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Author Topic: Tea Question  (Read 1209 times)

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Offline SerephinoTopic starter

Tea Question
« on: April 15, 2012, 06:55:01 PM »
I've been told it can go bad, but how long does it take?  I have 1 bag of white tea, and 2 bags of black tea I've had since before Thanksgiving. 

Offline Saffron

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Re: Tea Question
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2012, 07:11:17 PM »
They're fine. I have teas in my cupboards nearly 10 years old that are still just fine. They do go stale over time though, if you have a sensitive palate after a few years they might taste a little off.

Offline Saerrael

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Re: Tea Question
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2012, 07:13:38 PM »
What Saffron said. Tea doesn't really go bad in the way that you can no longer drink it due to health hazards. The taste does change. You might want to try tea you're not certain of, just to find if the taste is still within what you want it to be.
*also has tea that is over a decade old*

Offline Beguile's Mistress

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Re: Tea Question
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2012, 08:24:29 PM »
I also have tea that is old.  I would recommend keeping it in an airtight container, especially if you live in a damp climate.  I do that and the flavor is still pretty good.

Online Oreo

Re: Tea Question
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2012, 09:11:37 PM »
*raises hand with the other decaders* A sealed jar is the best. The old stuff shouldn't make you ill, just might not be quite as aromatic. It seems to keep longer than coffee. Most likely because of the oil content.

Offline SerephinoTopic starter

Re: Tea Question
« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2012, 09:14:42 PM »
Right now it's in little plastic baggies. 

Offline MasterMischief

Re: Tea Question
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2012, 09:18:24 PM »
I have never been much of a tea drinker.  I am trying to cut back on my soft drinks, so I thought I might try tea.  I am not much of a coffee drinker either.  I tried and liked English Breakfast tea, but I am wondering if there is something even stronger that someone can recomend.  It still just tastes mostly like slightly flavored water.

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Re: Tea Question
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2012, 09:20:14 PM »
*grins*  Two tea bags instead of one?

Offline Saffron

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Re: Tea Question
« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2012, 09:21:08 PM »
I have never been much of a tea drinker.  I am trying to cut back on my soft drinks, so I thought I might try tea.  I am not much of a coffee drinker either.  I tried and liked English Breakfast tea, but I am wondering if there is something even stronger that someone can recomend.  It still just tastes mostly like slightly flavored water.
Let it steep longer. This is the first thing, the longer you let tea steep the stronger it's going to be. Most directions recommend 3-5 minutes but you could leave it for 10 or even 15 if you're looking for that strong flavour. Black teas will get more bitter over time though.

You might be more a fan of fruity teas, which tend to have more obvious/bold flavours than black teas like English Breakfast.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2012, 09:24:13 PM by Saffron »

Offline MasterMischief

Re: Tea Question
« Reply #9 on: April 16, 2012, 09:21:55 PM »
*grins*  Two tea bags instead of one?

Well it sounds so dirty when you say it like that.   :P

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Re: Tea Question
« Reply #10 on: April 16, 2012, 09:24:42 PM »
Well it sounds so dirty when you say it like that.   :P

*laughs*  Actually, Saffron's suggestion is better than mine.  Use one tea bag but leave it in longer. >:)

Offline MasterMischief

Re: Tea Question
« Reply #11 on: April 16, 2012, 09:31:07 PM »
I had tried that, but then I read something about 'over infusing'.  I am not using an infuser, just a regular, old tea bag...but being me, I had to over-analyze and come to the conclusion that I was 'doing it wrong'.   ::)

Out of curiousity...and since I am derailing this thread anyway...is Earl Grey stronger/weaker/just different than English Breakfast?  Could I get stronger and/or better tea using an infuser?

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Re: Tea Question
« Reply #12 on: April 16, 2012, 09:32:51 PM »
Let it steep longer. This is the first thing, the longer you let tea steep the stronger it's going to be. Most directions recommend 3-5 minutes but you could leave it for 10 or even 15 if you're looking for that strong flavour. Black teas will get more bitter over time though.

You might be more a fan of fruity teas, which tend to have more obvious/bold flavours than black teas like English Breakfast.

This!

And, you may try ginger tea and tea that has pepper in it.

You could also brew your tea.

Offline Beguile's Mistress

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Re: Tea Question
« Reply #13 on: April 16, 2012, 09:36:32 PM »
When I use loose tea I bruise it a little before putting it in the infuser.  Crushing it or breaking up the leaves/stems/pieces opens up the surface area exposed to the water.

Offline Saffron

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Re: Tea Question
« Reply #14 on: April 16, 2012, 09:40:17 PM »
I had tried that, but then I read something about 'over infusing'.  I am not using an infuser, just a regular, old tea bag...but being me, I had to over-analyze and come to the conclusion that I was 'doing it wrong'.   ::)

Out of curiousity...and since I am derailing this thread anyway...is Earl Grey stronger/weaker/just different than English Breakfast?  Could I get stronger and/or better tea using an infuser?
If you're using tea bags and you find they don't have much flavor, you'll probably have better luck with loose leaf tea. They come in all the same standard types (and lots more!) and really any type of 'infuser' is fine. Tea bags are sold for loose leaf, personally I prefer a metal screen tube which sits in my coffee cup. I would stay away from tea balls with holes in them though as they tend to let the tea leaves drift out into your drink.

If the tea is old and was not stored in an air tight place (even 6 months out could ruin the flavor) it might have lost it's flavors.

English Breakfast, Earl Grey and Orange Pekoe are the most common breakfast teas. Some people like Lapsang Souchong for it's smokey flavor (good as a coffee replacement) - this one you either like or you don't. Dandelion Root tea is another delicious coffee replacement with a strong flavour.

My best recommendation would be to go to your nearest tea shop (if possible) and ask them for recommendations. They can get a better grasp on what you like by offering a sample to smell or taste.

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Re: Tea Question
« Reply #15 on: April 16, 2012, 10:03:08 PM »
Earl Grey tea is flavored with bergamot oil (an odd sort of citrus fruit, seemingly used for nothing else).  That gives it a distinctly different taste from English Breakfast. 

Also, Orange Pekoe is not a flavor, but a grade of black tea, having to do with the size of the leaves.


Offline mvo33

Re: Tea Question
« Reply #16 on: April 18, 2012, 11:22:44 PM »
Storing your tea in the dark is also suppose to help it last longer as well. 

Oh and MasterMischief, when I first tried tea some 10 years ago I was very much in the same boat as you.  I had to steep it for almost 15 mins before I could taste the tea (loose and bagged), but I have to say I kept with it trying different types of tea and preparing it in different ways from bags to loose and over time I found I could reduce the steeping time and still taste the tea.  I would liken it to a reconfiguration of my tastes buds as at the same time I cut out soda and was never a coffee drinker in the beginning.

I shop for most of my tea in a Teavana store (a dangerous place for me as I have yet to walk out of a store without spending at least $100s), their staff has generally been pretty knowledgeable on tea preparation and storage.  But in lue of getting to a store I've found their website has some good information on preparing tea and differences in types of tea.  http://www.teavana.com

If you like bergamot but thing, it could use more green I would recommend Rishi's Earl Green.

Hope this helps.
Matt

Offline BeyondPleasure

Re: Tea Question
« Reply #17 on: April 19, 2012, 04:46:30 PM »
Everyone else has already given sound advice but I'd like to point out that while old tea may be safe, tea may also mold if it's kept in a too-moist environment and moldy tea would never be safe.

Offline Lilias

Re: Tea Question
« Reply #18 on: April 19, 2012, 04:58:46 PM »
A longer infusion brings out more of the tannins of the tea, which can turn it bitter, but there's no hard and fast rule. The infusion time on the pack is a guideline, and one finds the strength of the brew that suits them with practice and experimentation. A fresh tea generally is ready with less steeping than one that has been lying around for a while. Green and white teas need less time; fruit infusions generally take longer.

Offline SerephinoTopic starter

Re: Tea Question
« Reply #19 on: April 19, 2012, 10:37:24 PM »
You might like black or red tea.  What I like to do is get loose leaf and make it in my coffee maker (cleaned out good of course) putting the leaves where the coffee grinds are supposed to go.  Running it through twice makes it nice and strong.  I like strong flavors with just enough sugar so that it's not bitter.  I always end up spending way too much at my local tea shop too.

Offline Geil

Re: Tea Question
« Reply #20 on: April 21, 2012, 06:19:21 PM »
..., but I am wondering if there is something even stronger that someone can recomend.  It still just tastes mostly like slightly flavored water.
I converted from mostly coffee drinking to mostly tea for hot drinks a few years back when I realised that I'd developed something of a caffeine addiction, despite not really liking the taste of 'ordinary' tea. So I switched, initially, to Earl Grey. I think it's a stronger flavour than the basic cuppa (although it's tea+bergamot, rather than tea+more tea.) I then transitioned to Roibos (Red Bush) for a caffeine free diet (going back to EG occasionally when I need a hit.) I also tried red bush with vanilla at my sister-in-law's house a couple of weeks back. That was a nice combination. I might look into seeing if I can get some of that here next time I'm shopping for tea here.

Whatever it is, though, if it doesn't taste strong enough, just drink water for a week or two and then try it again. (Much better in the long run than using two bags at a time or letting it stew for a week ;))

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Re: Tea Question
« Reply #21 on: April 22, 2012, 03:41:22 AM »
Also, if you've been drinking black teas, try stronger versions. My favourite is Oolong as it has a stronger flavor. (Plus, it's fun to say...oooooolong...hehe) But, I also enjoy white tea with fruit flavours...experiment, and I'm sure you'll fall in love with one of them eventually.

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Re: Tea Question
« Reply #22 on: April 23, 2012, 09:49:55 PM »
Now that the weather is warming, I brewed my first gallon of sun tea this afternoon...after chilling it with some ice, I've drank nearly half the gallon already! lol  I love the stuff.

Not a big fan of other teas, however.  White tea is pretty tasty, as is some brands of green tea, but other than that, I'm not a fan.  And hot tea?  No thanks!  I'd rather have a cup of coffee.  Can't get too 'fufu' with my drinks, after all lol

Offline sinclairrayne

Re: Tea Question
« Reply #23 on: April 24, 2012, 08:14:45 AM »
I have never been much of a tea drinker.  I am trying to cut back on my soft drinks, so I thought I might try tea.  I am not much of a coffee drinker either.  I tried and liked English Breakfast tea, but I am wondering if there is something even stronger that someone can recomend.  It still just tastes mostly like slightly flavored water.

It also might depend on the type of tea bag you're using. Those dipper bags - the little ones with the strings - suck. The cup of tea will go cold long before it steeps enough to get any strength to it. I find I have to use four per cup to have it match the strength and taste of a regular gauze tea bag. My favorite is orange pekoe. I think in the States it is called black tea. I was visiting a friend and I needed tea and I found my brand (Tetley) but the only type they had other than the specialty was black. And it tasted the same.

As well, even the different makers of orange pekoe taste different. PG Tips is probably one of the best orange pekoe teas I've ever tasted. Followed by Tetley. Here in Canada, there are brands called Red Rose and King Cole. Those are horrible. With PG Tips and Tetley, if you forget you made it and it goes cold, you can reheat it without worrying that it is bitter. With Red Rose, the longer it sits, the more bitter it gets to the point of not even being able to drink it. And King Cole -- have you ever heard of the dregs? That tea is the dregs of the dregs. You know, when a box of tea is empty and that powdery residue is left over? That's what King Cole is. The leftovers of the dregs. And it tastes worse  :o

As well, some tea isn't meant to have milk added. Earl Grey and English Breakfast tea being two. If you add milk to it, it will ruin it. My English grandmother (Go Leeds!) never put milk in any tea, regardless of grade or type. She added sugar if it was bitter but no milk. I will add milk to my Tetley. I find that if I don't, my teeth will squeak  ;D but I can drink it without milk. Especially when I'm in dire need of it and forgot to get milk at the corner store on the way home from work at 3 in the morning. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

You could also try Irish Breakfast tea. I think the best brands for Earl Grey, English and Irish Breakfast teas would be Twinings. They're a higher quality manufacturer who uses loose tea leaves for their product and loose tea leaves are taken from the best part of the plants. They sell them in loose leaf form, round tea bags, or the dipper kind.