How long have you been drinking tea? Loose-leaf or teabags? Has it replaced other beverages?

Ok. I admit it: I can’t help starting a new discussion.
While my wife and I were walking and enjoying the cooler weather, amongst other things I began to wonder how long all of you have been drinking tea. Some of your bio’s mention it, but many do not.

A little tea history about me: For many years I have been drinking tea using tea bags steeped with water heated in the microwave, but it was mostly to keep me warm in the winter, and I never paid much attention to anything but the advertised flavor on the box. For iced tea we brewed RoT tea bags, then iced it. We used other grocery store brand boxed tea bags for hot tea (usually steeped twice). During the summer we commonly had some Crystal Light made and available in the fridge. Additionally I used to drink a soda or two a day.

We switched to loose leaf in November of 2010. Since then, using an old steel kettle, both home-brewed hot tea and iced tea from have replaced most of what we used to drink on a regular basis (we both still drink a soda here and there, and I used to occasionally drink RTD bottled tea, but not anymore). Occasionally, I use tea bags—I especially like the newer pyramid shaped ones; my wife uses tea bags a little more often than I do. I used to drink coffee, mostly at coffee shops, but I had to limit myself to only one cup of regular, then I had to drink decaf due to my sensitivity to the caffeine (I can still only drink one or two cups of first steeping black tea before I can really start to feel it. Luckily though, I can drink as much green, white, yellow tea, or second steeping black tea as I want). Currently, when we go to cafes, I drink iced tea, if they have it. I haven’t yet been willing to pay for a cup of hot tea in a restaurant/cafe (it’s the frugality in me). But, we’ll see come this winter.

I am now grateful for the wonderful new world that loose leaf tea has opened up to me. Other than my wife, I know of NO ONE who has anywhere near the enthusiasm I do for tea (except for all of you). That’s why I am out here so often.

For how long have you been drinking tea? It seems tea has been steadily gaining popularity here in the US in the last couple of decades. For those of you in the US, have any of you been brewing the noble leaf since before it was popular? For those outside the US, is tea popular there? If so, how long has it been?

Do you drink loose leaf, tea bags, or both? At some point did you make a switch from one to the other? Or do you still use both?

Have any of these teas replaced other beverages in your daily routine (like soda/pop, coffee, RTD bottled tea, or some other beverage or food)?

Do you order hot tea out?

Trying to connect with all of you out there. : )

49 Replies
teaINfuse said

I have been enjoying tea for a little over a year, But in June I decided to cut soda pop out during my working day.. as i was opposed to the cost not the caffeine tea was a good choice in this.. I drink about 75% loose to 25% bagged.. I have fallen in love with Lassang Souchong. I have the best Nilgiri India tea ever from a local merchant in Wichita.. I love black teas and I enjoy different Earl Grey blends.. Oolongs are good I have some top shelf China oolongs that I’m working on reviews.. Gunpowder for my green some Japan genmacha.. For bagged I like Tetley for iced and hot.. Best I think is Yorkshire Tea and Yorkshire Gold.. I have even been making you tube vids on tea
I have dropped way down on my soda intake and feel better also
that’s my tea tail

I just checked out your Gunpowder Second Steeping video. I liked it. I have never seen a pot/infuser like the one you had. It is fun to see someone else’s tea brewing environment. Thank you for sharing it with us!

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MegWesley said

I have been drinking tea for a good part of a year now. I have been trying to replace all of my soda with it since I am trying to be healthier. My goal is to help me lose weight as well so tea is better than soda for a lot of reasons.

I mostly use tea bags right now. I have a little bit of loose leaf and my roommate has two tins of loose leaf that we need to start drinking. I use tea bags mostly because of the easier clean up and they are easier for me to get right now. I still have to go through my parents before I do any online ordering, but I can walk in a store and pick up a box of bagged tea.

I bought myself a kettle to bring to college this year that I use almost every day (and my roommates use it on occasion). I discovered this summer that all tea (even bagged) tastes a whole lot better than boiled water than microwaved water. If pushed for time, I will microwave my water because some tea is better than no tea most times.

Sometimes I order hot tea out, but mostly I order either lemonade, iced tea, or Sprite. It depends on my mood. I have almost stopped ordering iced tea when I go out to eat because it never tastes right to me.

I got my boyfriend into tea and a lot of my friends at college are into tea too. What I really want to do is order some different teas from different venders. I really want to try the Chocolate Bacon tea and the Maple Bacon tea from ManTeas, but that might have to wait until I get back home for the holiday to order.

It’s good to hear you and others on your campus are into tea (it wasn’t even on my radar then, although I wish it was). It seems to be gaining in popularity everywhere. Is it as popular as coffee on your campus?

MegWesley said

It was almost as popular before our cafeteria took the Tazo tea bags away from us. Now a lot of people who would drink tea don’t drink it anymore because even my other roommate (who isn’t as hard into tea) says that Lipton tastes stale and just bad. And that brand are the only tea bags they give us now.

I need to go to our cafe and see if they have any tea lattes. They might. We are a really small campus, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t.

That’s a bummer. Maybe if you and others speak up, they’ll bring the TAZO back?

MegWesley said

Well, we just got word back about the Tazo teas. They are on sale in our little cafe. Which means that they won’t give them to us with our normal meal plan anymore. A real downer.

Don’t know about possible tea lattes yet. I think if I have to go and buy a cup of tea, I should be able to get a drink made out of the tea as well.

Meg, I am also trying to drink2lose…it’s going great and even better since I found this site! Best of luck to you :) salute / cheers!

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I started with tea when k was about 8 or so, bagged tea like Red Rose and Lipton. That stayed about the same but adding in other bagged teas and tisanes from the grocery store up until about a year or so ago when I really jumped into loose leaf.

Since then I drink almost entirely loose leaf as I now have a large variety of choices in the house. But I’ll still use bagged for some teas and tisanes still. I basically use whatever it is depending on the flavor I like.

Tea has recently become my main beverage, pushing out soda.

I just read your bio. You give a great overview there of how you came to tea. I like your story about how trying the Darjeeling at the restaurant got you to fall back in love with tea. It’s the seemingly random little things in life that sometimes take us to places we never would imagine going (or returning to), isn’t it?

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Tea parties were always a favorite playtime activity when I was a little girl. My gramma would put “tea” in my little teapots – but it wasn’t really tea. It was actually half coffee and half milk, because very seldom did any of my family drink tea. Tea to them was the bagged stuff from the grocery store that comes in the yellow, white and red box (you know what I’m talking about right?) and my gramma used that to make sun tea. My step-mom had the same tea and very seldom used it at all, in fact, I wouldn’t be surprised it she bought only one box of tea in her whole life, and that same box of tea was in the kitchen cabinet throughout my childhood through my teen years until the day I was kicked out on my 18th birthday. (It could be said that I was not the most angelic of teens) Can you imagine how tasteless that stuff would have been after all those years?

Anyways… So my youth wasn’t the most positive exposure to tea, although it was my love of teatime play that drove me to start collecting tea sets in my twenties, and start discovering that there was a whole world of tea beyond that yellow, white and red box.

So, I guess it could be said that I’ve been drinking tea for about 15 years … loose as well as bagged. As a rule, I prefer loose, although these days I’m finding that more and more companies are using better quality tea for their bagged teas, and it’s nice to have a bagged tea to turn to when I’ve limited time or when I’m on the go, but still want some tea to take with me.

As for other beverages: I’ve never been much for soda, just never have been crazy about it. I will drink it on occasion, like if I’m at the movies or out to eat and I don’t like the type of tea that the restaurant serves. The only other beverage that I drink regularly besides tea is water. I used to drink coffee – in fact, it was my morning beverage, but I have since come to realize that it was coffee that was making me so sick, so I have replaced it with tea and I have realized that I actually prefer tea to coffee. Sometimes I miss coffee … usually just the smell and that robust richness of it, but, not very often. I certainly don’t miss feeling sick from coffee!

So… tea is my main beverage and after my family and my art, probably the most important thing in my life!

Lipton, Right?

Yes, I can! Well, maybe.

I’m also glad to hear the stuff they are putting in ‘bags’ is getting better.

I can relate to feeling sick from coffee. A while back, I used to work overnights, and I would drink coffee to help keep me up. I wouldn’t feel very good by about 4AM (for many reasons). One of the changes I made was to try drinking tea instead (at the time it was simple Lipton tea bags). The change seemed to help, at least somewhat. I haven’t given coffee the boot yet, but I will probably never drink it regularly again.

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I am a lifetime tea drinker. I have only began this education in tea this past year as a writing project of sort. Sad thing is that it might end my enjoyment of tea, like other things I am now not liking after exposing myself to scrutiny.

It will always be tea bags for me because of ease of use.

MegWesley said

Why would it stop you from enjoying tea?

I’m asking because I don’t understand that. I like to write and for the past three years now I have been taking intensive writing classes. And I still enjoy writing.

Evident you are made of stronger stuff.

I find that sometimes being made to write is cathartic, and other times more traumatizing, pending my mood and the force behind it… So I can somewhat see what you mean- Like how my fave Shakespear play is the only one I’ve read that was not studied in high school…. The Tempest :)

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Angrboda said

Short answer, my whole life and no it hasn’t.

Started, I suppose, at around age six although that was pretty weak and involved lots of milk and sugar. Gradually stopped using milk and sugar as I got older.

Moved away from home and was given for my birthday a wooden tea caddy with a selection of Pickwick bags which led me on to an obsessive compulsive attempt to try every flavour available at my local grocery store. Slowly started to get some interest in the actual leaf as well.

Gradually switched to loose leaf as some of the flavours in said grocery store was not available as bags.

A few more years and another move, my first real job. At this point I got my LJ account. This was crucial in my further seeking out of better leaf. Joined a couple of communities about tea and learned a few things, like how you can order lots of good stuff off the internet. Also discovered a small tea shop close to where I lived.

Another couple of years and I’m completely bag-free and where I am today.

It was never a conscious decision to switch to loose or better quality leaf. It just sort of happened. It may have been a conscious decision to start drinking tea, but only if my parents are drinking coffee, I want a grown-up hot drink too counts as a conscious decision.

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Enoky said

I started drinking green tea about a year ago at the request of my naturopathic physician.

I started out with bags from the grocery store. After a couple of months, I tried loose leaf and never went back. I donated my tea bag collection to my office.

I stopped drinking soda a couple of years ago after researching about High Fructose Corn Syrup and cancer. I only drink green tea and water now.

I have tried probably a dozen loose leaf green teas. I use a (nonflashy) 3 cup For Life teapot that I like alot. I consider myself very much a green tea beginner. I am always learning new things about tea on the web and through experience.

Green tea has been a very important part of a lifestyle overhaul that I have been making over the past year. I have lost over 50 lbs. To be clear, that is not from just drinking green tea :).

I do order hot tea out. It is usually a big disappointment. When I remember, I pack a teabag or two in my pocket for when we go out to dinner.

I don’t double steep my tea. I think I have been making my tea all wrong but that is for another post…

I love making a fresh pot of tea, trying the first sip and thinking, “Wow, that is good tea.”

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K S said

Growing up my family always had a pitcher of Lipton sitting on the counter waiting to be poured over ice. no one ever drank it hot. Hot meant coffee which I have never learn to even remotely like. As a teen I bought a box of Constant Comment and loved the clove kick to it. So I broke family tradition and kept buying boxes of different bags. I have only recently really moved towards loose. The only bags I still have are my oolong. I have one friend at work that I have converted to tea. He hates most everything I like. My Mom and Dad still drink Lipton. My wife is either coffee or tisanes. So I am pretty much all alone except for Steepster.

They have oolong in bags? I don’t think I have EVER seen that in the grocery stores in my mid-sized city here in the states. Then again, it’s likely I’m not looking closely enough at the class of tea listed on the boxes. : )

K S said

Yamamotoyama and FooJoy are the two I am most familiar with. Twinings bags one as well but I think it takes effort to make a likeable cup with it.

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I’ve been drinking tea for years, but only recently got into it about two years ago when I switched over (slowly) to loose leaf. Now, I occasionally use the bagged stuff Mum likes but rarely, if that. This one brand, Tess Tea, is bagged but surprisingly ok… and my guilty pleasure, celestial seasons Royal Benghal Chai.
Once in awhile when I am out n about I grab a cup of tea from Tim Hortons etc but it always disappoints. The Chai tea latte from Second cup is quite good but full of sugar and it’s not cheap so I don’t get that often.
The “Awake” tea from Starbucks is ok, but too flowery for me when all I want is a basic malty black.
My dilemma here has frustrated me many a time, and I often end up ordering a coffee for lack of a better option. I’d rather settle for a coffee tisane (because when you think about it, that’s all it is!) than drink terrible tea.
and up here in Canada? I’d say tea is slowly becoming more popular, esp with the new corporate like tea shops popping up everywhere. There are a few shops that have been around for years but seemed content to serve the niche market, but otherwise tea has only made the rounds in the last few years.
before that, it was either Tim Horton’s or Red Rose as far as I know!
Oh and Bubble Tea (known as Boba in other countries, I think) was made popular about ten/fifteen years ago, but that is a whole other beast :)

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Alana237 said

I have drunk tea all my life, but up until around two years ago, it was all bagged tea like PG Tips. I made the transition into looseleaf very quickly. It all started when my dad got really interested in coffee, grinding his own beans and everything, and I used to look at his coffees and think “I wonder if I could get teas this good?” (I can’t stand the taste of coffee). This inspired me to go into my local tea shop, where I sampled some jasmine silver needles.

I have never liked any sodas or anything, so my tea consumption just replaces plain water. I only recently started having tea iced – iced tea isn’t popular in the UK, I think, which is a shame, since it is so good.

It seems that loose leaf tea is more popular in the US than it is here in the UK – I don’t know of anyone in my area who drinks anything other than bagged (I am generally met with confusion when I say I drink loose leaf tea, and no-one is really as interested as I am), and I have encountered very few specialist tea shops throughout the country – London seems to have a fair few, though. I think tea has started to become slightly more popular here, though.

I don’t order tea when I’m out unless I know what I’m getting is good stuff. Like Enoky, I generally tend to keep a couple of full leaf teabags on hand. When I have ordered tea in the past, I have been very disappointed, so I stick to cold drinks unless I have tea with me.

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