Tea 101

I’m a bit of a foodie, but I don’t have time to cook anymore. What’s a gourmet to do? Apparently, go insane about tea.

Tea has almost zero calories (almost because milk and sugar are essential to the process), takes minimal time to prepare, and can always be improved. Here’s what I’ve done over the past six months or so:

Water

To me, the local tapwater is almost undrinkable; I’m one of those people who can pick out every trace of metallic additives. I started out with a filtered pitcher for those rare occasions when I drank water, but when I started brewing tea I knew I’d need a faucet-filter.  Yay Wal-mart.

Mugs

I had some of those over-sized coffee mugs for hot chocolate in winter, but my teapot was tiny, so I bought some cheap normal-sized porcelain mugs. (And can I just say, it’s really hard to find non-jumbo mugs these days? Everything is super-sized. Why is that? Are we that addicted to coffee as a nation?)

I had a travel mug I brought back with me from the UK, but it broke in the mail. Luckily, Nano was selling travel mugs right when I wanted to donate some cash to them. Tadah! Their mugs, however, aren’t very insulated, so I had to buy a silicon sleeve to keep from burning my hands. Now I have tea to go!

Brewing Equipment

We had a kettle, and some years back I picked up a cast-iron teapot for like $15 at World Market. It was small, but I rarely drank tea anyway, and hey, cast-iron isn’t usually cheap. Unfortunately, when I found out my best friend loves tea as much as I do, we discovered it brews not quite enough for three people. For Christmas, he got me a larger one ❤

And so did my future in-laws. Whoops. So now I have three teapots.

Being an incredibly impatient person, I’m now saving up for an electric kettle. I had one in the UK (bought it at a department store during a back-to-school sale for a fiver, used it literally daily) and now it seems to take way too long to boil water on the stove. Too bad we’re a coffee nation. I figure if I’m going to spend a bunch on equipment I’m going to save up for a nice one that has temperature settings.

Serving equipment

Do you know how bloody hard it is to find a basic tea-tray and sugar bowl in this country? It took me over a month to find something reasonable. Buying online meant outrageous shipping prices. As much as I hate going to Bed Bath and Beyond (they always seem to have overpriced gear), that’s where I finally found some. Anyway, this is all optional, but I do like a good presentation.

Tea

This is the step I’m on. I’ve been ordering free samples and cheap sampler packs by the truckload in an effort to find something I consistently really like that isn’t expensive as hell. In the meantime, I’ve found some bags at the local supermarket that are nice if not top-quality, and the caffeine is really helping me get going in the morning since I can’t drink coffee. Anyone got any recommendations? The stuff I’ve tried in the past that I’ve liked has all been gifted and pricy. I drink black tea primarily, with or without flavoring; the samples I keep getting come out tasting of nothing in particular.

If you guys are interested, I can start posting mini-reviews on weekends. That sounds like a thing I can do.

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2 Responses to Tea 101

  1. I like mini reviews!

    Also, you are my dog, able to sense the slightest addition to H2O. He turns up his nose at the slightest hint of anything, and honestly seems to prefer Deer Park bottled water to Dasani. (I don’t drink water, I wouldn’t really know.)

    • yamikuronue says:

      Dasani’s not very good, IMO; that’s the one that’s by Coke, right? There was a scandal about them not bothering to filter it at all IIRC. Have you tried a filtration system? Most of them come in relatively cheap pitcher form, maybe $10 or $15 for a small one. Might end up cheaper than bottled.

      Also your dog is adorable and I’m honored to have something in common with him 😀

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