Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Loose Leaf Tea

Photo by Salt Water New England


31 comments:

  1. My grandmother (father's mother) drank a pot of Mark Wendell's Hu-Kwa tea every day of her adult life. (I may be exaggerating but not by much.)

    As it's a very tarry tea (lapsang souchong), she probably cut it with something else, but I don't know what. Me — I just take it straight.

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  2. Does loose powder count? The best cuppa you can have, a hot GTO at the wonderful ChaCha Matcha in NYC. Ginger turmeric Matcha with steamed frothy oat milk. INCREDIBLE.

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  3. I travel for work quite a bit, so my cuppa is usually from a tea bag. But when I get home, I feel the kettle literally sings in anticipation:)

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  4. Loose tea makes a good gift, there being many varieties. Yet my tea-drinking wife goes with the tea bag every time.

    An English co-worker from Liverpool told me that a good cup of tea cures everything from a broken heart to a broken leg. I don't know but it can't hurt.

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    1. A good, strong cuppa with a teaspoon of honey and a splash of milk is pretty much a miracle cure.

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    2. Agree. It's not an antibiotic (and you may be down with a virus anyway), but it certainly eases some of the symptoms.

      As someone who normally prefers strong teas (see comment #1), I found plain ol' Earl Grey + honey worked quite well the last time I was ill.

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  5. I'm not in love with loose tea unless you drink up the pot real fast. Otherwise the tea tends to stew. I think bags were a great invention, even if less romantic.

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    1. If you use an infuser in the pot, problem solved. Very few Brits drink loose leaf tea these days (most use tea bags) and fewer still brew the traditional way of loose tea in a pot and strained (using a cup strainer) into a cup. Using an appropriately sized infuser allows the tea to be strained and removed once the tea is ready. The one I don't get is seeing someone walking around with the tea bag still in their cup/mug.

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  6. I use tea bags when I'm lazy (Twinings and Bigelow Earl Gray, Yorkshire Gold, PG Tips, and Clipper) and loose leaf teas like Dragon Pearl Jasmine, Silver Needle Jasmin (from Teavivre), or straight silver needle. I've recently tried Harney & Sons loose leaf teas which are wonderful (Earl Grey Supreme, Rose scented, and Black Currant).

    I've got a traditional Brown Betty and FORFLIFE stump teapot but what I've found is best for me is using a Finum infuser into a 10 oz thermal mug (like from Yeti or the better, tapered shaped Ozark trail version). I sip and when I pour tea into a ceramic mug or bone china tea cup, it cools too quickly. I can enjoy my 10 oz mug over the course of 30 minutes to an hour.

    But being an American from the American West, what I don't do is call it a "cuppa". Maybe if I lived in England... ;o)

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  7. I'm an American who has drank (drunk??) tea her whole life but used only the bag kind found in the grocery store. I was introduced several years ago to good quality, loose-leaf tea, brewed properly, served in china cups, and it's a game changer. I enjoy the ceremony of making, brewing, and serving the tea properly. It is soothing, and it helps me to slow down and just enjoy a moment. It is also true about it being a miracle cure...it just makes you feel better. Well worth the cost.

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    1. I agree. It's the fun of "the ceremony of making, brewing and serving the tea properly" that I enjoy, particularly when I have time to linger or when I have guests.

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  8. Ah, Tea, the nectar of the Gods. As I come from an Irish family, I remember, going back to my Grandmother, loose tea was used always. And my parents followed suit. Although the process is ingrained in me, and I do sometimes make it loose, these days, I love Trader Joe's Irish Teabags. I used to buy them from Harrods, but finally decided to find a brand here. Whenever I'm home, three o'clock is Tea time. Love it. Anne

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  9. Well, this post is certainly timely as I've been summoning people's reviews on tea brands for nearly two weeks. I'm looking for a tea with that distinctive malt aroma. I drink a lot of tea every day and I drink many brands like Red Rose ( Canadian, not USA manuf.)Tetley British, Harney and Sons, Republic of Tea, PG Tips and more but they all taste like wet dust to me. Is it me or has anyone else noticed that teas are so bland now? I ordered an Assam tea, single origin, from Amazon and hopefully it will end my search but if anyone else has any suggestions, I would certainly appreciate them. Elizabeth

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    1. Interesting, I do think that many of today's designer teas are bland and weak. I like Typhoo and Yorkshire Red and find them plenty flavorful but honestly they are probably not that different from some of the ones you are drinking. I do find Typhoo has a distinctive flavor; I'm not sure if it is malt or not, but I like it.

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    2. Elizabeth - if you find you like Assam you can save a tremendous amount of money by buying at your local Indian grocery store. I spent too much money buying little bits of it online and in trendy shops. My local Indian grocery sells two pounds of tea for $5. I vinvac it to keep it fresh. Happy drinking! Assam definitely needs milk and sugar, it's super strong if brewed fully.

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    3. Thanks Sartre and Anonymous for the suggestions. The malt taste and aroma was and still should be typical for Irish breakfast tea. I always enjoyed Barry's and Trader Joe's because they had that maltness about them...is maltness a word? I am almost certain that Barry's even mentioned malt on their boxes a few years ago. I don't even know what ' malt' means! I only know that for many years, it was the Irish teas that advertised the distinctive malt flavor. I recently discovered that Irish tea used more Assam in their blend but I think a lot of tea companies are now using cheaper leaves and fillers in their blends. Most companies don't list the ingredients so it's impossible to know what I'm drinking. The brand I ordered is called Organic Assam by Mana Organics. I'm really hoping this will satisfy my craving but now I fear it may be too strong. If it is, I'll add more water or blend it with a Ceylon or my orange pekoe. I do like a tea that can stand up to a little milk and sweetener. Thanks again! Elizabeth

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    4. Try Mark T. Wendell's Hu-Kwa (google it). Not a weak tea by any means....

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    5. I agree with you about the blandness. Have you tried Pride of the Port? It used to be made by Peets but is now made by Mighty Leaf. I'm not sure if it's malty but that is how I think of it.

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    6. I make a pot of loose leaf every morning - a ritual. It's a hassle to clean the pot but so worth it to me. My favorite is Pride of the Port with a little (whole) milk.

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    7. I’d recommend Jolie Tea Company (https://www.istheteainyou.com) out of Salem, MA. I often make the drive down to stock up, but they do ship, and have wonderfully trained staff to assist.

      Tim

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    8. I can fully recommend the Taylor's of Harrogate range of speciality teas (Taylor's make Yorkshire Tea). There is a full list on their export site - https://www.taylorsofharrogate.com/

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    9. Honestly, this all depends entirely on how you take your tea. I grew up drinking tea with sugar and lemon, as any other way was blasphemous to my parents, but recently discovered the wonders of drinking it with milk and sugar. Took a while to get accustomed to it, but now it's a weekend ritual. I find that Yorkshire Gold works wonderfully in this regard, whereas others don't quite hold up to the 2% skim, or complement it well. Most Earl Greys I've had, such as Taylor's or Twinings work well with milk. On the other hand, I find that many of the classic teas, including Barry's and PG Tips, work a bit better with honey/sugar/lemon.

      After being a coffee nut for the past few years, I'm starting to get into loose leaf tea. If only I could find an affordable tea set such as the one pictured!

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  10. AnonymousOctober 25, 2018 at 11:47 AM, try Upton Tea (www.uptontea.com). Excellent quality and a mind boggling selection.

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    1. Thanks mhj for the Upton Tea referral! I am not familiar with them but I know Republic of Tea very well. I'm going to give their loose leaf tea a try. They have an incredible selection and great descriptions that include ' malt'. Elizabeth

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  11. Became a fan of Barry's Loose Leaf Gold while in Dingle, IE. Nothing like it on a cold, wet, cloudy day to invigorate the spirit.

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  12. I've ordered from teadog.com and they were great. Wide selection. Fortnum and Mason, and Partridges in London have a good selection as well.

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  13. Thanks for everyone's suggestions. I have written them all down. I just brewed my first cup of the Assam by Mana Organics and I must say I am over-joyed. It's exactly what I have been searching for. It's clear to me now that many of my old time favorites must have contained more Assam than they do today which would explain why they seem so tasteless to me. I still don't know what ' malt' means exactly in terms of tea characteristics but as soon as I opened the box, the malt fragrance was overwhelming and conjured up all sorts of memories. This particular brand isn't too strong at all and doesn't require milk or honey though I've tried it with both ( I'm on my second cup). It has a sweetness all by itself and leaves no bitter or rancid aftertaste. It is a loose leaf tea ( not ground or crushed) in a pyramidal 'silk' pouch and I use one pouch per tea cup- not mug. Elizabeth

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  14. I grew up in England, so of course a pot of loose leaf tea, at least twice a day, made our world go round. A family member would duly read our tea leaves, so we enjoyed the benefits of a warming cuppa as well as foreknowledge of our future. One thing our dear family tea leaf reader never forewarned us of was the health conscious wave of the future. As we sat there delighting in our tea cakes and company, little did we know one day all that sugar would be pronounced ruinous, what to speak of the glaze of the teapot itself, was it lead? What a killjoy. Now, more often than not, my tea tray is laden with healthy, awful tasting imitations of what I really want and my tea is brewed in a glass pot while the old family teapot - so pretty!- is simply an ornament on the shelf. Healthy living is ruinous to joy, and we all know life is somewhat unlived without a proper afternoon tea.

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  15. Upton Tea Imports in Holliston, MA has an Imperial Lapsang Souchong that I buy several times a year. It is fall in a cup. Coworkers call it my “Campfire Tea” because of the pine scent.
    https://www.uptontea.com
    The customer service is amazing, they have a printed newsletter & catalog that I get, and the shipping is fast.

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