tea tea tea
October 1, 2003 6:21 AM   Subscribe

Tea. More than a beverage served hot or cold, for some it is a way of life. The British are renowned for their love of tea, so it comes as no surprise that The Tea Home Page is a vast compendium of tea knowledge, games, quizzes and leaf reading. Not so trite is the Japanese tea ceremony. This site is beautiful in its calm approach to not only tea, but the digital world itself. Be sure to read A Brief History of Chanoyu. You've heard of green and black teas, but what about white tea? Lastly, I introduce you to Yogi Tea, a company that is more than a tea seller. Do yourself a favour and have a cup today.
posted by ashbury (66 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
A Chinese aunt introduced me to the wonderfully subtle Jasmine Pearls. Highly recommended.
posted by niceness at 6:50 AM on October 1, 2003

I love tea. Plain old regular red tea, the kind that comes in boxes of 300. And I can't help but laugh when people turn their nose up at good old regular tea, asking if I have any herbal or oolong or jasmine tea instead. I do keep other tea around because they go well with certain food, but I should let you fancy tea snobs in on a little secret: when my chinese friends come over to visit they are just as happy when I bring out the tea pot with my old-fashioned, bog-dull English red tea.
posted by Space Coyote at 6:53 AM on October 1, 2003

Request to any moderator out there::please remove this post it is shamless self advertising and not welcome on a forum of this quality.
posted by randomnfactor at 7:00 AM on October 1, 2003

hot tea? wouldn't that burn your tongue?
posted by mcsweetie at 7:05 AM on October 1, 2003

randomnfactor, what are you talking about? Where is the self-advertising? How is the post sub-standard? Why don't you take it to MeTa if you have a problem?
posted by ashbury at 7:05 AM on October 1, 2003

NiceCupOfTeaAndASitDown - "the premier web site for tea drinkers who are keen on sitting down and biscuits. Oh and cake aswell. If you eat biscuits then its a fair bet you'll have some cake if its on offer."
posted by Markb at 7:12 AM on October 1, 2003

There's nothing quite like a cup of really good white tea. It's a really subtle taste, but man is it good...
posted by laze at 7:16 AM on October 1, 2003

My Japanese class recently introduced me to the delights of mugicha, a "tea" made from roasted barley. Each class night during the hot Washington summer, I would make a big pitcher of iced barley-tea to share. It definitely eased the strain of learning past-tense negative adjectives and the mysteries of the -te verb form. Now that it's getting cooler, I'm back to making big pots of regular tea--also nice, but less exotic.
posted by SealWyf at 7:17 AM on October 1, 2003

If anyone can help me find Black Leeche tea online, I'll love you forever. I've only be able to find it in china town in San Francisco, and now that im on the east coast... well...
posted by atom128 at 7:17 AM on October 1, 2003

Good thing this isn't about alcohol, or we'd think you were stealing MiguelCardoso's gig.

(excellent FPP)
posted by eriko at 7:24 AM on October 1, 2003

Ice tea. The only way to drink it.
posted by JanetLand at 7:25 AM on October 1, 2003

Oh, and atom128? Try here.
posted by JanetLand at 7:27 AM on October 1, 2003

atom128: did you mean black lychee tea?
posted by tss at 7:27 AM on October 1, 2003

English Breakfast tea dull? I drink it religiously. Before that I was an Earl Grey addict getting a daily Bergamot kick. Just don't don't drink more than a litre of that shit a day! I love tea. Coffee is a hard drug.
posted by Onanist at 7:27 AM on October 1, 2003

janet, tss - you rule. thanks.
posted by atom128 at 7:28 AM on October 1, 2003

Is there any tea on this spaceship?
posted by crayfish at 7:41 AM on October 1, 2003

I drink Rooibos because of all the antioxidants and because it helps my allergies and sinuses. Tastes faintly like shortbread, just add a bit of honey.

Any other recommended teas for the allergy-afflicted?
posted by dhoyt at 7:47 AM on October 1, 2003

oh my word i love tea. my kitchen cupboards are bursting with an ever growing collection of worldly tea varieties; you can't open them without some poor packet of tea falling out and bopping you. i even joined a tea lovers clique, silly me. the second i see or hear the word tea i have to make some. ice cold or steaming hot, any type at all. but push comes to shove my favourite is plain old red rose or tetley. damn, that just triggered the tetley tea folk dance music in my head. pardon me while i put the kettle on... i'll leave you with my favourite quote that's somewhat tea related:

"cuppa tea, cuppa tea, almost got shagged, cuppa tea."
spike referring to giles' love life, btvs season 6, pt. 1 bargaining
posted by t r a c y at 7:55 AM on October 1, 2003

ashbury, it is shameless self-advertising because of your vast tea emporium, which is secretly funding all of the web pages you link to.

Onanist: coffee is a hard drug when prepared harshly. I roast and grind my own beans (plus I only buy the best), and filter my coffee through paper using an ingenious Japanese ceramic filter. So it's only the beans and the water, and I make the coffee to just the right strength before the grinds start to show any blond. I find coffee made this way to be a calming affair, and the caffeine gives me a warming, relaxing effect. If I drink any coffee made with older grinds, or even worse, instant coffee, I find the effect of the caffeine to be somewhat harsh, jangly and nerve-inducing. Of course this may just be me.

Ok, back to the tea now ... I love making it from the very tips of young, fresh assam leaves, although I'll drink tea any way, any time.

(on preview, Rooibos is also a fave)
posted by walrus at 7:55 AM on October 1, 2003

My favorite: CBC Blend from Murchies....a very mild blend of green and black tea
posted by skwm at 8:04 AM on October 1, 2003

Can anyone find Twinings Vintage Darjeeling anymore? It's drugs, man, just unlike anything else Twinings produces. I swear it must be the first flush of the leaves (though it probably isn't). But I haven't been able to find it in years.

'Course, now that I Google, I see I can find teas grouped by flush here...
posted by Shane at 8:07 AM on October 1, 2003

ah, tea. My favorite, which I have only been able to find in a gothic tea shop in toronto is Victorian Garden (green tea, rose, vanilla, and lavender I believe). Since this shop has long since closed and I'm no longer living in the great white north, does anyone know where I can find some?
posted by batboy at 8:08 AM on October 1, 2003

Speaking of drugs and tea, a group of students I was long ago acquainted with, once determined that tea is the central-point of mental stability in the universe, and that the introduction of a cuppa could calm even the most chemically inconvenienced down to a state of mild schizophrenia. Useful knowledge that, if you ever find yourself having ingested a large quantity of acid and want to stop pink floyd climbing up your spinal column with little pick axes to have a dig around inside your brain. Or so I'm told.
posted by walrus at 8:18 AM on October 1, 2003

...the introduction of a cuppa could calm even the most chemically inconvenienced down to a state of mild schizophrenia.

Because, unfortunately, a state of mild schizophrenia is often something to strive for...
posted by Shane at 8:22 AM on October 1, 2003

Personally, I like fresh and organic teas much more than bags of unknown origin.
(although I admit a certain attraction to constant comment)
I've been working my way through the styles here and here. I have found quite a few that are excellant.
If tea bags are like beer, than these are like single malt scotches, and both have their place in the world.
posted by milovoo at 8:40 AM on October 1, 2003

Walrus: Amateur. I breed and grow my own beans, which are harvested from the foothills of the Andes only under the soft glow of the waxing moon by the delicate fingers of indigenous children. The beans are ground only by a mortar and pestle blessed by a local Inca priest and then combined with artesian water heated from a geothermal spring and passed through a filter originally designed for use by Biosphere II.

The coffee? It's ar'ight.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:48 AM on October 1, 2003

There seems to be a current drive to popularize bubble tea - a 1980s Taiwanese invention of flavoured tea with tapioca balls.
posted by raygirvan at 8:50 AM on October 1, 2003

Kuro5hin had an article on tea fairly recently - here
posted by donth at 8:52 AM on October 1, 2003

Heh. 'Spose I deserved that leotrotsky. It is worth taking a little extra effort with any brewed drink endeavour though, in my not so humble experience.
posted by walrus at 8:55 AM on October 1, 2003

*heh* Just had a mug plonked down on my desk...bog-standard Tetley floor sweepings. Good stuff. Best served in a Coventry City FC mug.

And there's a stash of various herbal [Dr Stuart's are the best by a mile] & Ayurvedic teas at the end of the desk.

If you're into herbal teas, it is always worth growing your own herbs & using them fresh. Or buy herbalist-grade stuff from your local herbalist. Bartram's Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine is a great reference for the health & medicinal properties of herbs with lots of good tea recipies.

walrus: I'd go along with that theory. I also want to drink coffee at your house! Altho' this person reckons that paper filters out some of the oils.
posted by i_cola at 8:56 AM on October 1, 2003

Ah, thanks i_cola. I shall read that shortly after the kettle has boiled.
posted by walrus at 9:00 AM on October 1, 2003

Tapioca balls? um, ok.

Although a fabulous light lunch can be made with balls of sticky rice, toasted in the broiler, place in bowl, then pour hot green tea over them.

Yeah I love tea. None of this sweetened junk though. Give me some Irish Breakfast or Tazo Awake straight up. Or maybe Genmai Cha.
posted by ilsa at 9:01 AM on October 1, 2003

posted by Blue Stone at 9:06 AM on October 1, 2003

Walrus: To be honest, I'm the same way myself. Interest and attention to a particular thing (like coffee) inevitably gives rise to deliberateness and intention in action with regard to it. e.g. Nowadays I won't brew tea in anything but my Yixing clay pot. The porous clay interior picks up just a little of the flavour of the leaves with each pot. They say that after enough years, you can brew a pot just by pouring in hot water. Bliss.
posted by leotrotsky at 9:08 AM on October 1, 2003

This was an interesting read, from a number of perspectives.
posted by rushmc at 9:13 AM on October 1, 2003

I drink *a lot* of tea, though I don't care for Yogi tea, as I don't find their flavors all that appealing... A few of them just taste downright nasty and medicine-like to me.

However, I can't say enough nice things about Upton Tea, which has a great selection of truely wonderful teas. from their Assams to Earl Grey to their Mutan White... and their site allows the users to rate their favorites, which is very useful. All in all, if you want serious tea, Upton's is a great place to visit.

Another place I would recommend is Ten Ren, which has several sites around the S.F. Bay Area. I especially like their awesome jasmine -- the expensive, aromatic stuff that looks like little pellets.
posted by insomnia_lj at 9:16 AM on October 1, 2003

I have a guilty-pleasure thing for bubble tea. Lots of places serve it in New York -- all with an extra-wide straw with which to suck up the sweet little slimy globular treats. But though most varieties are made with black or green tea, it's not really a tea experience -- it's more like an alien-milkshake experience. (The Saint's Alp teashops in Chinatown and just north of the East Village are a good place to start.)

As for real tea, I've lately been getting into green tea with subtle tropical-fruit tones -- a place by my apartment serves Fiji green tea, which is great. And actually Moby's little tea shop in the Lower East Side, Teany, has an excellent green tea with very very slight mango and vanilla tones -- it's colorless and quite good. Of course I've forgotten what it's called, but I'll go back.
posted by lisa g at 9:47 AM on October 1, 2003

I roast and grind my own beans (plus I only buy the best), and filter my coffee through paper using an ingenious Japanese ceramic filter. So it's only the beans and the water, and I make the coffee to just the right strength before the grinds start to show any blond. I find coffee made this way to be a calming affair, and the caffeine gives me a warming, relaxing effect.

You big ponce.
posted by Summer at 9:58 AM on October 1, 2003

Actually, your coffee sounds like what I need Walrus. I usually dislike the effects of coffee when I do drink it (not very often) and instant seems to be the worst. Always put it down to the caffeine level of a coffee but maybe that's not all of it as you suggest.

I forgot to mention in my original post that I drink my tea straight black, no milk or sugar for me thank you very much, which often inspires bemusement from some people. Is drinking tea unpolluted reasonably common? Maybe only amongst tea aficionados?
posted by Onanist at 10:05 AM on October 1, 2003

I like the name of "Monkey Picked Tea", legend goes that monks trained monkeys to climb to places inaccessible to humans and to pick the tea. The tea has been replanted to more accessible places, but the name is kept to identify it as high quality tea.

I am actually drinking "Gunpowder Green Tea" right now. Some of the higher quality Gunpowder Tea is hand rolled into little balls that looks like gunpowder. The tea has a more subtle, less earthy taste than much green tea.

I love tea.
posted by jonah at 10:08 AM on October 1, 2003

Bring back the PG Tips Chimps!

And i_cola, if you're going to drink out of a cov city mug I think you'll need something a little stronger...
posted by ciderwoman at 10:09 AM on October 1, 2003

As an American tea-drinker in a Starbucks world, it's delightful to fly to the UK and wake up to the flight attendant offering me warm, milky wonderful tea instead of that black caffeinated coffee sludge that's standard on jets.

No-one's mentioned Yerba Mate ("mah-tay") yet. It's got quite a nice little kick to it!
posted by arielmeadow at 10:16 AM on October 1, 2003

For those who need a bit more paranoia with their feel-good, here's J. S. Le Fanu's Green Tea. (And yes, it has had that effect on me on occasion.)
posted by SealWyf at 10:27 AM on October 1, 2003

I like drinking Inuit herbal tea, Northern Delights, gathered by the Inuit from the Arctic tundra. The five tea blends are very unique and tasty. If you like herbal tea, you should try this.
posted by KathyK at 10:49 AM on October 1, 2003

Mmmm...tea. One thing I miss most about TX is good iced tea(NOT sweet) in restaurants with endless refills like water. I remember getting an "iced tea" at a restaurant in Oregon soon after I moved there and having a glass of something that looked like Kool-Aid(herbal "tea") show up on the table. Gack! I have Keemun every morning. Love Lapsang Souchong iced. Earl Grey anytime anyway. Green or Genmai-Cha(roasted brown rice and green tea) in the evening. A green tea brought from Taiwan by a friend was a revelation. Sipping Persian tea(Earl Grey with cardamom) with a Persian sugar cube(not quite rock candy, but not your typical sugar cube) held in your mouth is a great way to finish a big meal--Persian or not.
posted by lobakgo at 10:49 AM on October 1, 2003

I love Lapsang Souchong too, but haven't tried it iced. Dunno why, sounds good.

I have made ice-cream out of it tho. Very, very good. And gets a lot of attention, such a unique flavor.
posted by duckstab at 11:24 AM on October 1, 2003

Great post!

I love tea, I drink it every day (bog-standard Red Rose (no longer only in Canada, eh?), strong with skim milk...), I also love green and China Black...but now I want to try batboy's Victorian Garden (scroll down).
posted by biscotti at 11:28 AM on October 1, 2003

Is it "ice tea" or "iced tea"?
posted by JanetLand at 11:32 AM on October 1, 2003

For Texans (and other assorted areas), there's a great bottled tea that doesn't come loaded with high fructose corn syrup.

If you're in one of these lucky states, I highly recommend hunting down the Green Tea with Mint and Honey.
posted by one.louder.ash! at 11:43 AM on October 1, 2003

Is it "ice tea" or "iced tea"?

Technically it's "iced tea." "Ice tea" would be tea made from ice, which would be a little boring.

(Similarly with "old fashioned." Of course, "ice tea" is correct by way of having been in common usage for a certain amount of time. But you knew that and it was a redundant question? D'oh!)
posted by Shane at 11:46 AM on October 1, 2003

duckstab--Lapsang Souchong ice cream sounds really good. Do you grind the tea to a powder and add it? About how much tea to how much milk mixture?
posted by lobakgo at 12:19 PM on October 1, 2003

"Mistress Weatherwax a bit poorly, is she?" said Hodgesaargh, coming in.
"I think you could certainly say that, yes."
"Oh dear. Want some tea?"
"It's a nasty night. If we're stopping up I'll put the kettle on."
"Do you realize, man, that she might get up from there a bloodthirsty vampire?"
"Oh." The falconer looked down at the still figure and the smoking anvil. "Good idea to face her with a cup of tea inside you, then," he said.

Terry Pratchett~ The Discworld novel "Carpe Jugulum"

Tons of tea quotes from Stash Tea, including this stirring ode that puts the "Tea" in "testosterone":

The best quality tea must have creases like the leathern boot of Tartar horsemen, curl like the dewlap of a mighty bullock, unfold like a mist rising out of a ravine, gleam like a lake touched by a zephyr, and be wet and soft like a fine earth newly swept by rain.

Lu Yu (d. 804)
posted by taz at 1:09 PM on October 1, 2003

Oh... and I forgot to say, "shame on you ashbury, for posting this." Even though I enjoy a calming cup of Ashbury's Herbal Terrific SoporificTM in the evenings, and always wake up to a bracing cup of Ashbury's Darjeeling with FeelingTM, there's really no excuse for this kind of self promotion. In fact I spewed a mouthful of Ashbury's Toolong OolongTM all over my monitor when I saw this post.
posted by taz at 1:31 PM on October 1, 2003

although they appear to be moving their online store, steep tea has very good tea in several different flavors with nice attention to design and packaging. each tea bag is hand tied in a pouch and placed in a little matchbox that has a hidden bottom containing a special message. my favorite one by them is a licorice blend tea. so tasty.
posted by alicila at 2:00 PM on October 1, 2003

lobakgo, I never remember to write stuff down, but I know i didn't grind the tea leaves up. I'd guess I used around a quarter cup of dry tea for 4 cups of milk/cream. I always use more of something if I'm making ice cream out of it, and I like ice cream strong anyways.
posted by duckstab at 2:34 PM on October 1, 2003

Is it "ice tea" or "iced tea"?

Pet peeve alert: "ice tea" makes me wince hard.
posted by rushmc at 3:25 PM on October 1, 2003

Speaking of Stash Tea, their organic line has some very good (and fairly-priced) bagged teas (no bagged tea can approach loose teas, of course, but convenience is worth something too).

[I was actually planning to do a Tea FPP yesterday, and StashTea.com has all sorts of great stuff, including recipes and a mini-essay on Teapots.
posted by kickingtheground at 4:03 PM on October 1, 2003

i've been partial to Eastern Shore Tea Co. lately. especially the key lime colada.
posted by goddam at 6:14 PM on October 1, 2003

Uuuhhh...key lime colada tea. I am agog. I thought it was a joke.
posted by lobakgo at 7:16 PM on October 1, 2003

Oops. Duckstab, thanks. That key lime colada tea made me forget what I was doing.
posted by lobakgo at 7:18 PM on October 1, 2003

I had a Steap green tea root beer today.
posted by rushmc at 7:23 PM on October 1, 2003

I prefer my tea to be a Darjeeling, second flush from a nice plantation, only one mind you, preferably Margaret's Hope.
posted by Dagobert at 12:15 AM on October 2, 2003

You big ponce.

Let's not talk about work here, honey.
posted by walrus at 1:25 AM on October 2, 2003

I think you yankees and euroweenie-wannabe types are just too impatient to wait for the tea to cool and imbibe it the way holy jesus intended: ice cold and with a puckering amount of sweetener!
posted by mcsweetie at 5:49 AM on October 2, 2003

Tea lovers, be sure to also sign up at tea.meetup.com. I, for one, wonder if there are any other Earl Grey drinkers in Dallas ;).
posted by abischof at 1:18 PM on October 3, 2003

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