How long have you been drinking tea? Loose-leaf or teabags? Has it replaced other beverages?

47 Replies

SimpliciTea, love the name! I found this site by accident really. Tea was Moms beverage of choice.So I drank red rose bagged tea on occasion. Mine choice used to be coffee. I still do adore coffee however, I have recently gotten way more into the loose, plethora of teas out there! A friend of mine runs an annual tea trade, this is the 3rd year. Through this trade I have been sent some very delicious teas! My fav is from teavanna…azteca fire. I am a chocoholic, this tea is spicy and chocolatey, I taste cinnamon though there isn’t any in it. Really yummy, one of my fall favorites for sure. So it’s really the last three years I have been an avid tea drinker.

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I’ve been drinking tea for most of the day, I started around seven this morning and will probably continue drinking up through the night. My introduction to tea and first was a nice assam, as I usually drink assam’s in the morning, but it will probably turn to a green or a yancha oolong as the evening progresses.

Tea doesn’t conscientiously take the place of any other beverage but rather by default, hard to drink anything else when you always have a cup of tea in your hand.

I rarely drink tea out, as previously mentioned it can be nothing but a disappointment, however there are those times that you just need a cup of tea, even if it is a crappy CTC.

I only drink loose leaf teas, unless of course I am drinking a bagged tea. It does become rather complicated when you stick loose leaves in a bag, then your left with a bit of a kerfuffle.

Um why is everyone looking at me funny?

kerfuffle? Of course I had to look it up—after all, it only takes a few seconds (Ah, the wonders of the web!). Tempting as it is for me, I won’t give out the definition. Of course, I may be the only one who didn’t know what it meant. :-}

Personally, I love those words that add foofaraw to any bit of writing! Erm, it’s a noun. I think I can use it like this, can’t I?

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I’ve been drinking tea all my life. Lipton was for summers and sun tea, and in the winter, mom had a drawer full of herbal teabags. We lived in Michigan until I was ten, and mom was still on a healthy food kick when I was younger, so I wasn’t allowed to add sugar to my sun tea or my hot tea, so I grew up believing tea was generally weak and bitter. Mom used to have to force us to drink sun tea in the summers instead of kool-aid (which we were never allowed) or Crystal Light (which we only got occasionally).

Then, the summer between elementary and middle school, we moved to Tennessee and I was introduced to Sweet Tea. More so when I was in High School and my best friend lived, well, in a trailer park. Her Dad literally drank Sweet Tea by the gallon. I learned to do the same. I loved sweet tea, and mom hated how much I loved sweet tea XD. She never allowed me to make it at home. My friend’s recipe for Sweet Tea?

1 gallon of water
10 Lipton tea bags
1.5-2 c sugar.

Oh yes, my friends. Oh yes.

Anyway. One day, my mom and I went to the Rainforest Cafe for dinner. I was freezing, so I ordered hot tea. I was given a little teapot, a little cup and six flavors of Tetley herbal teas. Oh my goodness, I was in love. I carried those little bags in my purse forever, trying to find them again, but none of my local grocery stores carried anything but orange pekoe. When I stayed with my younger brother, he had a Russian roulette jar of various bagged teas. You pick a tea from the jug, brew it, and had to drink it, no matter what it was. I loved visiting him.

I gave up for a while and drank hot herbals and cold sun tea. Then I married my wife and moved to Canada. My mother-in-law is a true Nova Scotian, drinking at least 3-4 cups of Red Rose in a day. I got into the habit as well, especially my first Toronto winter. Brrrrrr. I bought my first teapot and drank 2-3 pots a day doctored with lots of sugar and heavy cream.

I began chatting with a friend of my wife’s about other things and it eventually came to light that he is obsessed with tea. When we had a bit of extra money, I ducked my head into DavidsTea, sometime towards the end of last year/beginning of this year. I bought Bear Trap, Glitter and Gold, Cream of Earl Grey, Oh Canada, and Earl’s Garden.

Love. Love, love, love at first sip. So very much love. Thus began my journey into looseleaf teas. I have around 200 at this point with 18 more on the way. I drink tea all the time and it has replaced both soda and milk for me. I found out milk makes me wicked sick, but when I started drinking tea all the time, I didn’t miss it.

I will still drink Red Rose (I had some today at the in-law’s), and if I’m at Tim Horton’s, I’ll grab a cuppa to go. I’ll drink iced tea in restaurants. I’ll drink hot tea, especially if they’ll let me steep the tea myself. But I do prefer tea I’ve made at home.

For the record, I do still take sugar in my tea, but way less than I used to. No milk, .5 tsp of sugar….yum.

Holy book, batman!

@aisling of tea: Thank you for taking the time to write your ‘book’ and post it.

I’ve heard lots of good things about DavidsTea. I hope to try some someday.

1.5-2 c sugar? Let me see, theoretically there’s about 48 teaspoons of sugar per cup (six per ounce, eight ounces in a cup), so that’s about 72 – 96 teaspoons for the gallon. Then, there’s 16 eight ounce cups of water in a gallon, so that means there’s about 5 to 6 teaspoons of sugar per 8 oz cup. Holy sugar, Batman!

I looked up Red Rose, since I have heard it mentioned so many times in the stories of those in Canada. It looks like they sell both teabags and loose leaf. Are the teabags more prevalent that the loose leaf?

Well, if there are any that catch your eye, I’m always happy to set up a swap, since I know it’s frustrating to have to order 50g of a tea before ever trying it.

The amount of sugar in sweet tea is ridiculous. I had a nutrition class in college and we were told that a glass of sweet tea is as bad for you or worse for you than Coke. We went back to Tennessee recently, and I had sweet tea as soon as I could, of course. It nearly made me sick :(.

I’ve never seen the loose leaf, but the bags are everywhere. My mother in law buys a 200 pack every month or so. She’s had DavidsTea orange pekoe and various other looseleaf teas and claims they taste the same as or worse than Red Rose >.<

Haha, @simpliciTEA – I’m so glad someone else (besides me!) has thought of doing the math for sugar in sweet tea!

When I make my sweet tea I use 1/2 c. sugar per gallon of tea, which is 1.5 tsp. per cup. Something like 25 calories per cup total. I’m from Georgia and most people think my tea isn’t sweet enough, but at least this way it’s less calories than soda.

@Aisling of tea – you are so right! Restaurants down here serve syrup and try to pass it off as tea – so I usually don’t get to order it out either. I totally believe that from a nutrition stand point tea that sweet is worse than soda.

Thanks for the invitation for a future swap. I may take you up on that offer sometime (I still have lots ’o samples to go through at the moment).

I had the sense that Red Rose mostly shows up in teabags.

For those of you who know about this southern sweet tea phenomena, I was wondering if some places make it with some natural sweeter other than sugar, like with Stevia or Agave. That way you can get the sweetness w/o all the calories. Just wondering, since l personally love using Stevia as a substitute for sugar—in drinks, at least (my understanding is it gets more complicated when trying to cook with it).

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SimplyJenW said

I have been drinking tea as long as I can remember, but not frequently. As a younger kid (in the midwest) it was usually Lipton and iced, and even sometimes (gag!) instant. I don’t think I have ever been big on sweetened iced tea. For hot tea, I had a love of Constant Comment and I thought it was about the fanciest tea available. About 10 years ago, I discovered herbals, but I mostly drank hot tea when I was ill. Back then I was an avid diet soda and coffee drinker. Both of those were my beverages of choice along with beer and wine several times a week.

I started with loose leaf about a year ago. I did extensive research on a few forums that I participate in for where to start and what to avoid. It was interesting. Once I tried loose leaf, it was all over. Over the course of the year, I have given up coffee (which I think is the most shocking thing for people who know me in real life…yes, a reformed coffee junkie), and I only have an occasional diet soda. I have also drastically reduced the amount of alcoholic beverages that I drink to maybe once or twice a month. It is pretty much tea and water for me.

Ooooh, I forgot about instant tea! (blocked it from my memory is likely more accurate XD)

SimplyJenW said

Yes, it is the stuff of nightmares!

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Dorothy said

For most of my life I’ve had the occasional cup of tea (bagged) at home. It wasn’t until about 2010ish when I looked for an alternative to soda pop and visited a tea room that I began to really like tea (and loose leaf). My intention to visit the tea room wasn’t about the drink at all. The place was very close to us and we were quite hungry. While we were there, we had food, desert, and such flavourful tea. The experience gave me a deep appreciation for tea and I quickly became obsessed with trying everything I could get my hands onto. It’s my primary drink now and I don’t miss soda pop at all, especially all the unnecessary sugar and calories it brings. Of course if I want to have very fun weekend, I don’t mind having a few beers.

I don’t have any close friends that are tea obsessed with the exception of my husband. He always liked tea but was never really into it. When my tea journey began, we tried stuff together and he’s come to love it. He doesn’t obsess over it to my extent, and hasn’t really developed his palate much. But I’ve introduced him to a few teas that he absolutely loves. (Hey, honey are we out of ______? OMG BUY MORE NOW!)

With all the loose leaf I have at home, we never have tea at restaurants if it is just bagged tea. I hate to sound like I’m too good for it, but the flavour just doesn’t satisfy me. Luckily there are a few places close to us that serve loose leaf, plus there is an Indian restaurant that has very good chai. I don’t know if this is normal throughout Canada (because I only recently moved here), but people are generally positive about tea. It’s a tasty hot drink, and it gets damn cold up here. ;)

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Dinosara said

I always hated tea as a kid, and only started drinking it in college, though it wasn’t a very frequent thing. Usually just with friends who were also tea drinkers. At first it was all tea bags and I dumped tons of sugar in it, but I slowly weaned myself off of the sugar. Of course when I visited China my second year of college I drank tons of jasmine tea nonstop since it was served at every meal, and I brought back a few containers of loose leaf tea (a jasmine green, a plain green, and an oolong). That meant I needed something to steep it in, and it prompted my purchase of a tea ball. At some point in college I also bought one of those tea pot + tea mug one serving combo sets, but the straining holes on the pot are much too large and let tons of stuff through.

I drank tea off and on, but when I got to grad school my consumption of it almost stopped, but not for any particular reason (possibly lack of access to the tea cafe that I always went to in Chicago). But then in my third year I brought back a tin of Harney’s Tower of London blend from the Tower of London and was amazed at how good it was. Still, I didn’t start drinking tea regularly until another stopover in London made me realize I totally loved Earl Grey tea, and I came home and went nuts (my standard protocol for a new obsession). The discovery of Steepster soon after only fed the obsession and now I drink tea usually 3 times a day. The only think that it’s replaced is the cup of water I used to drink with lunch; now I drink a cup of cold-brewed tea. Otherwise I never used to drink anything in the middle of the work day, but now I do. I don’t really like drinking hot things with a meal since I tend to drink quickly when I’m eating, so I still drink juice with breakfast and beer/soda with dinner. I never really used to drink between meals until now. I am probably much better hydrated as a result!

You visited China? Wow. I am envious. I would love to go and experience first-hand how they drink it. I would love even more to see the tea fields, the small processing plants at the base of the mountain, and watch how they turn those ordinary looking leaves and buds into what I feel is nothing short of a blessing in my life.

I know Seven Cups does annual tours, but my budget can’t afford it * sigh *. Oh well, at least I’ve now stated it to the Universe, so who knows?

btw, I would be very interested in hearing stories about how they enjoy tea in China, @Dinosara.

bbtw, I used to drink soda, then water, and now home brewed iced tea at lunch. And I agree, hydration is good!

Dinosara said

Well when I was there I wasn’t very serious about tea drinking, so I’m afraid I didn’t spend a lot of time focused on the tea. For lunches and dinners most restauruants would usually serve cups of jasmine tea out of a thermos, and often there were tea leaves floating in the bottom of the cup… not really much ceremony! In the mornings often they would serve tea that had been brewed in hot milk.

I did get to sit through a tea ceremony in Beijing when doing some more touristy stuff, which was cool. I’ll be going back to China this spring, and I’ll definitely be paying attention to the tea this time!

Wow, I didn’t know they drank tea with hot milk.

Lot’s of jasmine tea, huh? I’m not a fan of jasmine, but i think i may have had some low grade stuff. I hope to try some better stuff sometime.

Good luck with your trip next spring!

K S said

I find I dislike most all flowery teas I’ve tried including what was considered a decent loose leaf Jasmine. The exception to the flowery teas is lotus which I really like but it is hard to find. Just disovered Upton sells it.

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We’ve been blending and providing loose leaf tea for over three years now, but I personally switched from coffee to tea long before that!

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I’ve been drinking tea for as long as I can recall. I think it started at around age 4 when my grandmother would visit from Florida in the summer and we’d enjoy tea (Lipton) and peanut butter and jelly on toast. We actually still do this when she visits. She still drinks the Lipton, but I’ve moved on to loose leaf.

Up until three years ago I’d only really ever had gasp bagged tea. But now I only drink that when that’s all that’s there and I’ve forgotten to make my own loose leaf bag to bring with me.

Tea has replaced most everything else to a point. I’ve been trying to cut down my coffee intake, but I’m finding sometimes I really want a Pumpkin Spiced Latte (like right now) or a ice cold coca cola (also right now). For the most part I just drink tea, soy milk, or water. :)

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I have drunk tea from the time I was in my early teens. I am now in my early fifties and tea is my main beverage, both hot and cold. I do not drink any bagged teas unless I am visiting and there is nothing else, though I have made my own for travelling purposes.

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MaddHatter said

I’ve been drinking loose leaf tea since May 2011, and since then my tea consumption has gone down considerably, in fact to the point that it is rare to see me with anything other than tea or water.

I do find that now I choose where I eat based on what they can provide me in drinks, rather than what they can provide in the way of food. That being said when I do meet up with friends it is a lot of water, a lot of pouting and grumbling about the lack of selection for drinks.

We also choose where we eat out based on the beverages they offer—the beverages always being tea. We just visited Einstein Bagels for lunch, and sadly, they fairly recently changed their black and green iced tea offerings; we both think the current teas are not very good compared to what they were offering. Once I brewed and brought my own tea (we were sitting outside). We may have to do that going forward, but that’s a real pain.

MaddHatter said

I enjoy it when establishments are happy just to bring me hot water, but that does not happen often.

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