Tea snobbery

46 Replies

It is super annoying to be called “hoity-toity” by my friends and co-workers who see me drinking loose tea or talking about my tea obsession. It’s not like I have an attitude about it. It’s just something I enjoy. I don’t understand the stigma associated with pouring hot water over leaves!?

Chizakura said

I’ve actually yet to find a ‘hoity-toity’ person with their leaves, it’s always teabag people just leaping onto the defensive and assuming we’re snobs for whatever reason.

Obviously not everyone who drinks teabags are defensive and paranoid, but I’ve yet to come across the snobby leaf people whereas I’ve seen plenty of teabag people as I described.

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I’ve had the question “whats wrong with a normal cup of tea?”

Where do you start. I make them a brew with leaf tea and usually the response is “fair point”

Angrboda said

I think I would start with ‘define normal’. Is ‘normal’ the way most people drink it ie bagged, or is ‘normal’ the loose leaf which is much closer to its natural state? Either way it’s still leaves with water on it, so… I would say I’m drinking ‘normal’ cups of tea whether they come from loose leaf or from a teabag.

alice said

Some people are happy drinking tea bags. Maybe they really enjoy it (I’m not going to lie, I’ve enjoyed bagged tea too) or maybe it is familiar and they appreciate that constant in their lives.

I know people who have been drinking the exact same brand of tea, at the same time and from the same cup everyday of their adult lives. For my mother in law it is the same tea that her mother drank and from her mother’s cup. It is leaf tea but personally I think there is much nicer tea out there, obviously it is about much more than just the taste for her so I wouldn’t dream of trying to get her to change her everyday tea.

Its weird as in the UK tea has a lot of brand loyalty – my wife swears by Tetley and no others ever get bought.

Really interesting to be a part of this discussion

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In context it means a teabag, milk, sugar and boiling water. They just see warming the pot, measuring out tea, getting the temp right and watching the time as a lot of faffing about.

K S said

Normal is regional. Here in Midwest USA, normal is a pitcher of tea that is served unsweetened without milk and poured over ice. The tea is prepared by boiling water on the stovetop in a small pan and adding several teabags (8 in our case). The steep time is felt not measured and can be 10 minutes or longer. The brew is then diluted in the pitcher.

Loose leaf tea is nearly unheard of as it only comprises 2.5% of sales in America.

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I’ve often wondered how ice tea was made. So a super strength tea then diluted down and served over ice?

K S said

Well that is the way we do it. When the pot starts to crawl off the stove it’s time to pour. ;) That may explain why I seem to be immune to astringency. My brother makes it 1/4 strength but with enough sugar to make your kidneys beg for mercy just looking at it.

K S said

I had never had hot tea until I started buying my own tea in my late teens. I never knew anyone who drank it. Lipton iced or Maxwell House coffee – I thought that was all there was.

Chizakura said

Or you can cold brew it. I used to always steep in hot water, top it up with cold water after the bags or leaves come out, then chill in the fridge.

Lately I’ve been cold brewing. Which is putting the leaves or bags into cold water, and steeping overnight in the fridge. Somehow it comes out far more flavorful and really really sweet :)

Maxwell House coffee – you poor thing

ifjuly said

there’s also southern sweet tea, which is its own kettle of fish (ha). quite eye-opening as a transplanted yank to find out it’s not really like any other method (it’s sort of like making a hyper-concentrated tea-infused simple syrup, on the stove).

and yeah I’m a huge fan of cold steeping; for some reason the “make it hot concentrated and then dilute it” method always winds up making tea taste bitter or too tannic to me, and it’s more complicated changing the ratios. cold steeped takes a long time, yes, but requires zero effort and the results are always so much sweeter and more refreshing i find. yum.

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Disteza said

I’ll admit to being a tea snob, so when people look at me funny because I want boiling water and have my tea tabernacle and all its arcana ready for use, I shrug and go on with my life. Trying to explain tea to some folks is a waste of time—usually, if they’re friends, they’ll get a cup eventually anyway and understand my passion. Or, not. To each their own.

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That’s how I understand it too. Perhaps inquisitiveness might win them round one day

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Katiek said

I drink loose leaf tea at home and I brew a cup for work, but when I make tea at work, I almost always use tea bags. It’s cleaner and easier, especially when I’m out of the office. If I’m in a meeting, it’s easy to make tea with a tea bag, but it’s not really the place to start with loose leaf tea.

So I’m a mix of loose and bagged tea, depending on circumstances.

Tea bags have their place, but I prefer loose as I can drink it with out milk and sugar. Tea bags always need loads of sugar. and milk and sugar are not always available. But hot water usually is ;)

If trying good quality tea bags leads people into loose tea then its a bonus

Like if kids watch Twilight and then as a result watch something like Let The Right One In or Stakeland

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I’m just gonna drop this here, then… www.youtube.com/watch?v=m8HbayruN44

Kaylee said



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K S said

For me, back in my tea bag only days, what kept me away from loose leaf was mostly availability and initial cost. A tea ball is easy to find and cheap. It also works well enough for most beginner black teas. So equipment wasn’t an issue. The only loose leaf on local shelves was a couple offerings of Twinings. Beyond that and I would have to order online. When there is a good variety of bagged teas available for less than $3/box justifying the up front expense of loose leaf is difficult when you weren’t convinced there is a significant taste difference.

I used to have maybe 12-20 different boxed teas in my drawer. I had never seen that much tea in any one else’s collection at the time. I was happy. Then I discovered Steepster and felt left out. Looking back, much of what I perceived as snobbery was actually – you can do better. Very few people really have the whole class look down your nose attitude towards tea bag people.

I still buy and use a lot of tea bags. They are easy to come by and many are quite tasty. Almost none offer the complexity of a good cup of loose leaf but sometimes simple is all I want. They each have their place.

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Teabags are fine for taking to work and offer me that great convenience. But at home its loose tea all the way. If it wasn’t how would I get through it all…?

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