problem. If someone else thinks you have too much, then tell them not to look! : )
I have two teas that will always be my morning teas. Jungle Ju-ju during the week (I have children with nut allergies at work) and Chocolate Rocket as my weekend tea. past that I have noticed that although I love the teas I have – save for one that I have left at work as a “Sharing Tea” – I am finding there are days I want tea but not what I have, so I guess 13 is really not that many and as long as I drink them eventually all will be fine?
Too much, eh? Is there any such thing? I remember the days when my collection numbered around 13. Gosh, I wouldn’t want to go back to that now!
Your coworker certainly can’t answer that question any more than we can. You’re the only one who really knows how much you drink in an average day, as well as how much leaf you use every time you brew. Some people use more leaf than others. Personally I tend to use a generous amount and a short steeping time.
Here’s the thing, though. The only way to find out where your limit is, is to pass it. Having a large selection to choose from doesn’t necessarily mean having a lot of tea. It depends on how much you have of each, doesn’t it? :)
Go forth and experiment. Bring home the good stuff with a clear conscience as much as your wallet, your curiosity and your storage space allows. Remember, if it’s stored well (air tight, light tight, dry, not too warm or near other smelly things (such as coffee!)), a good quality leaf will stay good for a long time.
And experimentation is the only way to find your standard panel teas, those perfect for you teas. The ones that you enjoy and wish to always have available.
My father and a friend of his are into whisky. The friend is more of a collector than my father is, though, and more likely to invest in a pricier bottle than my father is (some of these bottles can costs thousands!). His motto is, “I don’t have a collection. I have a backlog.” I find it fits here as well, doesn’t it?
i like that! “Not a collection, a backlog” in a way that is true, I will have to eventually figure out a way to label teas so that no one is forgotten, or at least work on getting the teas that I know are seasonal to me finished before summer is out.
As far as organization goes, I rely heavily on my cupboard here on steepster. Physically, I have a wall of DT tins on five shelves that fit three each, half a shelf more of DT tins, a tea box of bagged “Russian Roulette” teas, half a shelf of DT teas organized by type, and then a big box in a dark cupboard divided into “decaf” “caf” and “tealish”. Every time I have a cup of tea, I log it, even if I don’t review it, though if it’s my first time trying a tea, I do try to leave a note so when I go back later I can remember what I liked or didn’t like about a tea. When I’m in the mood for tea and I don’t know what I want, I organize my cupboard by “most drank” and pick one that I haven’t logged yet. It helps me work through the samples I have and make sure no tea goes untasted.
I agree with what others have said, share your love of tea! If you know your friends and you know your tea, you can often make a really good pairing. For instance, I bought 50 g of Southern Belle from Tealish (the minimum you can buy) and I really didn’t care for it. I had a friend come over and I offered tea and chose Southern Belle for her. She loved it and I ended up sending some home with her. A new home for a tea I didn’t care for, and a new tea lover made in one cup. Of course there are those people like my mother in law who will drink a looseleaf orange pekoe from DT and tell me Red Rose tastes better >.
I thought you might appreciate this…I visited my father last weekend and noticed he SWITCHED from Red Rose. This is big news. What did he switch to? PC Orange Pekoe! D’oh!
Tetley is so bitter and burnt. I don’t like it at all. I remember when I moved into residence for first year of university, my mother bought me a box of Yellow Label Lipton tea, in individually wrapped sachets. I’m the only tea drinker in that house, so it was a big deal. Ahh, nostalgia. : )
The pastor at the church I attend when I’m visiting Seattle drinks tons of Tetley.
I had Tetley once when I was in high school at the Rainforest Cafe and I looooooooooooooooved it. >.> It was the first time I’d ever had flavored tea.
I could never have too much tea. My collection is always growing. I absolutely love variety and options. It is a wonderful feeling just looking at all my teas and picking out what fancies me at that moment. It is the one time I truly get what I want. I used to feel guilty that spent so much on tea but later decided that I only have a few hobbies and it was ok if within financial reason to build my collection. Tea offers me peace and I won’t give that up. To manage my inventory I do sell my teas on www.iHeartTeas.com which is apart of www.Teatra.de and of course I do swaps on here. Still even doing that I always hover in the 300 to 500 different varieties at all times in varying quanities. A tea paradise. :-)
Just out of curiosity, what percentages of your stash do you drink/sell or give away/throw away?
Not really sure, I drink most, sell anything I have, do swaps and I do not throw away in most cases. I have only had a few random instances where I have had to throw out teas. Otherwise, I can always find a good home. I store them properly so I haven’t had any issues of tea going bad. Unfortunately I have no idea what the precentages are. Keep in mind some teas I have are very small in quantity but they do add up when coming up with a tally.
too much tea?? never! as long as it doesn’t grow stale. Of course, I have so much it’s overflowing my cupboard, so who am I to say? :P
hahaha, yes, and mine keeps growning! ‘cept I have become smart, I have some that I leave at work, because they are the perfect work teas and some that stay at home, because no matter how often I tell myself it is okay to share, I just can’t bring myself to do that!