I'm a big fan of Jasmine milk tea, but since I'm moving soon and will no longer have access to my favorite bubble tea house, I've been wanting to learn how to make my own. Since my only experience with Jasmine tea that I've made myself is with the Dragon Pearl-style stuff, which is way to expensive for me to make a glorified latte with, I was wondering if you had any recommendations for a more affordable Jasmine tea that can be brewed at double strength and goes well with milk and sugar.
Unfortunately, I can’t say I do… most of my experiences with jasmine tea have been either dragon pearl or scented whites, neither which seems right for you. Followers - any suggestions?
Do you care much for assams/darjeelings? If so, can you recommend any good brands (loose leaf, of course!)? I've tried several, but I'm always looking to branch out.
~lots of questions lately! And so busy with finals and end-of-term projects that I haven’t had time to get the queue started again… hope you all don’t mind! I’m trying to post at lease one photo a day :)
I have to admit that I haven’t been drinking a lot of black tea lately! (but of course, your question made me want some, so I had to go root around in my stash for a bit.) I’m currently drinking Teavana’s Darjeeling de Triomphe. It’s decent. Don’t know if I would pay the usual price (I got mine 75% off).
I’ve never ordered from them, but I know Upton is a big name in Darjeelings - they’re catalogue/online only and based in Western MA. Verdant Tea and Teavivre are both Chinese-based tea retailers, but they’re excellent, and have really good customer service.
And then there are all your usuals - Teavana, DAVIDs, Adagio, etc.
This blog is so lovely! I'm a complete tea newbie and I was wondering what sorts of tips you might have for someone just getting into this wide world of leaf-based beverages? Like, where to even start.
If you’re just starting out, think about what kinds of tea you like. You’ve probably had the same plain bagged black tea that’s standard fare basically everywhere, so you might try an English Breakfast or an Earl Grey. (I’m just linking suggestions. I’m not saying these are any better than others.) If you like green tea, maybe try a Dragonwell or a jasmine green. If you like things that are sweet and fruity, maybe try out a herbal tisane such as this Blood Orange or Citrus Lavender Sage (which is delicious, even if it sounds odd).
But just try different things! Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb :)
like other people, seeing your giveaway made me see your cute and informative lil blog since I'm always on the lookout for good, sweet tea~ Have you ever tried Teavana's White Ayuverdic Chai Tea? One of my friends dubs it "Liquid Christmas"
You know, I haven’t! I have very limited experience with chais, since I don’t like a lot of spice, but I may just check that one out :) Thanks for the tip!
My mom and I love tea so much I'm buying the Blooming Zen Tea set and PerfecTea Gift set from Teavana for her on Mother's Day. So even though it's really for her, it's for me too, lol! Btw, love the blog. Tea is #1 in my life, hehe. C:
Hehehes! I love presents like that! My mum doesn’t drink tea, but my dad does, and for Father’s day (shhhh) I’ve ordered him Blends For Friends! Love that you’re doing something sweet for your mum :)
Where can I find a good cup infuser for under $20? And is $10/oz too expensive for a white tea blend? Too cheap? Or about right?
Cup infuser - I got two friends this FORLIFE Brew-in-Mug infuser. My local grocery store sells them for $10. I’ve heard good things about the Finum brand. I personally really want to try the Kati mug, and with shipping, it looks like it’ll come to $20. If you’ve got a Teavana near you, you might try the Joli - they are delicate, but very pretty and fit nicely in your hand.
$10/oz for a white tea - it depends on the kind. If you’re looking at a Silver Needle (also called silver tip or bai hao yin zhen), then $10/oz sounds about right. If you’re looking at a Bai Mu Dan (also called Pai Mu Tan or White Peony), then something in the ~$3-$5 range sounds right to me. “White Tea” refers only to how the tea was processed after being picked, not to any quality of the tea. Silver Needles are more expensive because they contain only the top few buds of the plant, and are only picked during a very small window of time. You can tell the different type by looking at it - the Silver Needles are downy and soft, whereas the Bai Mu Dan is more “leafy.”
I'm really new to tea so this may be a silly question...I've heard you say that steeping times are really important for a lot of teas because overdoing it can turn them bitter/bad tasting. But I've also heard you say that you like to steep tea more than once because it brings out different flavors (presumably good ones). But wouldn't re-steeping give the same total effect [for the 2nd or 3rd cups] as just steeping too long in the first place?
You know, that’s an interesting question, and one I’d never thought of before.
Tannins, which cause the tea to become bitter, are naturally contained within the leaf, and they’re released by steeping.
So say you have a black tea. You steep it for a total of seven minutes. There are a lot of tannins within the tea to begin with, and seven-minutes-worth-of-tannins are released into one cup, making it bitter.
But say you steep it for three minutes and stop. Now, you have three-minutes-of-tannins (great units, I know) in your cup. It may give the tea a bit of astringency, but it won’t be overpowering. You can now steep a second time for four minutes, because the tannins are released on a hyperbolic curve…that is, lots of tannins are released at the beginning (requiring a shorter steep time) and then as there are fewer and fewer tannins left, the tea can be steeped longer.
I hope that made sense.
In short, I think it’s like this. Steeping for a long time causes lots of tannins to come out and flood the cup, making it bitter and hiding the flavors of the tea. Steeping for several shorter times allows the tannins to be released more gradually and results in less bitter, more flavorful tea.
Not a question, but a suggestion of a "good cup of tea", re-steeping! I love the subtle changes in taste when you infuse the leaves again, especially green tea, which I always find gets a bit sweeter :) Do you do this too?
Yes of course! Not with bags, but usually always with loose tea! It’s so interesting to notice how the flavor changes over steeps. Some of my favorites to re-steep are Teavana’s Dragonwell and Virtuous Tea’s Pai Mutan.
Oolong tea and Jasmine tea are the same thing? About adding milk in the tea, it is really milk or some kind of cream? I'm new to trying new kinds and flavours. Got addicted to it now and want to taste new things~ Thanks in advance
Oolong tea is tea that’s been partially fermented/oxidized. Green tea hasn’t been oxidized, and black tea has been fully oxidized.
To the best of my knowledge, I believe that jasmine tea is any tea that’s been scented or flavored with jasmine flowers. I know that I’ve tried a jasmine oolong, several jasmine greens, and a jasmine white. So I think that while oolong refers to a particular way of processing the tea, jasmine refers to the flavor of the tea.
In terms of milk/cream, everybody does it differently. I personally add skim milk to English or Irish-styled blacks, but that’s basically it. Some people I know will do 1% or 2% or half-and-half - it basically just depends on your preference. Obviously, the higher the fat content in the milk, the richer the flavor will be.
I think that generally though, blacks and chais are the best teas to add milk to, since they have fairly strong flavor bases naturally.
How do you make a GOOD cup of tea? I always try, and I go by the directions .. almost exact .. and it never turns out right. I want to be able to drink a good cup of tea, that I made from home, not from some tea/coffee shop. I would love to learn how to be able to make myself a cup of tea, and not screw it up completely. I just .. I don't get the flavor, it's just like warm water. All the time, and I don't know what I'm doing wrong. Help, please? (and thank you)
Hm… the directions are probably more of a suggestion-of-standard-procedure than a rule set in stone, and you always want to keep that in mind. For example, most black tea instructions will tell you to steep for ~3 minutes, but my friend Cara likes hers really strong, so she’ll steep for 10 minutes or more.
It would help if I knew what sort of tea you were drinking, since there are SO many variations… but here’s kind of my general rule of thumb (and keep in mind that these are just guidelines).
Also, if you find that the tea is tasting weak, try adding a bit more tea to it. I wouldn’t recommend steeping for longer, as it’ll become more astringent and bitter as the tannins are released, but add a bit more tea and see if that makes it more flavorful.
These are all suggestions for loose leaf. If you’re drinking bagged tea, the guidelines for steep time and temp will probably be similar, but keep in mind that bagged tea brews more quickly because of the greater surface area of the fannings and dust inside.
If you don’t have a thermometer, this will get you close.
Black tea: Probably the most familiar to most people. I use about 1 tsp for every 8oz, steep at 200-210 F (water boils at 212 F) for about 3 minutes. If you find that it’s too strong, use less leaf; if it’s starting to get bitter, steep for a shorter amount of time.
Green tea: Use 1.5 tsp for 8oz of water. Steep at 170-175 F for 45 seconds to 2 minutes. Most of mine are best steeped for about 1 minute. I find that cooler water is essential for green teas - if it’s too hot, it starts to taste a bit… burned to me.
White tea: Use 1.5 tsp for every 8oz of water. Steep at 175-180 F for 2-4 minutes. If the tea is a bai mudan base (it’ll look like brownish-green dried leaves) it can steep on the hotter or longer side; if the tea is a silver needle base (it’ll look like little fuzzy, rolled-up cylinder-shaped buds) I tend to go for a cooler or shorter steep time.
Oolong tea: Oolong is sort of halfway between green and black. You want a little bit of cooler water, usually around 280 F, but you can steep for 3-5 minutes.
These are just general suggestions, things that I’ve found usually work well. But “a good cup of tea” is SO subjective, so if you have your own suggestions, please share!
just found you through your giveaway and omg i'm in love with this blog. i've been drinking ridiculous amounts of tea lately after 6 months of putting my leaves away and picking up a coffee addiction but i'm having issues because my thermometers always break/stop working. so i rarely have a decent cup of green tea. what thermometer do you use?
I just use a cheap thermometer that I picked up for about $5 at my local grocery store. It has a little red sheath/case type thing with a clip on it, and since I keep my tea on a wire shelf, I just keep the thermometer clipped to the top shelf.
Also, if you don’t have a thermometer (and they’re useful, but I don’t think they’re entirely necessary), here’s a chart which gives approximate water-cooling ratios. I pour the hot water into the mug I’m going to drink out of, wait until it’s cool, and then pour it into my ingenuiTEA. It’s not a perfect method, but it’ll get you close.
I love tea! I'm just getting into Teavana (the closest store is 70miles away and do not have the chance to get there often). I've only gotten two flavors (still working on both of them). What is your absolute favorite flavor (or mixture of two) from Teavana?
Hm. I’ve sort of moved away from Teavana a bit, since they do mostly blends, and they’re also a bit expensive for someone on a college student / part time retail worker salary. But I started out drinking them, and they’re not bad, just not my favorite place anymore.
I really do love their Dragonwell green tea - it’s a straight green tea that’s sweet and nutty and very very smooth. I also like their Moroccan Mint, which is a mint-flavored gunpowder. I have to baby that one a bit more, but when I have the time to sit down and make it properly it’s minty and sweet and just all around delicious.
And then whenever I’m in the store (there are two within 30 minutes of me) I usually get a cup of Shanghai Orchid mixed with Silver Needles and a little rock sugar - it’s floral, fruity and sweet, and the silver needles add a bit of depth that the Shanghai Orchid lacks on its own.
Aaaaah such a beautiful tea blog you have here!! I'm so glad you started the giveaway or I might never have found you D': while I'm in your ask box, tho...would you mind enlightening me with a story you like involving tea? I think tea stories are some of the best!
Thanks!~ I’m amazed at how many notes this has gotten so quickly… although I probably shouldn’t be :)
I ordered more tea today, and I told my friend about it…
Maggie: How are you going to drink all of that?
Me: Um… with help? :)
Maggie: You have tea-drinking elves living in your room?
Me: Yup. It’s the gremlins. It’s always the gremlins.
Maggie: Please don’t caffeinate the the gremlins.
Or… conversely, I started this giveaway, and a lovely girl messaged me saying she liked the blog, and now we’re following each other and having a fabulous conversation via ask box! Tea brings people together!
…I don’t know. I’m at a loss for good tea stories now!