New to Tea and Steepster

34 Replies

Thanks everyone for your feedback—it’s so helpful. One other question I have…for those of you that sweeten your tea, do you use plain white sugar? Or do you use something special like Teavana German Rock Sugar? I’ve never had the latter so I would definitely like to try it in the near future.

That’s kind of another personal preference thing. The claim that the rock sugar doesn’t change the flavor of the tea, and is therefore better… to me that doesn’t pass the straight face test. I tried it for awhile, I really like the big glass jar that the 3-pounds of rock sugar comes in. What it seems to actually do is force you to use less sugar (due to the awkward rock shape not exactly conforming to the teaspoon), and therefore the sweetness doesn’t impact the flavor as much.

If you were looking for something because of maybe a specific health concern, there might be good recommendations, but if you’re just wondering about flavor, it’s a matter of preference. I prefer sugar in the raw for most teas. Missy uses vanilla sugar a lot of times. If it’s a less-adulterated black tea, or a straight black tea, I might prefer honey. Even then, the honey I usually use is orange-blossom honey, which has a different taste than clover honey. Again, just a preference.

Missy said

I use splenda in my coffee but I find that it adds a chemical taste to tea. I have tried the german rock sugar and it’s good. I think sugar in the raw tastes the same and is more cost effective. It’s also easier to stir in. I’ve had Stevia but I think it tastes a little off. It’s very sweet but there is some thing wrong with it.
I hear good things about honey and agave.

Missy said

Shh Dylan!!! All vanilla sugar on the market is mine mine mine!

Uniquity said

If I sweeten my tea, I tend to use honey. I like it that way : )

Vanilla sugar?? What’s this devil magic of which you speak?

Missy said

That depends on who made it.

If you were to make your self its just sugar that has been sharing living quarters with a vanilla bean for a few weeks. You’ll need to cut the bean into a few bits and scrape out the seeds to mingle with the sugar. The sugar eventually takes on the taste of vanilla.

I’ve noticed a couple of different vanilla sugars on the market. There is the above method except they grind the vanilla bean into very small pieces. The vanilla pieces seem to match the sugar crystals in size. I’ve also seen vanilla sugar that looked like it was made with vanilla extract.

If you are interested in making your own I’ll dig up the most helpful sites I found.

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teaenvy said

Hey wesley :-)

If you want to branch out a bit and think you might enjoy a stronger tea try Earl Grey for a start …yummy!

but wait….dont be afraid to experiment with loose leaf and unflavored tea. Unflavored teas have very complex flavors. enjoying these flavors is simply a matter of swishing some tea in your mouth slowly. think about what you are tasting. swollow the tea before it cools. just work the tea over your tastebuds and try to get the liquor over all parts of your tongue.

it takes a little practice but after a cup or two you will easily recognize individual flavor notes and your skill will get better and better. suddenly a simple green tea will taste like lemons, orchids and the air on a spring day….

dont forget your nose! much of what we think of as flavor is really experienced in the nose. simply breathing in the scent of a tea will open your tastebuds to experiencing a full range of complexity.

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Sweet! ;) What kind of infusers do you all use for loose leaf tea?

Missy said

I’ve have a ball on a handle that doesn’t work for me any more since I got the super huge cup. I currently use
It works great in my cup and in my tea pot. It keeps even the smaller leaves out for the most part. I have some trouble with chamomile but every thing else stays where I want it.
Dylan has
He loves it. It doesn’t get hot to the touch when you want to remove it and does an excellent job of keeping all the tea in the basket.
We also have the tumblers. They work pretty good but unless I need to go some where I find it’s just an extra step. The mesh in these will let some rooibos through. I haven’t really tried it much with chamomile teas but I’d guess that my forlife infuser works better.
There are also some teabags you can get that look interesting. I haven’t tried any so far but they seem very convenient for tea on the go. I have heard good things about them in the discussion board and on tea reviews. Hmm I think I’ve babbled on long enough now. Good luck!

I use the infuser basket as well, typically for my mugs which are 16oz or less. I also have the perfect tea maker that is 16oz from Teavana that I received as a gift a few years ago that is nice.

The only thing to be careful with perfect tea maker is that it is plastic and if you use dark teas the plastic will hold some of the flavor. Not that much, but enough to notice if you are making something delicate like green tea.

Blake said

I use the larger perfect tea maker and really enjoy it. I need to get a basket and an electric kettle for work, I just haven’t gotten around to it yet.

I really do like the Finum Brewing Basket Missy pointed out below. It uses a gold-screen type thing, like you’re used to seeing in some of the professional coffee urns. Its really a well made looking product. I basically use it as a replacement basket inside of a cheapo-teapot (40 ounces). Works well for black or green teas, but I doubt it would have enough room for any of the full leaf teas that REALLY expand. Well, not 40 ounces worth. It would definitely hold enough leaf tea for a 12-16 ounce cup.

Plus, the fact that the cap also serves as a base just makes the tiny little engineer inside of me giddy.

I think I’m gonna go with the Adagio IngenuiTEA:

it seems to have really good reviews, and the price is right for me right now. I also travel in a singing group every weekend, so something I could take with me and potentially microwave (although I don’t really believe in that anymore now that I have a kettle) is a big plus. This mesh ball on a stick just isn’t doing it anymore though! I find little bits everywhere.

It seems

The smart tea makers like the one you mention are a pretty good option. I don’t like mesh ball infusers, I don’t think they allow enough room for the tea to properly infuse. The smart tea makers allow for the space needed for tea to infuse properly, and they’re really easy to use too.

But, personally speaking, I love my Breville One-Touch. It’s pricy, but, it is so worth the price if you drink tea often.

Love my One-Touch too :)

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teaenvy said

tiny tea sipping giddy engineers….very charming

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I’m a sucker for convenience, so when I went to a local mall with a Teavana I caved and bought the perfect tea maker. It’s essentially the same thing, so it really doesn’t matter. I also got conned into some strawberry flavored white tea (with the tin of course) and a cup. I’ve never actually bought from Teavana before save a drink once in Chicago, so I thought I might as well give it a shot. However I wasn’t blown away by the rock sugar, which I was glad for. Regular or sugar in the raw will do just fine. Can’t wait to get near a kettle so I can try out there tea maker!

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