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 Tea.......

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PostSubject: Tea.......   Sat Jan 10, 2009 10:31 pm

Well how could a mere mortal like myself resist the teachings of MN's resident Church of Teaology. Having grown rather accustomed to tea over the last few months I have realized it is a handy and relaxing alternative to coffee in the evenings that won't keep me up all night. As a broke student I have been more than happy to guzzle down the low-end factory floor sweepings with scant regard for the subtler infusions of flavour and taste, much like the builders. But having seen where that's gotten them I decided I would do well to try a few of the allegedly nicer teas.

So, convert me. I was wondering if some of our tea experts out there could recommend some high quality teas for me to try. A step above Lyons and Barrys but still readily available in mainstream outlets. And what about these "restorative qualities" that some of the herbal teas supposedly have? Do they work? I would mind some concentration in a cup, or relaxation.
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PostSubject: Re: Tea.......   Sat Jan 10, 2009 10:45 pm

As one who only yesterday had a wonderfully leisurely afternoon tea at the Four Seasons with my bestest friend, I'll start by saying that ritual is everything.

I almost never drink tea at home, but when I do, it's Earl Grey made with leaves in a nice pot, strained into a nice cup and enjoyed over time with no milk. Friend had Lapsang Souchon yesterday which smelled fabulously smoky. In fact, I've just realised that I have a beautiful silver teaset in the attic (pot, jug and sugar bowl) that I should use for those moments.

The Chinese have wonderful tea rituals (attended one or two in Beijing a few years ago) as do the Japanese.

I've never been a tea drinker as such, having spent years drinking horrid, sweet milky stuff to please the relations but a friend I used to regularly visit in Sweden had a lovely afternoon ritual that I follow here now as above, but with a cinnamon bun. My sisters drink gallons of tea, all day. The biggest addict says the best tea she ever drank comes from Nicky Moss mugs - big pottery things.

Herbal infusions are good. Peppermint is very good for your digestion, is great after a meal and tastes great. The fruity ones have little appeal to me because the flavour is thin. Camomile doesn't do it for me at all because I don't like the taste. Verbena is very good at night for sleep and restoration and very drinkable.
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PostSubject: Re: Tea.......   Sun Jan 11, 2009 1:51 am

Sliced ginger and Lemon = Ginger Tea or ginger soup.
Either way tis good for digestion and nice and spicy.

Also good for nausea (prevention)
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PostSubject: Re: Tea.......   Sun Jan 11, 2009 1:58 am

In China Market you can get Japanese and Chinese teas cheaply.
Try Oolong or Jasmine.
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PostSubject: Re: Tea.......   Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:01 am

Grow your own mint for tea if you've got even a window box. Mint tea...mmmm.

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PostSubject: Re: Tea.......   Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:15 am

Roibush is nice. Loose leaf (your only man). You can buy a box of open bags. Just put your spoonful in the top of the bag and twist. Pour in the water, must be scalding, and leave to stew for about 5 minutes.

If its a teabag, I find Robert Roberts Kenyan mix very good.
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PostSubject: Re: Tea.......   Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:27 am

Clipper tea is fairly good.

http://www.clipper-teas.com/



Orwell had a thing about the way tea was made. He even wrote an interesting essay about it.

http://www.booksatoz.com/witsend/tea/orwell.htm

Quote :
If you look up 'tea' in the first cookery book that comes to hand you will probably
find that it is unmentioned; or at most you will find a few lines of sketchy instructions
which give no ruling on several of the most important points.

This is curious, not only because tea is one of the main stays of civilization
in this country, as well as in Eire, Australia and New Zealand, but because
the best manner of making it is the subject of violent disputes.

When I look through my own recipe for the perfect cup of tea, I find no fewer
than eleven outstanding points. On perhaps two of them there would be pretty
general agreement, but at least four others are acutely controversial. Here
are my own eleven rules, every one of which I regard as golden:....etc...
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PostSubject: Re: Tea.......   Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:44 am

Pax wrote:
Clipper tea is fairly good.

http://www.clipper-teas.com/



Orwell had a thing about the way tea was made. He even wrote an interesting essay about it.

http://www.booksatoz.com/witsend/tea/orwell.htm

Quote :
If you look up 'tea' in the first cookery book that comes to hand you will probably
find that it is unmentioned; or at most you will find a few lines of sketchy instructions
which give no ruling on several of the most important points.

This is curious, not only because tea is one of the main stays of civilization
in this country, as well as in Eire, Australia and New Zealand, but because
the best manner of making it is the subject of violent disputes.

When I look through my own recipe for the perfect cup of tea, I find no fewer
than eleven outstanding points. On perhaps two of them there would be pretty
general agreement, but at least four others are acutely controversial. Here
are my own eleven rules, every one of which I regard as golden:....etc...

The teapot issue is a good one. My granny was a firm beleiver in heating the teapot first.
The problem with the teapot is that there seems to be a lot of waste.

I have favourite cups for drinking tea from.

My altime favourite is a small, very delicate bone chine cup. Only 2 out of 4 original. They were a wedding present from 20 years ago but I only opened the box about 10 years ago and found all of this flowery china plates, bowls and cups with gold edging (caused mayhem in the microwave at first).

The cups are almost translucent and, to me, are excellent for tea drinking.
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PostSubject: Re: Tea.......   Sun Jan 11, 2009 5:40 am

Lapsang is indeed a lovely tea. If you're after something very pleasing to the nose, try Rose Pouchong.

On a day to day basis, though, I drink tea industrial strength, in a tannin-stained mug, teabag still in, milk no sugar.
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PostSubject: Re: Tea.......   Sun Jan 11, 2009 6:03 am

This entire thread is blasphemous.
Wait 'til AT gets here. He'll ban the lottoye.

Although, on reading about some delicious tea - he may not.
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PostSubject: Re: Tea.......   Sun Jan 11, 2009 6:25 am

EvotingMachine0197 wrote:
This entire thread is blasphemous.
Wait 'til AT gets here. He'll ban the lottoye.

Although, on reading about some delicious tea - he may not.

He'll be unable to read more than half a post before being overcome by urges. We have no fear.
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PostSubject: Re: Tea.......   Sun Jan 11, 2009 5:43 pm

Johnny Keogh wrote:
Pax wrote:
Clipper tea is fairly good.

http://www.clipper-teas.com/



Orwell had a thing about the way tea was made. He even wrote an interesting essay about it.

http://www.booksatoz.com/witsend/tea/orwell.htm

Quote :
If you look up 'tea' in the first cookery book that comes to hand you will probably
find that it is unmentioned; or at most you will find a few lines of sketchy instructions
which give no ruling on several of the most important points.

This is curious, not only because tea is one of the main stays of civilization
in this country, as well as in Eire, Australia and New Zealand, but because
the best manner of making it is the subject of violent disputes.

When I look through my own recipe for the perfect cup of tea, I find no fewer
than eleven outstanding points. On perhaps two of them there would be pretty
general agreement, but at least four others are acutely controversial. Here
are my own eleven rules, every one of which I regard as golden:....etc...

The teapot issue is a good one. My granny was a firm beleiver in heating the teapot first.
The problem with the teapot is that there seems to be a lot of waste.

I have favourite cups for drinking tea from.

My altime favourite is a small, very delicate bone chine cup. Only 2 out of 4 original. They were a wedding present from 20 years ago but I only opened the box about 10 years ago and found all of this flowery china plates, bowls and cups with gold edging (caused mayhem in the microwave at first).

The cups are almost translucent and, to me, are excellent for tea drinking.

My Nan had the same hot teapot viewpoint. I think she'd put some hot water into it first and leave it to heat up, then started the whole tea-making ceremony. Orwell would not be pleased with this method obviously.

As regards milk, I'm also opposed to Orwell's tea manifesto in that it has to be milk first, then tea.

Quote :
Tenthly, one should pour tea into the cup first. This is one of the most
controversial points of all; indeed in every family in Britain there are probably
two schools of thought on the subject. The milk-first school can bring forward
some fairly strong arguments, but I maintain that my own argument is unanswerable.
This is that, by putting the tea in first and stirring as one pours, one can
exactly regulate the amount of milk whereas one is liable to put in too much
milk if one does it the other way round.

The milk gets too cooked if added after imho. (controversial I know)

It tastes different from different cups alright but I have to say I'm not that fussy about my cup. Its usually a dirty big mug with tea printed across it a gazzillion times!
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PostSubject: Re: Tea.......   Sun Jan 11, 2009 5:46 pm

ibis wrote:
EvotingMachine0197 wrote:
This entire thread is blasphemous.
Wait 'til AT gets here. He'll ban the lottoye.

Although, on reading about some delicious tea - he may not.

He'll be unable to read more than half a post before being overcome by urges. We have no fear.

And the diuretic effects of tea will ensure he's away from the keyboard enough for us to have gotten away with it.
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PostSubject: Re: Tea.......   Sun Jan 11, 2009 6:35 pm

It's heresy not to warm the pot first.

Bags are too utilitarian to be interesting. Nothing can go wrong, there's no room for artistry, creativity, experimentation, reading the future...

I keep two jars on the counter, one of peppermint tea and one for 'real tea' (which we had some arguments over while my mother lived here for a little while. Apparently Fair Trade tea is not real tea, Barry's is.) which results in wonderful moments where teamakers have peppermint flavoured milky water.
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PostSubject: Re: Tea.......   Sun Jan 11, 2009 7:34 pm

What's peppermint tea like Kate?
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PostSubject: Re: Tea.......   Sun Jan 11, 2009 8:20 pm

evercloserunion wrote:
What's peppermint tea like Kate?

Not tea. It's good stuff, but it's a herbal infusion, not tea. Does anyone else here drink maté?
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PostSubject: Re: Tea.......   Sun Jan 11, 2009 9:17 pm

ibis wrote:
evercloserunion wrote:
What's peppermint tea like Kate?

Not tea. It's good stuff, but it's a herbal infusion, not tea. Does anyone else here drink maté?

Correct.

I like it very much. There's a huge difference between using your own mint leaves and bags. The former has a much clearer, more satisfying flavour and the latter is still good but always feels a little dusty to me.

Mint, fortunately, would grow in your ear and very quickly. If you have space, you can get a few plants and put them in a bigger pot and watch them take off like Jack's beanstalk. They can take over a garden so it's good to keep them in a pot anyway. You can buy a plant in Tesco for about 1.49 but it has to be kept indoors and they die much sooner than the hardier ones. That said, you'd drink a lot of mint tea from one Tesco plant in three or four weeks.

It's funny how often I've been in restaurants and asked for peppermint tea when I order dessert, only to be told they don't have any and so I order hot water instead. Yet the dessert arrives with a fat mint leaf which immediately goes into the bottom of the cup. Peppermint tea is excellent for your digestion so it's good after a large meal. One or two mugs a day is enough. It's refreshing.
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PostSubject: Re: Tea.......   Sun Jan 11, 2009 11:04 pm

Kate P wrote:
It's heresy not to warm the pot first.
Absolutely.
I drink tea constantly throughout the day, but rarely take the time to use a teapot. Only when there is visitors really.
Then I warm the pot first. Add a spoonful of tea leaves per person and one for the pot. Wait and serve.
Pax wrote:
It tastes different from different cups alright but I have to say I'm
not that fussy about my cup. Its usually a dirty big mug with tea
printed across it a gazzillion times!
I use big mugs for my tea. Milk with no sugar.

I add milk after the tea, however...
if using a teabag, I add the milk before removing the bag.

Kate P wrote:
Apparently Fair Trade tea is not real tea, Barry's is.
Barry's is Fine Gael tea. None of that for me!
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PostSubject: Re: Tea.......   Mon Jan 12, 2009 12:17 am

Pax wrote:
ibis wrote:
EvotingMachine0197 wrote:
This entire thread is blasphemous.
Wait 'til AT gets here. He'll ban the lottoye.

Although, on reading about some delicious tea - he may not.

He'll be unable to read more than half a post before being overcome by urges. We have no fear.

And the diuretic effects of tea will ensure he's away from the keyboard enough for us to have gotten away with it.

Laughing Laughing

This thread is certainly not blasphemous, though there are the possibility of a couple of venial sins around. I am delighted that ecu has decided to create this thread, it certainly is a good sign. I am also encouraged by his growing appreciation of the Holy Brew and my only word to him is to keep exploring and enjoying the bountiful beauty that is tea. As regards a "step up" from Lyon's or Barry's, I would recommend Twinings and Bewleys as being slightly nicer and more refined blends than Lyon's or Barry's whose essential quality is denuded by the constraint of being mass market. I would however say that of those two, Lyon's Gold Blend is particularly satisfying.

I did get a set of teas from all over the world for Christmas and it is beautiful. The set is from Palais des Thés and it has a selection of nine teas from around the world in beautiful muslin tea bags. I have found Grand Yunnan Imperial and Darjeeling to be rather agreeable.

Carry on the discussion, I am much impressed.
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PostSubject: Re: Tea.......   Mon Jan 12, 2009 12:19 am

Sorry Ard-T, but I find Bewley's to be cheap watery piss. And last week I happily found out that my aunt agrees.
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PostSubject: Re: Tea.......   Mon Jan 12, 2009 12:26 am

Anyone come across the tea of Galway blenders Solaris Botanicals?
Available in Ard Bia in Galway or the Parlour in Athenry. I don't know where else. But those two cafes are top notch.
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PostSubject: Re: Tea.......   Mon Jan 12, 2009 12:27 am

eoinmn wrote:
Sorry Ard-T, but I find Bewley's to be cheap watery piss. And last week I happily found out that my aunt agrees.

Well that hasn't been my experience.
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PostSubject: Re: Tea.......   Mon Jan 12, 2009 12:40 am

For daily use, probably a bit more expensive than Lyons / Barrys but worth it - Twinings Assam - good strong tea, teaspoon of sugar, splash of milk - IN A CHINA MUG pre-warmed - fantastic. And yes, I originally took a lot of stick from the lads in the office for the china mug, but it doesn't work any other way - worth the stick! English Breakfast or Darjeeling also nice. I can't take aromatic teas, not even Earl Grey.

Have tried Jasmine tea after a meal in a Chinese restaurant a few times and that was nice.

( really stressful days in the office tend to be fuelled by endless china mugs of Nescafe Gold Blend though! Embarassed I do penance afterwards, honest )
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PostSubject: Re: Tea.......   Mon Jan 12, 2009 12:43 am

Atticus wrote:


( really stressful days in the office tend to be fuelled by endless china mugs of Nescafe Gold Blend though! Embarassed I do penance afterwards, honest )

Be sure that you do.
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PostSubject: Re: Tea.......   Mon Jan 12, 2009 1:06 am

Ard-Taoiseach wrote:
eoinmn wrote:
Sorry Ard-T, but I find Bewley's to be cheap watery piss. And last week I happily found out that my aunt agrees.
Well that hasn't been my experience.
Its probably too subtle for a bogger like me.
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