A beginner's guide to becoming an every day loose-leaf tea drinker
Hi all, this is Keith, and this is the first time I'm posting here. Welcome! Hello!
I figured that I'd write a post here about becoming a tea drinker, since just in this past year I transitioned from a casual tea drinker - probably more accurately described as a "tea drinker whenever I was sick" - to now, where I'm enjoying tea all the time and can barely imagine not having it as a part of my day.
The first step, and this isn't a small thing, was that I got some really good tea. This sounds obvious, but I wasn't a regular tea drinker before I took a leap and bought a large amount of profoundly good loose-leaf Darjeeling tea. No bags, no gimmicky blends.
Now, my motivation for what was basically my first really good tea purchase was actually pretty geeky and academic - I had read in an article that Darjeeling is supposed to be some of the best tea in the world (and the article went on that that is why it's widely counterfeited - seriously, something like 75% of tea called "Darjeeling" in the world is not, in fact, Darjeeling), and I realized I couldn't imagine clearly what Darjeeling tea even tasted like. At all. This had to be addressed. (Told you - a geeky reason.)
So I bought some of the really good stuff - it happened to be a green Darjeeling - I had never had anything quite like it before, and I was like I was a kid tasting chocolate milk for the first time. I was hooked.
Step 2 is getting a good filter to make loose leaf tea easier to deal with, without being fussy or complicated or difficult to clean. Young Mountain Tea doesn't offer any tea accessories (yet), so we put together an Amazon "aStore" page to suggest some of the brewing equipment we use and give suggestions for the holidays (please follow those links for holiday shopping! It's an easy way to support us in our early stages before we have the infrastructure to support all the inventory we want).
The best way to get going is to get a good filter that fits in a mug that you already have. I suggest this as a starter: FORLIFE Brew-in-Mug Extra-Fine Tea Infuser with Lid. It is designed for the standard American mug size. I actually avoid the "infuser ball" or "infuser stick" things because they're harder to clean, have moving parts that break, and tend to be made cheaply. I've even had one that rusted.
The in-mug infusers linked in the aStore are all excellent choices, and there's also a sort of DIY bag set (call it loose-leaf training wheels) and Raj's favorite, a simple strainer for making tea with leaves directly in the pot, used to strain the leaves out when you pour it into your cup.
And that's it! There are seriously only two steps to this guide. Just: 1. find a tea you like, and 2. get a good filter.
Of course, teapots certainly have their place, and so do special cups and other accessories, so if you want to really geek out, check out the Cuisinart CPK-17 PerfecTemp 1.7-Liter Stainless Steel Cordless Electric Kettle - different temperatures for different teas!
Again, the links to use for holiday shopping are: Young Mountain Tea aStore for our holiday recommendations, and Amazon (with our referral code) for general shopping.
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