Ekkuru said

Worst Tea Experience?

This morning I had no access to the filtered water I normally brew tea with, so I grabbed a styrofoam cup full of water from the public fountain and cooked it for three minutes, gleefully plopping in a bag of Irish Breakfast and hoping nothing bad would ensue.

Boy, was I wrong. If the taste of burned sulfur wasn’t the source of my misfortune, it was the shame that followed realizing I was drinking microwaved bubbler water.

So, just curious, anyone have a particularly awful tea experience?

39 Replies

I also learned the hard way that microwaving styrofoam is a disaster. Why did my uncle tell me it was ok? Fountain water is ok in a pinch but not styrofoam. Never again.

My own particular disaster happened a couple of months ago. I was at a dinner party and when it was time for coffee, the hostess, knowing that I don’t drink coffee, proudly declared that she had some special tea just for me. Turns out it was a pretty decent coconut white tea from TeaForte. Nice! The disaster part comes later.

As I poured the water from the tea kettle, I saw that it was brown with crusty bits in it. ew…. She apologized and went to make water in a sauce pan instead. This water was ok colored so I steeped my tea in it and took a sip. Um….why does my tea taste like burnt pot roast?

Well, she went through the trouble of finding tea for me when no one else drinks it and boiled water just for me, twice. I didn’t want to seem ungrateful or make a fuss. I just thanked her and drank as much as I could stomach. Next time, maybe I’ll just decline after dinner drinks. Or offer to do the dishes before tea time.

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One of my most interesting experiences was in Sasebo, Japan (south east of Nagasaki) at a restaurant enjoying some sticky rice and veggie tempura. I started the evening with a small bottle of sake but wanted to slow down a bit and I noticed that some other patrons were drinking stuff out of small bowls. It was green so I figured it was matcha. So, I played along and ordered a bowl of matcha and didn’t realize that (as I found out later) the restaurant owners put dried, ground seaweed and a few drops of fish oil in the matcha when its ordered in this fashion.

Thanks to the powerful sake, my sniffer wasn’t at 100% or I’d noticed the fishy aroma right away. Let’s just say that, after my first sip, my face must have contorted into that of a raisin. EWWW!!! If I’d asked for a cup, I’d have been given my own teapot of matcha without the seafare.

I certainly learned my lesson.

As someone who can’t be near seafood of any kind without gagging (and I’m allergic too) this deeply disturbs me. Fish oil in matcha, why oh why would someone do that.

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Maybe not bad per se, but I got some Bond Street Blend in my British Sampler pack. I don’t know what it is about that particular blend but it hits you upside the head like a mugging. I swear it’s strong enough to etch metal. I haven’t been able to finish the sample tin. Meanwhile, I drank up the Baker Street Blend which is half lapsang souchong, and planning to get more of that and the full lapsang. So it’s not odd tea tastes, since I’m rapidly acquiring the taste for smoke in my tea. Who knows?

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Angrboda said

A former friend (I am not in contact with her any more and only she knows why. I certainly don’t. People are weird.) went to Japan on holiday and in the hotel she stayed in there were these little packets of one serving instant plum green tea. It actually said green tea on the packet so it was not a case of mistaken identity.


She tried one and didn’t like it and sent another to me. It was so so horrible. It looked like washing powder and tasted like a salt shaker. One sip which I spat out was all I managed.

I think I know what kind of tea this was. Ume or sour plum.

Serenity said

Yes! Umeboshi! Pickled!

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I had received a few tea samples and decided to do some taste testing. I measured out the leaves and brewed up the tea. As I was sipping the tea, I emptied the rest of the packet out to examine the tea leaves. There was a lovely group of dead bugs. Ewwwww. Needless to say I couldn’t drink tea for the rest of the day.

I think you win (or lose) the prize for worst tea experience. Ugh.

I cringe just thinking about that experience.

Here here! Butiki wins.

LefTea said

Aaaand now I have to obsessively check my tea before brewing it.

LefTea-Sorry about that.

LOL! That happened to me too! I saw the whole shell of a cricket in my loose leaf, I was HORRIFIED!

darky said

what brands where that then? my god horrible

cuppaT said

One must grit one’s teeth and think of it as a bit of added protein. Poor cricket!

Kamyria said

LOL yup… That’s protein serving with your tea…. Now I’m going to have to start checking my own tea… That’s just horrible!

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Xalorian said

I checked the temperature of the hot water dispenser at work. Turned out that it was perfect for delicate green. So, I just bought a Magic Steeper from DAVIDsTea and 50g of Japanese Sencha.

After three try, I always got the same result : my tea was tasting fishy, it was disgusting. At first I thought that it was my leaves that were spoiled or something, but it tasted great at home yesterday…

I just tasted the flat hot water in a cup this morning. Taste like fish.

Just bought almost 70$ of stuff to be able to make tea at my office, turns out that the hot water dispenser is crap to say the least.

ugh my office water was like that too… terrible!! It tasted like stale dirt/coffee. Blech.
So I bought a cheap kettle to use at work. Expecting that I would need to boil it out a little, I ran three rinses and gave it a try. Plastic. Ewww. So I tried two more. Still plasticky.
After Twelve boils it still tastes awful. I work elsewhere now, and there is a nice stainless steel kettle there so I haven’t used this other one since!!

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A few years ago I went up Grand Monadnock, a popular hiking mountain not far from the border between Massachusetts and New Hampshire. As usual, I had a small backpack with a water reservoir and a thermos with hot tea. I was preparing the tea at home in the morning and in a hurry forgot to sweeten it with honey or sugar. After a couple of hours of walking and climbing up the slope, about to leave cross the treeline, I stopped to have some tea . Bleehhh! My stomach could hardly take it!

What happened? Apparently I had not eaten anything for several hours before (nothing at night, and just a few gulps of water while on the climb and in the car on the way to the mountain). The stomach reacted in an unpleasant way.

I quickly recovered, put some food in the mouth, and went on up and down. But one of the consequences was that, for a number of years now, it is very hard for me to drink unsweetened tea. Only pu-erh and high quality white.

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Ninavampi said

Speaking of bugs….
I once bought a large tin full of tea with a clear lid (not mentioning from where for the sake of the company, they were really nice in replacing it and sending a little “I’m really sorry about that” bonus). It was a special treat for my best friend and I to share. We were really busy at the time and didn’t get around to wanting to brew it until a few weeks after it arrived.

I reached for the tin and, as I turned it to unhinge the lid, I realized that there was a whole colony of little brown bugs crawling through the tea!!!!!!!!! It took me all of my will power not to thrust the tin across the room and squeal!

My best friend was a bit better at staying calm. We took a picture of the tea through the clear lid (we didn’t dare open it) to send to the company, and threw away the tea, tin and all.

And that, dear fellow Steepsters, has been my worst, most awful and gross, experience with tea!

ugh! Horrifying! I probably would have screamed like a little girl and required several hours to work up the courage to get close enough to toss the tin out.

Ninavampi said

Yep… It was soo unexpected that the shock took over! I initially though that I had shaken the tin and that the rooibos was still swirling, but, rooibos doesn’t have 6 little legs and doesn’t continue to walk around after you set down the tea tin… : (

Uniquity said

That is so very very very gross. : (

Julia said

About 5 seconds ago I just had that same experience with one of my teas. I opened the lid, only to find a colony of little brown bugs partying away in there. And there’s a yellowish liquid. I am so throwing the whole thing out. My heart breaks for my wasted tea.

Ninavampi said

Aww… I’m so sorry! It is soooo gross when that happens…. :(

This totally has freaked me out! Haha, now I will be checking my tea thoroughly before brewing, and if I find anything odd…urggh. :(

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DukeGus said

I remember when I first began drinking tea I drank pretty randomly and very very cheap tea(still better quality then lipton etc).

There was a girl in ebay, rebeca-something, that send me a sample of TGY with some auctions I had won. I remember her tea was quite medium-low quality and I could sense it even then.
How awful could that be? I had drank cheap TGY and it was a present/sample… I brewed it like most oolong(92-95C water) for 30-45 sec. It smelled kinda intense, grassy-skunky and when I tried to drink it I couldn’t even swallow!!! I spit it out and threw the rest in the bin…omg such a bad tea!!!

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LefTea said

My worst tea experience was when I made the mistake of borrowing my husband’s backup mug he kept at work. He brings coffee to work in a mug and then refills it with water throughout the day. This one still had water from some unknown date in it. I brewed up some spiced black tea, took a sip, and tasted what can only be described as sludge. Something was growing in that mug and it wasn’t sunshine, rainbows, or anything tasty. Pretty sure I made him toss the mug as it was beyond help.

Ninavampi said

wow… I once forgot I tea strainer full of used tea leaves sitting on a shelf, with intentions of steeping it later. I forgot about it and when I found it a few days later it had a life of its own. No matter how many times I washed it, I still tasted (or imagined I tasted) the green gook that had been growing on it. I also was beyond help….

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