Where do I start? (Black Teas)
I went through this. I picked unflavoured blacks that weren’t too price from all my local vendors. I learned I have a weakness for china blacks, but also enjoy the stronger maltier ones. I still have lots to learn and have a wonderful dream order for Upton Teas that I plan to make, as their unflavoured blacks look fab and get fairl decent reviews. Not to mention, they’re cheap !: )
I definitely echo Uniquity’s sentiments. The best way to find out what you like is to go around to your local tea shops and try some of their teas. They’ve already done the hard work for you and picked out their favorites, and a knowledgeable tea vendor can ask guiding questions, show you teas, let you smell them, and even brew up small samples in a gaiwan or the like!
Personally, I really love Chinese blacks over Indian. They taste like they’ve got milk and sugar already added, and high-quality examples are basically never bitter. Go-to favorites are anything made from Yunnan buds (the more buds, the better! these tend to taste “spicier”..cinnamon/nutmeg/clove), High quality Keemen, and a new-comer Laoshan black (I iced it with some mint the other day and it literally tasted like mint-chocolate-chip).
Have fun, and just keep trying! There’s bound to be a soulmate black tea out there for you somewhere.
Persian black tea. I think that was what triggered my love of tea and it’s still one of my favorites to sip and introduce people into the beauty of tea.
I’m also a bit of a sucker for Earl Grey, with a hint of milk and some sugar.
I don’t know if it has already been mentioned, but Upton has great prices on tea samples.
I can’t wait I am hitting up Janet’s today to see about some 10g bags to black teas to try. We shall see, we shall see!
I have to say DAVIDs Lapsang Souchong, was “NOT my cup of tea” bleck! I found the scent to be too much, not only that but I had to plug my nose to drink it. I remember having a sample of “Russian Caravan” from Murchies which is a variation of “lapsang souchong” and I remember when I tasted this one I did not taste liquid smoke/hot dogs.
My father would tell you that Irish Breakfast is the be-all-end-all of black teas. He wouldn’t be far wrong, either—to use the words of the description on the Twinings box, it’s robust and full-bodied. A touch of half-and-half, if you like that sort of thing, goes a long way. :)
My first straight black tea was Earl Grey, which was a great place to start. I still go back to it every once in a while, and it never disappoints. :) My current favorite straight black tea is Teavana’s Copper Knot Hongcha. (Don’t judge me. >_>) Is it overpriced? Yes. Is it molto delicioso? Yes. It also has the added advantage of being able to be steeped 2-3 times.
I’m not really a straight black tea person, myself. If I do go for black tea, 9 times out of 10 it will be flavored. So, perhaps you and I have similar tastes?
I started off only liking the flavored black teas, but now, there are only a few I still like and then in the evening as a dessert type tea. Like some of the others, I prefer the Chinese varieties as I dislike astringency and bitterness. I love the ones that naturally have flavor notes that I used to have added to my teas. For instance Zhi Tea has one called “Gong Fu” that the chocolate flavor is so strong, I had to write and confirm that there was no cocoa added! Irish breakfast tea is too strong for me too, but it is meant add milk and sugar, and I don’t add the milk. I would try it with half and half, but I never had any when I had the tea. There are some Assams I like with a shorter brewing time, but most of the Indian teas are just too sharp for me. I do like the Copper Knot Hongcha, again it is Chinese, but it is overpriced and I decided not to restock it since there are other more affordable versions. You may well find that your tastes in tea change as you come along with it, but there is nothing wrong with enjoying what you like!