I have just discovered tea!
I just started an internship with an ad agency, and one of their clients is a tea company. I was required to learn everything there is to know about tea, and I am fascinated. Along with my passion for decorating, I am looking forward to buying a cute tea kettle and tea set to match my kitchen. Growing up, my mom always gave us tea as remedies, but I was never so much into them. Now that I am quite informed about tea, those teas that I have tried are of the lowest quality- it’s no wonder I was not a big fan. I hope to hear some suggestions from you all on what to try first, and what to stay away from !
Welcome! I’m actually quite new to the tea scene myself, so would hesitate to tell you what to buy and stay away from (and honestly, quality aside, so much of that is a matter of taste). Trying to figure out my own tea preferences is turning out to be a fascinating (and sort of expensive) journey, but it’s all been quite worthwhile! But yeah, welcome to the world of tea—however you entered it!
I would agree with keychange that it is a matter of taste, and I have found that my preferences have changed greatly over the years. I tend to go through phases where I’m really in the mood for one specific type of tea (right now I’m going through an Oolong phase.)
A lot of the fun for me has been ordering sample sizes from different companies to discover what I enjoy the most. I’m always excited to find a new favorite company or type of tea. My advice to you would be that it is better to order sample sizes when you are first discovering what you enjoy, that way you don’t end up with a lot of tea you don’t really like.
Here are some of my suggestions of places to start
Instead of a cute tea kettle, I suggest investing in an electric kettle instead. It’s not as picturesque as the on-the-stove type, but much more practical.
As for what type of tea to try first – do you have a sense of what kind you would like/not like? The world of tea is huge. You can drink Asian tea – but Japanese? Chinese? There’s also African tea – rooibos and honeybush. And herbal. And then there’s flavored tea.
I would recommend you go to Adagio Teas (https://www.adagio.com/) and select a bunch of sample sizes to try. They also have sampler packs of a type (say, flavored oolongs, or all rooibos). They’re only a couple dollars each and it’s an easy way to try a tea without committing to a huge amount.
I’d second going to Adagio. That’s where I first started out and their sample sizes are great.
yeah. electric kettle is the way to go, especially one with variable temp feature. i recently bought an oster. so far, so good.
I was just on their website and there are so many that I want to try! Their sample sizes are not expensive either. Thank You!
Also, I am considering an electric kettle now that many of you suggested it.
Actually a cheaper option is to stick with a stove top kettle (If you have 1.) and buy a electric tea thermometer or a stove top kettle with a thermometer on it.
Look to the ‘Places’ tab on the top of the screen, hopefully you’ll find some shops/tea houses nearby to explore 1st before buying anything online.
A stovetop kettle is really a nuisance for multiple infusions using a small pot, which is how most serious tea-brewers end up doing it, unless you set it on an electric burner next to your tea set-up. A stovetop kettle limits you to western style brewing or hopping up to run to the kitchen constantly, really not workable. I agree that the single most useful investment (besides a gaiwan or other small brewing vessel) at the start is a variable temp electric kettle – it’s difficult to see why until one’s had some experience. If the variable one isn’t affordable, you can pick up an inexpensive one and a thermometer and that’ll do.
I don’t see a lot of beginners really being into resteeping…but then I’m basing it off of my own experiences and inclinations. I did only mean until a person gets to where they are sure they like tea and want a variety of different temp teas. I wish I had taken that road, as much as I love my variable temp kettle, but considering the price…it was kind of a risky investment for me after only about a month or 2 of interest.
Variable temp kettles are actually great for more than just tea, so that is something else to consider. I use mine for oatmeal, hot chocolate, and a variety of other things that need hot water. If you happen to have an addiction to ramen it’s great for that too.
My variable temp kettle was $40 – only a bit more than a regular electric or stovetop kettle.
Don’t forget, you can always boil water in a pot on the stove in a pinch. That is what I do at my mothers.
Counter space is limited in most kitchens. If you are just starting, you can always just heat water in a microwave.
I also want to second Short Sorceress’ suggestion of the Verdant tea 5 for $5 sampler. It is superb tea at a great price, and will show you a wide variety. Start there!
Welcome to the tea world. If you are interested in tea and a tea lover, you’d better choose high quality. I suggest you can choose loose leaf tea instead of tea bag. For loose leaf tea has higher quality than tea bag.
First of all, if you don’t know what kind of tea is your favorite, as Short Sorceress said, it’s better to order sample sizes when you are first discovering what you enjoy.
Second,after you find your favorite tea.It’s better to know how to brew the tea with the suitable water tem and brew method. So you can enjoy the wonderful flavor.
There are so many options when it comes to teaware and the costs can easily add up. Before jumping into any purchase I would consider how well your teaware will grow with you as your tastes change, that way you don’t have something sitting around gathering dust. There are plenty of people here who will tell you what teaware just didn’t work out for them, so don’t be afraid to ask. We’re a group of very opinionated people here :)
My vote is for a variable temp kettle, a cute tea set, and something that works well for taking tea to work.
One purchase that I never regretted was my Zojirushi electric kettle. It has lasted through 6 years of daily use and is incredibly convenient to have around. The initial cost was hard to swallow since I was on a student’s budget at the time, but there are certainly less expensive kettles to be had.
When it comes to a tea set, bigger isn’t always better. I find that a 12-18oz pot is the perfect size for me. Anything larger and my tea is cold by the time I finish off the pot since I’m the only one drinking it. If you’re looking for something inexpensive, try Good Will or another thrift shop. I constantly see full tea sets for under $5 at ours.
For work, I like the ingenuiTEA from Adagio. It’s easy to use, easy to clean, and inexpensive. This may not be a good option if you don’t have a source of hot water at work.
Sometimes mining garage sales can work, like if you look up garage sales notices on Craigslist.com
I am new to tea as well and am looking forward to trying samples. I know for sure I like Oolong, English Breakfast, Earl Grey and Chestnut (bought from adaigo.com). I know I don’t like Chocolate Mint and Chocolate, both flavored black teas that lack in flavor. Now that I have discovered Teavivre, I question my steeping methods as well as times and temps. There is a lot for me to learn and I look forward to it.
I have not tried any chocolate mint teas, but I was looking forward to it since I love mint. Do you usually like a mint flavor? Is it just the lack of flavor in the tea that you don’t like?
I’ve tried chocolate mint teas from a couple different sources, and just like “plain” teas, they can vary a lot. If you generally like a flavor, but didn’t like one brand, don’t be afraid to try again – but try to get samples or smaller amounts in a trade so that you don’t buy large quantities of a tea for your initial taste test.
wow, you guys are helpful! thank you for all of the recommendations. I definitely look forward to trying out some samples and searching for an inexpensive kettle to begin with. Labor day weekend is coming up, so I will be searching for some good sales.
If you’re considering ordering from Adagio, I’d highly recommend getting their ingenutea. I used to use a regular teapot with a mesh basket, but since getting my ingenutea, I don’t want to use anything else. It’s so easy to use especially if you’re just wanting one cup of tea, or even two.
DavidsTea & Teavana both have gravity steepers also, but I’ve never used them so I’m not sure how they’d compare.
Also, if you’re planning on ordering from Adagio, follow me and send me a message and I can give you a $5 off code for your first order.