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How many staples do you carry in your cupboard?

89 Replies
Ian said

It’s so interesting to view what everyone else keeps as a staple! I feel like you know more about a person when you look inside their tea cupboard.

Here’s my list:
2 or 3 breakfast blacks
2 or 3 greens for the afternoon
4 or 5 flavored blacks
3 flavored greens (sometimes I have more but I never try to have less)
10 or so herbals/tisanes (I’m a big herbal tea drinker)
pu-erh of some sort
2 or 3 really nice oolongs
2 unflavored mates (fresh and roasted)
2 or 3 flavored mate
5 rooibos and/or honeybush blends

I agree, looking in one’s cupboard seems to tell so much about a person’s character.
Lately, I too am a big herbal fan. Rooibos, well I do enjoy them but not every day.

Azzrian said

I too am loving herbal, rooibos, honeybush etc a lot lately.

same here!! odd, there was a time I could barely get through a cup

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Aiko said

Hmmm, I have a ton of tea, but most of them are just samples and curiosities. I think there’s only a few teas I consider must-have staples:

- A plain black mugworthy breakfast tea to enjoy first thing in the morning (this tends to alternate between an Assam and a Yunnan, whenever I get tired of one I switch to the other).
- A higher end white, green, or oolong for afternoon ceremonial-esque tea sessions
- A green rooibos blend of some kind, for the days when I need a warm drink but my body isn’t tolerating the caffeine.
- An herbal blend containing chamomile and/or valerian root or some combination of relaxing/sleep inducing herbs, for those nights when I have 4am shifts the next day.
- A Japanese green of some kind, usually genmaicha, just because it goes so, so splendidly with rice-based dinners. I can’t imagine having rice without it.

Everything else is just….filler. I just happen to have a ton of filler. I suppose if I stripped myself down to only those five teas I would find out soon enough if there was something else I needed to add to that list, but right now I have so many choices it’s almost overwhelming, hah.

I know what you mean. Funny how you don’t realize how necessary a tea is until the sample you have is gone isn’t it?!
Having so many teas on hand is more habit for me. I could never understand how some people have the same ol’ tea day in and day out without a second thought. That would be so boring!

Dinosara said

For reals, I’m living that life right now. I have only one kind of tea, and even with adding things to it (rosebuds, lemon, ginger, etc) I am bored out of my mind with it. And it’s only been a week! Maybe it would be different if I really loved it in the first place.

I feel for ya, that is my tea nightmare right there!! Here’s hoping that you get to hit the tea shops soon :)

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I have been sampling a lot lately from a bunch of companies and as a result my staples have changed slightly, not so much as what kind of tea, more like from who specifically. I do agree that you learn more about a person by looking at their favorites. I wouldn’t say so much as looking at their cupboard because I know there’s plenty others out there that are trying a lot of new and different teas like I am.
So, my staples more or less are:

Jasmine pearls (no specific company)
Jasmine tea (I’m finding I’m preferring H&S)
Snow Dragon (H&S)
Ancient Emerald Lily (Rishi)
Sencha (H&S, although I’m currently out)
Matcha (currently searching for a good one for lattes)
Earl Green (Baltimore Coffee and Tea)
Another flavored green or two (no specific ones)
Silver Needle (Teavana)
White Yunnan Jasmine (Verdant, a new favorite)
Mind and Body (Teavana)
A Green Oolong (right now I’m liking Thai Mt from Teavana)
A flavored oolong (haven’t really found a specific one)
A Rooibos or two (right now Jessie’s Tea from DavidsTea and Tropica from Teavana)
Peppermint (no company in specific)
Chamomile (no company in specific)
Lavender (no company in specific)
Chai (nothing specific)

Now that I wrote that all down, it’s a lot more than I thought it was!

It usually ends up more than intended for me as well. Showing my list anywhere but here would be somewhat embarrassing!

Wow, looking at this now, even after only 8 months, my cupboard and tastes have changed a bit.

My staples, while some are seasonal and will change once I run out, are now:
-Jasmine Silver Needles (Verdant or Teavivre)
-Summer Harvest Laoshan Green (Verdant)
-Mi Lan Xiang Phoenix Mountain Dancong (Verdant)
-Sencha (H&S)
-Matcha (for lattes, right now I have Kai Matcha)
-Jasmine Pearls (Teavivre or Rishi)
-At least one flavored green tea (I have a few right now)
-A flavored Puerh (right now I’m preferring Xingyang Silk Road Spice and Xingyang Chrysanthemum Puerh both from Verdant)
-a flavored oolong (right now it’s Earl of Anxi from Verdant)

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Okay, so all kidding aside…

I still consider myself new to the whole loose leaf tea thing. This list will undoubtedly change as I get a little more adventurous with the things I’m unfamiliar with.

What I’ll always have around:

Black:
English Breakfast (no clear favorite yet)
Iced Tea (Organix Texas Iced Tea from TropicalTeaCo)
Earl Grey (no clear favorite yet, looking forward to some Earl Grey Cremes)
Cinnamon Orange (MarketSpice)
Vanilla (Serendipitea)
Coconut(Serendipitea)
Masala Chai (MarketSpice)
Rum Butter (MarketSpice)
Vanilla Cinnamon (no favorite yet)

Green:
Genmaicha (Serendipity)
Moroccan Mint (MarketSpice)
Vanilla Green (TropicalTeaCo)

White:
Pai Mu Tan (I had almost given up on white tea before TropicalTeaCo’s Pai Mu Tan)

Mate:
Samurai Chai (Teavana, but excited for my OvationTeas order!)

Herbal:
Blueberry Rooibos (TropicalTeaCo)
Vanilla Rooibos (MarketSpice)
Vanilla Almond Rooibos (Tea Spot)
Vanilla Cinnamon Rooibos (English Tea Store)
Lemon Chamomile (Tea Forte)
Strawberry Chamomile (no favorite yet)

Things that I still want to try and see if they belong in the cupboard:

Lapsang Souchong
Dragonwell
Sencha
Green Matcha
Red Matcha
Roasted Mate
A good Darjeeling
Oolongs

Scott B said

Teavana makes a decent Dragonwell-but I am looking for an upgrade myself. TeaGschwendner’s Lapsang is reliable. First flush Darjeeling teas should be out very soon-hopefully this month. Thinking of getting Thurbo Estate from Rare Tea Republic-had a sample of last year’s tea that was good.

sounds like you know what you want!! that’s a healthy list and so organized…
I guess I’m a bit jealous since mine is all over the place lol

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I just showed my wife all of your lists and said, “Well, it looks like something around 30 is the magic number.” Well, at least a magic number in terms of an ‘upper range’ (one or two had around 35). She said, “OK, if we can get it down to 30, I’ve love it!” I estimated we have about 80+ different teas at the moment—not counting sample (any tea under two ounces) or tea bags; that total is closer to about 150.

I have been mentally working on my list today, and I am thinking something like 40 will be the best I can do; and, hey, at least it’s a lot better than 80!

Well, to be fair… we’re only posting our ‘staples’ here! We have something like 40 teas or so right now, not counting the two orders I have coming in ;)

Same here with only posting staples, I have a lot more than what I listed here!

actually, I have more samples than anything else. Even my essentials are pretty small (50g) because I have so many of them, I’d never drink it down in time before it went stale…

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Wait, did I see a comment in there about you being a newbie? Haha, what does that make me? I haven’t even gotten started on oolongs yet, really! Nor pu-erhs. They are both sorta my next wave of experiments.

So far:
-One light, sweet black (Ceylon at the moment).
-One bolder black (so far I think either an Assam or DT’s Kenyan Tinderet are doing nicely).
-A green, I guess? I’m just not the biggest fan of greens, so I’m still experimenting with these ones to find one (that isn’t floral) which I find really drinkable, because there are just some circumstances where I think it really needs to be green!
-A nice, light, fruity white (strawberry is especially good, but I’m not super particular about the the fruit – I’m digging mango right now, too).
-A mate to help me come down from my Dexedrine. Flavoured might help, but the mate is the most important thing because I need the kick.
-A chai.
-At least one Earl Grey.
-At LEAST one (but possibly more than one) chocolate tea. This is the flavoured section I think I would have the most trouble narrowing down. Outside of tea, I’m not the world’s biggest fan of chocolate, weirdly enough.
-A “comfort” flavour black tea. DT’s Buttered Rum is a good example; so is 52teas Pancake Breakfast.
-A pumpkin black. Doesn’t fall into the above category; it’s just completely essential on its own.
-A fruity rooibos.
-A tisane with raspberry leaf for when I don’t feel well.

…Wow, that’s more flavoured teas than I expected. Or maybe I should have expected that, knowing myself! I get sick of them in turn, but there are certain flavours I just can’t imagine not ever drinking again!

I know what you mean! I consider myself more of a “straight tea” girl but then I look at my cupboard and there are so many flavoured ones that I love… shrugs
and I’m like that with lemon and blueberry. I dislike them in cakes or pastries but in a tea? bring it on!!!

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forsythia said

I have three staples, ones I buy and drink on a regular basis: Lady Grey, Prince of Wales, and Yorkshire Tea or Yorkshire Gold. All the rest are ones I drink occasionally or thought I’d like or the tin or box was inviting. One such tea is the “Royal Wedding Tea” from Harney & Sons in these lovely sachets, in honor of Prince Will and Kate’s wedding. Turned out to be nearly candy-like and so far I’ve only tried it once. There are 80 (well maybe 70 now since I gifted some) sachets and I’m afraid it will go terribly stale soon if I don’t start drinking it.

gifting tea is the perfect way to get rid of it!!
Maybe making it iced would help? or bring it to work and just leave it in the kitchen. People are always attracted to free stuff! :)

Put them up for swap! I know I’m interested. :)

forsythia said

Sure, I’ll send you some Royal Wedding sachets Mercuryhime, but unsure as to where email addys are posted for exchange. I didn’t see info under “Let’s Swap Teas” thread either. Here is a description of the tea: Chinese white tea, rose petals,cornflowers,marigold petals, natural and artificial almond, coconut and vanilla flavors. To me it smells and tastes like an Almond Joy candy bar.

That sounds delicious. We have to follow each other, then we can PM (private message). Also look through my cupboard and let me know what you like. It’s pretty up to date.

forsythia said

Ok. Think I found the proper avenue for PM. It’s on it’s way – I hope.

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Uniquity said

I feel so simple, the only thing I really NEED to have is a good solid unflavoured black tea. Now, a lot of things are nice to have, but if I never had any more green, white or oolong I’d be pretty okay. No black tea though? That’s madness! Oh, wait. I need a mint tea as well, possibly Spearmint from David’s Tea. Some herbals would be nice too, sans hibiscus.

My problem is that what I need and what I buy/want never match up!

I hear ya on that Uniquity, Maslow’s theory at work in our tea world huh :)
I suppose when you boil it down (get it?? ha!) all I really need is a few herbals, a great oolong and a black, but I would get so bored of that!

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tigress_al said

Wow, this is going to be a long list!:
Mate—- usually Davids Chocolate Rocket or my local Mate Carnival
Black earl grey—- usually my local creamy earl grey
a chocolate tea—- any brand
milk oolong—- I am working on trying every brand I can get my hands on!
another dark oolong
jasmine green- local herb store variety, and Jasmine Pearls from TeaVivre
lots of whites because they are my fav—-any brand, any flavour
a couple of rooibos to help me digest at night
herbals for caffeine-free iced teas
mint—- also working on trying all different brands

These are my staples, and then I have a very long list of samples and other teas….I love to try new teas, it is my favourite hobby!

have you tried the American Tea Room version of Milk Oolong? expensive, but my fave by far!!!

tigress_al said

I have not tried that one, the shipping price is a little high but I will try it one day! I have only tried Davids, Teopia, and TeaVivre

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I know, this is ridiculously long, but it is a list I have been wanting to make anyway. : )

For me, determining what actually constitutes a staple tea is not easy. Still, it was interesting for me to ponder. I occasionally have a kind of mental going over with myself about what I have in stock (and talk to my wife about it), what Teas I don’t have that I want to have, and what Teas I currently have that don’t add value to our cabinet. I’m still pretty new to loose leaf, and even Tea for that matter. All that to say, which Teas I consider a staple Tea is still ‘under construction’.

I drink tea for a variety of reasons. Taking the time to think through why I drink what I drink has helped me to realize wanting any particular flavor is not a major factor in my decision to chose to stock or drink any one particular tea, so, as such, I don’t have any favorite flavors. Maybe I’m still in some experimental phase; I honestly don’t know.

I do have types, or styles, of Tea that I like (Bi Lo chun, or a Yunnan Red). Some, like Dragon Well, I am starting to see as old friends (it is the first style of loose leaf green tea I ever tried). And I like to have some on hand to showcase to others, because they invoked such wonder from me the first time I encountered them, I hope to be able to give others that opportunity (Lapsang Souchong is one example). It’s fun to have at least one of Frank’s 52Teas to show off to guests (I think the kids can especially appreciate them).

I am also not partial to having to get a Tea from any one particular vendor (at least, not yet). The closest I can come to wanting to have any particular Tea around are the Laoshan teas Verdant Teas carries. And I like what I am getting from Life in Teacup, but that’s still too early yet to tell. Still, once I run out of the Verdant Teas or the Life in Teacup teas I have, I think I’ll be OK if I don’t restock them right away (or never). I’ve been out of many of the Tea Trekker teas I bought last year for some time now, and as much as I liked them, and although I plan to buy from Tea Trekker again, I don’t plan on buying any of those particular Teas again.

I don’t feel the same about any one particular Tea in the way I do about having to have Coke Zero in the house (I have been a Coke fan ever since I remember, and to this day I still love it and have one on occasion; I am having one right now, sitting next to my cup of tea, of course!). So, in regards to a ‘must have Tea’, the closest thing I could come is any decent, relatively fresh, green tea; because we literally drink a pot every morning, I like a variety of them (I think I read in a tea review that Dinosara had to drink the same tea over an over again for over a week. That would be sad!). Still, I want to have a diverse variety of other Teas around, too.

When it comes to the true Teas, I prefer the single estate ones, as I like the concept that they will taste a little different from year-to-year, harvest-to-harvest (I have heard them sometimes referred to as ‘self-drinking teas’). So am I not interested in blends; I think that is because, with regards to Tea at least, I am not interested in consistency; I am instead interested in discovery. Although this may change as time moves forward, I may always approach Tea from a place of wanting to discover its wonders newly each time I encounter it. And honestly, I feel there is something meaningful about the fact that when I drink the last of whatever Tea I have, it’s gone for good.

Blah, blah, blah. Believe it or not, I actually had more to say on this topic, but I’m going to cut it short at that and give you the best ‘list of staple teas’ I could come up with.

I like knowing that many different countries are represented in my cupboard, and that I have a tea from every class, including some of the major ‘types’ of herbals. I like having at least a few Teas that are from small farms and/or small tea retailers. There is something about having a variety of teas that make me feel, complete, somehow (I have a pu-erh, but I have only brewed it up once). Unless specified, these are natural, or pure, Teas:

Chinese Green: (total of about 10 to 12, based largely on price: at least 3 that are less than $2 per OZ, at least 3 from $2 – $4 per OZ, and at least two higher quality teas, over $4 per OZ)
- A least a few current year spring greens (at or less than a year from harvest, at least)
- One (preferably two) Dragon Well (Long Jing)
- One Huang Shan Mao Feng
- One Bi Lo Chun
- One or two flavor-added ones (Although I currently have a number of these, I am noticing I don’t really need them)
- A few lesser known teas (like ones from Life in Teacup and Verdant Teas) Other green teas that complete each price category

Japanese Green: (about 2 – 3)
At least one quality sencha.
One Gyokuro (As it’s high in Theanine)

Yellow: (1 – 2)
One (preferably two: at least one being of the bud only variety)

Chinese Red: (4 – 5)
One Yunnan
One Keemun
One Lapsang Souchong
One or two others (Like the Laoshan)

Indian Black (at least 3 pure, and 5 flavor-added):
One or two Darjeelings (preferably one FF and one SF)
One Assam
Possibly a Ceylon
Any Flavor-added black Teas that my wife enjoys

White: (I’m still somewhat exploring this class of teas) (about 4, to drink in the evenings)
At least one natural one (that is affordable, so probably not Silver Needles)
A couple of flavor-added ones (that my wife enjoys)

Oolongs: (I’m still exploring this class of teas) (about 3)
One Dang Cong
One TGY
One Taiwan High Mountain Oolong

Pu-erh: (1)
One Sheng (just to know I have at least one in my cupboard)

Herbal: (about 5 – 8, to drink in the evenings)
One Rooibos
One Honeybsuh
A few flavor-added versions of Rooibos and/or Honeybush
One or two fruit teas (to add to flavor some of the natural teas)
One Yerba Mate (During the day)
One flavor-added Yerba Mate (During the day)

A few full leaf teas in pyramid bags (for convenience)

That comes to roughly 40 +/-

Thanks for sharing! I kind of want to bookmark this as a guide :)

I’m glad you liked it.

I see you have matcha on your list. I want to try matcha, someday, but I like to take things slow—at least in terms of types of tea to try.

I also see you have a few vanilla flavored tea on your list. That is probably the closest to any flavor that I must have on hand (I have a vanilla rooibos that I may have to replace when it’s gone, or maybe even before that).

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