New to the Tea World.
I need help. I’m trying to learn as much as I can about tea, and how to make it the best experience possible. Right now I just have a cheap KitchenAid Kettle, and a teapot with an infuser from Teavana. Should I invest in a Cast Iron?
It’s not necessary to invest in cast iron, but I must say I love my cast iron pots. They work perfect with a cast iron tea warmer. They are lovely and keep the tea nicely warm.
Well you came to the perfect place to learn about tea. Everyone here is so helpful.
I have a small cast iron pot and I am in love with it. No, I would not use mine as a kettle, as I do not want to ruin the pretty blue outside, but I believe there are some you can. Cast-iron really holds the heat. Right now, I use a glass measuring cup and microwave my water. (shhh don’t tell anyone. Lol) But I am about to invest in one of the kettles? that holds a liter or more of water and reheats as you use it. Like a Kuerig but better.
The thing is there are many types of kettles and tea pots and you can find someone on here who likes each kind the best for their situation. I will need to revisit this once my new YiXing pot comes in. ;0)
We are all new at some point. You will find you quickly develop a personal taste for what tools to use. I began using a regular ol coffee cup, a typical glass measuring cup that I still use to measure my water, and a pot to boil or heat water in with a meat thermometer to tell my water temp! No kettle at all, no pot.
That was only months ago.
You will want to maybe try a few things buying cheaper options in the beginning until you really get a good sense for what is out there and what you like.
For me now it is a Breville brewing system. Look up Breville in the search for tea here on this site for reviews of that. I have a huge amount of cups of all kinds, and I have one kettle with a themometer on it which is tucked away in case GOD FORBID anything happens to my Breville or for travel. I have a few different pots but yet to get a cast iron one. I do not have a need for one YET but it could be an addition some day.
Enjoy the experience and don’t be hesitant to ask questions!
Hmm, I’ll have to look into the Breville. Thank you! If you don’t mind me asking, what is your favorite kind of tea and where do you get it from? I’m a big fan of green teas but I’m willing to try anything. Right now, I have Golden Jade and Jasmine Pearls from Teavana.
Here is a list of my favorite tea retailers:
English Tea Store
Persimmon Tree Tea
but there are SO SO many great ones!
I find new favorites all the time.
AS for a favorite – this was asked in another thread and I will just copy and paste what I said here:
Upon thinking of a favorite tea I had to ask myself what would make a tea a favorite. I LOVE so many teas and there are about 10 that are my “go to” teas. The ones that hubby knows he can make for me at any time if I am too busy working (I work at home all hours of the day and night) and he wants to pamper me. Those are the teas I would never not be in the mood for. While there are teas far more complex, pu-erhs that have a special place in my heart, and teas from companies like Mandala, Samovar, Butiki, Teavivre, Den’s, Lupicia, and Verdant that are what I consider some of the best stuff on earth, there is one tea that makes me so very happy, anytime, anywhere. Hot or iced, straight, or with additives, it is always one that makes me beam with delight and brings a smile to my face. I can simply sniff it and fall in love with it all over again. That tea for me is Strawberry Zabaglione by 52 Teas.
As for a favorite KIND of tea I would have to say Oolong and Pu-erh.
If you do get a cast iron, make sure to look at the size of the infuser basket. If it’s too small, you won’t get any flavor from the tea. For certain teas, I steep them, and then put them into the cast iron tea pot (mainly because it keeps them warm, but not enough room for steepage).
I’ve met some people who prefer ceramic pots because they loose heat quick enough to make the tea drinkable, but hold heat long enough for it to steep. I don’t have a ceramic pot, but they are a lot cheaper depending where you go.
I have a cast iron and an ingenuiTEA. I find that the ingenuiTEA works better for leaves that expand during steeping (or when I need to put in a lot of tea for it to provide good flavor), and results in a more flavorful result for some teas. The cast iron is great for teas that don’t need as many leaves put in the basket. It also allows me to enjoy my tea for a longer time, where with the ingenuiTEA I have to drink it somewhat quickly depending on the tea.
That’s a good point, maybe ceramic is the best option for me. I really don’t like beverages that are too hot.
Glad to see someone else doing the Ingenuitea to cast iron route!
I would HIGHLY recommend an Ingenuitea (or similar type tool) as your next tea related hardware purchase. Not too expensive, and it’s a great vessel for brewing full-leaf teas like Oolong.
I’d hold off on the cast iron for now. It’s not necessary and they can be pricey. I think a better investment would be a non-plastic kettle, like the utiliTEA.
Isn’t Ingenuitea plastic? I read reviews that said plastic kettles aren’t as quality, and can even be harmful.
You’ll hear mixed reviews about it. I’ve definitely heard that you shouldn’t boil/microwave water in plastic, but a lot of people use ingenuiTEAs
If you do want to try cast iron, you could always maybe find a cheap one on eBay, or World Market has $20 ones: http://www.worldmarket.com/product/index.jsp?productId=4338948 They also have $8 ceramic teapots too if you want to go that route!
And it should not be used as a kettle. Heat the water up as usual then pour it into the teapot. You probably don’t want to subject any teapot to the direct heat, so the kettle doesn’t really matter, as long as it gets the water hot!
One very important thing to keep in mind when making your tea is that you use the right water temperature (roughly) for the specific kinds of tea.
For example, black teas require that the tea be around 205F while green teas shouldn’t be steeped with boiling water because it can literally “cook” the leaf.
I made a handy chart to make using roughly the correct temperature easy (because obviously buying an expensive thermometer is silly)
Another thing about tea that is crucial to understand is…. its going to be one of the best things to happen to you!! Not only is it delicious and has such variety, but it is very healthy.
What’s more, tea is something which you form a personal relationship with and get into your own personal ritual. You create a connection with it and it becomes part of your story. Yet not only is it a personal experience, it can and often is a wonderful method of socialization. Tea has changed the way people socialize and get together across the globe, in every culture.
That and of course, being a tea person means you get to chill with us tea people on Steepster! Welcome to the passion Tea and Trees.
Some people don’t like adagio, but I think it’s a great cheap place to see what kinds of teas you like and if you prefer flavored, etc. I also agree with the websites listed a few posts above ^
As for brewing, I have a nifty electric brewer where you set the type of tea and then drop the basket in until it’s to temperature then it times your steep and keeps it warm for 30 minutes. It’s like the super fancy breville, but half the price!
If you want to try some black teas, I can send you Some samples! I don’t have any green, though!
Finally, welcome here! This place will be your best friend, but your wallet’s worst enemy! :)
Thank you, I’ll have to check out adagio. In my opinion Teavana is much too expensive and I hate going into that store. I would love to try some black teas, thank you so much! People are so nice on this site!
that’s because tea makes nice people! Black teas are fantastic, especially if you were ever a coffee drinker.
Agree with Madeline: I’ve some unflavored black, green and white that I could send you. I’m trying to reduce the size of my stash so it’d be no trouble to mail you out some stuff.
I’m up for anything! Wow, thank you so much.
Oh!!! When I got an order from Teavana, I saved the box so I could send you some teas, but then I forgot why I saved the box! Just remembered haha! I’ll start making a sample box tomorrow while my boyfriend is at work (he doesn’t approve of swaps and such- he thinks somebody is going to poison somebody else…..)
This also reminds me that I REALLY need to update my cupboard on here and maybe just maybe actually post tea tasting reviews…..