Me-TeaFilter not Metafilter October 25, 2010 2:06 PM   Subscribe

This post was sadly deleted before we could determine the correct solution to an age old conundrum - what is the best way for Mefites to make tea? Clearly such matters must be thrashed out in depth!
posted by Artw to MetaFilter-Related at 2:06 PM (262 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

I do not know why this would be worth posting. -- cortex

Obviously a coffee drinker.
posted by enn at 2:10 PM on October 25, 2010 [7 favorites]


Can't wait until election season is over. I'm really sick of all these tea party posts.
posted by codacorolla at 2:11 PM on October 25, 2010 [6 favorites]


Me, I think bags are okay.

Sure, loose tea in a pot if you are going posh, but for you basic cuppa they're fine. Why you would put bags in a teapot I do not know.

All tea that you buy in a bag in the US is of course useless sweepings and fluff, of course, unless you get a UK brand imported.

Milk is, of course, the default. Maybe some lemon for variety from time to time. Sugar can be overdone but I'm not going to be a fascist.

BOILING WATER, NOT LUKEWARM WATER FROM THE MICROWAVE. What are you, animals?
posted by Artw at 2:12 PM on October 25, 2010 [5 favorites]


Man, I second the Zojirushi suggestion. I freakin' LOVE my zoji. Any serious tea drinker should have one, I don't care how much it costs.
posted by 1000monkeys at 2:14 PM on October 25, 2010


Loose or bags, who cares. What matters is, I am out of lapsang souchong, and the place that has the good stuff closes early so I have to rush there right after work, which I won't be able to do for possibly several whole days. What kind of podunk town is this where you can't buy lapsang souchong at three in the morning, anyway?
posted by enn at 2:16 PM on October 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


We make our tea in the french press - the same one we use for our coffee. It works great! Especially for loose-leaf tea. I also love it's utility for making tea concentrate for iced tea!
posted by muddgirl at 2:16 PM on October 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


Dried leaves soaking in hot water. How droll. And so, it's some kind of drink? Is it a prank or something?
posted by Splunge at 2:16 PM on October 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


BOILING WATER, NOT LUKEWARM WATER FROM THE MICROWAVE.

Microwaves can boil water, you know. Just because it's not bubbling doesn't mean it's not at 100°C
posted by muddgirl at 2:17 PM on October 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Did anyone catch what the tattoo on his hand was?

Also, Zhena's Gypsy coconut chai with whole milk and cane sugar or GFTO.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:20 PM on October 25, 2010


When it's not bubbling and it's at 100°C is when it;s ready to explode and take your face off.
posted by Artw at 2:20 PM on October 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


It's quite simple, really:

1) Boil some water. Filtered water is the best, but cold tap water (if it's drinkable) works, too. Freshly boiling water is the best because if you let it boil too long, the kettle will be too fucking hot.

2) Use a tea pot. As a general rule, put one tea spoon of tea leaves per cup into the pot, plus one just in case your spoon just isn't big enough. There are some exceptions to this rule, of course, but we shall discuss those later.

3) Let it steep long enough. There's no strict rules here; what matters here is your taste and experience.

4) Pour the tea into a nice cup, add milk or sugar (black tea only), enjoy.
posted by daniel_charms at 2:21 PM on October 25, 2010


Well, your face maybe. Everyone who's anyone knows to wear a welding mask when they make tea. It's just how it's done.
posted by muddgirl at 2:21 PM on October 25, 2010


I thought we decided not to have a moratorium on tea party posts.

HAHAHAHA! Get it?

Come on guys...it's my only line in the whole damn script.
posted by Mister_A at 2:21 PM on October 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


Electric kettle to boil the water. It's faster than a microwave anyway.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:22 PM on October 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


I have discovered to my vast chagrin that my cheap stovetop Moka pot makes far better espresso than all my fancy machines and presses and whatnot. Ah well, chagrin and bear it.



Tea is for fops and cat ladies who decorate with ferns and wicker.
posted by CunningLinguist at 2:23 PM on October 25, 2010 [5 favorites]


I will say that, on the topic of the thread, an electronic kettle is one of the cheapest, most useful appliances I've ever owned, next to an electric toaster oven and rice cooker. If you have those three things (about 150 dollars for mid-line brands) you can cook many, many delicious things.
posted by codacorolla at 2:23 PM on October 25, 2010 [4 favorites]


> Tea is for fops and cat ladies who decorate with ferns and wicker.

I have a house full of guns and also enjoy my spice tea, you troglodyte.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:25 PM on October 25, 2010 [17 favorites]


Also: what sort of french press can you guys recommend? I sort of want to start drinking coffee at home again, but I don't want a coffee pot.
posted by codacorolla at 2:25 PM on October 25, 2010




Tea is for fops and cat ladies who decorate with ferns and wicker.

Unfair to cat ladies.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:26 PM on October 25, 2010 [11 favorites]


I work with a guy who swears that microwaved water makes worse tea than water boiled in a kettle. I have never found the time to conduct a blind or double-blind study to asses his claim.
posted by GuyZero at 2:27 PM on October 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Will no one stand for the fops?
posted by Mister_A at 2:28 PM on October 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


I mean, you know you can go outside instead of starting a MeTa thread, right?
posted by shakespeherian at 2:28 PM on October 25, 2010


But there is no tea outside.
posted by enn at 2:31 PM on October 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


Chifir' is typically prepared with either two or three tablespoons of loose tea per person (if in prison, a matchbox is often used to measure it out) poured on top of the boiled water. It is brewed for 10-15 minutes without stirring - until the leaves drop to the bottom of the cup. It is then drunk, customarily by passing around a single cup from which each inmate takes two sips. Chifir' is drunk without sugar, because it amplifies the effect to the point of being highly unpleasant (intense headaches and tachycardia) and can possibly lead to a cardiac arrest in case of a large overdose by someone with a weak heart. Sweets can be held in the mouth before, during or after drinking to soften the shockingly bitter taste of chifir'. (source)
posted by daniel_charms at 2:31 PM on October 25, 2010


> I work with a guy who swears that microwaved water makes worse tea than water boiled in a kettle.

Maybe he's boiling the water in a work microwave right after someone popped a bag of popcorn or heated up hotdogs or something.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:33 PM on October 25, 2010


I have never found the time to conduct a blind or double-blind study to asses his claim.

ARRRGH! SUPERCRITICAL WATER EXPLODED ALL OVER MY FACE! I'M BLIND! I'M BLIND - Also *THAT'S* the microwaved one!
posted by Artw at 2:33 PM on October 25, 2010 [9 favorites]


It's pretty rainy in Seattle right now.
posted by Faust Gray at 2:34 PM on October 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


The electric kettle, still so rare in the States, is indeed a marvel. I recently got one for making iced tea when feeling sweatily foppish, and it's fantastic.
posted by CunningLinguist at 2:34 PM on October 25, 2010


> The electric kettle, still so rare in the States

No way, your local Target store has 10 different models.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:38 PM on October 25, 2010


Making tea?

Oh, you mean that elaborate ritual my wife engages in while I'm trying to make coffee.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 2:39 PM on October 25, 2010


Sure, loose tea in a pot if you are going posh, but for you basic cuppa they're fine.

HERESY! Seriously, though - maybe I've just had really bad bags, but I can always taste the paper after. Same with coffee filters.
posted by katillathehun at 2:39 PM on October 25, 2010


I guess putting bags in a teapot is okay if you're just doing it that way to be thrifty.
posted by Artw at 2:41 PM on October 25, 2010


Mythbusters - superheated water

(Though, to be honest, severe burns off the cup are more likely)
posted by Artw at 2:42 PM on October 25, 2010


Seriously, Artw, do you really think that supercritical water always burns someone's face off? Or that water boiled in a microwave is always supercritically heated? Or are you just being an elitist?
posted by muddgirl at 2:43 PM on October 25, 2010


TEA FOPS REPRESENT. When a fop is tired of tea, s/he is tired of life!

...or just maybe needs to drink Pimm's for a while instead.
posted by Pallas Athena at 2:43 PM on October 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


I guess putting bags in a teapot is okay if you're just doing it that way to be thrifty.

What if I'm just doing it to be difficult?

I tried to get a nice low profile electric kettle for holidays time two years ago and all the small ones cost fiendish amounts of money. After a quick check, they still seem to be. Why is a hotplate with a cord costing $40?
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:44 PM on October 25, 2010


Where do the bubbles come from?
Most of the bubbles start at the bottom, because that's where the heat is. The more heat you apply, the more bubbles you will get. The water is turning into a gas very quickly, and lots of bubbles form, and all try to rise to the surface at once. They push the water out of the way as they rise, and jump out of the surface. This is what we call 'boiling water'.
In a microwave, the heat is not applied at the bottom, like on a stove, so we do not witness the same bubbling up from water boiled on a stove. If you actually watch a clear cup of water in the microwave (as I do from time to time), you will notice that it DOES bubble as it boils, but when the microwave turns off, the bubbles stop because heat is no longer applied. The water will still be a sufficient temperature to extract your tea.
posted by muddgirl at 2:46 PM on October 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


No way, your local Target store has 10 different models.

I know, but I never see them in people's homes.
posted by CunningLinguist at 2:48 PM on October 25, 2010


Depending on where you live in NYC, your "local" Target may as well be on Mars.
posted by hermitosis at 2:49 PM on October 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


Also, obligatory: Cup of brown joy.
posted by Pallas Athena at 2:50 PM on October 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Seriously, Artw, do you really think that supercritical water always burns someone's face off? Or that water boiled in a microwave is always supercritically heated? Or are you just being an elitist?

Well, partially for comedic effect and because everyone enjoys explosions.

But mainly because everytime I express frustration at those who heat water for tea by giving it a quick zap in the microwave (thus producing lukewarm water and substandard results) some jackass has to suggest that it would be possible to get the water to boiling by heating the cup for 20 minutes, which seems like a rather dangerous prospect.

You'd die of lack of tea in the time taken, for a start.

Get a kettle.
posted by Artw at 2:50 PM on October 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


Get a better microwave. Mine takes about 3 minutes.
posted by muddgirl at 2:52 PM on October 25, 2010


No way, your local Target store has 10 different models.

I know, but I never see them in people's homes.


Exactly. Somehow the kettles never migrate from Tar-jay to actual houses, unlike everything else in the store. Many US homes lack a kettle. You would be hard-pressed to find a UK or Canadian house without one.

Als: loose tea is better, but only if you have the time. Sometimes you just need a fast cup with a bag.

And Tim Horton's steeped tea is quite good. It's STEEPED.
posted by GuyZero at 2:52 PM on October 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Lukewarm!
posted by Artw at 2:52 PM on October 25, 2010


I drink coffee in the morning because tea is just too complicated and dangerous for me to handle before I've had any caffeine in my system. You really expect me to handle 212 degree water at 6:30 in the morning? I can handle dumping coffee grounds and cold water into my drip coffee maker (a Zojirushi by the way) and pushing the red button. Anything more than that and I'd be in the hospital.
posted by octothorpe at 2:52 PM on October 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


Wait, I don't get it. Why an electric teakettle? Why not just put the kettle on the burner and turn it to 'on?'
posted by angrycat at 2:54 PM on October 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


your "local" Target may as well be on Mars.

Mine is 96 miles away apparently.

I like tea okay but I always forget that it exists.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:54 PM on October 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Target is run by nazis.
posted by Artw at 2:55 PM on October 25, 2010


Boil water in a kettle, take it off just before the whistle. Pour into the cup over the teabag, let steep for three minutes (no more no less) and toss the bag. Dump in sugar if you're so inclined, then pour in milk slowly until you see the milk come back up at you. Enjoy your flavorful, warm-but-not-hot tea immediately.
posted by davejay at 2:56 PM on October 25, 2010


"Electric kettle." You yokels. PISH TOSH!

In MY RAD APARTMENT, right on the kitchen sink is a separate hot water dispenser that immediately glugs out water perfectly heated to 190 degrees F.

*hooks thumbs in suspenders, rocks back and forth with an insolent, shit-eating grin*
posted by Skot at 2:57 PM on October 25, 2010


The electric kettle, still so rare in the States, is indeed a marvel.

Wha? I have one. Everyone I know who drinks hot beverages has one. We have one in the office.

Wait, I don't get it. Why an electric teakettle? Why not just put the kettle on the burner and turn it to 'on?'

I find the design of your average electric kettle a lot easier to clean than your average stovetop kettle. Also, my electric automatically makes a click sound and shuts off when it's done, so I don't accidentally boil all the water out of it after I forget I've put it on.
posted by katillathehun at 2:57 PM on October 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Depending on where you live in NYC, your "local" Target may as well be on Mars.

Luckily there is this thing. It is a magical thing. It is called "the internets". You can get stuff there.
posted by elizardbits at 2:58 PM on October 25, 2010 [6 favorites]


Is this what people are talking about? I have one, it makes water hot. Anything fancier would be gauche.
posted by 0xFCAF at 3:02 PM on October 25, 2010


I've seen enough people with burns on their hands to know that boiling water in a microwave is.... suboptimal. Electric kettles are much safer.

Until the electric shut-off fails and it burns down your house, as my parents found out. At least your hand is ok.
posted by bonehead at 3:02 PM on October 25, 2010


Depending on where you live in NYC, your "local" Target may as well be on Mars.
posted by hermitosis at 5:49 PM on October 25 [+] [!] No other comments.


I don't live in New York but my "local" Target is roughly 26 miles and at least 60 years away.
posted by toodleydoodley at 3:03 PM on October 25, 2010


I love our Sunbeam Hot Shot hot water dispenser. Faster than stovetop or microwave, and it actually boils the water properly (rather than micro-zapping it). Costs about $25; we're on our second one at this point because the first one gave out after about 14 years of daily use.
posted by Lexica at 3:04 PM on October 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


perfectly heated to 190 degrees F.

It does this to minimize the burn potential, not because it makes good tea. Well, it would make good green tea. But for black team you want boiling water. Like, 212 F boiling.

Anything less is, well, less.
posted by GuyZero at 3:06 PM on October 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


I like tea okay but I always forget that it exists.

This is like forgetting to breathe.
posted by GuyZero at 3:07 PM on October 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


We've used this kettle for several years, which is admittedly fancier than required. I've never regretted the expense though---I am delighted every time to see the vapour bubbles nucleate and boil.
posted by bonehead at 3:09 PM on October 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


Also: what sort of french press can you guys recommend? I sort of want to start drinking coffee at home again, but I don't want a coffee pot.

Whether coffee or tea's your pleasure, Bodum has it all.
posted by scalefree at 3:10 PM on October 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


I like coffee and tea.
posted by nomadicink at 3:15 PM on October 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Btw, electric kettles do win at boiling water, in just about every way. They're way faster and more electrically efficient than stovetop models. Kettles are also almost double the speed and half the energy of a normal microwave, plus they won't burn your face off.
posted by bonehead at 3:15 PM on October 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


I keep promising myself that I'll buy this Eva Solo tea pot one day but I never seem to get around to it. It's french press-esque.
posted by GuyZero at 3:17 PM on October 25, 2010


I've always wanted a nice travel mug, but with a built in strainer/trap like those teapots show in scalefree's link.

That way I could put the tea leaves in, add hot or cold water depending on my mood, and throw it my bag. Middle of my commute - fresh tea.
posted by rosswald at 3:24 PM on October 25, 2010


I take cold water and boil it. Super-hot! Add one Twinnings Earl Grey teabag (and only Twinnings, please). Steep it for longer than is strictly necessary. No milk, no sugar. Drink it while it is still nice and hot.

Honestly, that first cup is one of the nicest parts of my day, every day.
posted by kate blank at 3:25 PM on October 25, 2010


I like tea okay but I always forget that it exists.

It occurs to me that this is why I never seem to drink tea, even though I generally like it. I just attempted to rank the liquids I drink according to what I think about most, and it seems to be:

1) water
2) beer
3) coffee
4) cider
5) whisky
6) grapefruit juice
7) [all other beverages, in a thousand-way tie]
8) tea and grape juice, tied for last place
9) Varmstahl -- a fictional beverage I have never thought of until just now
posted by Greg Nog at 3:27 PM on October 25, 2010 [10 favorites]


I just spent a week on retreat at a zen centre. I drink a lot of coffee. There is no coffee at the zen centre. There was, however, black tea every morning (4 AM, be done by 4:15) and at lunch. I have developed an affinity for black tea.

The first thing I did after leaving the centre, however, was to go get a coffee.
posted by mendel at 3:27 PM on October 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


The only thing that needs saying about this is that America still can't make tea. Every time I am in America and someone brings me a cup of hot water with separate teabag, I kill that person. To do anything else would be a moral outrage. And yet, strangely, America does not learn. Sometimes I despair of America. And then I have a cheeseburger there and I feel all forgiving again. But I never regret murdering the Americans who bring me hot water and and unimmersed teabag. Never. May those bastards simmer in less-than-boiling water in hell forever.
posted by Decani at 3:28 PM on October 25, 2010 [12 favorites]


Electric kettles at Canadian Tire run ten bucks or so, though you can pay more if you like.

Electric kettle with properly boiled water, loose tea if it's available, a nice strong supermarket Assam in bags (PC or PG Tips) the rest of the time, let it set a minute or two, milk poured in after to get the right colour, and it has to be put in the right kind of relatively thin-lipped mug or cup.

Better yet, have two mugs on the go at all times so you always have one at optimum drinking temperature while the other settles down from Just A Little Too Hot To Drink.
posted by maudlin at 3:31 PM on October 25, 2010


In my house, we have an iced tea maker, which I know is blasphemy to the purists, but when you live in Florida, you want a cold drink far more often than a hot one. The only problem is that we go through 3 quarts WAY too fast.

I'd like to have a small kettle for making hot tea, and it looks like an electric kettle is the way to go.

Man, I second the Zojirushi suggestion. I freakin' LOVE my zoji. Any serious tea drinker should have one, I don't care how much it costs.

What Zojirushi? Which one? Inquiring minds want to know.
posted by misha at 3:34 PM on October 25, 2010


kate_blank, you make me sad. I'm going to go all Tea Nazi on you now for misspelling the only tea you drink. It is not "Twinnings," it's "Twinings."

I am sorry to have to be so harsh about this, but your profile says you are a writer and an editor, and we are talking about TEA here. We need to be precise about these things.

That is all.
posted by misha at 3:40 PM on October 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


What Zojirushi? Which one? Inquiring minds want to know.

Yes, yes we do.

*returns to contemplating Zoji travel mugs on their website*
posted by Lexica at 3:40 PM on October 25, 2010


I don't understand the "I need a special device just to boil water" concept. You take a small pot. You fill it with water. You put it on the stove. You turn on the gas and fire comes out. A minute or two later you have boiling water. My counter space is too valuable to waste boiling water.

Also, plastic.
posted by aspo at 3:44 PM on October 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


I love our Sunbeam Hot Shot hot water dispenser. Faster than stovetop or microwave, and it actually boils the water properly (rather than micro-zapping it). Costs about $25; we're on our second one at this point because the first one gave out after about 14 years of daily use.

Oh, my goodness, yes. My partner and kids got me one for Mother's day a couple years ago, and it was one of those presents you look at and go, "Huh," and try to fake a lot of enthusiasm for. 72 hours later, I was wondering how I'd ever lived without it.
posted by not that girl at 3:46 PM on October 25, 2010


I'm going to go all Tea Nazi on you now for misspelling the only tea you drink.

I just died of shame. It was nice knowing you all.
posted by kate blank at 3:47 PM on October 25, 2010 [4 favorites]


I don't understand the "I need a special device just to boil water" concept.

Yeah, I used to think that, too. I was wrong.
posted by CunningLinguist at 3:48 PM on October 25, 2010 [9 favorites]


Tetley tea with tin milk. The b'ys loves it.
posted by futureisunwritten at 3:49 PM on October 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


American tea sucks. Get Dilmah from amazon or something at the very least. Do try it.

Before I moved to NZ I thought electric kettles were ridiculous and redundant. "Why do you need a separate thing to boil water when you can just boil it on the stove?" I used to think. Now after five years I cannot physically function without an electric kettle, nor can I remember how to boil water any other way.

Other adventures in tea include not understanding that "tea" sometimes means not tea but dinner as in:
Kiwi: What are you having for tea tonight?
Me: Earl grey?
Kiwi: .......

Also not knowing that most kiwis take their tea with milk, and with no sugar:
Me, offering tea: It's earl grey!
Kiwi: Is there sugar in this?
Me: Lots!
Kiwi: Where's the milk?
Me: Milk?
Kiwi: ........

Also not knowing what gumboot tea means:
Kiwi, having a cuppa: Now that's good old gumboot tea.
Me: Is it earl grey?
Kiwi: ........

And finally, the fun period before I knew what was meant by "cuppa":
Kiwi: I'm going for a cuppa.
Me: A cup of what?
Kiwi: ........
posted by supercrayon at 3:50 PM on October 25, 2010 [9 favorites]


Get a better microwave. Mine takes about 3 minutes.

Versus 1.5 minutes in my lovely electric kettle. Which I bought at Stop & Shop. Not even so fancy as to come from Target. And I paid $20 for it. I guess jessamyn's unlucky since Vermont is running some kind of false-scarcity tea kettle business. I've had this one and it's lovely and $15 and Amazon will bring it to your home.

And yeah, the microwave *tastes* different as in it rearranges the water molecules to more closely resemble ass. This in no way means I won't resort to the microwave over boiling water on the stove because that takes way too fucking long. I have my priorities and they include TEA IN MY MOUTH.

Wait, I don't get it. Why an electric teakettle? Why not just put the kettle on the burner and turn it to 'on?'

This is one of those things where once you get an electric kettle and are all "ZOMG. I CAN HAVE BOILING WATER IN A MINUTE!" you wonder why anyone bothers with the stove because it just takes too long. This is also incredibly handy when you live in a cold place and want to warm your bed with a hot water bottle.

It bears mentioning that I may or may not be 84 years old.
posted by sonika at 3:54 PM on October 25, 2010 [15 favorites]


I like tea. I also like coffee. I probably make both wrong according to most people in this thread.

I have a house full of guns and also enjoy my spice tea, you troglodyte.

As if cat ladies can't have ferns, wicker, *and* guns! Shows what you know!
posted by rtha at 3:54 PM on October 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


As if cat ladies can't have ferns, wicker, *and* guns! Shows what you know!

Don't forget the dangling earrings!
posted by ericb at 3:58 PM on October 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Here is my tea-related anecdote:

I was at a music festival last year and Fleet Foxes were headlining the second day. Partway through the set they pause to retune, and, this being the kind of music festival where the only things you can buy from the "shop" are organic locally sourced ale and copies of The Guardian, a gentle, respectful silence falls over the crowd.

Now, Robin Pecknold has brought with him onstage a paper cup of hot water and what appears to be a herbal teabag. During this pause he drops the teabag into the water for a few seconds, takes a sip, then removes the teabag. He sets the cup down and starts talking, the usual hey-guys-how's-it-going patter. Only halfway through, this one dude starts yelling at him from this otherwise quiet audience. Robin can't quite hear what the guy is saying, so he asks him to shout louder, and now a couple other people have joined in, and they kind of band together to get their message across, which echoes loud and long through the chill night air: YOU DIDN'T LET IT STEEP.

Robin, being an affable sort of fellow, smiles and asks them to explain. Someone from the front row points out that you have to let tea steep for at least three minutes. There is general murmured agreement from the rest of us. Robin laughs, makes a comment about British audiences, and puts the teabag back in the cup.

Wit in the crowd: WHAT KIND OF TEA IS IT.
Robin: Green.
Wit: OH, THAT'S NICE.

After that I guess they remembered that it was a music festival and not some sort of weird tea forum, because they launched back into the set (beautiful, transcendent etc) and nothing more was said on the matter, except for the fact that Robin elicited a number of boos when he tried to remove the teabag again.

I guess my point is that tea is serious business. Or maybe that British audiences are really fucking strange.
posted by fight or flight at 4:00 PM on October 25, 2010 [41 favorites]


I have discovered to my vast chagrin that my cheap stovetop Moka pot makes far better espresso than all my fancy machines and presses and whatnot.

While you might like the stuff that your Moka pot makes, it isn't espresso. It's only by passing water through the grounds at a particular temperature and pressure that you can release the optimum essences and oils from the coffee. A proper espresso machine extracts at about 9 bar of pressure. A Moka pot never gets higher than about 1 bar, though the higher end Bialetti Moka Pots (like the Brikka and the Cuor Di Moka) are attempts to increase that pressure and control the temperature to get closer to 'real' espresso flavour.

So it's more akin to turkish coffee than espresso proper. But if you enjoy it, that's surely all that matters?

If you're seeking to improve the quality of your coffee, you get the biggest improvements by:

a.) ensuring that you buy only freshly roasted beans -- even kept in an airtight container, they stale within a week.
b.) investing in a decent burr grinder. Coffee stales within hours of grinding so you gotta grind your own.

The next step, IMO, would be to buy something like an aeropress, which gets kinda close to espresso without spending the $500 or so it would cost for a decent entry level espresso machine.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:01 PM on October 25, 2010


Oh, also: PG Tips FTW!
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:01 PM on October 25, 2010 [4 favorites]


1) water 2) beer 3) coffee 4) cider...

A History Of The World In Six Glasses by Tom Standage.
posted by ericb at 4:02 PM on October 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


Lovely book that, as is everything by Tom Standage come to think of it.
posted by Artw at 4:04 PM on October 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't understand the "I need a special device just to boil water" concept.

A kettle (even a stovetop one) has several advantages over a pot. First, it boils faster because it's enclosed (though it's true you can put a lid on a pot, the lid is not integral to the pot and must be handled carefully when hot). Second, it lets you know when it's boiling by whistling, which a pot doesn't. Third, it's designed for pouring into a teapot or cup, which a plain pot isn't.

Plus a kettle just looks nice. I mean look at these. Comforting and relaxing just looking at them, isn't it? Now look at these. Big old pile of meh, is what that is.
posted by jedicus at 4:10 PM on October 25, 2010


I go lowbrow for tea. Tetley's, two bags in a pot, steeped for at least five minutes. Boiling water. And you put the milk in the cup first and there is a very good chemical reason for this that somebody explained to me once that has to do with neutralizing some acids and that's my story and I'm sticking with it. Sugar, of course. English working-class brew it is, and I just had a cup and feel sprightly and awake!

Also, Earl Grey is an abomination.
posted by jokeefe at 4:12 PM on October 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, yes, and in the Great Kettle Dispute I come down firmly on the side of my nice shiny kettle with a whistle on top; I slap it on the burner, and boil it up.
posted by jokeefe at 4:13 PM on October 25, 2010


Electric kettle! Can't live without it. Well, I did manage for over 30 years, but that's only because I was educated stupid.
posted by taz at 4:24 PM on October 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


SUPERCRITICAL WATER EXPLODED ALL OVER MY FACE

"Supercritical" is not synonymous with "superheated."

OTOH, if you actually have a microwave that can make supercritical water, I am seriously impressed.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 4:32 PM on October 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


It uses LAZOR BEAMS.
posted by Artw at 4:33 PM on October 25, 2010


this thread is 94 comments long

Thats not even funny.
posted by The Whelk at 4:34 PM on October 25, 2010


Obviously a coffee drinker.

Heh. I own a coffee maker and a basic kettle. I use the coffee maker now and then on a lark but most of the coffee I end up drinking is out of the house.

But I use the kettle every single morning. Come down stairs, refill kettle so there'll be enough for a couple cups and then some leftover for getting a jumpstart on the hot cereal, turn on gas burner, feed cats, plop down on couch with laptop so I can check the overnight damage to the flag queue and my email while keeping an eye on the skinny cat to make sure the fat cat doesn't successfully filch half her breakfast. Eventually the kettle goes off and I pour a couple cups of whatever black teabags we've got lately.

I don't really have any reverence for the stuff and so don't feel particularly bad about not having a doting routine about the actual tea or its preparation either. It's a source of caffeine and the sooner that gets into my system in the morning the sooner I manage full sentences when interacting with all y'all.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:35 PM on October 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


what is the best way for Mefites to make tea?

[insert username here]

Get mug down from shelf. Go to 240-count box of Yorkshire Tea. Remove one teabag and place in mug. Wait patiently.

When kettle is boiled, pour water into mug. Wait patiently. Five minutes.

Go to silverware drawer. Remove big spoon and little spoon.

Take big spoon, dip into mug, press teabag against side of mug. Remove teabag with spoon & chuck teabag in the bin.

Get sugar from shelf. Get small spoon. Two sugars in.

Get pint of milk from fridge. Splash of milk in. Stir with little spoon till tea is a pretty color.

Drink nice tea, preferably accompanied by biscuits or eclairs.
posted by Put the kettle on at 4:39 PM on October 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


This makes me sad.
posted by CunningLinguist at 4:43 PM on October 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


I just died of shame. It was nice knowing you all.

Aww. *hugs kate_blank*. It's okay. What do I know? I don't even have an electric kettle!
posted by misha at 4:52 PM on October 25, 2010


I come from a long line of truly dedicated tea drinkers. Family legend has it that the reason my dad does all the grocery shopping is that my mom messed up and they ran out of tea the second week they were married (the horror!!!!).

Boil water (in an electric kettle, of course). When water has almost boiled, add hot water to teapot to heat it up. Add boiling water to tea in teapot (bags are fine; you Americans just don't get the good stuff). Steep, pour, milk and sugar, enjoy!
posted by Go Banana at 4:54 PM on October 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


This makes me sad.

whuh?
posted by angrycat at 4:55 PM on October 25, 2010


Unused user number of extreme awesomeness.
posted by elizardbits at 4:56 PM on October 25, 2010


I saw Put the kettle on's screen name, assumed it was a sock made for this discussion, looked at the user number and then wondered who was user 111111.
posted by CunningLinguist at 4:58 PM on October 25, 2010


I have an electric kettle, cheap plastic, purchased for $12 at Rite Aid. Some years ago, Neil Gaiman was coming to Seattle, and his fixer posted to her livejournal asking if anyone had an electric kettle she could borrow, as one of the (perfectly reasonable imho) items in Neil's rider is that he be able to make a Proper Cup of Tea in his hotel room. I emailed her and said sure, he could borrow mine, it's a cheap piece of crap but it sure does boil water.

She emailed me back and said lovely, I'll come round to get it, out of gratitude for the tea Neil says he'll autograph anything you want.

I thought for a bit and said, "Have him autograph the kettle." My reasoning being, lots and lots of people have an autographed copy of Stardust or Sandman or what have you, but who has an electric kettle autographed by Neil Gaiman? NOBODY!

Well, now the answer is: ME! He signed it, and drew a little cup of steaming hot tea on it. And now I'm afraid to ever use it or take it anywhere ever again because Sharpie eventually rubs off of plastic. Any idea as to how to preserve that autograph?
posted by KathrynT at 4:59 PM on October 25, 2010 [19 favorites]


jokeefe: "And you put the milk in the cup first and there is a very good chemical reason for this that somebody explained to me once that has to do with neutralizing some acids and that's my story and I'm sticking with it."

The story is that back in the olden days milk was not so reliably germ-free, so you added the tea to the milk in order to kill any malingering amoebas or whatever. We're talking like WWI times, though.

I have this Zojirushi, th 4L version, which fits perfectly under my apartment cabinets (14" tall). I have a day and an half's worth of 208F water at all times. My daily is PG Tips or Yorkshire.
posted by rhizome at 5:15 PM on October 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


jedicus: "I don't understand the "I need a special device just to boil water" concept.

A kettle (even a stovetop one) has several advantages over a pot. First, it boils faster because it's enclosed (though it's true you can put a lid on a pot, the lid is not integral to the pot and must be handled carefully when hot). Second, it lets you know when it's boiling by whistling, which a pot doesn't. Third, it's designed for pouring into a teapot or cup, which a plain pot isn't.

Plus a kettle just looks nice. I mean look at these. Comforting and relaxing just looking at them, isn't it? Now look at these. Big old pile of meh, is what that is
"

You sounded like you were making sense until you called pots meh. I guess you think food comes from a plastic bag or a box. Any cook finds pots a thing of wonder. Hardly meh.
posted by Splunge at 5:16 PM on October 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


The following is the proper way to make tea.

Put four regular-size teabags into a pot.
Pour two quarts of water into the pot.
Bring to just boiling, then remove from heat.
Mix in one-half cup of sugar while it is still warm.
Wait for at least twenty minutes before removing the teabags.
Put in the refrigerator for several hours.
Pour over ice.
Drink.

That bit in italics is key. You have to supersaturate the tea by adding the sugar before the tea goes back to room temperature. If you don't, you create a vile mostly-unsweetened-but-partially-hypersweetened mixture that is unfit for human consumption. ::glares at Dunkin Donuts::
posted by JDHarper at 5:23 PM on October 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


I guess you think food comes from a plastic bag or a box

and take out containers.
posted by mlis at 5:25 PM on October 25, 2010


I like to drink beverages.
posted by box at 5:29 PM on October 25, 2010


Tea? Really? You got anything stronger? Mother fucker. What the hell happened to my city? Piece of shit used car salesman. What a fuckin' joke.
posted by gman at 5:32 PM on October 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


WTF CANADA
posted by The Whelk at 5:34 PM on October 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


That asshole has been calling me all day. He just called AGAIN -- God knows why, maybe to chortle and gloat while crushing puppies and kittens underfoot -- and I just picked up the receiver, said "Fuck you!", and hung up.

I am reduced to cursing out robocalls. I need some more tea.
posted by maudlin at 5:40 PM on October 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


I know, but I never see them in people's homes.

Come over! I will make you tea, boiling water in my electric kettle.

of course, I'm not American, and the electric kettle was one of my first purchases upon moving to the USA, so I'm not representative, I guess...
posted by gaspode at 5:45 PM on October 25, 2010


...and I forgot to italicize CunningLinguist's quote. Sigh.
posted by gaspode at 5:46 PM on October 25, 2010


I just attempted to rank the liquids I drink according to what I think about most, and it seems to be:

I like this game

- coffee
- water
- milk
- lemon juice + maple syrup + water
- Fresca
- diet cola of some sort
- cocoa
- does the neti pot count?
- Malibu
- iced tea
- tea
- coffee milk
- the slurry in the cereal bowl
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:53 PM on October 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


For any old ailment or disease, for Christ's sake have a cuppa tea.
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:06 PM on October 25, 2010


Kathryn T, have you thought about a layer of clear nail polish over the signature?

I'm not sure about nail polish and heat, though.
posted by that girl at 6:16 PM on October 25, 2010


If you are against coffee, you're against freedom.
posted by killdevil at 6:31 PM on October 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


Another electric kettle (in the US) here.

I drink loose tea at home.

For work, I maintain a stash of empty tea bags and a couple of packets of tea leaves. Pack a teabag then hike to the hot-water dispenser on the way to the next meeting. The 190F water is pretty much perfect for a Ti Kuan Yin. The tea bag is conveniently disposable when I arrive in arbitrary conference room, but is known to contain delicious tea leaves rather than wood chips, dust, or stale tea fannings.
posted by janell at 6:35 PM on October 25, 2010


coffee
water
beer
Islays
horchata
tea
posted by rtha at 6:39 PM on October 25, 2010


fuck, I forgot horchata.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 6:40 PM on October 25, 2010


What Zojirushi? Which one? Inquiring minds want to know.

Why, thanks for asking! :) I just got a hybrid Zojirushi water boiler/dispenser. It has, I believe, 3 temperature settings (for black tea, green tea, and other teas/tisanes) and it has a vacuum keep-warm feature, should you wish to save some energy. It also can be set to turn on automatically in the morning and provide hot water all day long, and it even plays a song when it goes to "sleep" and when it "wakes up" in the morning and the water is boiled.

This is the model, I believe.

I only very recently discovered that electric kettles aren't very common in the US. It blows my mind. Here in Canada, they are extremely common. About everybody I know owns one, if not more than one. They can be had super-cheap (around $10+, as mentioned earlier), although ther are fancy models too now. It's kind of a no-brainer: it boils faster, is cleaner, generally safer than leaving an "old fashioned" kettle on the stove and forgetting about it/boiling over. It's so simple, when you have company over you just say, "let me pop the kettle down" and in a few minutes...hot, delicious tea. :)
posted by 1000monkeys at 7:08 PM on October 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


- water
- beer
- tea
- coffee

huge gap here

- wine
- juice
- whisk[e]y

another huge gap

- kefir, kombucha, Arnold Palmers, Thai iced tea, Mexican soda, white liquors, etc., etc.
posted by box at 7:09 PM on October 25, 2010


Oh, and if it's "regular" (orange pekoe) tea you're after, well...nobody puts the "oo" in tea like Typhoo!
posted by 1000monkeys at 7:10 PM on October 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


I have an electric teakettle. I use it for instant oatmeal on school days when I have forgotten to set us up the rice cooker for oatmeal the night before, and then off and on all afternoon for tea, and in the winter for instant cocoa when the kids come home. It was the best ten bucks I ever spent at Rite-Aid, and that includes the glorious cheap booze of the California Rite-Aids.

It's really kind of weird that that post got deleted. It spawned much awesome pondering of beverages and I don't see how that can be a bad thing.
posted by padraigin at 7:13 PM on October 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Please don't forgeth that the temperature of the water you use depends on the tea, otherwise you'll scald the leaves:
As you go lighter in colour you should use cooler water. The ideal temperature for green tea is about 80-85 degrees C.

The fruity scented random coloured stuff they sell to white people is an abomination.
posted by captaincrouton at 7:21 PM on October 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's really kind of weird that that post got deleted.

Obviously, cortex is a [tea-ist]. The bastard!



Okay, actually that was a pretty weak post, but dammit, nobody can keep us tea-drinkers down!
posted by 1000monkeys at 7:23 PM on October 25, 2010


I have an Ingenuitea I use at work. I can make loose leaf tea all day! The downside is that the filter looks really bad now from the tea stains so I have to hide it. It has gotten out of hand, though. I have fifteen different kinds of loose tea in little tins in my desk. I have a whole file cabinet drawer full of tea equipment.
posted by winna at 7:33 PM on October 25, 2010


I like my tea black, unsweetened, strong, and over ice.

Yes, I am a heathen.

I also usually drink coffee - like, four or five cups a day. Since I prefer iced tea, this means I usually have to buy it elsewhere, because I have no refrigeration... ^_^

I also own both an electric kettle (for when I'm plugged in) and a stove top kettle (for when I'm not and have to use the propane burner). But, on the rare occasions that I do have ice, I either use the French press for tea, or brew some sun tea.
posted by patheral at 7:33 PM on October 25, 2010


The only thing that needs saying about this is that America still can't make tea.

Maybe we'll learn to make tea when y'all learn to make coffee.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 7:35 PM on October 25, 2010


I once made coffee with tea. Hot black tea, dumped over sumatra in a cafetiere.

Predictably fuckvolting, let me tell you. Quite the buzz, tho'.
posted by scruss at 7:36 PM on October 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


- black tea with milk (no sugar!)
- water
- beer
- diet cola
- tonic
- gin
- milk
posted by bluedaisy at 7:37 PM on October 25, 2010


I have been musing an AskMe on tea. How does one who already drinks tea in excess learn more about tea?
posted by bluedaisy at 7:38 PM on October 25, 2010


It's really kind of weird that that post got deleted. It spawned much awesome pondering of beverages and I don't see how that can be a bad thing.

I love awesome pondering and such, but that doesn't make a terrible post not a terrible post, and that was a terrible post. If someone wants to make an awesome post about tea, go for it, but an amateur minute long youtube tea-making montage with zero context isn't how to do it.
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:44 PM on October 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


If you are against coffee, you're against freedom.

Oh, the irony.
posted by pompomtom at 7:48 PM on October 25, 2010


I just purchased some Dilmah tea based on this thread. It better be good.
posted by keli at 7:49 PM on October 25, 2010


I like the idea of electric kettles, but they almost all have plastic parts. Isn't anyone else bothered by boiling water in plastic all the time?
posted by needs more cowbell at 7:51 PM on October 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's possible, even probable to like tea and coffee. Call me bevodiurnal. Coffee until noon, tea at night.

The key insight is that not only does a French Press make great coffee, but it's also a nifty teapot too (especially with roasted rice green tea. hm....). Plus your electric kettle works great for both.
posted by bonehead at 7:52 PM on October 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Capresso I linked to above boils the water in glass. There are also several that are stainless steel. Both work very well and have no phthalate or BPA concerns.
posted by bonehead at 7:52 PM on October 25, 2010


"When kettle is boiled, pour water into mug. Wait patiently. Five minutes."
No! Too long! Too loooooong!
posted by santaslittlehelper at 7:56 PM on October 25, 2010


-whipped cream vodka
-espresso
-coffee with cream and sugar
-rum
-soda with calories
-Oolong tea with sugar
-Earl Grey tea with milk
-very, very cold water
-lemonade (the kind where they put half a lemon in it with the ice)
-various Snapple
-fruit smoothies
-death
-diet soda
posted by santaslittlehelper at 8:02 PM on October 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


milk
water
Gatorade
various fruit juices
sweet tea (but rarely, since caffeine does bad things to me)
hot chocolate (on cold days)
mostly herbal hot teas (on cold days or if my throat is sore)

I'm a terrible philistine, I know. I fill my Mason jar with water, drop in a tea bag, and drop in a spoonful-ish of sugar, and stick it in the microwave for 3 minutes. Then a while after the microwave goes off, I wander back over to collect it, stir, and drink. This makes me happy and I like it. I figure it's about on par with the fact that I prefer cheap sushi rolls to the fancy nigiri varieties.
posted by galadriel at 8:08 PM on October 25, 2010


I drink tea and coffee both, I have dogs and no cats, no ferns, and no guns. I love tea but coffee wakes me the hell up. So there.

"When we consider how small after all the cup of human enjoyment is, how soon overflowed with tears, how easily drained to the dregs in our quenchless thirst for infinity, we shall not blame ourselves for making so much of the tea-cup." -- Kakuzō Okakura
posted by blucevalo at 8:08 PM on October 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wait, I don't get it. Why an electric teakettle? Why not just put the kettle on the burner and turn it to 'on?'

Because if you are Mr Jamaro, you forget you were boiling water, somehow manage to avoid hearing the kettle shriek itself dry, and melt the kettle into slag all over the burner which requires both an extensive clean up and expensive replacement parts. Then you do it twice more before your wife passive-aggressively purchases an auto-off electric kettle instead of yet another doomed stove-top kettle.
posted by jamaro at 8:09 PM on October 25, 2010 [6 favorites]


-coffee
-beer
-water
-tea
-Bourbon
-wine
-soda
posted by octothorpe at 8:16 PM on October 25, 2010


tastes just like a teardrop
posted by hortense at 8:22 PM on October 25, 2010


Light the torches and sharpen the tines.

Instant coffee is a respectable beverage if you disabuse yourself of the notion that it has anything to do with coffee.

Less controversial is what I do whenever I'm brewing anything in a cup: Heat, by whatever means, three times the amount of water you will need to the boiling point; pour the boiling hot water into the cup, let stand for five or ten seconds then pour out - the water transferred heat energy into the cup which now feels warm because the liquid heated the cup (cold is the absence of heat, not the other way around though five years in Iowa and now and impending Winnipeg winter have me interpreting this as a distinction without a difference) so you now have a cup that will leech less heat from the second third of nearly boiling water you pour into the cup and make your beverage.

Use the remaining third to make oatmeal (with raisins) or pour on invaders as is necessary.
posted by vapidave at 8:38 PM on October 25, 2010 [2 favorites]




Toronto residents are permitted to substitute tea with Jack Daniels until further notice. And you're allowed to add milk if you want.
posted by GuyZero at 8:47 PM on October 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


I have an electric kettle I brought from London. 240V. Boils water in about 15 seconds. My apartment has 2 240v outlets, one for the range and one for the clothes dryer. I don't even notice the moist clothes any more.

Latte
Americano
Loose leaf earl grey
Beer
Loose leaf sencha
Drip
Cake pu-erh
Agua fresca (Horchata, Jamaica, Lime, etc...)
French Press
Espresso
I only drink pure water when I ride my bike in the rain.

I extract the earl grey two times average. A 2 to 3 minute first infusion with boiling water for the first cup, a second longer infusion with hot, not boiling, water. The Sencha I make with 160F, 70C, very short infusions, 5 or 6 cups, until one can barely taste the tea.

Pu-erh is amazing. I start with a 5 or 6 minute boiling water infusion, the subsequent infusions with water anywhere from drinkable right away to boiling, times between 3 and 20 minutes. Every cup tastes different and better than the previous. Pu-erh cakes is the most expensive tea, by weight, that I buy, but it gives me the most cups for the penny.

Getting exact temperatures is easy if you are willing to do some math or a lot of testing. My usual cup, starting at ambient T will give me 70C water if I add one shot glass of cold tap water and then fill up with boiling water.

It is easy to calibrate temperature if you know the mass and thermal capacity of your cup.
posted by Dr. Curare at 8:50 PM on October 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


A few weeks ago, I counted the number of tea varieties in the cupboard in my office. I counted to 64, ranging from plain peppermint teabags from the drugstore to Swedish blend loose tea with blueberries, to DaYuLing high mountain oolong that is heavenly on the fourth brewing. The collection keeps growing. I think my colleagues and I have a problem...
posted by gemmy at 8:53 PM on October 25, 2010


4 months ago, when I got laid off, I decided that I was going to put a moratorium on buying new teas. Instead, I'm going to drink up the stuff I already own. And now, despite drinking tea nearly every day, I have barely made a dent in the stash. Even giving away some of them as gifts and the like, I still have a *lot* of tea.

Current setup - Bodum Ibis Mini tea kettle (black) (no longer available) for boiling the water, an InguinTEA filter for steeping, and a metal thermos extolling the 46th Road & Street Maintenance Supervisor Conference 2008 for decanting the steepings so that the leaves do not oversteep. My current favorite tea mug is the Official Charles and Diana Wedding Love Handled Cup Thingy. It's oh so very posh. (It's that, or the REI travel mug - depends on my mood, really).

The only condiment I put in my tea is vanilla sweetened sugar.

I don't know how I lived without a plug in tea kettle for so long.
posted by spinifex23 at 8:58 PM on October 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


vanilla sweetened sugar.

I need this.
posted by saveyoursanity at 9:13 PM on October 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


I need this.

Send me your mailing address.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:16 PM on October 25, 2010


vanilla sweetened sugar.

1. Use a vanilla bean to make panna cotta.
2. Reserve used bean by storage in table sugar jar.
3. Use sugar for tea, to be consumed following panna cotta.

It takes a few weeks or months for the vanilla flavour to infuse the sugar. This requires that you make panna cotta regularly to renew the vanilla beans in the sugar.
posted by bonehead at 9:19 PM on October 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


You just stick a vanilla bean in your sugar jar. It's not very hard.
posted by GuyZero at 9:20 PM on October 25, 2010 [4 favorites]


I have a bag of coca tea, purchased from Amazon.com even. It's pretty mild and tastes like dirt.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:24 PM on October 25, 2010


Couple of years ago I was a tea fanatic, was pretty much all I drank for about five years -- one of my sisters got me going on it. In that time I'd found some Vietnamese oolong that was the best tea I'd ever had, tasted so damn good and the leaves had a sort of red tint, too, it was so pretty -- it was totally jammin', it made my heart so merry. Can't find it anywhere in town anymore and it's a damn shame, the local co-op has a pretty good organic oolong but doesn't stand in the same room as that Vietnamese tea.

And yeah, of course, a teapot and loose leaves, you philistines.

Cream? Sugar? wtf? Why pollute good tea?

Lately I've devolved back to coffee, good coffee of course but coffee (ducks head in shame, walks from room sobbing..)
posted by dancestoblue at 9:44 PM on October 25, 2010


Apple-flavored green tea with a small amount of sugar and lemon juice. The main thing is the apple flavor, it's the only thing that goes well with green tea. All other green teas are horrible. And milk should never be mixed with any kind of tea. Also sprach Dumsnill.
posted by Dumsnill at 9:46 PM on October 25, 2010


vanilla sweetened sugar

This sounds like a match made in heaven. I love this place - you just don't know what you don't know until you read it here.
posted by nelvana at 9:48 PM on October 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


4 months ago, when I got laid off, I decided that I was going to put a moratorium on buying new teas. Instead, I'm going to drink up the stuff I already own. And now, despite drinking tea nearly every day, I have barely made a dent in the stash. Even giving away some of them as gifts and the like, I still have a *lot* of tea.

Seems like the perfect setup for a Mefi TEA SWAP! I'm in.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 9:51 PM on October 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


I use my electric kettle upstairs in my office/studio, and it is a fabulous convenience. First of all, if I have to go down to the kitchen, I will get immediately distracted and by the time I look up, I just wasted an hour of work time. Secondly, the automatic shutoff is a godsend if I find myself elbow deep in glue and ink and can't get to it. Thirdly, it helps ensure that I keep myself hydrated.
posted by julen at 9:56 PM on October 25, 2010


I only drink pure water when I ride my bike in the rain.

If this isn't the most evocative and laden sentence I've ever read it certainly has made me thirsty and feeling like I need a shower and to bike more (despite that stripe on your back when you ride in the rain) or to empathize with kidneys or get new tires or just be more mossy or something. (I'm failing here at communicating in all directions at once.)

Seriously, that was great.
posted by vapidave at 10:06 PM on October 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


Mmmm, Darjeeling - that and a nice hot piping cup of dai pai dong tea for those cold days.

The only real downside to loose tea is if you've a small kitchen, a sort of catchall cupboard and a serious inability to function intelligently in the mornings - well, you should really store your loose tea in a VERY CLEARLY labeled container that is not the exact duplicate of the container you keep catnip in even if the containers were buy one get one free. A nice hot cup of steeped catnip leaves with milk doesn't quite cut it - you spit it all over the floor and your cat gets all confused because all over smells like catnippy milk - and it's a bit of a bad job all round. clearly this is all theoretical, so theoretically speaking if you were to ask me what catnip tea tastes like I'd be able to say that catnip tea tastes vaguely like mint gone a bit bad. with the milk it makes your tastebuds want to curl up and cry. theoretically.
posted by zennish at 10:34 PM on October 25, 2010 [8 favorites]


I have a tea kettle that rattles like a rocket ship getting ready to take off as soon as the water gets halfway hot.
posted by colfax at 10:45 PM on October 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


No way, your local Target store has 10 different models.

Really. When I first paid an extended visit to the US in the late 1990s, and it took me about two days to decide that I couldn't survive without a kettle, there was precisely one model being sold in the local big box mart. It was a Oster, made in New Zealand by supercrayon's Kiwis, fugly as anything but utterly bombproof. It recently got retired (still working) and replaced by a sleek, slightly skew-wiff pouring but totally functional Braun that I found on sale for $2 at a local Goodwill, having been abandoned by some fool.

Anyway, I'm past the point of pontificating over tea or casting aspersions on others' choices, except to say that if you come between me and my kettle, my teapot and my stash of nonfussy but non-Liptons tea, or even try helpfully to intervene in the ritual, I can't be held accountable for my actions.

Get Dilmah from amazon or something at the very least. Do try it.

Standard AskMe advice applies: go to your local Asian, Eastern European, African or Middle Eastern grocery for tea. They each have different offerings, but they all take it seriously.
posted by holgate at 10:55 PM on October 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Firstly, the tea should not be in a bag, but in a crate. Secondly, the water should not be in a cup, but in a harbour.

Not for any political reasons, mind you; rather, simply because tea is just awful.
posted by Sys Rq at 11:05 PM on October 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


The fool-proof way to make delicious tea:

1) Buy loose-leaf tea. (see step 10)
2) Use the same spoon to measure it each time. It is convenient to leave this spoon in the tea leaf container.
3) Set a measured amount of water on the stove to boil (Microwaving isn't good enough because it's impossible to tell when exactly the water gets to boiling point, and then you often end up with underheated or overboiled water, which just makes tea taste nasty.
4) Warm the teapot.
5) Measure out the exact amount of tea you need. There is no standard, because the strength of tea leaves varies (yes, even with the same brand, sometimes.). So the first pot of tea is always a gamble.
6) Put the tea leaves in the pot before the water.
7) When the water comes to a boil, immediately pour it into the teapot.
8) Close the lid, cover the pot with a tea cozy, and let it brew for exactly five minutes.
9) While it is brewing, put the water that's left (this is why you need to measure) in the cups to warm them.
10) After exactly five minutes, open the teapot lid and stir. This is why you want loose leaf tea, not teabags.
11) Close the lid, pour out the hot water from the cups, and add sugar to taste before you pour the tea. This way you don't have to stir as long, so the tea stays hot.
12) Pour tea, using a tea sieve.
13) Add hot milk to taste.
14) Give it a brief stir.

Enjoy.

(This method comes to you from a woman (that's me) whose father drank tea 2 to 4 times per hour all day. Each pot was made fresh. I learned to make it at age 10. Barring the time I was away at college, I made tea for him several times a day until his death a few years ago. Trust me. You might be able to make good tea with a different method. But why gamble? Good tea is a happy thing.)
posted by bardophile at 11:17 PM on October 25, 2010 [5 favorites]


Not sure about hot milk, bardophile, and myself I would call it a tea strainer, not a sieve, but these are niggles: you win my personal congratulations for being the first person to make the key point - that you must warm the pot. The importance of this cannot be over-stressed.
posted by Segundus at 11:28 PM on October 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


So much strangeness in this thread. So many sets of instructions for making THE cup of tea. Look, the temperature of water, steeping time, and ratio of tea to water all depend on the very specific kind of tea (and probably where and when it was grown). If I'm at the store and the tea doesn't come with specific directions for how to brew it, I'd probably assume it was inferior tea and put it back on the shelf.

I have been musing an AskMe on tea. How does one who already drinks tea in excess learn more about tea?

That probably depends on how much you know. You could try this book, which I haven't read but have heard is good. Or if you're looking for something more, how about a tea vacation, visiting estates where the tea is grown?

Here at Metafilter, we know tea.

True, for the Lipton that most people in the US see. The Lipton you would see in India, for example, is much higher quality. And while I'm on the topic of the US not having good tea -- yes, that's true in general, but try the tea from Rishi Tea. There's good tea in the US, if you know where to find it.

Equipment. I've tried the French press, but the tea leaves are still in the water, which makes the tea bitter. I've tried an electric kettle, but it was plastic, it made my water taste off, and I don't like the idea of boiling my water in plastic anyway.

I use a mesh basket at home and self-filled tea bags at work. I use a microwave and have never had a problem. If the water's not hot enough I apply more microwaves, and remember for next time. Seems simple to me. And I don't see how it's even possible that microwaves can effect the taste of water.

-- tea
-- water
-- beer
-- herbal tea (at night)
-- tea
posted by Someday Bum at 11:37 PM on October 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Red Rose Tea!
posted by various at 11:46 PM on October 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well, now the answer is: ME! He signed it, and drew a little cup of steaming hot tea on it. And now I'm afraid to ever use it or take it anywhere ever again because Sharpie eventually rubs off of plastic. Any idea as to how to preserve that autograph?

Hmm... if you're not planning on using the kettle again, maybe you could try a spray fixative (sold in art stores) that would seal the Sharpie? (A less elegant solution might be to apply some clear packing tape over it... but that would be a last resort solution.) You could probably also call the Sharpie hotline (c'mon, they have to have one) and ask them.

Incidentally, Elvis Costello once used my electric tea kettle before a performance. I gave it to a friend who was a big(ger) fan.

(Oh, and here's Neil's take on making the perfect cup of tea.)
posted by lucysparrow at 11:58 PM on October 25, 2010


I guess I'm the only one here who likes tea to be SICKENINGLY dessert-like?

I add in tons of half and half and several spoonfuls of sugar. It has to be half and half and sugar too...no mothereffin' milk or mothereffin' honey.

Add a berry scone and I'm in mothereffin' heaven.
posted by The ____ of Justice at 12:06 AM on October 26, 2010


Not sure about hot milk, bardophile, and myself I would call it a tea strainer, not a sieve,

Ah yes. My brain switches into Urdu when I am thinking about tea. I think of it as a chhanni, which can be both strainer and sieve. The word escaped me, but you are absolutely right about it being a strainer. And the point about milk is that if you are going to add it, it should be hot. I like mine black and with no sugar. :)
posted by bardophile at 12:07 AM on October 26, 2010


OP here. I saw a grain of awesome in that amateurish video montage. Sad to see it got deleted. Happy to see everyone talking about tea!
posted by seagull.apollo at 12:09 AM on October 26, 2010


If I'm at the store and the tea doesn't come with specific directions for how to brew it, I'd probably assume it was inferior tea and put it back on the shelf.


pfft. I can't remember ever seeing directions for making tea on a packet of tea in Pakistan. And the tea we get there is so much better than what I was ever able to find in the US. Where all the tea has directions on it.
posted by bardophile at 12:10 AM on October 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Loose leaf, gaiwan. At least, that's what I do, and what a lot of tea connoisseurs recommend.
posted by archagon at 12:11 AM on October 26, 2010


Late to this, but this is the best tea in the world. There can be no questioning this.
posted by Jofus at 12:14 AM on October 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


holgate: ". When I first paid an extended visit to the US in the late 1990s, and it took me about two days to decide that I couldn't survive without a kettle, there was precisely one model being sold in the local big box mart. It was a Oster, made in New Zealand by supercrayon's Kiwis, fugly as anything but utterly bombproof. It recently got retired (still working) and replaced by a sleek, slightly skew-wiff pouring but totally functional Braun that I found on sale for $2 at a local Goodwill, having been abandoned by some fool."

This is true. I think my first electric kettle, the first one I ever found that was the same design as the UK ones I had just recently learned about, was the Bodum one. I forget, maybe 1998 or so? There really weren't very many, and what was available was that kind of Sunbeam Hotpot that someone linked up there. 1 quart, silly temperature dial and unplug-to-turn-off. The kind of electric kettle that kills hobos. After the Bodum, a Braun, then a Delonghi, all of them that same base-and-carafe style (by this time, bleh). After I went to Tokyo in 2004 I always had it in mind to get a boiler, something that didn't have to be turned on and listened for, and two years ago, I did. Not only that, but it actually started out as a Christmas gift that I gave my girlfriend at the time. Not only that, but for the first time ever in my life she actually gave the gift back to me. Not only that, but she actually told me that she simply just didn't like it, and her family gave gifts back all the time. Not only that, but she offered to just trade me my aging Delonghi and let me keep the Zojirushi. We broke up a few months later but the Zoji is ticking right along. It's looking a little rusty in the liner though, so I suppose I should look into maintenance parts soon.
posted by rhizome at 12:24 AM on October 26, 2010


And the tea we get there is so much better than what I was ever able to find in the US.

Well, I can't speak to your ability to find good tea in the US, but I do think it is very unlikely that this great tea cannot be found here.
posted by Someday Bum at 12:29 AM on October 26, 2010


My mother has the teapot used in that video. Do not buy it.

Milk or no milk, lemon or no lemon, bag or loose, microwave, stove or kettle... having a teapot that leaks (both out of the lid AND by having water sort of divert itself down the spout and onto the table/ground/hand of person holding the cup) is terrible.
posted by NoraReed at 12:31 AM on October 26, 2010


Oh for a hint of bergamot in the mid afternoon; but these days I find myself heading more towards black chai.
posted by adamvasco at 12:33 AM on October 26, 2010


I recently went on a tea bender, buying up all kinds of tea. I'm trying to get into green tea, mostly for the health benefits and to decrease milk and sugar/honey (which I HAVE to have in my black tea). Anyways, I ordered some nice green tea from China and several varieties of pure green and flavoured green teas from Davids Tea here in Canada. I really like the genmaicha aka Popcorn Tea aka roasted rice tea. It goes really well with savoury foods or a meal.

I'm also getting into pu'erh tea. I picked up a nice coffee flavoured pu'erh from Davids, and I bought several pu'erh tea bricks and mini cakes from China. The two large bricks I have are raw and from 2007 and 2009, so I'm aging them until they're at least 5 years old. Some of these aged raw pu'erhs can go for thousands if they are aged long enough. It's a very interesting, earthy flavour. I really like the "cooked" flavoured ones, though, like the aforementioned coffee pu'erh and I got a really delicious "glutinous rice" pu'erh that tastes like sweet sticky rice, it really hits the spot. Supposedly, the pu'erh is good for weight loss but I mainly am into it for the health benefits (based on Chinese Medicine). We'll see.
posted by 1000monkeys at 12:52 AM on October 26, 2010


Rationally, I can see the advantages of the Zoji-style urns, and can imagine them delivering very good cups of tea. Irrationally, I know that I'll never buy one, because it changes the ritual sufficiently that it feels like a terrible heresy. Not that I begrudge people who want such things for their own rituals.
posted by holgate at 1:00 AM on October 26, 2010


This tea party is so much better than teh other tea parties.

A few weeks ago I made the swap from Nerada brand tea to Coles Savings Brand tea, after running over a small sports convertible with my truck and realizing that I needed to save a lot of money quite fast.

Nerada's okay for a machine harvested bag tea, but isn't one of the greats. Yet I still expected the Savings Brand tea to be truly ugly, and that the change was going to hurt some. But then I discovered something about my taste in tea that I'd never suspected.

I actually like my tea brutally strong, so black you can't see the spoon, and so bitter that sucking it down around a piece of rock sugar held in the mouth makes no difference to flavor at all.

The electric kettle and a pot sized bag thrown into a little cup and left to steep for 5-6 minutes achieve that pretty well.

I'd be up for a swap if anyone else is sufficiently insane feeling keen.

--tea
--water
--home made lemonade with palm sugar and spearmint.
posted by Ahab at 1:01 AM on October 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


Boiling water (from the kettle we bought for £4 from the supermarket because we knew were going to move soon) onto a supermarket tea bag in whatever mug I've managed blearily to grab from the cupboard. Sugar in immediately, in really inconsistent amounts from cup to cup because all the tea spoons are in the dishwasher so I'm using a dessert spoon. Theoretically have respect for the whole steeping and timing thing but I want my fucking tea right now so squidge the tea bags up against the sides of the mugs a few times, then remove. Blue top milk straight over the top, and lots of it, but don't stir as I already put the spoon down on last night's toast plate and I don't want to get stale crumbs in my tea.

Drink immediately while mouth-scaldingly hot.

Mum, a lifelong Earl Grey drinker, always did make fun of my tea habits.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 1:06 AM on October 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


If I'm at the store and the tea doesn't come with specific directions for how to brew it, I'd probably assume it was inferior tea and put it back on the shelf.

pfft. I can't remember ever seeing directions for making tea on a packet of tea in Pakistan.


I should just let this go, but I can't. It's so silly. What is it you are responding to? I did not say "it is inferior", I said "I'd probably assume it was inferior" which is completely true; I probably would. Would I would be wrong? Yes, I agree that I would be wrong, sometimes. But I would be right far more often than I would be wrong.

You see, the fact that the tea comes with instructions on how to brew it signals that the company cares enough about the tea that they want the purchaser to brew it correctly. I might not think this about tea sold in a specialty store, where the customers might be expected to already know how to brew the specific teas for sale, but that is not where I shop.

It is also important and helpful to have brewing instructions when purchasing a type of tea that I have never brewed before. For instance, I just bought some "Gokubo Fukamushi Kukicha". I've had a kukicha before, but I didn't make it myself. I could guess at how to brew it and probably do ok, but it'll have instructions when it gets here, so I won't have to guess.
posted by Someday Bum at 1:07 AM on October 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Someday Bum: My point was that not all that comes with instructions on it is good tea. But I will accept that a) there may be a higher probability of it being good, and b) that small-town Ohio is not the best place in the US to buy tea. And yes, today, you probably could buy in the US the tea that I drink in Pakistan, but 15 years ago, none of the Pakistanis I knew had managed to locate it. And even today, it would be priced such that I would never have been able to buy it on my college student budget. :) That said, I'm not a tea connoisseur, simply a straight up desi tea drinker. :)
posted by bardophile at 1:15 AM on October 26, 2010


Ok, well, I completely agree with you that having instructions alone does not make it a good tea. And I guess I had imagined you saying something you weren't. Thanks for responding.
posted by Someday Bum at 1:35 AM on October 26, 2010


I didn't understand the thing about tea until I moved to England. Before I moved here I favored fruit infused teas, but now I like plain ol' "tea" and have learned you have to call it English Breakfast if you go to a hotel or Awake at Starbucks.

America doesn't know how to make a good cup of tea the same way Britain doesn't know how to make a good cup of coffee.

This site's book is the best book about tea and biscuits (possibly FP-worthy?). Very bean platey, particularly about when to put the milk in (I am firmly in the milk in last camp).

Tetley's 4Life!
posted by like_neon at 3:11 AM on October 26, 2010


If you're in the Greater Boston Area both Tealuxe and Teavana have umpteen zillion varieties of froo-froo loose leaf tea. Maybe it won't meet the exacting standards of those who have lived in Places That Do Tea, but I like 'em and they're way better than what you find in most grocery stores.
posted by sonika at 3:18 AM on October 26, 2010


-ice cold diet coke
-freshly ground and brewed coffee
-above coffee the next day, ice cold out of the fridge
-good beer
-Maker's Mark
-(combinations of Maker's and carefully measured ingredients such as a Maker's Manhattan or Old Fashioned)
-(common drinks, many and sundry)
-warm diet coke
-water
-milk
-warm milk
-boiled boar's urine
-tea
posted by Splunge at 3:54 AM on October 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


My sister only drinks the economy teabags - 60p for 80. They taste like dried peas.

I still can't believe that US folk microwave tea.
posted by mippy at 4:45 AM on October 26, 2010


Someday Bum: your ritual is different from bardophile's. You approach it like a wine-taster, sampling different varieties and thus benefitting from instructions; she approaches it as a part of everyday life, not so worried about variety as long as it resembles the tea of her childhood, or method as long as it's not stewed or too weak. (Hers is also my way.) It's all good. Just different.

Just be aware if you meet up and make tea for each other.
posted by holgate at 5:06 AM on October 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


My college roommate would make tea in the following way:

-Add cold water to mug.
-Microwave mug for exactly 30 seconds.
-Dunk tea bag in semi-heated water three times in rapid succession.
-Discard tea bag, go back to watching Star Trek.

Mind you, this is the same person that felt he could boil a whole pound of pasta in a 4 quart saucepan - you know, just let it boil on the stove until he was ready for it. We didn't cook together very often.

I have an electric kettle at work, and my parents live down the street from a tea distributor.
posted by backseatpilot at 5:25 AM on October 26, 2010


14 distinct steps to making a breakfast drink? That would be too complicated for me at noon, there's no way that I could manage that at 6:30.
posted by octothorpe at 5:32 AM on October 26, 2010


14 distinct steps to making a breakfast drink? That would be too complicated for me at noon, there's no way that I could manage that at 6:30.

heheh. It's not that complicated once it's a habit. But also, it's not just a breakfast drink. :)
posted by bardophile at 5:38 AM on October 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Water, room temperature
Iced green tea with a splash of mint simple syrup
V-8 (preferably with a banana alongside, it's delicious, I swear)
Cider
Horchata
Other aguas frescas
Flat sprite
Myers and pineapple juice
Cold water
Caramel frozen coffeething
posted by bilabial at 5:45 AM on October 26, 2010


When you make ice tea (which is how we say it where I'm from) by the pitcher, when you put the tea into the boiling water, also add a pinch of baking soda. This will keep the tea from getting bitter while sitting in your fridge for several days.
posted by JanetLand at 5:48 AM on October 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


What bardophile hasn't mentioned is the true stuff of the gods -- Pakistani trucker style 'mix chai':

Take loose black tea, a teaspoon per cup. Lipton if you're a posh Pakistan, no-name gunpowder* if you're not. Orange Pekoe's English Breakfast blend if you're in Britain. If you're in America or anywhere in Continental Europe, make coffee instead. Boil the motherfucker till it's a dense black sludge. (If you're from the hills, feel free to add a couple of cardamom pods).

Add milk till it's three shades lighter than you like your tea. Boil the motherfucker some more. (Don't let it boil over. Your smoke alarm will go off, and the clean up will take hours).

Add 1-4 tsp sugar into a small cup or glass, to taste. Do not consider not adding sugar.

When the tea is a dense brown sludge, pour into the small cup or glass from a height of at least 50 cm. This is the only way to achieve correct aeration.

Drink. Feel your teeth dissolve, your ulcers reawaken, but oh the newspapers will go down smoothly.

I love my mornings.


* This is the appearance, not the type of tea
posted by tavegyl at 6:07 AM on October 26, 2010 [7 favorites]


tavegyl, that's because my family would disown me if I acknowledged that as anything but doodh-patti. I couldn't possibly call it chai. And you know it's going to be Tapal Danedar, so why call it no-name? :D
posted by bardophile at 6:17 AM on October 26, 2010


bardophile, just as your family would never dignify doodh patti by calling it chai, mine would never acknowledge the independent existence of Tapal Danedar. We all have standards. (Mine are admittedly more lax than most. I think real doodh patti aficionados would just cook the tea in milk and add a dollop of cream at the end.)
posted by tavegyl at 6:21 AM on October 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


Right now:

- APPLE CIDER ZOMG WHERE IS THE CIDER NEED MORE CIDER CIDER CIDER CIDER. (Um, yeah, I'm kind of craving cider.)
- Sweetened iced green tea.
- Hot black tea with milk and sugar.
- No, I will not drink Red KoolAid anymore no matter HOW BADLY the fetus wants it because I swear to G-d that it contributed to my recent urinary tract unpleasantness, but yeah, I *dream* about drinking it.
- Coca-cola
- Maybe I should lay off sugary beverages.
- I probably won't.
- Orange juice.
- Water, no ice, and if you put a lemon in it - I will cut you.
posted by sonika at 6:36 AM on October 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


(Oh, and, espresso with milk and sugar [not really a latte, but almost] when I need to WAKE THE HELL UP and tend to that toddler.)
posted by sonika at 6:37 AM on October 26, 2010


Well, now the answer is: ME! He signed it, and drew a little cup of steaming hot tea on it.

PICS OR IT DID NOT HAPPEN.
posted by Deathalicious at 7:02 AM on October 26, 2010


My goodness, if ever there was a time to use that hackneyed phrase.
posted by Deathalicious at 7:03 AM on October 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, personally I'm against the deletion. It was charmingly filmed and did little harm (guess it was flagged to hell and back though).
posted by Deathalicious at 7:03 AM on October 26, 2010


Drink. Feel your teeth dissolve, your ulcers reawaken, but oh the newspapers will go down smoothly.

Well, sure. Okay. But why do you eat newspapers?
posted by Splunge at 7:16 AM on October 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


PICS OR IT DID NOT HAPPEN.

Sir, you wound me.
posted by KathrynT at 7:28 AM on October 26, 2010 [11 favorites]


That is, indeed, a pic - therefore IT DID HAPPEN!
posted by Artw at 7:35 AM on October 26, 2010


Well, sure. Okay. But why do you eat newspapers?

How else... you mean there's another way?

Reading the news on my computer has suddenly become a financially viable option.
posted by tavegyl at 7:42 AM on October 26, 2010


Am I really the only heathen here who drinks black tea with milk and honey?


So lonely.
posted by vers at 7:48 AM on October 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Am I really the only heathen here who drinks black tea with milk and honey?

Well, I'm married to a guy who does that....
posted by bardophile at 8:56 AM on October 26, 2010


this is fun but mine makes me look like a drunk, and kind of a prissy one, who overthinks everything:
* water (tap’s just dandy in Memphis; anywhere else, filtered) with lots of BIG ice cubes (so they don’t melt or slide into my mouth immediately) and a slice of cucumber or a citrus twist
* skim milk with whey protein isolate mixed in (part 1 of my weekday breakfast, just before going for a brisk walk)
* coffee in the morning, made in either the auto drip or the vacuum pot, with a splash of skim milk or half and half (not cream and never ever sugar, bleccch)
* tea in the afternoon/evening, with the tea pot pre-warmed with hot water, and made with fresh just-boiling-and-then-rested-a-second stovetop kettle water, stash if it’s tea bags (double bergamot earl grey, holiday chai, vanilla nut creme), upton imports (assam, lapsang souchong, bond st, russian caravan) or standard chinatown mystery stuff (pu-ehr, ginger, brown rice, plum) if it’s loose, a splash a skim milk or half and half, a tiny bit of raw sugar if and only if it’s not herbal
* friendly table wine (barbera, rioja, gascon malbec--the only one I’ve liked so far, pinot noir, cabernet franc, shiraz/syrah, chenin blanc from vouvray, viognier, gruner veltliner, eroica riesling--good beginner’s riesling given the insane german matrix for classifying them eesh!, faranghina, mulderbosch rose, vinho verde, prosecco, colombard, galestro, chardonnays that aren’t too crazy)
* dry martini with a twist
* fanciuli cocktail (cheap rittenhouse bonded, any decent sweet vermouth, splash of fernet branca in place of the bitters for a manhattan)
* diet coke (especially from the tap at the midtown huey’s at 1am)
* horchata or jamaica agua fresca
* assorted cane/specialty colas from around the world (moxie’s still my favorite; also really dig cel-ray)
* campari in various formats and not just for aperitifs: spaghetti western (bourbon and rosemary syrup), americano (sweet vermouth and soda), negroni (gin, sweet vermouth, soda, orange slice), standard with soda on the rocks
* aperitifs, especially the Italian amari (fernet, averna, cynar, montenegro, campari) but also stuff like arrack
* kir petillants and french 75s (gin or brandy, champagne, syrup and lemon juice) for when i feel festive
* fancy or old fashioned classic cocktails to celebrate seasons etc.: sweetgrass pimm’s (involves ginger ale and coconut rum of all things, shockingly delicious in late summer), blue moon (gin, creme de violette, lemon juice), bourbon sidecar (tastes nuttier to me), sidecar made with grand marnier (i always associate it with romance because i had one on like, the one fancy “gotta wear the sexiest, best dress i own”-type date i’ve ever gone on), cucumber fifty-fifty, corpse reviver #2, sloe gin fizz, horse’s neck, penicillian, stinger, caipirinha or caipiroska, chambord patio if i’m feeling stupidly girly (kinda like a cosmo but better), frostiest gin and tonic possible (only plymouth will do), cuba libre, vieux carre, bloody mary (the peppery-er the better), fur collar (nice alternative to a screwdriver), duplex (dry and sweet vermouth, obviously the quality/freshness matters, and normally i don’t think it does), cape codders (still, all these years later!), mojitos, classic daiquiris, mint juleps, old fashioneds (pain in the ass though and i never order one out bc there’s too high a chance the bartender won’t make a good one), amaretto sours, hot sweet christmastime junk (toddys, glogg, milk punch, hot buttered rum, egg nog)
* digestif-style or after dinner sippin’ goodies (B&B, chartreuse, strega, herbero, all the eaux de vie, drambuie, pacharan, izzara, nocello, scotches--lagavulin, balvenie, caol ila, penderyn, oban)
* dessert wines!! (sauternes, vin santo, port--i’m a plebe and actually like ruby a lot, tokaji, eiswein)
* Big or “wine lover’s wine” types of wine (cabernet, barolo, chateauneuf du pape, burgundy, bordeaux, nebbiolo, brunello, etc...andrew will’s pretty accessible as these things go)
* beer (so sad, it was my first love but I never drink it anymore...primanti brothers special dark, church brew works dunkel weizen, tons of good hefeweizens, hoegaarden and the millions of clones, chimay, the lambics, fin du monde, dos equis lager, genesee cream ale, yuengling, pbr, etc...i’m like 5+ years out of the loop now)
* soju (korean, not japanese)
posted by ifjuly at 9:16 AM on October 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


- sparkling water
- tea
- sparkling water
- tea
- sparkling water

If you think the aforementioned vanilla sugar is good, try putting the vanilla bean directly into a bag of loose Assam tea (I like Satrupa Estate Assam best). (If you have a cheap supply of vanilla beans like teh internets, use several.)

I do this with culinary lavender as well; I like my lavender tea so much more lavender-y than anything I could find already made, it's easier just to blend it on my own. And it's beautiful when you're watching it infuse.

PG Tips: tea for coffee drinkers. I mean that in the best way. I love me some PG, but I can't drink it all the time or it hurts my stomach and cracks me out.

No fucking tea sweepings. American tea in bags is the worst. I usually travel with PG bags so I can at least have a decent cuppa on the plane or in the hotel room.

I second the TEA SWAP suggestion. Let's do it!

Hmm, I think that's all my tea wisdom. TEA!
posted by fiercecupcake at 10:26 AM on October 26, 2010


I only drink about 5-8 cups of PG a day. On top of my morning latte. I may have a problem.
posted by Artw at 10:35 AM on October 26, 2010


Iced tea (no sweetener, sugar or lemon, just straight caffeine)
water
diet cherry Coke
diet Dr. Pepper
diet cherry Dr. Pepper (I'm sensing a theme)
orange juice (want it but know I shouldn't have it because of Teh Sugars)
hot chocolate
hot tea (black tea, with a little sugar)

I cannot, for the life of me, even consider drinking chai. It just looks like sludge to me. At least coffee, which I also don't drink, *smells good*. Chai has...stuff...in it.
posted by misha at 10:40 AM on October 26, 2010


Damn, I forgot hot chocolate made with those Mexican tablets. And real apple cider, unpasteurized please.

I drink orange juice solo (as in, not in brunch cocktails), but only when I have a cold which (knock on wood, ee) hasn't happened yet this year.
posted by ifjuly at 10:40 AM on October 26, 2010


Artw, you're going to turn into a bog body from the inside out with all those tannins.
posted by GuyZero at 10:41 AM on October 26, 2010


Tougher than leather!
posted by Artw at 10:42 AM on October 26, 2010


I have several tins of loose tea (well, ok, a bunch of them are tisanes) at my desk at work. Some of it came from Teavana at the mall, some from Adagio by mail-order, some from a local producer I see at craft shows). I love the ginger-mate blend. I tend not to do milk, 'cause milk vanishes from the breakroom fridge, but I do have a little jar of honey in my desk's tea-drawer.

A co-worker who's observed me using a simple mesh basket (plunk in mug, add tea and hot water, remove basket when tea is steeped) came by the other day and gave me one of these. Apparently he'd bought it for his girlfriend and it sat unused for a year, so he decided to regift it to someone who'd use it.

Hot water comes from the coffee dispenser in the breakroom (it has a 'hot water' setting) but it only dispenses water at 185 degrees, so if I need hotter water I just pop it in the microwave for a few seconds. At home I have a microwave-safe gravity press. And yes, I heat the water using the microwave. Seriously, if your water's starting at the same temperature and you're using the same microwave, then it's not hard to know how long to program the thing for in order to get the right temperature and not cause an explosion. Maybe use a food thermometer the first couple of times just to check. I wouldn't turn down a Zojirushi if one magically appeared on my doorstep though.
posted by Karmakaze at 10:47 AM on October 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


I have an electric tea kettle because of the vital "Remember that you're boiling water and stay in the kitchen and don't go take a shower" step, which is one I find difficult to do first thing in the morning.
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:12 AM on October 26, 2010


I brew my tea using a Finum filter that sits in the mug. It's similar to most mesh baskets or a tea ball, but larger (so the water can circulate around the leaves more) and with a finer mesh (so that the leaves stay in the filter, and out of my mug). Takes up less space on my desk, and it's good for resteeping all the expensive leaves I buy at SpecialTeas. Which aren't actually all that expensive, when I stack them up against the lame stuff at the grocery store.
posted by deludingmyself at 11:13 AM on October 26, 2010


Yeah, deludingmyself, that's almost exactly the filter basket I have. (Mine's blue and by Teeli, but otherwise...)
posted by Karmakaze at 12:19 PM on October 26, 2010


After exactly five minutes, open the teapot lid and stir.

Don't do this. Stirring tea leaves releases tannins and will make the tea taste bitter. They often show up as a shiny, oily scum on top of the tea which will stain the pot/cup. China teas tend to have much less tannin, though. One of the reasons Indian (and Kenyan etc which are often added to teas like PG Tips etc) teas are drunk with milk is to cut the tannins, they can be pretty undrinkable otherwise.

Anyone who thinks teabags are the cheap option should do a weight for price comparison next time they are shopping. If you drink enough of one type of tea bulk buying from a tea specialist can make sense. I import my own tea but I'm buying it are around $40 equivalent for 2 1/2 kilograms (of a decent Keemun) when I'm in London.
posted by tallus at 12:33 PM on October 26, 2010


Yorkshire Hard Water with soy milk and honey. Yorkshire Gold in a pinch. I know. I am alone in the world, utterly alone. But if Yorkshire Hard Water, heretofore grievously absent from this thread, touches the life of just one mefite, I will sleep the sleep of the just. I was given three large boxes earlier this year and recently cracked the last one; I believe I'm going to need someone to go to the UK for me in about three months.
posted by clavicle at 12:51 PM on October 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


/adds item to list along with twiglets and jaffa cakes.

/not for you clavicle.
posted by Artw at 12:59 PM on October 26, 2010


cut the tannins, they can be pretty undrinkable otherwise.

What the hell are you talking about? If you don't like tannins, why are you drinking tea?

If there's no oily film that's a good sign it's low quality tea.
posted by GuyZero at 1:01 PM on October 26, 2010


Builders brew!
posted by Artw at 1:07 PM on October 26, 2010


Artw: "/adds item to list along with twiglets and jaffa cakes. "

I think I've seen Jaffa cakes at Central Market, Artw. I'll try to remember to look next time I'm there.
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:19 PM on October 26, 2010


I may have seen them over here too, come to think of it. There are places you can get most things, with PG Tips being quite common, twiglets quite rare and Jaffa Cakes in the middle.

Dark Chocolate Hobnobs I've not seen over here...
posted by Artw at 1:32 PM on October 26, 2010


So these twiglets... that's what you brew tea out of, right?
posted by Splunge at 2:23 PM on October 26, 2010


No, twiglets are a byproduct of the beer brewing industry.
posted by Artw at 2:25 PM on October 26, 2010


coffee
water
diet coke
unsweet tea over ice (call it ice tea or iced tea - whatever! I prefer iced tea)
juice

I'm not an aficionado in any of these. I have no preference in how they are prepared or where they come from, as long as they don't taste horrible. I like instant coffee just as much as that prepared in a French Press. I dislike Starbucks coffee because it's bitter. I like strong tea over watery tea, and dislike the syrup they call "sweet tea" down here in the Deep South but as to the maker and type of tea, meh it's all the same to me.

Yes, I am a philistine. I don't care. I have too much else to worry about than to wonder where my tea was grown. As long as it doesn't taste like something died in my cup, I'm happy.
posted by patheral at 2:26 PM on October 26, 2010


I am reading this thread from a tea shop. This wasn't done intentionally, mind you. It's just where I find myself these days. I've always drunk tea. Lots of tea. I have over 4 pounds of the stuff at home, and here I am about to buy more. (It's a tea shop with a little coworking space upstairs. It's lovely.) I love this time of year because I can start drinking hot tea all day long again.

I was so sad to see the original post go. But everything I wanted from it came here, and it was even better. And now I know what to put on my gift list.
posted by stoneweaver at 3:16 PM on October 26, 2010


The other day, I left a different "tea" shop because they tried to sell me lapsang souchong in tea bags and a tea called "gumball tea" that had actual gum balls in it. I was revolted.
posted by stoneweaver at 3:18 PM on October 26, 2010


My drink preference list is generally seasonal. Since it's late-mid-late October:

1. Cold Freshly Pressed Local Unpasteurized Cider.
2. Hot Tea
3. Sweet Tea (Cold and Southern US).
4. Hot Chocolate (Warm and Chocolatey - gas stations may not apply).
5. Orange Juice
6. Root Beer (the rootier the better)
7. Caramel Milkshake (liquidy enough to scoot up a straw without much effort)
8. Hot Water
9. Seltzer Water
9. Cold Water
10. Diet Cherry Coke (not actually available anymore in my vicinity)
11. Lemonade
12. Ginger Ale (preferably homemade with tangible ginger)
posted by julen at 3:36 PM on October 26, 2010


Dark Chocolate Hobnobs I've not seen over here...

Nom. We have them here, and I may just have to run up to the store and get some. Also, Kemun is the best-- it's my luxury treat.
posted by jokeefe at 4:10 PM on October 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Dark Chocolate Hobnobs sounds like enemies in a Candyland D&D
posted by The Whelk at 4:31 PM on October 26, 2010


Making a list. Ok, let's see. Little Mexican tablets that make cocoa, apple-flavored green tea and Yorkshire Hard Water. Funny - just a while ago I had no idea these things existed; now I feel like I have to have them, no matter what.
posted by santaslittlehelper at 5:07 PM on October 26, 2010


Lately I have just been cold-brewing ice tea by throwing some tea bags in a pitcher, pouring in cold water, and putting it in the fridge. A few hours later and you have tea! Cold!
posted by rosswald at 5:28 PM on October 26, 2010


Also, chocolate milk is tops!
posted by rosswald at 5:30 PM on October 26, 2010


if we're talking about candy then I have to think to this awful thing I did
posted by The Whelk at 5:52 PM on October 26, 2010


MetaFilter: You just don't know what you don't know until you read it here
posted by deborah at 5:58 PM on October 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Did someone already make the requisite Hitchhiker's Guide joke?
posted by serazin at 12:06 AM on October 27, 2010



Iced tea (no sweetener, sugar or lemon, just straight caffeine)
water
diet cherry Coke
diet Dr. Pepper
diet cherry Dr. Pepper (I'm sensing a theme)
orange juice (want it but know I shouldn't have it because of Teh Sugars)
hot chocolate
hot tea (black tea, with a little sugar)


All mixed up togezer in a bucket?
posted by Deathalicious at 1:50 AM on October 27, 2010


Am I the only one? Barry’s Gold Blend for life.
posted by SirNovember at 2:07 AM on October 27, 2010


Lemon in tea is bad? Why? I have pondered this question since I read this thread earlier, and it is nagging me.

I can understand LOTS of lemon not being great, but a twist shouldn't alter the flavor profile that significantly?
posted by winna at 6:44 AM on October 27, 2010


Milk is okay, lemon is okay ( but generally with weaker tea and more sugar) but never, ever, ever lemon AND milk.
posted by Artw at 6:53 AM on October 27, 2010


Why? What do you have against chunky tea?

Yeah, learned this one the hard way when I was 15. My lemon-scented Twinings and milk seemed fine, so why not squeeze some fresh lemon into my tea with milk?
posted by maudlin at 7:50 AM on October 27, 2010


AH!

Yes, that makes buttermilk in a pinch if you need some. Buttermilk in tea does not sound good.
posted by winna at 8:46 AM on October 27, 2010


Am I the only one that thinks hot chocolate should be made with hot milk instead of hot water? And oatmeal as well?

I use skim milk, I don't have a cholesterol death wish or anything, but the hot milk issue is the only thing keeping me from getting an electric kettle right this minute.

Unless...can one heat milk in an electric kettle? Surely not...
posted by misha at 8:55 AM on October 27, 2010


All mixed up togezer in a bucket?

Some of us don't have leet coding skills.

Which means: I forgot the html shortcut for numbered list, and I am too lazy to do it, you know, *manually*.
posted by misha at 8:57 AM on October 27, 2010


Unless...can one heat milk in an electric kettle? Surely not...

If you get one of those cheapo ones that you turn off by unplugging, you can do all manner of things in it. Including heat milk. They're wide mouthed enough to be pretty easy to clean.
posted by stoneweaver at 9:11 AM on October 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


misha, hot chocolate demands to be made with hot milk. And a dash of vanilla and a little cinnamon and a shot of Amaretto if you're feeling seriously decadent.

...and now I suddenly need Amaretto hot chocolate. Goddammit.
posted by Pallas Athena at 9:24 AM on October 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


The best hot chocolate I ever had was from Jacques Torres. It's a ground chocolate and a bit expensive. but more than worth it. You can also use it to make chocolate pudding. And now I must go get some. Both versions. Toodles.
posted by Splunge at 1:22 PM on October 27, 2010


I just had my first cup of Dilmah tea. This is wonderful stuff.

Thanks for the suggestion, supercrayon.
posted by keli at 5:10 PM on October 27, 2010


Am I the only one that thinks hot chocolate should be made with hot milk instead of hot water?

I've heard that hot water is sometimes preferred if it's high quality chocolate, and not cocoa or mixed, because you'll be able to taste the chocolate better.
posted by Someday Bum at 6:48 PM on October 27, 2010


I heard this on NPR's show The Splendid Table. Here they recommend three "decadent" hot chocolates, and suggest using milk for the first one, water for the second, and a combination of cream, milk, and water for the third.
posted by Someday Bum at 7:06 PM on October 27, 2010


You can only make proper tea in a hard water area.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:45 AM on October 28, 2010


Am I the only one that thinks hot chocolate should be made with hot milk instead of hot water? And oatmeal as well?

Agreed. And yes, I heat my milk on the stove, not in the kettle. But milk takes less time to boil than water, so it's not as irritating. (Also: c'mon! It's chocolatey goodness! I can wait an extra three minutes for that.)

I also drink tea to wake up and hot cocoa during snowstorms (because I'm weird like that. It MUST be snowing for cocoa!) so there really isn't the "ZOMG NEED HOT BEVERAGE" rush with cocoa that exists in my fragile little psyche for tea.
posted by sonika at 5:51 AM on October 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


I wrote>> I think I've seen Jaffa cakes at Central Market, Artw. I'll try to remember to look next time I'm there

Harumph. I did remember, but no sign of them.
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:34 PM on October 28, 2010


I have a new tea addiction. I've discovered sourwood honey. It is the most wonderful tea sweetener I have ever tried.

Here is the honey-tea conundrum: honey gives the tea such a nice texture but the taste of honey overpowers the tea. The sourwood honey is so light and savory. It is a whole new tea experience.
posted by sunnichka at 9:08 PM on October 30, 2010


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