Teas anyone?

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Teas anyone?

Postby Watson on February 21st, 2015, 5:02 pm 

As was suggested, a thread on the subject of tea. I'll be happy to learn, as my interest is greater than my knowledge. I'm more interested in the health benefits of various varieties than flavor.
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Re: Teas anyone?

Postby Darby on February 21st, 2015, 6:12 pm 

Huge topic ... where to begin ?

Do you have a particular style of tea you like ?

There is a substantial spectrum of styles and strengths ... white, green, oolong, darjeeling, assam (aka black or breakfast tea because of the higher caffine content) depending on the strength/fermentation, then there are specialty teas that are more deeply fermented (puerh), smoked (lapsang soushong), and/or flavored teas (most of which I dislike, except for homemade chai).
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Re: Teas anyone?

Postby Watson on February 21st, 2015, 6:25 pm 

Definitely not flavored, but I was hearing some explain the health benefits of the different types of teas, but I suppose Chi Love You is a brand name and not helpful describing what is in it. Some teas are good for digestion, others for mental alertness, etc. I go between coffee and tea and on tea at the moment. A lemon green to be specific.
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Re: Teas anyone?

Postby Darby on February 21st, 2015, 6:52 pm 

The only chai love you tea I could find is a chai tea ... is this the brand you're referring to ?

http://www.adagio.com/signature_blend/b ... lend=14444

That's definitely a flavored tea, but one of the few styles I'm ok with. If so, I can teach you how to make much better masala chai, and much cheaper too, and you can make it as strong or light as you like. It does require the possession of a spice rack however.
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Re: Teas anyone?

Postby Watson on February 21st, 2015, 7:03 pm 

They didn't mention it just lose tea and a cup of it.
Here is the clip if you can get it.
http://canadaam.ctvnews.ca/there-s-a-te ... -1.2238009

What do I need to make this tea.
I'm in the country so getting in to get ingredient may take some time.
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Re: Teas anyone?

Postby Darby on February 21st, 2015, 7:05 pm 

As for the health benefits ... every style has its proponents.

> Lightly fermented teas like white and green tend to be higher in things like vitamin C (caveat: as long as they're not deactivated by drying them too hot/fast). I drink a fair amount of white and/or green teas all year long, when the urges hit me, or if I get sick (yes for cold & flue virus or upper respiratory for hydration, no for pharynxgitis due to tannin being a mild topical irritant).

> Darker teas tend to be higher in caffine, and thus can help stimulate alertness and vasodilation (ease headaches), which is why in England they're called breakfast teas.

> Herbal teas have whatever benefits that go along with the botanicals that come with them ... not really my style though. However, with regards to digestion, people with reflux should steer clear of mint tea, because its well known to relax the esophogeal (sp?) sphincter and contribute to reflux, if you're prone to GERD (in the same way as chocolate and tomato products).
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Re: Teas anyone?

Postby Darby on February 21st, 2015, 7:19 pm 

Watson » February 21st, 2015, 6:03 pm wrote:They didn't mention it just lose tea and a cup of it.
Here is the clip if you can get it.
http://canadaam.ctvnews.ca/there-s-a-te ... -1.2238009

What do I need to make this tea.
I'm in the country so getting in to get ingredient may take some time.


The vid mentions three teas ... a green tea with lemon grass and ginger, a very off-kilter blend she calls a chai tea but bears little resemblance to the masala chais I'm familar with, and ... and then I stopped listening because women who fuss too much with their hair and nails and drink fruit flavored tea with their pinky extended set my teeth on edge and cause me to shut down mentally. In short, it became unwatchable for me.

Personally, I think the single biggest favor I could do you (any anyone else reading this who might be interested in exploring tea) is to encourage you to get away pre-mixed overpriced brands (especially if it's bagged in dust form). Once you learn how to find, store, brew and enjoy really good unblended teas, then you're fully liberated from the hard to find overpriced blends that are often sub-optimal in freshness ... you can blend back in any flavors you like by DIY.

That said, I'm happy to step you though some of the nuances of white and green teas, or how to make a good perky black tea, or a marsala chai from the same.
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Re: Teas anyone?

Postby Darby on February 23rd, 2015, 11:45 am 

The same self-education process holds true for learning about things like wine ... instead of trying to learning labels (in their unmanageable infinitude and highly variable availability and price), you instead learn what the most common dozen or so grape varieties taste like, and (optionally) how some of the most common regional, technique and crop-year nuances affect same. That's MUCH easier to learn, and once you have that under your belt, you can walk into a wine store anywhere in the world with a modicrum of confidence, and have a general idea what to expect from any bottle you see on the wall, even if you've never had that particular label before ... knowing the grape and the regional style and price range tells you 75% of what you need to know. At that point, individual labels and vintages just provide another layer of accuracy in knowing what to expect ... just like if you already know what a typical pinot noir generally tends to tastes like, you already have a substantial leg up on knowing what to expect from say, a bottle of Saintsbury 2010, something from Burgundy France, or even something homemade from Pinot by a local friend.

The best way to REALLY learn about tea is exactly the same ... grab a $20 bill, set aside an afternoon, and hie thee to the nearest well stocked high end tea store that sells loose tea from glass jars, and which has a good turnover rate on same (read: more likely to be fresh and of good quality due to repeat business). Most reputable tea stores will offer to brew tea by the cup for a buck or two a pop, which is an EXCELLENT opportunity to educate your palate on the major families of tea. I recommend trying the following:

1) An Unflavored White Tea, from each of 2 different regions and price ranges. This is a very delicate and subtle tea, but also highly perishable and with a short shelf life. Never, ever, buy it in dust-bag form ... only loose, and as fresh as possible, otherwise your chances of having a really good experience are virtually nil. If you can find a really good 'silver needle' tea, go for it. Brew for 2 mins at 180F, and taste it plain, with an ice chip to cool it down if needed. You can get a second steeping off the same leaves, if you like the first extraction. Unadorned is best, but it is friendly to (if somewhat overpowered by) either lemon and honey, or milk and honey. Fresh ginger or lemon grass, or a piece of candied citrus peel, can be nice too.

2) An unflavored Green Tea. I would recommend some nice tight perls of gunpowder (most likely to be fresh and unoxidized, and to brew up with a nice clean flavor) as an introduction - you can always explore things like powedered japanese varieties of cha as interest dictates. Gunpowder form has the advantage of good shelf life and compactness, but you still need to pay attention to quality, because you get what you pay for here. Brew 3 mins at 185ish, and adjust it up or down depending on how delicate or intense you like it. Again, as with white, unadorned is best. More bitter and less complex than a typical white tea, but very refreshing and habit forming, as well as appetizing, and great both tepid and cold. A decent, economical, reliable and easy to find brand you can buy on Amazon is Numi Organic.

3) An Oolong and a Darjeeling (these are partially fermented red teas). Brew 3-4 mins at 200+F. The former is best unadorned, and the latter is best with milk and honey.

4) An Assam (look for anything that says "Breakfast"). This is a dark tea whose flavor and caffine have been more fully developed with fermentation and controlled oxidation. The smell of the leaves should be rich and enticing and complex, rather than faint, muddled and stale. If the smell doesnt make your mouth water, move on to the next jar, because neither will the flavor. Brew 3-5 mins at 200+ ... the shorter number if you're having it with lemon and honey, and the longer if you're having it with Milk and honey (my preference). A good loose assam is nearly always a dramatic upgrade when compared to mass produced bag teas, which are often just low quality tea dust in various stages of oxidation ... not only does it tend to be fresher and higher quality, its also far cheaper and stays fresh longer. Courtesy of its massive popularity throughout India and the UK, decent loose Assam is very easy to find at very low prices. Brooke Bond's Taj Mahal (Blue Label) is just one examle (among many) of an easy to find, decent quality, and very economical brand. Due to brand families, I believe the same tea is available in pyramid bags under the "PG Tips" label ... but again, because bagged tea uses the leftover dust from whole leaf sales, it's more likely to be less fresh and more oxidized than hole leaf.

5) If you're feeling bold, and if the store is well stocked, try a small chunk of puerh (an artisanal wet-fermented tea from china). It's a black tea that brews up dark, funky, and complex, with estery notes that will remind remind you of earthy potting soil, mushrooms, and horses. Best drunk unadorned.

There's lots more I havent covered, but this is a decent intro for a beginner.
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Re: Teas anyone?

Postby Braininvat on February 23rd, 2015, 2:06 pm 

Darker teas tend to be higher in caffine, and thus can help stimulate alertness and vasodilation (ease headaches), which is why in England they're called breakfast teas.



Caffeine causes vasoconstriction, which is why cessation of intake results in headaches. The vasodilation, when you quit caffeine, is what causes the ache. Though a bit of an Anglophile, I've never warmed up to tea - I like the ritual, but the liquid that results taste little better than piss to me. Based on your earlier postings, this may be partly due to consumption of the pre-mixed bagged dust you spoke of. And partly that I just really like hot cocoa or coffee (theobromine and caffeine are similar stimulants, though I find theobromine in cocoa a little less jangly on the nerves). Herbal teas don't excite me at all, but I would hold my nose and drink them if there were a pressing health issue they could address.

I have enjoyed Chinese green teas I've been served in restaurants. Your high-end tea shop recommendation is worth looking into.
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Re: Teas anyone?

Postby Darby on February 23rd, 2015, 2:19 pm 

Caffeine causes vasoconstriction, which is why cessation of intake results in headaches.


I believe this is only half right. Caffine, AFAIK, is indeed a vasodilator, that withdrawal from after prolonged regular consumption can cause rebound vasoconstriction (I.e., headaches).

Caffine is one of the active ingredients in numerous over the counter headache medications.

Sample website: http://migraine.com/migraine-treatment/ ... /caffeine/

I'm more of the school of thought that people who experience headaches from even small servings of things like tea and coffee are experiencing instead a mild sensitivity to excess tannin, which is a naturally occuring astringent that provides some of the bittering qualities in many herbs, coffee, and fruit skins (notably red grapes and their resulting wine, ala cabernet sauvignon). Swirling a tannic beverage in your mouth has a puckering effect, and can cause ancillary tension in the muscles of the face, throat, and head, and thus lead indirectly to headaches.

You can reduce the tannin effect in tea (as well as the caffine content) by pre-steeping your tea for say, 20 seconds, discarding that first infusion, and then re-steeping it for 3 mins more and drinking that. If I remember correctly that should remove at least 2/3rds of the caffine and a little over a third of the tannin. Unfortunately, you also lose a fair amount of flavor, but there you have it.
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Re: Teas anyone?

Postby Braininvat on February 23rd, 2015, 3:09 pm 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19219847

Caffeine treats migraine because it reverses the vasodilation that causes migraine. The rapid dilation of blood vessels is a painful stimulus to the vascular nerves. Caffeine is mos def a vasoconstrictor, as the above study addresses. And 1000's of other studies.

You are right about the relationship between removing caffeine and tannin and loss of flavor. Aye, there's the rub.
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Re: Teas anyone?

Postby Darby on February 23rd, 2015, 3:23 pm 

Ok, I think we've covered most of the caffeine angle then.

The last thing I have to offer on that angle is that the darker the tea, the generally higher the caffeine content tends to be (which is developed by a combination of oxidation and fermentation very early on in the production process ... subsequent oxidation after drying has been completed has much less effect on caffeine content). The effect is similar in tobacco ... the more deeply fermented it is, the stronger the nicotine content generally tends to be, St. James Perique being an example. So, if your preference runs towards highly caffeinated pick-me-up teas, stick with assam and puerh, and for lower caffine content stick with white and green and herbal/fruit teas.

Ok, anyone have any questions or comments on tea varieties, storage and/or brewing ?
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Re: Teas anyone?

Postby Darby on February 23rd, 2015, 5:19 pm 

Since someone is bound to ask (hopefully, assuming the thread doesn't die out), here's my most commonly used recipe for homemade Masala Chai tea.

Masala Chai Tea

Origin: Recipes abound on the web, but I reverse engineered mine based on numerous versions I've enjoyed at a variety of Indian restaurants in my area.

Batch Size: Just over 1/2 gal.

Use: I sized this recipe to fill a half gallon pyrex pitcher, which I store in the fridge, and holds enough chai for several days, without the need to brew it by the mugful. We drink it both cold (as is), and tepid (rewarmed by the mugful in the microwave). It's a nice flavor alternative to coffee and/or green or white tea.

> Roughly 5 pints filtered water, freshly boiled
> 1/3 cup Loose Assam Tea (27 gr loose, or roughly 5-6 tea bags)
> 1 rounded teaspoon Green Cardamon Seeds
> 2" stick (single curl) Cinnamon, crumbled
> 4 cloves
---------
> 6 fl oz Canned Evaporated Milk
> 3 fl oz Simple Syrup (50:50 sugar to water by volume)

Directions:
1. Bring water to brief boil in non-reactive pot (stainless steel or pyrex), then shut off heat.
2. Add tea and spices, stir briefly and steep 3-5 mins.
3. Stir in evaporated milk and simple syrup, and strain immediately into a heat-safe pitcher or serving pot.
4. Consume right away or refrigerate. Consume within 7 days.

The recipes scales and adapts easily. For example, if you dont keep simple syrup handy (I make and keep my own), you can use honey or sugar to taste.
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Re: Teas anyone?

Postby Darby on February 24th, 2015, 11:47 am 

My recipe for iced tea uses a similar technique:

Iced Tea

Batch Size: approx 1 gal.

Use: I sized this for a 1 gal pitcher, which I keep in the fridge as a summertime staple. This version is semi-sweet, cheaper and better tasting than supermarket powdered mix, but it does have a slight visual handicap of being cloudy when cold (unfiltered tannin haze). Personally, the appearance doesnt bother me.

> Roughly 5 pints filtered water, freshly boiled
> 1/2 cup Loose Assam or Darjeeling Tea (40 gr loose, or roughly 8 tea bags)
---------
> 8-12 fl oz Simple Syrup (50:50 sugar to water by volume)
> 8 fl oz Lemon Juice, strained
> 3 pints Ice Cubes

Directions:
1. Bring water to brief boil in non-reactive pot (stainless steel or pyrex), then shut off heat.
2. Add tea, stir briefly, steep 3-4 mins, strain into pitcher.
3. Add simple syrup, swirl to mix, add lemon juice & ice, and swirl again. Refrigerate until ice has fully melted.
4. Finesse sweetness, acidity and dilution to taste.
5. Consume ice cold, within 5 days.
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Re: Teas anyone?

Postby Percarus on April 8th, 2015, 4:44 pm 

I have recently experienced Catnip tea. It has a pleasant green tea like taste (with a dash of mint) to it but I believe the tea to have more taste than green tea. Catnip is doubly useful because you can make cats go mad on the stuff for about ten minutes at a time. You can also smoke Catnip but it does not beat a good old fashioned cigarette. It also has a negligible effect of relaxation like most other "herbal" cigarettes. I think the Valerian in Catnip is beneficial in treating anxiety but I am not sure if Chamomile has better therapeutic effects.

Ahem, Darby (or anyone) do you know how long made up tea will last inside and outside the fridge? I have a Cola Zero addiction and I plan on switching to tea but I shall be consuming large quantities of tea and I need to know how large a batch I should make to allow it to see me through the week. Also, does anyone have any commendations on a tea to help alleviate anxiety?
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Re: Teas anyone?

Postby Darby on April 8th, 2015, 9:11 pm 

I have no experience with catnip tea, but a cursory web search says to avoid taking it with lithium or CNS depressants.

For regular green and black teas & masala chai tea, I usually make a half gal pitcher at a time, and it keeps in the fridge for up to a week. Countertop expiration depends on temperature and what's in it ... plain tea with nothing in it is probably good for half a day, but milk and/or sugar would probably halve or quarter that.

I often like to use a contigo stainless steel thermal cup, which helps keep hot tea hot, and cold tea cold, which lets me enjoy whatever I'm drinking all day and night.

Image
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Re: Teas anyone?

Postby vivian maxine on April 9th, 2015, 11:23 am 

Watson » February 21st, 2015, 5:25 pm wrote:Definitely not flavored, but I was hearing some explain the health benefits of the different types of teas, but I suppose Chi Love You is a brand name and not helpful describing what is in it. Some teas are good for digestion, others for mental alertness, etc. I go between coffee and tea and on tea at the moment. A lemon green to be specific.


For digestive upsets, nothing beats Rooibos. And I find brand doesn't much matter. Right now I have Numi because that is what our store sells. But I've used several other brands including a store brand and they all seem to do the job.

Just regular tea, I like Twinings. Lady Gray is good; not quite as strong as Earl Gray.

Then Chamomile for a relaxing "shut-down" of an evening.

As for flavored teas, I read somewhere that almost all of those are just regular tea leaves with artificial flavorings sprayed onto them after the drying. I've never found one I like.

Now if I could just find one that would stop pollen sneezes. :-(

By the way, did you know we have one tea plantation in America - in South Carolina. It was family-owned and a rather special attraction for tourists. They sold "American" tea. I think that was the brand. About a year ago, I read that they'd hooked up with Bigelow in some way. Seems Bigelow was going to market their tea for them.

That's my non-expertise take on tea. Good luck finding what you like. I'm not too taken with any of them. And - as Arthur Godfrey said - no lemon slices. "I want my iced tea in one glass and my lemonade in another" (quoting Arthur) I agree.
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Re: Teas anyone?

Postby vivian maxine on April 9th, 2015, 11:31 am 

Darby » April 8th, 2015, 8:11 pm wrote:I have no experience with catnip tea, but a cursory web search says to avoid taking it with lithium or CNS depressants.

For regular green and black teas & masala chai tea, I usually make a half gal pitcher at a time, and it keeps in the fridge for up to a week. Countertop expiration depends on temperature and what's in it ... plain tea with nothing in it is probably good for half a day, but milk and/or sugar would probably halve or quarter that.

I often like to use a contigo stainless steel thermal cup, which helps keep hot tea hot, and cold tea cold, which lets me enjoy whatever I'm drinking all day and night.

Image



Darby, how large is that Contigo thermal cup? Larger than what a regular coffee mug holds? And how long does it keep coffee hot? I have tried and tried to find a real thermos cup - not just thermal but thermos. All I find is thermal and they do not keep the coffee hot very long. Maybe Contigo is better? Thanks.
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Re: Teas anyone?

Postby Darby on April 9th, 2015, 11:53 am 

The contigo is definitely better, and comes in 16, 20 and 24 oz varieties. I strongly recommend the stainless steel rather than the painted versions. It keeps hot beverages hot, and cold beverages cold for several hours at a time, it cleans easy, is very durable, and it's spill/leak proof. I routinely drink from one while laying flat in bed, with no spills ... not many mugs let you do that.

I like the 16 oz for coffee, and the 24 for cold beverages.

http://www.amazon.com/Contigo-Autoseal- ... 93&sr=1-17

I reviewed it on amazon last fall, but my review seems to have disappeared, so I'll have to dig up a backup copy, freshen and repost it.

------------------

As for Roobios tea ... it has a lot of fans to be sure, but it's a bit too feminine for me. My wife likes it. My flavor preferences in tea run towards varieties that are somewhat more masculine/astringent, but that's just me.

-------------------

Update on my Masala Chai recipe (see Feb 23rd) ... fresh ginger root (either crushed or sliced thinly) also works well in the recipe I posted. A lot of street vendors in India add it, before straining and 'pulling' the tea (to aerate it).
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Re: Teas anyone?

Postby BadgerJelly on April 9th, 2015, 12:10 pm 

Best tea I've ever had is in Vietnamese, Hue.
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Re: Teas anyone?

Postby vivian maxine on April 9th, 2015, 12:20 pm 

Darby » April 9th, 2015, 10:53 am wrote:The contigo is definitely better, and comes in 16, 20 and 24 oz varieties. I strongly recommend the stainless steel rather than the painted versions. It keeps hot beverages hot, and cold beverages cold for several hours at a time, it cleans easy, is very durable, and it's spill/leak proof. I routinely drink from one while laying flat in bed, with no spills ... not many mugs let you do that.

I like the 16 oz for coffee, and the 24 for cold beverages.

http://www.amazon.com/Contigo-Autoseal- ... 93&sr=1-17

I reviewed it on amazon last fall, but my review seems to have disappeared, so I'll have to dig up a backup copy, freshen and repost it.

------------------

As for Roobios tea ... it has a lot of fans to be sure, but it's a bit too feminine for me. My wife likes it. My flavor preferences in tea run towards varieties that are somewhat more masculine/astringent, but that's just me.

-------------------

Update on my Masala Chai recipe (see Feb 23rd) ... fresh ginger root (either crushed or sliced thinly) also works well in the recipe I posted. A lot of street vendors in India add it, before straining and 'pulling' the tea (to aerate it).



Thanks. I have a note about the Contigo in my notebook. Shall take a look when next out shopping. And, yes, I always prefer stainless steel. Seems cleaner.

Masculine and Feminine tea? That thought never occurred to me. Maybe because I'm not actually wild about the taste of any tea unless it is doctored with too much sugar, something I need to avoid.
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Re: Teas anyone?

Postby Darby on April 9th, 2015, 12:26 pm 

The contigos are starting to become popular ... enough so that someone actually stole the stainless 24oz that I bought for my wife right off her desk at work. I've never heard of anyone stealing a thermal mug before, so that was a first. I suppose it's a backhanded compliment to the quality of the product.

When I buy her a replacement, I'll be sure to etch her name on it prominently with my dremel engraving tool.
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Re: Teas anyone?

Postby vivian maxine on April 9th, 2015, 12:44 pm 

Darby » April 9th, 2015, 11:26 am wrote:The contigos are starting to become popular ... enough so that someone actually stole the stainless 24oz that I bought for my wife right off her desk at work. I've never heard of anyone stealing a thermal mug before, so that was a first. I suppose it's a backhanded compliment to the quality of the product.

When I buy her a replacement, I'll be sure to etch her name on it prominently with my dremel engraving tool.


People will steal anything. They think that's why they have fingers. "Neither a borrower nor a lender be" because lending something is equivalent to giving to some folk. I've lost many a book that way.

Anyway, mark the new one good. Maybe attach a squeaky toy to it. One that screeches when moved. <g>
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Re: Teas anyone?

Postby Braininvat on April 9th, 2015, 12:59 pm 

When I visited my daughter last week, I noticed she was drinking a tea called "Earl Greyer." Took me a minute to figure out this was Earl Grey packed in larger bags.
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Re: Teas anyone?

Postby vivian maxine on April 9th, 2015, 1:17 pm 

Braininvat » April 9th, 2015, 11:59 am wrote:When I visited my daughter last week, I noticed she was drinking a tea called "Earl Greyer." Took me a minute to figure out this was Earl Grey packed in larger bags.


<G> Larger bags for making two quarts of iced tea, maybe? Liptons has those. One bag is equal to four regular tea bags.
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Re: Teas anyone?

Postby Darby on April 9th, 2015, 1:37 pm 

From memory, I think earl grey is darjeeling flavored with essence of bergamot, wich is extracted from bitter seville orange peel.

Its an acquired taste, but very addictive if the flavor works for your palate.
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Re: Teas anyone?

Postby vivian maxine on April 9th, 2015, 1:50 pm 

Darby » April 9th, 2015, 12:37 pm wrote:From memory, I think earl grey is darjeeling flavored with essence of bergamot, wich is extracted from bitter seville orange peel.

Its an acquired taste, but very addictive if the flavor works for your palate.


I don't remember if it is Darjeeling. Could be. I used to drink it all the time but I reached a point where it seemed too strong. So I switched to Lady Grey. It's a bit lighter. Twinings says it is a "fine black tea perfectly balanced with the citrus fruit flavours of Bergamot, orange and lemon" (which totally escape me). Irish Breakfast tea is also good for a lighter taste.
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Re: Teas anyone?

Postby Darby on April 9th, 2015, 2:01 pm 

Darjeeling and assam are both black teas ... the former falls into the lighter and more floral end of the spectrum and assam in the more robust end. Assam is the usual base for most breakfast blends.
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Re: Teas anyone?

Postby BadgerJelly on April 10th, 2015, 5:29 am 

Unbeatable:

Hue Royal Tea
https://jjourneys.wordpress.com/2012/04/02/royal-tea-tra-cung-dinh-hu%E1%BA%BF/

There are many different kinds. I have tried a few of them all delicious! And they look good too.
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Re: Teas anyone?

Postby Darby on April 10th, 2015, 7:57 am 

BadgerJelly » April 10th, 2015, 5:29 am wrote:Unbeatable:

Hue Royal Tea
https://jjourneys.wordpress.com/2012/04/02/royal-tea-tra-cung-dinh-hu%E1%BA%BF/

There are many different kinds. I have tried a few of them all delicious! And they look good too.


From the picture, it looks loosely analagous to Indian Masala Chai, sans dairy, only brewed by the cup. Interesting. I can see golden raisins, stick cinnamon, saigon cassia bark, sliced cured ginger, split dried jujube, liquorice, white candi sugar, and something else I can't identify. What I don't see is any actual tea ... unless there's a tea bag nestled in the bottom of the cup, underneath all the whole flavorings. If that's the case, it would cause some flavor stratification, because of a lack of convective circulation in the cup (i.e., tea doesnt brew well if there's no circulation).

Conceptually, a better way to implement that might be to replace the referenced bottle of off-camera hot water and (presumably) the bag tea hidden under the cup of flavorings, with a teapot of hot plain freshly brewed light tea, which you pour into the flavoring cup for subsequent enjoyment ... that'd solve the variable strength and impaired circulation issues with the hypothesized teabag at the bottom of the mug.

If you can get all the flavorings, it should be easy to replicate the tea in your own home, just from the picture alone. If I had to pick a tea variety for that, I'd have to go with a good quality white tea, or a delicate high end oolong. All black teas, and many types of green (depending on variety, quality and brewtime) are all likely to be too bitter, and the black would compete with the flavors and make for a murky appearance.
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Darby
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