I know steve d. is big into black tea. can he or anyone else make recommendations for great special occasion and great every day black teas?


- bill 2-05-2016 7:38 am

I like tazo and mighty leaf. PG tips is alright. For me, the biggest recent evolution in my tea drinking is time and temp. I aim for about 180 degrees for about 5 minutes. This cuts down on the tannin quite a bit. Bear in mind that cut leaf gives up tannin more quickly than whole leaf.

To get to 180, I put a splash of cold water in the cup before I pour the hot water from the kettle. It doesn't take much. An instant read thermometer can be used to calibrate technique.
- mark 2-05-2016 11:53 am [add a comment]

thanks mark. tea is hitting the spot more these days than coffee did for me.
- bill 2-05-2016 12:11 pm [add a comment]

Try green tea to. Milder flavor, so it may take time to get used to. Typically needs to steep for less than black.

I make big batches of iced tea when the weather's warm. About 4 tea bags in a bowl with a bit of sugar. Add hot water, steep for a while. Pull bags, let cool, pour in a quart sized container with a bunch of ice. Keeps in fridge for several days.
- mark 2-05-2016 9:17 pm [add a comment]

i went through a green teas jag quite a few years ago. will probably revisit it. thx.
- bill 2-05-2016 9:44 pm [add a comment]

Assam is my favorite, Andrew T. introduced me to it. A good Assam has a kind of fruity aroma when dry and a malty taste once steeped.

Most tea sold in bags is tea dust and isn't as good as loose leaf or CTC (crush, tear, curl) tea, so in general I skip the bags unless I'm in a hurry. My favorite Assam is usually CTC; it looks like coffee grounds, infuses fast and is strong. Some people say the CTC method is for lesser quality teas, I'm not sure but I don't think that's true. Andrew drinks the british Twinings assam which is CTC. I love the Twinings but it's hard to find in the US.

Kalustyan's sells organic Assam CTC and it's one of my favorites, they will ship. Other good Assam CTCs are Brooke Bond Red Label, and Lipton, you can find them at most Indian spice shops, I like the brooke bond better than the lipton. Another brand I like is Captian's Brew.
For loose leaf Assam I love Ahmad brand Kalami Assam, it's a long leaf golden tippy. Tippy means it's got a lot of the leaf tips and that's supposed to be good.

I also like Lapsang Souchong which has a smoky flavor because it's smoked over pine needles.

General rule of thumb for loose leaf and CTC is one teaspoon of tea per cup in the pot plus another for the pot. So if you want four cups you add five spoon fulls, for ten cups you add eleven spoon fulls. Preheat the pot with hot water and NEVER wash your pot out, just rinse.

For bags I like Barry's Gold or Irish Breakfast, Brook Bond assam, Trader Joe's Irish Breakfast and Red Rose. I don't like American Twinings or PG Tips, to me they don't have much flavor.

Sorry for the TMI you probably just wanted brands instead of a half-assed lecture.

- steve 2-06-2016 6:16 am [add a comment]

  • should also mention that I drink my tea with milk, never black. Must be my british roots, no purist here.
    - steve 2-06-2016 6:24 am [add a comment]

yeah, going exclusively loose leaf. thanks a mil steve. black, no sugar, no lemon, no milk. not TMI steve, at all.

- bill 2-06-2016 7:58 am [add a comment]

  • If you're gonna drink it black it's probably best to go with the leaf. CTC is mostly for tea with milk and chai.
    - steve 2-06-2016 9:38 pm [add a comment]

  • thanks. thats (leaf) what was in the house when i switched from coffee. with a spring loaded infuser in a handle. like a double perforated spoon.

    - bill 2-07-2016 7:17 am [add a comment]

    • I think those are called tea balls. The spoons don't infuse as quickly as the mesh ones do.

      - steve 2-07-2016 11:22 am [add a comment]

      • I follow Andrew's method; fill the pot with water and follow with the tea loose, no tea ball, then strain when pouring each cup. And use a tea cosy to keep the pot hot. Using the same leaf for a second pot is good too, weaker tea but by then you've probably had plenty of caffeine
        - steve 2-07-2016 11:44 am [add a comment]

      • i love the second infusion! also appreciate what your saying about the loose and filter to cup aproach. get you a favorite pot. cozy. good for the am w a second infusion. tea cup or mug. i do mug.

        - bill 2-07-2016 11:48 am [add a comment]

    • using an electric kettle. so as the tea temp settles back down to a drinkable degree the infusion does its thing. down side is the 5 min. wait. / i noted marks cool water splash to perfection, but i don't see my self prepping with a food thermometer.
      - bill 2-07-2016 11:46 am [add a comment]

this tea doc from 2007 all in this tea got me interested too. single farmers in china after it had just opened up.

- bill 2-06-2016 2:23 pm [add a comment]

Silk Road Teas / black loose leaf
- bill 2-12-2016 5:35 pm [add a comment]

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