good things are brewing
February 12, 2007 12:47 PM   Subscribe

Tea has had its tour on MeFi before, but have you gone on a Tea Tour of New York? As tea continues to become the hot beverage (although Americans seem to prefer it iced), the number of tea blogs can only continue to rise. Want to get closer to the source? Try this blog in Bejing.
posted by mikeh (16 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
As of late, I've found myself enjoying a cup of tea in the morning and more often than not the afternoon as well. My primary reason for this was that coffee makes my stomach feel like the 6th circle of Hell and tastes like ass. My interest began primarily with the lure of waking up to stimulants, but I've found the more tea I drink, the more observant of its various flavors I have become.

Glad to see that I am not alone in this discovery.
posted by smackwich at 12:53 PM on February 12, 2007

I like teabaggers.
posted by phaedon at 12:56 PM on February 12, 2007

I've been drinking more than my fair share of tea lately, from decent iced teas that seem to be more common at restaurants than the instant kind that used to plague everywhere I went to a number of loose teas that I've picked up at my local shop.
posted by mikeh at 12:59 PM on February 12, 2007

The advice I always pass on to my British freinds to on no account drink any tea in America.

OK, so occasioanly if you look hard enough you can find something half decent (which for me usually means finding a shop that imports PG tips), but on no account should you drink tea found in an office cafeteria, most restraunts, and most peopels houses.

In general they will offer one of the following: hundreds of varieties of fruit concoctions with bits of twig in it , or somehting that looks like an ordinary black tea but is in fact just dirt: Pouring water on it will produce a thin, brackish liquid with no particular flavour.

The conclusion I have come to is that most Americans don't drink tea, and thpse that do sea it as some kind of ritual of self punishment.

Also for some reason I've never been able to determine most people don't have electric kettles, and seem to think microwaving water is sufficient to boil it.
posted by Artw at 1:17 PM on February 12, 2007

I've been a confirmed coffee addict since about the seventh grade (in my 30s now). However, lately I have been enjoying tea in the evening. Less of a caffeine jolt and more of a warm beverage to soothe my throat. Bit of honey in the bottom, green black or white, herbal or caffeinated, whatever I feel like that day: I like tea. Happy to see even the big companies like Lipton making better tea bags now. I have tried three of the new varieties, and all of them have been decent. Would prefer if they had a plain tea though, aside from the black everything seems to have fruit in it. Not a huge issue, but sometimes plain white or green is preferable to white or green plus some citrus bits.
posted by caution live frogs at 1:19 PM on February 12, 2007

The thing about tea is that it can mean so many different things. Green tea, white tea, black tea, herbal tea, fruity tea, etc. The word is so wildly generic that it doesn't really mean anything until you specify exactly what you are talking about. My guess is that most of the tea blogs (tea blogs, my god) center on the green and white teas, which tend to be more subtle and nuanced.

I am a hardcore black tea drinker (Irish Breakfast with milk, thank you very much), but put a mug of gingerbread muffin tea or ginger orange calming tea in front of me and that interests me not. My affection towards a nice strong cup of black tea has come to the point now that I travel with my own tea, because few in the U.S. get it right.

FWIW, Campbell's Perfect Cup is my current favorite.
posted by mcstayinskool at 1:22 PM on February 12, 2007

Artw - Hopefully this will change as tea becomes more popular. It was impossible to get a decent cup of coffee in most places before Starbucks (hell that it is) spread enough to make the average person in the States realize that coffee could be more than just instant powder or cheap beans + hot water. Now you can get at least a half-decent espresso, redeye, Americano, organic shade-grown fair trade with soy milk, or what have you nearly anywhere.

I definitely agree with the microwaving water bit though - I have a kettle that sits on my stove, on a burner, to make tea with (plus a good, solid ceramic pot with built-in strainer in the spout for brewing). My mother-in-law microwaves her water. It may be hot but it still is awful.

I would think that the lack of electric kettles is simply because they aren't popular here (yet). Most people I know who have kettles have the stovetop variety. I imagine the advantage is better control over water temperature? As it is I can either guess when it's hot enough (just under boiling) or wait for it to whistle on a full boil.
posted by caution live frogs at 1:26 PM on February 12, 2007

Tea rocks.
I generally only drink Chinese brews but I'm open to all other sorts. My favorite is chrysanthemum tea, the kind that is the traditional Chinese summer tea. I have yet to find it here in the US though.
posted by god particle at 2:00 PM on February 12, 2007

Adagio is my favorite tea shop. They have a bunch of sampler packages for those of you interested in trying various quality teas.
posted by afx114 at 2:36 PM on February 12, 2007

Tea from a bag is bad. When in London last year I was surprised to find so much bagged tea. I had assumed London would be universally more sophisticated than the US as far tea goes. I saw a lot of consumption of mediocre tea.

I've been to three excellent tea joints here in the bay area. Two in SF and one near my apartment in Palo Alto. I buy most of my tea from Adiago is decent as well.

I'm fine with preparing the water in the microwave - the only issue with water prep is getting the water to the right temperature and a microwave is certainly capable of doing that. If you're going for a really specific temp you can always use a thermometer (the place I hang at in Palo Alto uses them).
posted by MillMan at 3:25 PM on February 12, 2007

There's a really delicious addition to tea that is used in India: Tea Masala or Chai Masala. Chai in Hindi means tea and masala means mixture.

It's a combination of cardamom, cinamom, pepper, cloves and ginger. Available online or in NYC at the awesome Kalustyans. Yum!

And the fantastic Bigelow's Constant Comment, black tea flavored with orange rind and sweet spice, an old fave. Delish!
posted by nickyskye at 5:13 PM on February 12, 2007

I love coffee, I love tea.
posted by Araucaria at 7:41 PM on February 12, 2007

nickyskye, a premade pack of Chai is equivalent to instant coffee. Urk. You gotta make chai from scratch, with the cinnamon sticks and cloves in your pot.

posted by Jimbob at 8:37 PM on February 12, 2007

I drink my locale's tea: Long Jing Cha (some says it's the finest green tea on earth -- I'm not enough of an expert to judge, but it's pretty darn good.) Grade one goes on sale before it's being harvested (after the first rainfall of April) and for astronomical amount of money at that...

But my all time favorite is Oolong.
posted by NewBornHippy at 1:49 AM on February 13, 2007

Boiling water... in a microwave??

I don't believe it.
posted by cardamine at 3:33 AM on February 13, 2007

What's with the people dissing on American tea drinkers? At least we don't spoil ours with the glandular secretions of smelly land beasts.

Guangdong black whole leaf right now.
posted by Sukiari at 9:20 PM on February 13, 2007

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