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taking the first sip

January 8, 2010

Are you new to the world of tea? I am quite new to tea as well, but have developed quite a passion for it. I am experiencing a lot of teas for the first time as I write about them, cup in hand. If it weren’t for my sister, Erica, I would still have no idea about the amazing variety of quality loose leaf teas available. I was oblivious. I feel like one really has to actively seek out great quality teas, and until then, you really don’t know what you are missing.

You may think that you don’t like tea. I know I did. But I had only ever had really bad tea. Over-steeped tea. Tea in a bag. The tea that most people are accustomed to. If you like that kind of tea, that’s ok. I am not bashing tea-bags. It just wasn’t my thing. But now I love tea. There is this great organic energy in taking fresh tea, steeping it at the correct temperature for the correct amount of time, and enjoying it. So if you are an Earl Grey groupie, please try a great loose leaf Earl Grey. I’ll wager you will never go back.

The high-end tea world can be a little intimidating. Trust me. I still have horrendous flashbacks of my first visit to Tea Desire. I love the place now, but that day, I had no idea what to buy or even the kinds of questions to ask. I bought nothing (“Thanks, I’m just browsing”). So, for those of you who haven’t yet tried loose teas or you are pretty new to the tea world, let me suggest a few things.

1. Get an IngenuiTEA teapot from Adagio or a similar style infuser. Or an infusing mug. Or even a little tea-ball for about $2.00. They all are great, super easy ways to brew amazing tea.

2. Go to an online tea shop (Adagio is a great source, so is Samovar and DAVIDsTEA) or a local tea shop, and browse. What teas appeal to you? Black teas? Green teas? Flavored teas? Rooibos? Herbal? Get an idea of what kind of teas you might like. The selection is astounding.

3. Buy teas that look and smell wonderful to you. Oolong? Jasmine pearls? Chocolate-hazelnut rooibos? Ryokucha? Masala Chai?

4. Pay attention to the directions. Some teas require lower temperature water to enjoy them properly. Otherwise they may taste bitter on your palate. Others are difficult to over-steep. Some teas can endure multiple infusions.

5. Source information via blogs, websites, podcasts or books dedicated to tea. Learn.

6. Enjoy.

I hope this is helpful to some of the tea-newbies out there. I think a great way to introduce yourself to the world of tea is to buy a variety of teas and explore. Try a good-quality Sencha, a great Earl Grey, some Oolong, a Rooibos, and a fabulous white tea. Or like I mentioned above, just buy what looks good to you. Maybe you’ll be hooked for life. Maybe you’ll move on. Maybe you’ll stick to tea bags. Whatever the outcome may be, it’s a fun little adventure.

One Comment leave one →
  1. January 19, 2010 5:57 am

    Nice post, I felt the same way going into a tea shop for the first time. I must have walk back and forth past the shop three or four times before I went in. It’s funny too, because as soon as you venture in, you find that they are friendly and welcoming.


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