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Any suggestions for a newly addicted loose-leaf tea drinker?

During the summer of 2012, in Costa Rica I met an english man who got me addicted to twinings and tea in general. However, in recent months, I’ve heard about loose-leaf tea being better to drink and have since become addicted. I just stocked up on a ton of supplies (loose leaf tea, three tea pots, a few mugs, a measuring spoon, etc). However, I don’t know all of the intracasies with tea, such as the best zero-calorie sweeteners, seep times, MUST-HAVE tea accessories, etc. I’ve learned that I love black teas and tend to stay away from herbals. Also, I mostly rely on David’s Tea… suggestions? Thanks for reading!

PS: Also a college student on a budget… just thought I’d throw that in there. I just went on Verdant tea website and saw about an ounce of tea for $8… ouch. Any recommendations for slightly more affordable, great quality teas?

32 Replies

Take a sip and savor life! Nothing more simple of a pleasure to be shared with friends and family. I recommend to explore the more varieties of teas and try something new, Adagio Teas is a great place to be introduced into teas I believe! It offers great tea at awesome prices and quite generous from 3oz to 16oz for 6$ to 40$ plus range. Whatever you may fancy you will find and I suggest to visit “TeaMap” while in the Adagio website to get immersed into teas. There are many tea proprietors here in Steepster selling great teas but are usually on the high end qualities and price. I recommend just about any proprietor on Steepster but you may need a bit of pocket change as you are dealing with higher end teas, you can also contact many users to conduct tea swaps and samples. About that sweetener part…I don’t usually sweeten teas to often but when I use a Z-Cal sweetener I avoid Saccharine and Equal as it tends to overpower the tea while Splenda can give a sugary quality. Just don’t pour a whole packet as it often overpowers a tea, kinda gives it a sorta metallic or chemically taste. Keep drinking to good health,you’ll love to explore and acquire a variety of tastes and never be afraid to get into a world of tea. Now that’s is a bush for ya:)! Drink on!

Thanks for your thoughtful message! Will do.

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the teas that you dont care for, you can swap for ones that you want to try out before buying. you get to save a lot that way :)

tastes differ so the only way you can find out if you like a tea is to try it.

also, dont spend too much on accessories coz it wont matter so much when you’re starting out especially with blacks.

and dont go splurging on tea all at once. you have to pace yourself coz everyday you will discover a new tea that you want to try and you’ll want some savings for the big sales at the end of the year like teavana and lucipia’s – unless they’re really good sales like 50% off or liquidation sales like ovation’s right now (unfortunately their blacks have disappeared but fortunately i have some to offer at introductory prices in the very near future)

you need to follow a person and have that person follow you in order to send them a private message

keep your teas airtight by taping and/or ziplocking them if not in tins and unexposed to light by brownbagging if not in tins :)

lastly, you can use the search box in the upper right corner of discussion pages to find a lot of threads by tea newbies asking for advice ;) —for the record, it took me a couple of weeks to discover the discussions feature of steepster hahaha

welcome home!

Thank you for your beautiful message! I already saw someone recomend the pumpkin chai from David’s Tea… bought some this morning! YUM.

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Sil select said

Upton tea has tons of low cost samples that you can try to get a chance to try a wide variety of tea and figure out what you enjoy. If you’re just starting out, small samples are the way to go! :)

Perfect! Will look soon. :) Thank you.

Sil select said

I notice that you’re in san francisco..you have access to some great tea places right in your city! Red Blossom Tea and Lupicia to start :)

Haven’t tried either! Will look into also.

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Lala said

Welcome!
The most important things I learned along the way are to do a bit of research on steeping time and water temperature to get the best flavour out of your tea. Different teas require different times and temperatures (for my black tea I use almost boiling water, 98C, and steep for 3-4 minutes). If you don’t like the tea on first sip, play around with the amount of tea and the time you steep it. In general the longer you steep it the more bitter it will get. So if you want a stronger tea, use more tea to start with.
You don’t need a lot of accessories. I have tonnes, but generally only use a few of them. My favorites are an infuser cup, a tea strainer, and my own tea bags that I can fill with loose leaf tea.
I don’t use alot of zero cal sweetener but I use a lot of other things to sweeten up tea, like honey, cinnamon, vanilla,etc.
This website is a great resource as well!

Ooooh cinnamon! Will try that!
Do you use vanilla extract?

Lala said

Depends what I have. I have used extract. Right now I have some pure Mexican vanilla. Doesn’t get much better than that :)

As a Mexican American, I will GET MY HANDS ON THAT. haha

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Denny said

Sounds like you have a pretty good start anyways.

Let’s hope! Cheers!

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Katiek said

It sounds like you have a good start! And it’s good that you know you generally like black – do you like flavored black teas or non-flavored? Keep an eye on the thread with sales information or other specials. Della Terra Tea has some “mystery” boxes where you get twice the tea for the price, but you don’t get to pick specific teas (although you can specify a type, like all black tea or no herbals)

Also check out the reviews and check out the prices on the ones that interest you. We cover a wide range of prices on Steepster.

And if you get some teas that you don’t really like, consider a swap here on steepster – you may be able to trade them for ones that you like more. And save up so that you can place a larger order and get free shipping (or if you have a friend who enjoys quality tea, maybe you can combine an order). Shipping costs can add a lot to the price of a small order.

Hmm.. Della Terra Tea sounds interesting! Will look into it!

Hmm.. Della Terra Tea sounds interesting! Will look into it!I don’t think I’ve bought quiet enough tea yet for someone to want to swap.. still new so I usually don’t buy more than 1 or 2 oz at a time.

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Uniquity said

Assuming you are Canadian, Adagio is probanly not a great choice as their shipping to Canada is nuts . Teavivre offers some excellent unflavoured teas for amazing prices, they also have a free tea tasting through their site.

Try everything and then drink what you like, how you like. Enjoy!

Lala said

If you search for a thread on here called “which tea companies do you know are Canadian”,it has a big list of companies that have cheap shipping to/within Canada.

Uniquity said

I noticed that was updated again recently, excellent job!

I’m actually American. We just had 2 or 3 David’s Tea stores open… I know they’re just beginning to branch out from Canada.

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gmathis said

For cheap steeps, you might check local import grocery or health food stores—we have one locally that stocks lots of nice, inexpensive bulk tea and you don’t have to commit to more than an ounce or so.

You know what, local import sounds interesting. Will check it out. Thank you!

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How often do you guys re-steep your loose leaves? I’m an avid black tea drinker… and I usually do between 2-4 times.

Is 3 a good number? Also, do you steep the tea for longer periods of time after multiple uses (I would assume so, but clarification would be nice)?

there are a few threads on this. personally, I experiment per tea and/or type of tea, and make notes. I have had some greens and whites that go as far at 5-6, as well as others that only go 1-3, and single steep blacks etc.

Lala said

I generally do not re-steep. It really comes down to your personal preference. However, I have a really strong lapsang souchong that I re-steep a second time. I will leave steep for a bit longer than the first steep.

cuppaT said

I try to steep a tea until the flavor is too weak to enjoy. It depends on the tea and personal preference. There are really very few hard and fast rules when brewing tea.

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One thing that I have found is that Asian food stores have several different types of tea, normally for a fair price. It is always interesting to see what they have. Asian food stores would be a great place to get a chai or thai tea mix. I’ve also seen multiple brands of green tea, and several different herbal teas for sale. All of the Asian food stores that I have been to also have had a fairly good selection of steeping utensils.

Tea is something that was meant to be enjoyed. As a college student, I have a lot of fun introducing my friends to tea. Who knows! Maybe you will introduce a friend to tea and they will become as obsessed as you! That way you will have people to share tea with on a very local and personal level!

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