In the last few months I’ve started learning about, and tasting lots of different international teas. I was inspired by Kevin Rose, from Digg.com who has been talking about tea a lot online.
Tea is pretty awesome – it has no calories, doesn’t contain much caffeine, is cheap, tastes good and when you’re ready for something to perk you up it only takes a few minutes to make. I also love the fact that there’s so many different types of tea out there you can really try a lot of different types.
I barely used to drink tea. Generally I just drank very infrequent packaged teas. Once I switched to loose leaf tea I couldn’t believe the difference. I was making my tea the wrong way (generally putting the teabag in for far too long). With good loose leaf teas you don’t even need sugar or milk. Its all about having the water temperature exactly right and steeping the tea for the right amount of time (steeping = the length of time you leave the tea in the hot water).
How to get started:
1. Get a teastick: http://gamilacompany.com/tea/teastick.html
This is what you use to steep the tea in the hot water
2. Get a package of teas to try. I’ve found I like Rishi teas a lot, and their oolong teas are great. This is a great sampler pack to start with: http://www.rishi-tea.com/store/sample-set-osthmanthus-huang-guan-yin-wuyi-oolong-iron-goddess-of-mercy-bao-zhong.html
Once you’re more serious:
1. You should get a variable tea kettle. This is pretty important. Different teas should be made at different temperatures.
This kettle is pretty expensive for just a hot water kettle, but it rocks. It lets you set the temperature exactly right for the style of tea you are drinking.
2. Get a timer. Each tea should be steeped for the right amount of time. So you take the hot water from the kettle and put it with the tea for a specific length of time – the timer makes this easy to do. This one should work fine:
3. Get a bigger infuser. The teastick is ideal for making tea for yourself while you’re working during the day – but if you have a few people to make tea for, you need a way to prepare tea for everyone at once. This prepares tea for 2 people; I often make 3 small cups with it:
This is similar but bigger:
The great thing about an infuser is you can watch the colors from the tea swirl through the water while its steeping. Sounds silly perhaps, but its pretty cool!
4. Pick up a bunch more of the rishi sampler packs, so you can find out which teas you like the most. Here’s some good ones to get:
Once you’ve tried a bunch of teas you will find out which ones you like. Many do taste quite similar. But some are very different. These are my favourites, in order of most preferred:
I order these in 1 pound bags now, which last forever. You can put those into smaller tea containers like these:
I have about 30 different tea varieties and its been a great thing to do.
If you’re interested in other tech guys and how they are into tea, you may want to read this article:
Samovar is a tea house right near Moscone in San Francisco; there’s a lot of conferences in the area such as adtech. Their website is: http://samovarlife.com/ They do charge $8-$10 per cup of tea, but its a pretty awesome place. We saw Tim Ferriss there when we were having tea.
If you get really serious about tea, there’s a tea conference you can go to:
And its worth following Kevin Rose’s tea twitter account:
This is a pretty concise blog post with a lot of links; it represents 4 months of research (and misteps) about tea and is pretty much everything I know. 🙂 If you follow these steps you’ll be on the right track. I drink 2-4 cups of tea every day and love it – its even great in hot climates like the Caribbean!