New to tea- resteeping, Teavana and other questions
I am quite new to tea. I switched after having to give up coffee. My husband got me a nice cast iron tea pot and a tea tumbler with a loose tea infuser for christmas. However, I realized I have very little knowledge about tea!
First- what teas can be resteeped and how does this work? For example, when I brew in my cast iron pot or tumbler, I usually pull out the infuser while I drink. So the tea just sits in the infuser during that time. I generally toss it out but someone at work mentioned I may be able to reuse some of it.
Second- Teavana- how does their tea quality rate up to other companies? any better options? I live in Boston and don’t really know of any other places to check out loose teas.
finally- Cast iron. Is this Teavana hype or is there really something to the craze?
I have a couple pages from this company bookmarked because they have such good info. Here’s the one with info on resteeping: http://remedyteas.com/?page_id=13
It takes a bit of experimenting but it’s fun to see how some teas change flavors.
Teavana is alright for certain things, there’s a bunch of threads about that on here.
I personally love cast iron, I got a cast iron teapot because I love cast iron for cooking. It’s easy to clean, it keeps warm by itself for a good bit of time. (I forgot to add that I can’t possibly break it on my own. I’ve broken 3 wine glasses and a mug recently in the dumbest of ways.) But there’s tons of ways to brew teas, and it’s all personal preference. There are much cheaper cast iron teapots than the ones Teavana offers, though.
There are many different opinions of Teavana — check out some of the other threads.
I live outside of Boston and have been exploring different places to purchase tea locally. One of my local favorites is Virtuous Teas in Newton. You can view their website at http://www.virtuousteas.com/ and my review on steepster places at http://steepster.com/places/1956-virtuous-teas-auburndale-massachusetts.
You can use the places tab on steepster to find other local tea shops/tea rooms.
I hope this helps!
I think the answers to your questions depend on the individual answering but I’ll give you my two cents.
Unfortunately, I’ve never shopped from Teavana, but as I understand it they are good for flavoured teas, not so great for unflavoured teas (much like David’s Tea). However I feel that their teas are overpriced (I’ve checked a few out, and the only ones I liked the price of were the 75% off Boxing Day sale ones.) If there are no local tea options for you, there are a number of wonderful online retailers, basically catering to every type of tea lover.
Re-steeping is always worth a shot – I leave my leaves in the infuser, and then just put it back in with hot water when I want a second steep. I leave them out for hours sometimes and have left “used” tea in my perfect tea mug for a day and then used the leaves again (though I know others are probably revolted by that). Oolongs and greens do very well with re-steeping, blacks CAN do well (to 2 or MAYBE 3 steeps) and herbals aren’t so hot. I’ve learned what I like through experimentation – if a re-steep is too bland I just dump it and make a proper cuppa.
Cast iron: Another one I am not sure of. I don’t have a cast iron pot, but instead a small collection of glass and porcelain pots, as well as a porcelain gaiwan. I certainly feel that good tea can be made in things other than cast iron (since that’s what I use!) but I definitely see the appeal of cast iron. I usually make only 1 cup or small pot at a time so keeping the tea hot isn’t an issue and glass and porcelain are find for that. I just draw new water afterward when I want another cup. It’s all up to you, really! Best of luck and happy tea!
I don’t have anything much to add to what Uniquity has said, aside from the fact that I find most of Teavana’s tea blends to be absolutely dreadful. Upton Tea Imports is also in Massachusetts but they’re a catalog place only I believe.
Here’s a blog with some different tea shops in Beantown. I’d say the Tea Zone looks pretty promising.
I’ll try to elaborate based on my experiences.
Re-steeping: No matter the quality of the leaves you can always resteep, but some cheap CTC (crush, tear, and curled) teas don’t usually resteep well because they aren’t good to begin with. My advice to you is to TRY re-steeping your teas and see what you think. Higher quality whole leaves re-steep very well since the leaves go through a change as they become saturated, and this can even give you a rainbow of flavors as it transitions it’s state (oolong especially).
Teavana: Teavana is pretty much starbucks of the tea world. I hate starbucks. I hate teavana. They focus on sales rather than the tea itself, and this can create a bad experience in the long run for people getting into teas. They tend to sell “designer teas” which are mixed product, though some like these designer teas, I do not. Their actual ingredients seem to be of quality though, and if you can get past their prices, their upselling practices, and lack of tea knowledge… they may be a company that you find convenient.
Cast-Iron: I recently had a terrible experience with cast-iron that I got for xmas. The inner enamel started to flake off around where the lid touches, and it was migrating towards the inside. I didn’t even notice until I started seeing black specs within my teas. Because of this I returned the pot and will NEVER buy enameled cast-iron again. Ever. I can’t say anything bad about the steeps it produced, and the thermal resistance. It would stay hot for a solid hour- as in after an hour I would pour a cup and have to wait for it too cool before I could sip on it. After returning it I bought a ceramic ForLife pot for my variety of teas, and a wonderful little yixing for my oolong- I don’t see myself opting for anything else anytime soon as this combo is fantastic.
Now since you’re new to teas, I can’t help but give you a great tip- buy samples of many different types of teas. Companies like “Chicago Tea Garden” offer samples of VERY exquisite teas for a $3 flat-rate (including shipping). You’ll find that every great tea company will provide inexpensive samples of their product to “hook” you.
Most of all, you can get really caught up in all of the accessories, traditions, and sources when you get started, but never forget the most important thing- enjoying the tea!
Wow, well I was in love with Teavana when I went in store while on a trip to Chicago. I spent a lot of money. I however just received a lot of tea I ordered for boxing day prices. The first one i tried that i had high hopes of i just dislike so much. And after looking at review of most of their teas… i’m discouraged. Personally, I love DavidsTea and you can buy online. I also heart “Chicago Tea Garden.” It will depend on what your preferences are and you’ll only find out by selecting a wide variety of tea. PM me if you have any question, i’m not “new” new to tea but i’m not a tea snob… yet ;) Happy steeping!
Thank you all for the tips!
I tried resteeping my green tea yesterday and it worked well. The second steep was different- I really enjoyed seeing how the tea changed!
I will definitely try some of these ordering sites- I am in no way attached to teavana. It’s convenient but online ordering is great too!
Wonks- that sampler sounds perfect! I’m checking it out.
startea: You live in Boston? Lucky you! One of my favorite shops is nearby: Tea Trekker (at least relatively nearby: http://www.teatrekker.com/location.htm. Here is a link to their online store: http://www.teatrekker.com/main.htm. I haven’t had any of their flavored teas (they have a few) but, their unflavored teas are some of the best I have had (for very reasonable prices). And they seem to be very knowledgeable about tea. I would LOVE to be able to visit their store (maybe, someday). Here is a link to their ‘Place’ on Steepster: http://steepster.com/places/2461-tea-trekker-northampton-massachusetts
Welcome to Steepster, and the wonderful world of tea!
Amy and Simplicitea- thanks for the local suggestions!!!
I can actually confidently recommend a shop of my own now- http://www.jaho.com. I had forgotten about them until my husband mentioned it. This is a shop located on the historic Salem, MA waterfront. We shopped there a few times before we got married. I just checked and they do sell their delicious tea online!!!