Who else drinks only non-flavored tea?

68 Replies
Uniquity said

I like tea many ways. Just as I appreciate vegetables with or without dip, chips with or without seasoning and meats with or without sauces, I like my teas both flavoured and “straight.” I find myself drawn more toward unflavoured teas lately, but I don’t think that makes my palate superior, it’s just dependent on my mood and ever changing tastes. There is room for most things in my tea cupboard. But no coconut. Or Chamomile. : )

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SimplyJenW said

Why must it always seem like a we vs. them? Really, there is a place for all forms of tea, tisane, etc. What I choose to consume does not make me any better than anybody else. I, also, would be grateful if a friend was thoughtful enough to try and purchase tea for me. It shows they know you love tea, and are making an attempt to understand.

Dinosara said

Amen, Jen. This comes up every once in a while, and it’s always the same. I have been restraining myself because I don’t feel like getting into it again, but I’ll chime in to say “ditto” to what you wrote.

DC said

@SimplyJenW, I don’t think there is really any superiority to be spoken of. I just wanted to find out who are the drinkers of pure tea.
As for my comment on friends’ gifts, its like if you are an avid reader, then someone gives you a Twilight book, you would be like ‘nice but you don’t expect me to read it’ kind of awkwardness, isn’t it. Not that you don’t appreciate it but you really don’t know what to do with it

@Derek – It might be the “pure” wording there that is making you come off sounding snobby to some people. “Pure” is often a pretty loaded word.

DC said

Hi Daniel, I can see where you are coming from, though ‘pure’ simply means free of other substance- which wd be a fair description, no?

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I rarely drink a flavored tea any more and even now it’s traditional flavors like jasmine. I once had a terrible allergic reaction to a muscat flavored tea from Lupicia. Turn out that the grape/muscat flavoring has strawberry juice in it… darn near sent me to the hospital while I was on vacation. I like to know what’s in my tea, flavored gasses and liquid scents do tea no justice.

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Excelsior said

It seems many members drink the flavored teas from Mariage Freres like Marco Polo, Wedding, Earl Grey Imperial, Sakura, etc. Yet I drink their non flavored teas, especially the FF Darjeelings they offer. I drink my teas with only a hint of Japanese ultra refined sugar, 1/4 teaspoons per 400cc of tea. There’s nothing wrong with their flavored teas, and I’ve tried a plethora of them, but I prefer the delicate complex taste with a hint of astringency that makes their FF Dajreelings stand out far and above FF Darjeelings of other retailers.

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Derek Chew I am kind of with you. I mostly enjoy traditional teas with out any sugar or milk or anything else people may put in their tea. I want to really be able to taste the tea the tea master made. But, I do enjoy some jasmine scented teas as long as it is natural and not chemically done. As for the teas that have fruit filler there what I will drink in the hot summer Iced for a change but my favorites are traditional teas without any filler.

DC said

Hmm, jasmine tea, haven’t had that for a while. Something to stock up on
;)

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I started out with flavoured teas. The first loose leaf I was introduced to was flavoured, so the first several times I went to a tea store I went straight for that – the unflavoured stuff looked pretty unfamiliar and intimidating, so I left it alone.

Also, I have a wicked sweet tooth, and started getting far more into drinking tea when I realized it was helping me replace Coke and other pop (which there has been far, far too much of in my diet over the years). Considering what I was using it to replace, I think you can see why I’d have gone for flavoured teas.

(Actually, I asked on the David’s Tea Facebook page a while back about a “soda”-themed collection like their “wine” collection, and they told me that something like that is actually on the way! Excited for THAT!)

So yes. I really liked the novelty of flavoured teas for a couple of years, but at this point…I sort of looked into my [actual, physical] cupboard recently, and thought, “How many different combinations of chocolate, coconut, fruit and booze flavours can there really be?” I’m somewhat less excited about them now. I’m becoming more about trying more straight teas now, and the flavoured ones in my cupboard are getting a wee bit neglected at the moment…but I’m sure I’ll come back to them. I think they all have their place.

If an “inferior” tea is masked with flavouring, who cares? What you’re basically saying is that it’s making an undrinkable tea drinkable. I don’t have a problem with that.

DC said

Hi Daniel, i just meant inferior tea as lower grade tea leaves based on industry classification and price.
I was trying to drive across the point that no one flavors a top grade Big Red Robe which cost hundreds per ounce, not to say anyone who does not drink Big Red Robe is in any way inferior.
Just because I don’t drink autumn cranberry or whatever doesn’t mean I have superior palates to one who does.
Hope you are not offended.
I like the analogy of soda, soda is a fun drink and it has its fans, just like flavored tea. I don’t like soda either but I don’t think soda drinkers are morons.

No, I understood what you meant – or thought I did. Just saying that if a lower-grade tea would not be as enjoyable on its own, why not flavour it if that would make it more enjoyable overall? shrugs

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DC said

To clear the air, I don’t think eating or drinking anything makes you superior or inferior to anyone else. Wine drinkers are in no way superior to beer drinkers, its just a personal preference.
It’s just that I wanted to find out who are those who like their tea in its original form, if I posted on a whiskey forum, I would ask who likes single malts- just to see if there is a kindred spirit somewhere around.
I think beer that doesn’t originate from Ireland or Germany is not to my liking, doesn’t mean I think less of you for guzzling a Budweiser. Just a personal choice and a cultural thing.
Hope I didn’t offend anyone with this topic.

Dorothy said

This makes a lot of sense to me, and I don’t see how anyone is being or should be offended. Thank you for posting, Derek Chew.

DC said

Thanks!

Dinosara said

Thanks for this. I think sometimes we who drink flavored tea can be sensative about these things because in the past such threads have devolved into “how could anyone possibly drink flavored tea it’s disgusting and only people who have low-brow tastes could enjoy it” type stuff. Just to let you know the history. But I appreciate that this thread has generally not gone that direction.

I think we also are drawn to correct the idea that all flavored tea is done with a low-quality base. Yeah, there are a lot of crappy flavored teas out there, flavored with low quality flavors on low quality tea. But then there’s people doing blends like David over at Verdant, and his flavored teas are amazing in large part because he uses high quality base tea.

SimplyJenW said

I appreciate it, too. I also realize that part of it is that many come from a background rich in tea culture. I come from a background of no tea culture and am really one of the only people I know in real life that is interested in tea beyond what you can buy at the grocer. We all have our own tea journey. I think it is very important to respect another’s choices and path. In my experience it was the flavored teas that got me interested in the non-flavored ones, and there are still many flavored ones I quite enjoy. It is hard to read over and over how vile some think flavored teas are when I am pretty sure they just tasted a few and moved on, yet, they voice a blanket judgement to cover all flavored teas. There is sometimes an air of elitism that goes along with the comment, which will probably turn more people off to the idea of unflavored tea in a public forum. There are flavored teas and non-flavored ones that are not my ‘cup of tea’, too, but I try not to sound judgemental regarding someone else’s choice by making such harsh statements. I prefer to disagree with grace and respect when I can. All you know of me online comes from my words.

As an example: I think blends with hibisucs in them are revolting and sour. Who could possibly drink that crap? or You know, the few blends I have tried with hibiscus were on the sour side, so I have tended to gravitate toward drinking other things.

DukeGus said

I don’t want to devolve the conversation, as Dinosara said, to “how can you possible drink scented teas” etc but just let’s me tell you what’s in my mind.
*I’m exaggerating a bit to show my point :)

About beer…I don’t think I can understand anyone drinking light beer(bud etc) if he has a choice for skilfully made, no preservatives, handmade, craft beer.
For the lucky of you living in US, craft beer scene is flourishing there and I hope you enjoy high quality beer. It’s like living in China and drinking Lipton :) :)

I don’t know much about the process and making of scented teas and I have no proper evidence that scented teas are made by machine or are artificially infused or are mostly machine made. If they are though it’s totally the as same for tea.

Why buy and drink something a big corp has made, with lower quality tea leaves and spice(or extracts) and not drink the tea that an old farmer made with his own hands that is superior in quality and organically characteristics?

Dinosara said

The Budweiser beer thing is kind of a false analogy because it’s not the same, a Budweiser is not a style of beer but a brand. However, you could use the beer analogy if you said that you can’t understand why anyone would drink a lager because they are all disgusting. But there are some high quality lagers, and some low quality lagers, some lagers made by huge beer companies and some made by small craft breweries; they’re not all the same. They may not appeal to your tastes, but that doesn’t make them all inferior.

Who says you can’t drink the tea that an old farmer has made, but flavored? Not all flavored teas come from a big corp, with low quality leaves and flavors. That’s the point. You can’t generalize.

SimplyJenW said

It is also about availability. To obtain the teas of which you speak where I live, you have to know where to find them online to order as there is not a tea house for miles unless you count Teavana. For the craft beer? I can go to my local grocer or the local bar. The standard of tea to be found locally is getting better, but Tazo and Republic of Tea are about as good as it gets at the grocery if you are lucky. I think it a near impossibility that someone who has not been exposed to tea much will just decide to order direct from someone who gets their tea from a farmer.

DukeGus said

It always get’s down to the same question, scented/flavored tea vs camellia sinensis only. I guess you can’t compare something so different.

It just happens that most people, like me, get a start with cr@ppy scented/flavored tea and when they get to good quality “pure” tea they tend to reject the whole category of scented/flavored and not just the cr@ppy teas they happened to taste.

About the analogy I didn’t think I had to get to that detail but you are both kind-a right. One thing I don’t understand much(which is a whole other conv) is why most people, that are conscious buyers, don’t try to get their money closer to the producer as they can.

Anyone in the mood, watch the movie
“The bitter taste of tea”, it was very enlightening movie about big corps and how they treated the farmers

DukeGus said

Isn’t it strange that pure has the same letters as puer?
*Ok ok it’s pu erh :)

Dinosara said

One last note and then I will stop: generalizations just don’t work. I have “gotten to” good quality unflavored teas, I drink them regularly, but I also still love my high quality flavored teas. I just choose not to reject an entire category of teas because of a few bad experiences. I think there are a lot of people like that here on Steepster.

SimplyJenW said

I am out, too. I am going to make a pot of Earl Grey…….

DukeGus said

Dinosara it never stops! I wish I had 2-3 grams of you flavored teas, it’s a big possibility next time I won’t be defending “pure” tea but accepting the quality of other styles too :)

Lol simpluJenW!
Glad to read your thoughts guys

DukeGus: I just searched the web using the movie title, “The bitter taste of tea”, and found this trailer that I thought I would share with you all: http://www.flipthecoin.org/?p=51

Interesting. Thank you, DukeGus

DukeGus said

It was pretty difficult to find the movie (through the internet of course) and I was pretty shocked about the stuff I learned, especially from the middle to the end of the movie.

It’s not difficult to imagine the practices of those tea companies, but I couldn’t even begin to imagine the level of deceit on the customer. There are no ethics when money is involved.
Having a human being(tea worker) describe the situation it to you…you don’t feel the same after that…

I hope you find it and watch it

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@Derek Chew: Not offended, in fact, I find it interesting that everyone is so committed to their respective tea drinking experience. I’ve heard some compare tea drinkers commitment to their tea as similar to that of a cult following (chuckle).

That said, back to your original question: I almost always take my tea straight up, no flavours or additives. Once I discovered the world of oolong and the surprising array of flavours in aged and fresh and cliff teas, there really wasn’t any need for me to drink flavoured teas. I do have one caveat however: since I was a kid my grandmother used to serve Earl Grey tea to us on a regular basis, and for some reason, whenever I visit her, I still have a cup of either Earl or Lady Grey with a splash of milk. Makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. Maybe I associate the bergamot with her? Regardless, it’s the only time I stray from my commitment to tea straight up with no additions!

Angrboda said

SimplyJenW and Dinosara, thank you. Well said, both of you.

Like you, when I discovered oolong, I started to appreciate tea — straight tea, as I call it in my book. My stash has evolved from flavored teas and blends but it’s quite fun to try them once in a while.

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elemental said

Trust me Derek, you are not alone. With the exception of Earl Grey and a couple of Jasmine infusions, we carry only “straight” teas — and business is good. I am personally a big fan of single-estate teas, and especially Darjeelings. I love the subtle flavor notes that are specific to a particular region, garden and/or picking season, and I find that artificial flavors are over-powering.

One of the things that I have always found magical about tea is that it so simple — dried leaves and water. But it is at the same time very complex, and connects us with the earth in which it grew. This connection is very subtle, and comes to us through the aroma and flavor of each individual tea leaf. For me, that is the true joy of tea.

DC said

I just took a look at your website, your selection is pretty extensive.
I’m glad you agree, I grew up thinking that tea was not flavored but looking at some of the bigger online retailers, it seems unflavored tea is the exception rather than the norm.

elemental said

Every time I add a new tea to our catalog, I think “this is the last one” — and them I come across another tea that I “just have to try”. And so it goes again — another tea added to the list.

joelbny said

i second that, nice selection, elemental… i wonder sometimes if working in the industry would mar the serenity and pure pleasure i receive from tea.

If ever i can afford not to care about whether the business makes or loses money, like Moby and his TeaNY shop, i think i too would set up shop as a specialty importer… what a great excuse for tea-themed travel!

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DC said

One thing’s for sure, we’re all passionate about our tea, flavored or unflavored! Let us continue to spread a love for tea to the people around us!

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