Super tea newbie looking for a guide/advice/tips/tricks.
Hi! My name is Morgan, and I am a tea newbie. By this, I mean I’ve never had tea that has not been purchased from a chain grocery store (I know, I know, it’s tragic).
I took the leap yesterday and placed my very first order with DAVIDsTEA: Cool Cucumber, Jumpy Monkey, and Chocolate Chili Chai.. along with some accessories, like the perfect spoon, the new seashells mug (I’m a huge sucker for beach-themed stuff), and a 10-pack of honey sticks to force my order to $50, because I am also a huge sucker for free shipping.
At any rate, this is my first time dealing with loose leaf tea! The mug I bought comes with an infuser basket, so I figured that’d be a good starting point, but I have a couple of questions about tea making in general – if you have a link to a guide, that would be superb, or if you have any advice to give, that would also be lovely and appreciated.
1) What is your preferred method of heating water? I was looking at a couple of electric kettles, but are there other options? Also, what is a good, but fairly priced, suggestion (for an electric kettle)?
2) Is something like this steeper: http://www.davidstea.com/the-steeper?&TF=8215E1C9208C&DEID= worth getting? Or is it just something neat to have?
3) I’d read somewhere that you can re-steep your tea leaves to get more cups out of them.. I have never heard of this before, and is kind of mind blowing to me – is this an actual thing, and how would I go about doing it? I mean, is there anything special I have to do the second time around, or is it just a repeat steps kind of thing?
I am very excited to get my order, and am excited to branch out tea-wise, and would love any input or suggestions! Thank you so much for your time!
I’m just going to stick with point three because that’s what I’m most knowledgeable about and I know there are others here who’ll help you with the first two.
So, short answer; yes it’s an actual thing!
It really boils down to your personal preference for things though, and if this is your first experience with then that’s going to mean some experimentation. Typically though, oolongs are pretty infamous for resteeping many times, as well as Pu’Erh but really you can resteep any kind of tea. Tisanes (herbal or fruit blends) typically don’t resteep very well, but there are always exceptions. When doing this, you use the leaves in the exact same way you would prior: some (again, comes down to preference) people choose to let them steep for a slightly longer time though.
Personally, I hardly resteep anything – but occasionally I’ll make exceptions for white, green or oolong blends that I either really enjoy or which are really expensive (gotta get your money’s worth, right?). I pretty much never resteep black blends or tisanes; I just find personally the resteeps aren’t anywhere near as flavourful so I’d rather move onto another tea.
Just play around, and see what you like! Worst case, you resteep something and don’t like it – and you’re really not losing anything but a little bit of time in trying it out.
From one newbie to another. :)
Concerning point 1. I just boil my water in a stainless steal saucepan that I already had. For my birthday I want a nice stainless electric kettle that has variable temperature settings, but I decided to wait on purchasing lots of gadgets. That way I can spend more money on tea. :)
On point 2, it looks like a very neat gadget, but I would be concerned about the plastic. I discovered that I do not like tea out of plastic travel mugs so I’m afraid with that steeper I would get the same result.
I also just placed my first orders with David’s Tea, Harney & Sons, and Stephen Smith Tea Maker. I’m also a sucker for free shipping, but Steven Smith charged a very reasonable amount for shipping (less than $3).
Hope I helped at all.
I was a little concerned about the plastic as well to be honest, some of my travel mugs seem to retain the smell of stuff that has been in them before.. ie, one permanantly smells like chicken soup.. obviously I can’t drink tea or coffee out of that anymore, lol. I’ve washed it so many times, and it never seems to help! Wondering if the steeper would do the same..
Cleaning: Denture tablets, almost-boiling-water. Soak 10 mins, wash as usual. Cheap and really amazing.
Hello! One newbie to another (although, no matter how long I’ve been drinking tea, I will always consider myself a newbie.)
For heating water at first I was just heating it up on the stove top in a pot :/ not exactly fancy. I’ve just recently splurged and bought a cuisinart http://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/1/1/14755-cuisinart-perfectemp—stainless-steel-electric-kettle.html I absolutely love it! It has plenty of temperature settings. I feel that it is totally worth the extra money versus one that just boils the water.
When it comes to making tea I have:
This one I received as a gift from my husband. Little did he know that I would be using it mostly when I want him to make tea for me in the morning, lol. I just measure out my tea and water before I go to bed, set the time and temp I want, and he turns it on in the morning. http://www.adagio.com/teaware/triniTEA.html
I also have a bodum one serving infuser glass. Mostly I just use the infuser in whichever mug I happen to be using. I really like the fine mesh. I also use a ceramic teapot.
With re-steeping leaves I usually make one cup at a time in a mug to see how I like the second infusion. So, I’ll measure the tea needed for 8oz of water, steep, take out the infuser and set aside. When I’m done with my first cup, I just put the infuser back in the mug and repeat.
If you’re still reading this, I also check out the tasting notes here on steepster to see how other people have brewed a particular blend. I always try it according to company guidelines first. After that I like to play around. Is it good with a touch of sugar? honey? milk? How about brewed in milk? Double strength, then poured over ice? Cold brewed? There’s lots of ways to enjoy tea, the best way is to make it the way you like. :)
Thanks so much for the links, that electric kettle is fancy! I definitely want to get one that has different temperature settings on it, as I do like to try different types of tea. And that is a great idea about the tasting notes, I never would have thought of that!
Not only is it fun to read through tasting notes, it’s also great to look back on your own and see how your tastes and preferences change. A lot of people seem to fall in and out of love with blends. Perhaps when they started it was a favorite, but then time passes and it loses its charm. Maybe after some experience they can taste and appreciate more nuances in a cup.
That Cuisinart kettle is now my dream kettle! I am resisting the urge to splurge and purchase it now.
Welcome to Steepster!
I’m pretty new myself and you’ll find that the people here are super friendly & great.
To answer some of your questions:
1) I started with heating water on the stovetop, and for the teas that needed water not as hot, I would use my Keurig to heat the water and then steep the tea in my cup.
I just bought a Hamilton Beach Electric Kettle at Walmart about a week ago.. Love it! It’s a variable temperature one with several settings meant for tea. It’s made making tea so much easier, and at $39 plus tax, you can’t beat the price.
2) Many here have steepers like that, but I decided to spend my time/$ researching what myself and my family like before investing much in equipment. I want to be sure we know how we want to drink our tea before I put money in the wrong equipment. Right now we just have a couple of cups with steeper baskets and a couple of steeper balls. They will get us by until we know what we want. I want to be sure we will be interested long enough to make the purchases worth our $.
3) Re-steeping tea depends a lot on the kind of tea.. several kinds are great re-steeped and even change in flavor profiles as they are steeped multiple times.
Some aren’t really meant to be re-steeped, but often I will try it just to see if I can stretch it further… if I liked the tea well enough to want another cup. Often you will just have a much lighter version of the first… sometimes it’s not worth it. If you do try it, make a note of it so you know what you did. I have also added just a bit more leaf, maybe half the original amount (depends on the tea) with each steep and then done multiple steeps on blends and herbals that others my consider an only 1 steep leaf. I figure if I’m enjoying a blend that I want to keep drinking and it’s not mucking up the next cup, why bother dumping the leaves each cup? and why not try and eeek every bit of flavor out ?
There really is no right or wrong so long as you enjoy your finished product. Have fun!
I will definitely have to check out that electric kettle, sounds like the perfect price point for someone like me, just starting out. :) I am the only one that drinks tea in the household (my husband occasionally drinks unsweetened iced tea, though), but you have a great point.. I should probably try to figure out what I want to invest in! Thank you for your advice on resteeping, I probably would not have thought to add a bit of fresh leaves to the already steeped ones! Great idea! :)
Suziqzer, out of curiousity but your kettle you can set your own temp? and if so what increments is it in? (Like would really love 1 temp increments.)
On the kettle there are preset temps you can choose from… 175, 180, 190, 200, & 212. Working well so far.
Yay new tea drinker!
My first advice is to use the sellers steeping instructions the first time you try your new teas. These instructions are usually just a general guide though. If yoy dont like the flavor.. try a little cooler water or a little hotter, steep a little longer or not as long. You will figure out what you like best.
You donr need a thermometer but it makes it easy to get the right temp at first. After a while you will probably have a goid idea how hot the water is simply by experience.
I use a old beat up tea kettle to heat water at home and a travel sized electric kettle at work. Some people like to microwave their water but this takes longer than just boiling what you need on the stove…and personally I think it leaves the water “dead” tasting.
For brewing I use little tea pots. But there are so many methods that trying them all is really part of the fun.
I agree with your last point, I definitely think experimenting with new teas/equipment will be fun! And thanks for your advice about following the steeping instructions.. all the teas I get from the grocery store don’t usually have instructions other than “drop a bag in boiled water for 5 minutes”, and I’ve never seen one call for a specific temperature, haha!
Well, welcome to the world of tea!
(here’s to hoping that you stay sane while staying here because my roommates are convinced that I’ve gone tea crazy ahha)
For #1, I just have a regular kettle that I took from my mother haha. All it does is boil water, but heating it in a stovetop works fine. For greens, whites and other delicate teas that need cooler temperatures, I just let the kettle sit for a bit until I feel like it has cooled enough that I don’t burn the leaves.
I did look at variable temp. kettles, and I think Adagio’s UtiliTEA kettle is great for the price
For #2, I’ve never owned one before. It’s nice! A friend of mine has the same thing from Teavana, but it’s not my preferred way of making tea. It all boils down to what you’re comfortable with. I like keeping things simple for easy cleanup (I don’t know how to clean that thing. I feel like I’ll have to take it apart to make sure the filter doesn’t have like the flavours of the previous tea) so I’m dealing with the cheapo college version and just brewing tea in a mason jar, then pouring it into a mug through a strainer.
That’s my way, but it definitely is not the one and only way of doing it. Just my priority is that the leaves have enough room to expand instead of using the itty bitty baby mesh balls.
For #3, yes! Resteeping is a thing! A couple years back when I was first starting out, I’d get my sachets and leave them in until I get the right flavour. Take it out and set it on a saucer, finish my tea, and then stick it back in the mug with more hot water. I pretty much do that until I suck all the flavour out of my tea. But I just recently bought a scale so I can weigh my leaves and with much experimentation, I found out the perfect ratio of teas for my tastebuds :)
((if you have a lot of leaves left but you don’t feel like drinking more tea, once time I threw my leaves into a bucket of warm water and stuck my feet in it. They were smooth and smelt of peppermint and cream by the end of the night ehhe))
There really isn’t a right or wrong way to make tea! Just as long as it doesn’t feel like a chore and you’re loving your time, then in my books, you’re doing it perfectly :)
Thanks for the link to that kettle, that one looks really nice! I like the very user friendly dial on it, haha. Someone commented in a review about using a Sharpie to write temperatures around the dial, and that’s a pretty good idea too!
I thought the steeper looked like it would be kind of a mess to clean up as well, but it looks really cool, haha.
I remember being a super newbie just a few years ago, there is so much to discover and learn! I am still learning a lot even after 3 years since getting into loose tea, because preferences change a lot over time. I used to prefer flavored blacks with sweetener. Then I began trying whites, oolongs, and pu-erhs I had never realized existed. Then I got my kettle which meant I didn’t have to boil on the stove anymore, which meant I stopped scalding my green leaves and making them bitter. And as I got more and more used to not drinking sugary fruit juice or soda, I put in less and less sweetener. Now I like pretty much all tea, but I like oolong the best, and only sweeten chai.
1) I mentioned above that I began with boiling on the stove, which is most definitely a good start. I then moved on to using hot water from my Keurig a year later. However, I now drink 5-8 cups of tea per day and I graduated about a year ago to a kettle with 6 temperature settings, which makes my keurig happy – it was sounding a little overworked, and the water was never hot enough for blacks or herbals.
2)I love steepers like that because they let the leaves fully unfurl and strain, but it is definitely preference. It is essential to remove the leaves and wipe them down after each use to make sure they don’t get cruddy, and I definitely send it through the dishwasher regularly too.
3) I LOVE teas that resteep!! I just feel like I am getting so much more out of my tea, costwise, and usually in terms of flavor too. Only very recently have I started giving very short steeps a try and getting into the world of nicer oolongs and pu-erhs that handle that well, and it is amazing how different the flavors are with each steep. Like many others here, I do not typically resteep black tea or herbals. Greens, whites, oolongs, and pu-erhs I always do but the number of steeps I get depends on the tea and how long each steep is. And really, it is all about flavor preference!
I have been drinking a ton of tea since quitting soda, and I was actually wondering about putting sweetener in everything (I do).. I feel like I shouldn’t be, lol. I do put milk in some stuff (like breakfast black tea), but it’s mostly just a packet of Sweet n Low or whatever I have on hand.
I am assuming you have one of those types of steepers? I was gonna ask if you could run it through the dishwasher or not, glad to hear you can. Does the plastic retain any smells? I have a travel mug (made of similar plastic) that permanently smells like chicken soup.. I’d hate for my steeper to make all my teas taste the same!
I haven’t noticed it taking on too much of the flavor, though I am sure over time it might. I just get the Adagio ingenuiTEA “teapot”, and I plan to replace it every couple years. By then it is usually time anyway, and it sees a LOT of use during that time. I got the one I have now last year, after being gifted the teavana perfect tea maker which lived for 2 years until I dropped it once and it cracked, requiring a replacement anyway!
If you have a SUPER sensitive palate, I suppose over time things could change…but I have never noticed it impeding tea flavor.
What a great thread! I am a newbie myself :) Welcome!
Hello! and welcome! I consider myself a newbie too, but your questions look fun to answer. =)
1) I own a zojirushi kettle, which I really love, (http://www.amazon.com/Zojirushi-CD-LCC30-3-0-Liter-Electric-Dispensing/dp/B00009K3TE/), but I got that way before I really got into tea. It’s useful to have hot water around all the time I feel, but it may just be a family thing for me. My grandmother has a model, my mom has a model, and when I went to college, I got one to take along, and then I found that my best friends and an occasional roommate had them too. Alot of asian grocery stores will carry them where they keep the rice cookers, at varying prices according to model- I’ve seen them go from anywhere $20 to $300. (Also available at costco, macy’s, etc.) I like that mine has variable temp, but it takes awhile to switch from one temp to another, and it’ll BOIL the water before it lets new water cool to lower set temperatures. Plus is that these hot pots were totally allowed in dorms whereas hot plates were prohibited.
Otherwise though if I’m elsewhere, a pot on the stove has never gone wrong with me. I found open pots where you can see the level of boil is nicer than enclosed kettles, you’ll get used to seeing and knowing what level of boiling you want your water at, but whistling kettles are nice when you just want to turn it on and leave it while you go do other things.
For on the go or small volumes small electric water kettles are also nice. We (college roommate & I) had a small cheap one from the drugstore that heats with a metal coil, usually about $10. Portable, easy, light- we used to take it with us to the library and have late night tea parties/study sessions in the library during finals week. =) Alot of hotel rooms also have coffee makers in the rooms, and you can use that to boil water if you’re in a pinch. I’ll run a mug through my sister’s coffee maker when I want just a mug of boiling water and don’t want to switch the temp on the kettle.
2) I have the Adagio version of that gravity steeper (http://www.adagio.com/teaware/ingenuiTEA_teapot.html). I really like it for when I just want a mug of tea and not a whole pot. I find it less messy and actually alot easier to clean than in-cup steeper/strainers. BUT it being plastic I personally don’t know how long it’ll hold up. I’ve had mine for almost 4months, and it still looks like new. Mine only retains scents if I brew the same tea in it for a week, and it’s one of those highly flavored/scented teas or something like chai, but running it through with dish soap actually cleared it out fairly well.
3) I didn’t know that people DIDN’T resteep until fairly recently. Depending on how you’re used to tea I suppose it may or may not become a habit. Personally I resteep at least twice, habit, unless it’s a really weak (or nasty) teabag or tisane. I find that sometimes I actually prefer the taste of later steeps, and it’s interesting to see how teas change.
p.s.- that Trinitea machine looks awesome! I heard about the Breville tea maker not long ago and it quickly became a lemming, but they look comparable if you want a coffee machine style tea maker.
hehe, sorry for the rambling and tangents. =). I hope that helped a little!
I just Googled the Breville tea maker you mentioned, and oh man, is that super fancy pants or what! It does look awesome, though!
Thanks for your link to the Zojirushi kettle, that looks like another solid option! It looks like a more intense and tinier version of my Keurig, I like that it also has the exact temperature of the water, that’s neat!
Help New uses alert. Yes I’m a new user and need help.
We currently have a successful herbal tea company based in Cornwall and have just branched out and released a Sencha green tea. We are now trying to finalise the packaging for a Black tea Which is a rich mix of un ground Assam and Kenyan Teas but captured in a bag..
We are looking for a name but don’t want breakfast, all day, everyday etc. We don’t want to be too off the wall with the name but any help? Please We are not a big company just a family business taking on the big boys with quality ingredients at a realistic price.
Thanks for any comments.
Martyn, you might want to start your own thread asking for the information you need…it’s considered somewhat bad form to ask a unrelated question in a discussion. smiles
Hey, and welcome to steepster!
everyone else has done a really good job of answering your questions (because they’re all awesome), but I just wanted to chime in about adding sugar and/or milk. People enjoy their teas many different ways, but one way to canvas your options is to try the tea without additions first, but add things as you feel necessary (so if a straight black is tasting a bit too strong or a tad bitter, a bit of milk or cream might smoothe the rough edges, etc.). I tend to take most of my tea with additions, but there are also some that I can drink “straight”.
I also have a version of the gravity steeper you linked to, and although I’m really happy with it, be mindful of the fact that you will be pouring your hot water from the kettle to the steeper, and then from the steeper to your cup, so there’s quite a bit of heat loss that way. That matters to varying degrees though, so it might not be an outright con.
Thank you for your comment, I didn’t even think about the water losing heat while transferring from a kettle to the steeper to the mug, but that’s a great point!
What types of tea do you drink “straight”, specifically? Just curious, really! Are they generally a specific kind/color (ie, always flavored green teas), or do you mean a very specific brand and flavor?