Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Tea Drink-Down

Anyone who knows me even reasonably well knows how much I have come to love tea. It is funny actually, five years ago I had only had it a couple of times. It was a slow transition, and I realized at some point, through a single Teavana tin of loose leaf tea, that the plain Lipton bags were what I didn't like, and there was a whole other world out there I had no clue about.

Fast forward a couple years, and you have a girl who now drinks almost exclusively tea or tisanes. I am not a fan of water most of the time, I prefer my liquid to have flavor. I have also stopped buying juices or soda (diet or regular) to keep in the house, and only order them occasionally when I am out at dinner as a treat. I can honestly say I feel a lot better for it. That said, I try to keep my caffeine intake stable, and less than what would amount to a couple cups of coffee per day. This isn't so hard to do - I stick to black tea in the morning, oolong and green tea midday, and white or herbal tisanes in the evening. I make my own iced tea and it is largely unsweetened.

I should state first that I am TOTALLY comfortable having a large tea stash. It is a fairly healthy vice, and compared to most other drinks is also cheaper. But between a few monthly subscription boxes and a few boxes of samples from people on Steepster looking to pare down their collections, I have more than I can handle. So a few months ago, I instituted a goal. I count all of my teas on Sundays, and currently have 59 tins of tea (ranging from 1oz-10oz), and 45 samples (anything under an ounce). It doesn't fit in my tea cabinet in full, which to me is my main issue. So, my goal is to have less than 20 samples, and 30 tins full. That way, hopefully about half will be hot tea, and half will be iced. But really, I would be happy if it all fit in the cabinet, which would work at 40 tins too.

Making iced tea often means I drink those very fast, but hot teas take less leaf, so I usually keep drinking them in the mornings and evenings through the summer. Not too hard a feat, given how mild this summer has been.

Adagio, Rwanda Rukeri: Adagio is the first brand I ever bought from, and still one of my favorites. They have the best rewards system I have ever seen - I find between reviewing and sharing my daily cup on Facebook that about 25% of all the tea I purchase from them is free, often more. I started out being very into black tea, but now I often find it to be a bit too strong. This tea is good, very bold, but I have to be careful not to overleaf or overbrew.

Harney and Sons, Florence: This is very much a chocolate tea. It is a sample I got from a box of samples I purchased from a person on Steepster (damn my need to try a little of everything combined with a good deal!). It is chocolatey, with a hint of roastiness that I believe is hazelnut flavor. It was ok on its own, but I plan to add a bit of almond milk and turn it into more of a creamy dessert. Chocolate teas usually just make me want real chocolate, so brewing it stronger and with milk, like a chai, should quell the craving.

Adagio, Hojicha: If you like strong black teas, but want to branch out a little, this roasted green is the way to go. Roasty all the way, and I like to drink it in the evenings.

Chameleon Teas, Peppermint Cinnamon tea: This one is also green, and also spicy and relaxing and perfect for evening. As you can see, I am well on my way to finishing this one.

After I drink a tea, I rate it and review it on Steepster so I can remember which ones I liked best, and see what others think. Sometimes I find I am brewing a tea incorrectly. Other times, it just isn't for me and I rehome it with someone who might like it better.

Life is too short to waste forcing yourself to drink samples you don't care for when there are 59 you love overflowing a cabinet.

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