What was the tea that made you fall in love with tea?

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I grew up with herbal teas, and thought they were all I liked. Then I was exploring in our cupboards one day when I was in High School and found a can of Orange Pekoe-probably old and inferior, and I know I infused it too long, but something about it thrilled me. I’ve been hooked ever since. I learned how to make a better cup of tea, and now I’m buying fine teas, mostly Chinese. Every new tea opens another world of taste and smell to me.

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My mom used to make the best sun tea. She’d put bags of whatever tea she had, usually Red Rose or Lipton, into a gigantic (empty and cleaned) pickle jar, and put it outside in the summer sun for hours. To me, it was proof that summer was there and the tea was wonderful on so many levels.

In the winter, she’d make my three sisters and I hot tea to drink. She always made it special and we could put whatever we wanted in it. I always preferred mine black.

When I moved to France, I was very homesick at first and so I went to the grocery store and purchased some tea. They didn’t have Lipton or Red Rose. It was a tisane and I loved the packaging. I think there was an elephant on it, but I don’t remember the brand. It was so wonderful and made me feel connected to my home, so far away. I started sending boxes of the tea back home to my mom and my sisters. (Along with Nutella. Oh, how I love Nutella!)

About four years later, during a trip to Japan with my husband (my then boyfriend), we were introduced to Genmaicha as a loose tea. The restaurant owner gave me the canister to take home. I brought it to a Japanese grocery store and they showed me their stock of green teas. After some exploring, I branched out into others.

I love reading everyone’s story. Thank you for starting this thread.

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It is so interesting reading everyone’s stories! What a great thread.

As for me, I’ve loved tea ever since childhood. I’m an only child and I was very much doted on by my Nana, who used to frequently bring me to her house for weekend visits. When I was about 8 years old, she taught me a card game called Spite and Malice, and we’d sit and drink Bigelow Constant Comment tea, sweetened with honey, while we played. She always seemed to have a box of Constant Comment in the house. She was Norwegian, not English, but still a big tea drinker.

As I grew up, I still liked tea, but I didn’t start exploring loose teas until I was in my 20s and bought some (along with a tea ball, ack!) at a small tea and spice shop. Then I began branching out and buying tea at Asian grocery stores. My fiance at the time (now ex-husband!) was into Asian cooking, and we’d make Thai iced tea together. Still, I was drinking a lot of bagged teas, Tazo, herbal tisanes and such, and steeping everything in boiling water, wondering why the green tea came out so bitter.

About five years ago, a Tea Gschwendner opened at a shopping center very close to where I live. I visited, and the salespeople there (SO much more helpful and pleasant than the hard-sell salespeople at Teavana!) patiently showed me different kinds of black and green teas; explained how all teas come from the same leaf, except tisanes which really aren’t teas in the strict sense of the word; told me how long and at what temperature I should steep my teas; and so on. I fell in love with Arabian Nights tea while I was there (it’s a blend of green and black teas with some fruit and floral notes — I still love it), and thus the tea obsession began. A year or so later, a Teavana store opened at a nearby mall, and although I didn’t care for the sales approach, I found several teas there that I liked. My purchases from Teavana and Tea Gschwendner, along with some teas I ordered online from companies such as Upton and Adagio, began filling a cabinet in my kitchen.

I feel like I’ve “graduated” to some better quality teas at this point, but I still have a lot to learn. I recently attended a tasting at Chicago Tea Garden and came away with some great teas and increased knowledge of tea in general. I’m grateful for sites such as this, and other blogs and message boards that offer information about tea, tea reviews, places to chat about tea, and so on. Tea has become an important part of my life, and it’s a hobby I don’t have to feel guilty about!

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Like fairyfli I began my tea addiction at Teavana. The samples, the smell and the selection of both teas and paraphernalia drew me in.
I think it was the Jasmine Dragon Pearls that really sold me, also the matcha from Teavana made me a convert.
I don’t like the hard sell attitude that Teavana has, it makes it hard to gain a relationship with the company. I’ll feel like I’m on a used car lot when in there and the people aren’t real warm. For this reason I’ve begun to look other places for tea, but still do shop Teavana for some things. Chi of Tea has been getting some of my business lately for their Dragonwell which was also in the mix for converting me.

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debtea2 said

hi i’m new
but have loved tea forever
but i’m having a love affair with earl grey right now
so many different kinds ..i think its the bergoment
the scent is so wonderful..

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Its hard to say what got me started. A family friend of mine owned a tea shop that closed down a couple years ago (Loose Leaf Cafe). I started to get into tea at that time, but it soon faded. About 6 months ago my wife and I were at the mall and we went into Teavana and bought some very over priced tea (I was still naive). We bought a Golden Monkey Black, a Keemun, and some Jasmine Oolong. The teas were nice, but I wasn’t completely sold yet. A friend of mine reccommeded that I order some teas from Harney and Sons and so I did. My first order included their Earl Grey Supreme, Genmaicha, Supreme Breakfast, and Gunpowder green. All these teas were fantastic and I was hooked and now there was no turning back!

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Loved to read everyone’s story of their earliest tea drinking experiences….it was nice to hear that our teas, including the Constant Comment were included in some of those

Kathy for Bigelow Tea

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Rijje said

I read an article about health, where the writer adviced people too buy a lot of tea in different flavors. Didn’t think much of it though, tea is tea right? (or so I thought)

But one of the local shops had some different tea than usual, and the box itself was very colorful… I got tempted. The tea itself was like nothing I tried before – black tea with spices, liqurice and a flower. Been a tea-entusiast ever since.

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Constant Comment by Bigelow Tea. I drank a cup when I was about six years old (24 years ago) and that was that – I was hooked on tea! :)

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Tamm said

My tea adventure started when I was a teenager. It has always been my own little secret! I grew up LDS and this meant a strict no tea rule. (Not because of caffeine btw, that’s a myth) I was given a secret cup of peppermint tea by a relative to try and help with a particularly nasty cold. I loved it! I would horde the little bags in hard to find places. I could only sip in the wee hours of the morning or very late at night. But eventually, as life has moved on, I have my own house and have a not so secret stash that I get to enjoy daily!

Uniquity said

Peppermint! Fab!

Peppermint has always been my favorite flavor in tea; most commonly I drink it all by itself. I started drinking plain peppermint tea in high school. It really is soothing during a cold. Also I like it when my throat is doing odd things due to cold weather, oversinging, being around smokers, etc. (I’m a singer). When I first lived on my own, I used to make sun tea that I would ice down, with two sachets of peppermint to one sachet of San Francisco Herb Company’s Bright Eyes tea…yum! Hmm, I know where I can get some of that Bright Eyes tea, maybe I should make a late-afternoon tea run…!

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