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expertmax said

Beginner to tea, where to start ?

Hi,

I would love to know more about tea like how to prepare it, steep it and drink it.

Which teas you can re-steep ? Which teas are non-caffeinated ? Which stores to trust ?

Speaking of stores, I made my first tea online purchase with Butiki teas since so many people like how this company works. They were right, they are amazing. Received the teas and I love them.

I often visit my (not so) local David’s Tea store in Laval, QC but I always end up buying a 100g of Chocolate Mint Rooibos. I also visit a shop in Montreal, QC called “Cha Noir” which has an amazing Chai Rooibos.

I have in my cupboard 4 teas from Butiki (more on the way), 5 teas from David’s tea, 2 teas from Cha Noir and some 2 or 3 containers of generic tea brands like Salada or Lipton.

I love very strong mint teas, if somebody knows one I would be so happy to hear from you. I also like to discover new things, I am adventurous.

Well thanks for your support. Have a nice day to y’all !

EDIT: I forgot to speak about teaware. Right now to steep my teas and to retain the leaves, I use the coffee maker from IKEA :

http://www.ikea.com/ca/en/catalog/products/60241389/

Not sure if this is the ideal stuff but I works quite well I would say. I am also looking for a nice teapot, I found one at Teavana called the Winter Dragon YiXing teapot but I’ve heard horror stories about Teavana so I’m going to buy elsewhere.

(Sorry for my bad english hehe)

21 Replies

I think you’ll find that there is a LOT to learn in the world of tea! To answer a few of your questions – you can resteep just about any tea. As for non-caffeinated: honeybush and rooibos for sure, lots of herbals are non-caffeine also. I’ve had good luck with stores like Butiki, Harney and Sons, Golden Moon, Teavivre, and Whispering Pines.

I’m sure others will be along soon to add more.

expertmax said

Thank you ! Your reply was very informative.

Also, take a look through these discussion boards. There is a wealth of information here. You can search by topic to help narrow down the choices.

Personally, I almost never resteep black teas. I find they usually don’t resteep well and most of the flavour is lost. And, I’m really iffy about resteeping herbals too for the same reason, though some mixes (like mint herbals) I find resteep surprisingly well. Other than that, I resteep everything else.

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SInce you like strong mint teas, I’d recommend Peppermint Amour from DAVIDsTEA (unless you already have it). Following their brewing guide, you get an OK peppermint tea but I too absolutely love strong mint teas, and to get an absolutely killer peppermint tea I often double or triple the amount of dry leaf they recommend as well as doubling or tripling the steep time.

It becomes incredibly potent.

Della Terra has some really neat dessert teas: my favourites that I’ve tried from there are Monkey Bread (now renamed Cinnamon Bun) and Minty Cow (which seems to change names depending on the season – right now I think it’s Bats In The Bellfry) which are both black tea bases. Minty Cow has chocolate, mint, and vanilla in it.

Some people I know are holding out for David’s Christmas collection though – they have a blend called Santa’s Secret which is expected to return which is also Chocolate, Mint, Vanilla and a black tea base (and apparently it’s better because the vanilla is stronger).

And, I also like Della Terra’s Strawberry Zest which is a really refreshing flavoured green tea with Strawberry, Ginger, and Spearmint (another mint tea for you to try).

Hopefully that gives you some ideas.

Uniquity said

I don’t think there is chocolate in Santa’s secret but it is really good! I also love mint and steep a tablespoon of Peppermint Amour for the whole time I drink it. Good stuff! Herbals to avoid if you are not into caffeine are mate and guayusa. Some stores class them as herbals but they’re highly caffeinated. Enjoy!

I just checked the page for Santa’s Secret and you’re right; my bad.

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Feel free to try and resteep everything. If it comes out well, make a note on the tea (or use your tea log here on steepster as reference) for next time.

For a really good resteeping tea, totally try a pu’er!

Since you’re in Canada, I’d try http://www.luxberrytea.com/ and http://www.zentealife.com/index.php btw, Zen Tea Life has some good priced teaware and travel tumblers.

expertmax said

Is there something wrong with David’s Tea ?

yyz said

No. I think we just assumed that you were familiar with them and were looking to try some other companies.

DT is great, but yeah, assuming you’d want to try other companies + DT sounds out of your way. Plus, Luxberry does free shipping within Canada.

expertmax said

I love my “local” David’s Tea, good customer service, people have knowledge about their stuff and they do not try to upsell like Teavana (which are currently opening a store in the same mall). If David’s tea is a honest company, I’ll keep on buying there.

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Courtney said

Butiki is amazing – good choice. I also enjoy Tealish, which is based out of Toronto. I also order from Harney & Sons and Della Terra in the US. There are so many great tea places to order from, I’m sure you’ll come across more and more that people mention here.

I usually try to resteep all my teas at least once, some work better than others, but it doesn’t hurt to try :)

expertmax said

I’ve heard good stories about Tealish, might order from them soon, thanks for your input !

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yyz said

If you enjoy mint blends, Whispering Pines has quite a few interesting mint blends and relatively affordable shipping to Canada.

http://whisperingpinestea.com/teas.html

If you were interested in exploring more local companies, Camelia Sinensis has an excellent selection of straight teas and often has nice selections of tea ware.

http://camellia-sinensis.com/fr/

Tao Tea leaf also has some excellent teas and a variety of yixing

http://www.taotealeaf.com/yixing-teapot/?sort=featured&page=2

expertmax said

Yikes, Camellia Sinensis is not affordable… 50$ for Gyokuro.

yyz said

Some of their teas are a little expensive that’s true, but they are generally well regarded.

I haven’t tried this company before but they have an interesting selection of greens and seem to be a little more affordable.

http://www.amourdesthes.com/shopping/the-vert-c-21_25.html

Den’s tea has a great starter kit for those interested in Japanese greens.
http://www.denstea.com/bnew-to-dens-teab-c-377.html
http://www.o-cha.com/home.php is another site you might consider.

expertmax said

Whoa that was quite helpful ! Thanks a million !

ifjuly said

Enthusiastic thumbs up to Tao Tea Leaf and Den’s Tea as great sources for affordable, good quality green tea when you’re starting out. As for Whispering Pines, if you try it and find it lacking at first, I recommend adding more leaf than normal, and/or cold steeping (stick in a container overnight in the fridge, strain). I thought I wasn’t impressed with WP at first, that the teas lacked flavor, but it turns out some are really delicious, they just need to be amped up more than I’m used to.

As for caffeine, it’s still sort of murky which teas contain the most caffeine—common wisdom used to say black tea, but now it looks like it might actually be the less processed sorts like whites. And there’s a lot of myths about caffeine and tea (a common one is that if you rinse your tea leaves for a few seconds and dump that water out and then steep your tea like normal it’ll remove most of the caffeine; this isn’t true). Pretty much anything with proper tea leaves in it is going to have SOME caffeine unless it’s been decaffeinated. This is kinda dense but an interesting take on “ack, tea and caffeine”: http://verdanttea.com/whats-the-real-deal-with-caffeine-in-tea/

Resteeping…it varies by person, I’d just resteep on a whim whenever you finish a new tea the first time to see. You can always dump it if you don’t like it after a sip. Personally, I rarely find flavored “basic” black teas resteep-worthy, but there can be exceptions if the base is full leaf/tippy/etc. and/or the flavorings involved are resteep-friendly (hibiscus is, often mint is). Green tea and oolongs don’t steep in water as hot usually, and also steep for less time than black teas often, so they resteep well (some people even think it’s the second through fourth steeps of greens or oolongs where the flavor is the best). A lot of times I’ll drink a tea hot and throw the leftover leaves in a container in the fridge overnight, and more often than not I’m pleasantly surprised to find it’s pretty good cold the next day. Not always but sometimes (I especially love greens this way).

Some online stores I’ve had really good customer service experiences with, where I feel confident if something was way off/wrong with something they sent and I told them they’d do what they could to resolve things: Verdant, Butiki, New Mexico Tea Company, Teavivre (they do free shipping worldwide for orders over $30 and have sample sizes of just about everything too), and Mandala.

expertmax said

Want to order Teavivre’s Organic Superfine Dragon Well so bad but I just made a crazy order at David’s Tea and a good one at Butiki… Wanna try ‘em all it’s crazy.

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As others have mentioned, we have a lot of minty teas. I would recommend checking out the tea wizard (http://whisperingpinestea.com/wizard) on our site. It was recently launched to help people like you find the best teas for themselves easily.

You also mentioned Rooibos Chai. We have fantastic chai as well. In fact, we just launched 9 different chai blends, which can all be found here: http://www.whisperingpinestea.com/chaiblends.html

We will also be launching a roasted peppermint tea in the near future. I can add a sample of that to your order if you’re interested. Shipping to Canada is free after $40. :)

I second everyones recommendations on this thread as well!

As for steeping, I’d highly recommend a simple basket infuser. It will let you brew in any mug or teacup. Something like this is ideal for the new or seasoned tea drinker (and it lasts forever!) http://www.whisperingpinestea.com/infuserset.html

Welcome to Steepster and welcome to the endless world of tea! :)

-Brenden

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