Best products from r/tea
We found 721 comments on r/tea discussing the most recommended products. We ran sentiment analysis on each of these comments to determine how redditors feel about different products. We found 1,773 products and ranked them based on the amount of positive reactions they received. Here are the top 20.
▼ Read Reddit mentions
1. Finum Reusable Stainless Steel Coffee and Tea Infusing Mesh Brewing Basket, Medium, Black
- Permanent filter that is suitable for brewing tea, coffee, and herbs.
- Brewing Basket is made of stainless-steel micro-mesh in a heat-tolerant frame from BPA-free material.
- Lid helps maintain warm temperature for a longer period and can be flipped over and used as a drip-off tray.
- Set contains one permanent tea filter and one hat. Individual packaging in 4 languages (EN, DE, FR, ES)
- These filters are durable and dishwasher-safe.
▼ Read Reddit mentions
2. FORLIFE Brew-in-Mug Extra-Fine Tea Infuser with Lid
- Dishwasher safe
- Made from lead-free material
- Do not put on flame or heating element
- Let boiling water settle about 15-20-second before pouring
- Use baking soda dissolved in warm water to clean tea stain as needed
▼ Read Reddit mentions
3. Hario Cha Kyusu Maru Tea Pot, 700ml, glass
- ChaCha Kyusu Maru: This teapot has a modern look and features Hario’s signature heatproof glass. Minimalist and timeless, this teapot has the sleek look to perfectly accompany any kitchen design or style
- Glass Teapot: With our heatproof glass teapot, you can enjoy the variety of colors of tea as it brews. Hario’s heatproof glass has been treated to resist shattering. Hot water safe, and dishwasher safe
- Full Flavor: Enjoy your favorite tea as it was meant to be brewed. Large tea strainer allows tea leaves to expand easily, allowing for the full flavor of the tea to come through
- Japanese Design: A simple, elegant, practical solution to an everyday countertop essential. Glass teapot designed and made in Japan. Available in 3 sizes
- Product Details: W173 × D132 × H108mm. Glass teapot and lid made in Japan; stainless steel strainer made in China
▼ Read Reddit mentions
4. Bonavita 1.0L Variable Temperature Electric Kettle, 1.0 Liters, Metallic
- Adjustable in one-degree increments between 140˚-212˚F (60˚- 98˚C).
- 1000 watts for quick heating
- Real-time temperature display
- Hold Button heats and holds at temperatures between 140˚-208˚F for up to 60 minutes. Temperature Set Button for quick access to preset brewing temperatures
- Count-up timer makes it easy to keep track of the brewing process
- Gooseneck spout for precise pour control. Length is 11.00 inch , Width is 7.00 inch and Height is 7.5 inch
- Brushed stainless steel and BPA-free plastic
- Commercial and Household UL Rating. The kettle is 120V, for use in the US and Canada.
- 1-year limited warranty
- Descale the kettle periodically utilizing a descaling powder mixed with water to remove discoloration. Kindly refer to the user manual provided with specific questions.
▼ Read Reddit mentions
5. Hamilton Beach 40996 Programmable Kettle, 1.7-Liter
5 pre-set temperatures for a variety of teas, coffee, or cocoaProgrammable clock for wake-up ready hot waterSmart programming keeps water hot for one hourBoils water faster than a microwave, safer than a stovetop kettleChanges from °Fahrenheit (°F) to °Celsius (°C). Simply press the + and – bu...
▼ Read Reddit mentions
6. Cuisinart CPK-17 PerfecTemp 1.7-Liter Stainless Steel Cordless Electric kettle, 1.7 L, Silver
- CONVENIENT: The 1.7-liter stainless steel Cordless Electric Kettle has 1500-watts for fast heat up and a concealed heating element to prevent mineral buildup. Removable/washable scale filter and boil-dry protection
- CUSTOM CONTROLS: One touch controls, 30-Minute keep warm option, stay-cool nonslip handle, 360-degree swivel power base for a cordless experience and auto safety shutoff
- COOL FUNCTION: 2-minute memory function that allows the kettle to be off the base for 2 minutes without shutting off or losing it’s place in the brewing process
- MUST-HAVE FEATURES: 6 preset heat settings for steeping tea at just the right temperature including blue LED indicator lights and backlit water window
- LIMITED 3-YEAR WARRANTY: Refer to user manual for troubleshooting steps and questions surrounding warranty policies – this product is BPA free
▼ Read Reddit mentions
7. Finum Reusable Stainless Steel Coffee and Tea Infusing Mesh Brewing Basket, Large, Black
Permanent filter that is suitable for brewing tea, coffee, and herbs.Brewing Basket is made of stainless-steel micro-mesh in a heat-tolerant frame from BPA-free material.Lid helps maintain warm temperature for a longer period and can be flipped over and used as a drip-off tray.Set contains one perm...
▼ Read Reddit mentions
8. Adagio Teas ingenuiTEA Bottom-Dispensing Teapot,clear,16 oz
Great for the office or when traveling, this innovative teapot releases infused tea directly into a drinking cupWhen tea is ready, simply place over cup and tea will drain from bottomA mesh filter retains all the leaves with one of the best infusers on the marketDishwasher safe, the teapot is made i...
▼ Read Reddit mentions
9. Yoassi Extra Fine 18/8 Stainless Steel Tea Infuser Mesh Strainer with Large Capacity & Perfect Size Double Handles for Hanging on Teapots, Mugs, Cups to steep Loose Leaf Tea and Coffee
- Roomy Basket & Sturdy Lid. Yoassi loose leaf tea infuser has a bigger capacity that makes tea to circulate, instead of being cramped. Allows the full flavor to infuse tea. The lid keeps the steeping goodness from evaporating. Keeps water warm and No Mess
- Extra Fine Holes keep even very fine-leaved tea in (such as Rooibos, Black tea, Herbal tea and Green teas), ideal tea strainers for loose tea. Tons of holes allow water to flow more freely. So the tea diffuses quickly. Nothing gets through this except for the water
- Made of 8/18 Food Grade Stainless Steel. So this loose leaf tea steeper is odor free. Contains No harmful chemicals. Safer option to dip in hot water than using plastic ones. Keeps your drink free of odor and unwanted taste. Easy to clean and dishwasher safe
- Two Handles. Perfect 5 inch Width & 3inch Height. Our tea diffuser can rest properly on the cup's edge. Fits most standard cups, mugs, teapots. Easy to put in and take out. Won’t fall into big mugs and won’t float like others
- Worry-free Purchase. We care about the customer's purchase satisfaction. If you have any questions while using tea infusers for loose tea, just feel free to contact us, we will surely offer you a satisfied solution.
▼ Read Reddit mentions
10. Kindle E-reader (Previous Generation - 8th) - Black, 6" Display, Wi-Fi, Built-In Audible - Includes Special Offers
- All-new design is thinner and lighter, and now available in your choice of black or white.
- With built-in Audible, access the world’s largest library of audiobooks. Easily switch between reading and listening on Bluetooth-enabled speakers or headphones.
- Easy on your eyes—touchscreen display reads like real paper.
- No screen glare, even in bright sunlight, unlike tablets.
- Keep reading—a single charge lasts weeks, not hours.
- Get lost in your story with no alerts or notifications.
- Instant access to new releases and bestsellers, or from over a million titles at $2.99 or less. Prime members read free with unlimited access to over a thousand titles.
- Looking for a light? Try Kindle Paperwhite.
▼ Read Reddit mentions
11. House Again Extra Fine Mesh Tea Infuser - Fits Standard Cups Mugs Teapots - Large Size Perfect Stainless Steel Filter for Brewing Steeping Loose Tea, Travel Ready (Extra Fine Mesh)
- Extra Fine Mesh Holes: Tired of seeing debris floating around in your tea? Why not try this one, replace the old tea bag and enjoy a cup of your favorite loose tea? Our extra-fine mesh, which can easily trap the loose finely cut tea leaves, enables you to brew all kinds of tea, even tea with really fine particulates.
- Roomy Basket: Unlike an infuser ball or other small infuser, the tea leaves in this wide barrel are free to circulate and the tea diffuses quickly. Whatever you want to make a small amount or an entire pot for guests, it will not let you down. Let's accelerate the Brownian motion and get the best flavor.
- Double Duty Lid: A lid made of food-grade silicone is a great insulator to keep your tea hot, but stays cool to the touch, making it easy to remove; it also can be used as a saucer after you pull the infuser out, so you needn't worry about making your table wet.
- Fit in Well Anywhere: Long folding handles keep you from burning fingers and fit teapots, kettles and mugs of different sizes. Handles can fold for easy storage.
- The HOUSE AGAIN Advantage: Professional tea infuser manufacturer. Multiple high-quality products for your choice. Worry-free 30-DAY and 24/7 friendly customer service.
▼ Read Reddit mentions
12. Bonavita 1.7-Liter Variable Temperature Digital Electric Kettle
- Adjustable set point for water at your preferred coffee brewing or tea steeping temperature.
- Commercial UL rating
- Real time temperature display
- Heat and hold at set point for 60 minutes
- Brushed stainless steel
- BPA-Free Plastic
- Preset temperatures or user set, by 1 degree F, from 140-212 degree F
▼ Read Reddit mentions
13. T-Sac Tea Filter Bags, Disposable Tea Infuser, Number 1-Size, 1-Cup Capacity, Set of 100
T-Sac Tea Filter Bags are single-use, disposable tea infusers for steeping high-quality loose leaf tea with the convenience of tea bagsSteep tea with a more robust flavor without the hassle or mess of conventional straining methods; filters out sediment from finer-grade loose teasMade in Germany fro...
▼ Read Reddit mentions
14. Hario Cha Kyusu Maru Tea Pot, 450ml, glass
Ease of use tea potLarge tea strainer allows the tea leaves to expand easilyHeatproof glass that has been heat treated to resist shatteringDishwasher and heat safe
▼ Read Reddit mentions
15. FORLIFE Extra-fine Tea Infuser and Dish Set
- Extra-fine Stainless Tea Infuser allows you the convenience to brew your favorite tea.
- Use ceramic dish as a infuser holder after brewing tea.
- Dishwasher safe.
- Infuser material: Stainless Steel, Dish material: Ceramic
- It fits in cups diameter in between 2.25 Inch to 4.5 Inch.
▼ Read Reddit mentions
16. Epica 6-Temperature Variable Stainless Steel Cordless Electric Kettle
FOR BETTER TASTING TEA AND COFFEE | 100% BPA FREE: If you’re using the same-temp water for green tea as you are for your coffee, you’re missing out: Finding an ideal water temperature brings out the best flavors. With the Epica 6-temperature kettle, every drink you make can be a little closer to...
▼ Read Reddit mentions
17. Thermos 12-Ounce Stainless-Steel Tea Tumbler with Infuser (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
- Thermos vacuum insulation technology locks in temperature to preserve flavor and freshness; keeps liquids hot for 6 hours and cold for 10 hours
- durable 18/8 stainless steel interior and exterior withstand the demand of everyday use
- travel cover seals closed for carefree portability
- Infuser lid lets you brew tea right in the tumbler; Splash resistant drink lid lets you enjoy any beverage on the go
- Contoured body is comfortable to hold and fits most automobile drink holders; 12 ounce capacity
▼ Read Reddit mentions
19. Aladdin Perfect Cup Tea Infuser 12oz, Chai
- Brew and enjoy hot beverages on the go
- Works with loose tea, tea bags and coarse ground coffee
- Leak-resistant flip lid
- Dishwasher & microwave safe
- Car-cup friendly & BPA-free
▼ Read Reddit mentions
20. Breville BTM800XL One-Touch Tea Maker
- Tea Basket Cycle - Auto Lowers and Lifts
- Auto Start. Construction Materials - Brushed Stainless Steel Power Base
- 60 minute Keep Warm feature
- Variable temperature control; Jug Capacity: 51 oz. Brushed Stainless Steel Power Base
- Time Since Brew - LCD timer; LCD Display: Accurate temperature sensor with real time display to monitor progress.
- Settings: 5 Pre Programmed Settings. Auto shut off and boil dry protection. Voltage: 110–120 Volts.
Sorry, generic tea copypasta coming though here.
New to Tea? New to loose leaf? Let me help.
Hello, new friend. So you've stumbled your way into /r/tea, you probably though this was a subreddit for the Mr. T, but no worries you're here and you're in good hands. We're all tea fiends and we're all eager to share our fifteen minutes of meditation, our hobby and our little slice of heaven. So why should you consider switching from Lipton to something crazy like leaves some Chinese person picked off a tea bush?
So, Where To Start??
^^buy ^^theses ^^teas ^^first!!!!!!!!!!!!
Where | Why?
GoodLife Tea's $7 for 7 Sampler | Free Shipping! Robb has a fantastic variety of tasty high quality tea important for building up your tea pallet.
Verdant's Five Teas for $5 | Free Shipping! Again, Verdant sells some premium quality tea. Think of their sampler as a crash course into the rich people's side of tea. But the catch with tea is that it's a lot more affordable than wine could ever hope to be. The sampler is great for building up your tea preferences and giving you a kickstart in the right direction.
Upton Tea | My personal favorite store, they send a nice little paperback catalog every quater. They sell a huge variety of teas, from traditional English Breakfast to Tie-Guan-Yin. Not only that but they sell their teas in different grades meaning you can dabble in what is traditionally an expensive tea by trying a lower quality (but still delicious and tasty) grade of tea. You can find the grade and variety of tea that matches your wallet and taste. They also sell cheap samplers, if you wish you can take $20 and order around 15 samples and see where your cuppa takes you.
Adagio | A personal favorite of /r/tea if you can find a store nearby! But don't fret, most of us buy our tea online so no worries if you're in Kodiak, Alaska and can't get down to an Adagio. They sell nice quality tea, their stores people are incredibly informed and helpful (unlike a certain Starbucks owned tea store). They also have Adagio XL which sells tea in bulk.
Harney & Sons | Amazon Prime Shipping. I love my Amazon account, that's usually by go to place online shopping and being able to two-day ship a simple tin of Harney & Sons tea without the shipping cost is fantastic. They sell lots of teas and they're all very good. Maybe not the premium tea you'll see Chinese diplomats drinking but they in my opinion sell tea that all tastes great.
Coffee Bean Direct | Who knew a place called Coffee Bean Direct* sold tea too? Again, with Amazon Prime Shipping this seems to be the place to buy tea in bulk. They're well reviewed and their tea seems to be good. If you're like me and cold brew ice tea frequently then this might be the best place to pick up some bulkier tea to last you the season.
Crimson Lotus | Owned by a frequenter of /r/tea, Puerh_Lover stocks a great store with lots of neat little stuff. Be warned, he caters to pu'er which is a type of fermented tea pressed into bricks or pellets. In other words this is a special variety of tea that needs special equipment and special knowledge to brew. Don't fret if you're not walking out of /r/tea after a day brewing in a gaiwan.
White2Tea | More lovely pu'er.
Yunnan Sourcing | Again, more pu'er, but also lots of green and white teas too. They sell teaware for good prices too so if you're looking to pick up a traditional china teacup or gaiwan this is a good place to get that.
What-Cha | Another beloved store on /r/tea, but they're pretty pricey at times. But you can always expect good quality tea and a looser wallet from here.
Just How Do You Make Tea?
Traditional Western | Gongfu | Cold Brew
The way you're probably familiar with when it comes to brewing tea, all it requires is a teapot like this one (I highly recommend this teapot). Western or Traditional works well with every kind of tea. It's the universal method of making tea and the best place to start. | This kind of brewing is very specific as it only works with Chinese type teas like pu'er. This method of making tea is hands down the best way to make a Chinese styled tea and does wonders to enhance and bring out the best in the leaves. But this method wont work for a cuppa English Breakfast or Japanese Sencha. To brew Gongfu style you use a gaiwan which is fancy talk for a tiny cup with a lid. The idea behind Gongfu is more leaves, less water and time. You use micro-infusions instead of waiting minutes like Western or hours like Cold Brewing. | Cold Brewing is for those of us who just love iced tea. It's simple to cold brew, a vessel like this will brew a mean pitcher of ice tea. All you have to do is leave the leaves in the filter and wait 5-12 hours for the tea to brew, perfect for leaving overnight. Fair Warning: tea can go bad, the kind of stuff you'd buy at the store has a massive amount of preservatives in it. Keep your cold brewing tea out of the sunlight and don't let it sit for more than 48 hours.
So you're going to need a way to keep your water hot. A stovetop kettle is probably the most accessible and the biggest no brainer out of everything here. A microwave heats water inconsistently, can leave an odd taste if your microwave isn't properly clean, and you really don't have a good way of knowing how hot the water is. Temperature is important. Brewing a cuppa green tea in boiling water will result in a pretty shitty cup of tea, and brewing some black tea in the water appropriate for green tea will result in a disappointing cuppa.
You also have electric kettles like the Cuisinart CPK-17 which is going to cost as much as a decent coffee machine but if tea is your caffeine fix then it might be worth it. The Cuisinart is a variable temperature kettle meaning you just have to press a button and it makes the water the appropriate temperature for whatever kind of tea you're drinking.
Tea | Temperature
Black | 212
Green | 175
White | 190
Oolong | 185
Pu'er | 212
Herbal | 212
Where To Buy Tea Equipment? What Equipment Might You Want To Buy?
Umi Tea Sets sells lots of cute tea sets. They also sell pretty much any kind of vessel you can brew tea in, from Yixing to Japanese tea sets.
Mr. Coffee Tea Kettle A simple, $10 stovetop kettle to boil some water. It seems to have a little hole in it for a thermometer to go in if you need to measure your water temperature.
Glass Whistling Kettle I have one of these, you can tell water temperature from the bubbles if you learn to read them well. It’s pretty handy but if I could I would exchange it for the Mr. Coffee.
CPK-17 Electronic Kettle probably the device that makes most of /r/tea’s mouths water (that might just be the tea). This is pretty much the best electronic kettle you can buy, cheaper than a K-Cup Coffee machine. It has temperatures for making all kinds of tea labeled nicely. I have one and I love it.
Want to find the right kind of tea for you? Here’s a tea discovery wheel! Try it out here.
Yay! I can actually help with this!
Adagio Teas has my FAVORITE loose leaf teas in the world. It depends what kind of tea she likes to drink, but you can get her a bunch of samples and go from there. You'll also get frequent cup points you can use later if you get some samples.
My favorites are:
(Black teas) Yunnan Gold, Golden Monkey, and Black Dragon Pearl: all chocolatey and rich, I drink them with soy milk and listed from not-very-earthy to smoky-earthy.
(Green teas) Gyokuro, Sencha Overture, and Jasmine Yin Hao: I prefer Japanese steamed greens which are more grassy and vegetal than Chinese pan roasted ones, but if she likes nutty green teas Dragonwell is also great.
(White teas) Silver Needle and White Peony:
Awesome because they're low in caffeine(I was just informed they aren't necessarily lower in caffeine, so let's just say awesome for the sublime nectar-y taste), my white teas have been kind of lonely since it's winter here, but in the summer they're perfect. Apricot liqueur and honeysuckle come to mind.
But I'm not a big fan of blends (she may be), or Oolongs, or Pu Erhs, and definitely I don't drink anything not camellia sinensis (like honeybush), and a lot of my favorites are pretty expensive (but so worth it), so if you know she loves peppermint or chamomile by all means do that! If you only got one from Adagio, I would go with yunnan gold undoubtedly. You can get a sample for only $5 and it's heaven. Nobody dislikes this tea, not even people who say they don't like tea!
(And you can use code 6905673943 for $5 off!)
Next she's going to need a way to brew it. I abhor doing dishes, my mother has made me some wonderful tea cups (she does ceramic pottery) but you can definitely just use the coffee/tea cups you already have to start. If you wanted to make it a cute holiday basket, of course, a tea cup would make the whole thing look adorable. At the risk of sounding like I work for Adagio, a glass cup like this is so perfect because you can watch the color of the tea as it brews which is a great indicator of tea strength!
Since I hate dishes so much, I have ended up using just empty, fill-able tea bags (I get the 2-cup capacity ones here) which is really great for re-steeping because you can just save the tea bag and put it in the fresh water.
Temperature is super important if you're brewing anything other than super robust black teas or herbal teas. For example, I steep my favorite green tea at 170 degrees F, which is a lot cooler than the 212 of boiling water. I bought this thermometer more than a year ago, and I've never had any problems... plus, getting a temp-specific tea kettle is so expensive :/ To walk you through how I personally make my tea:
I'll often put agave sweetener in my tea, and soy milk if it's a black tea.
I have also bought this for steeping and I adore it but it's another dish to do for a student without a dishwasher... It's a spring-loaded receptacle where you place your loose-leaf, and when it's done steeping in the hot water, you put it on top of the teacup. The gravity pushing on the spring releases the tea from the receptacle leaving the leaves and it's really really cool and efficient and you can make more tea at a time... but for a beginner, I would really recommend empty bags.
Best of luck!
tl;dr Adagio is not a cult
edit: linked to Adagio
TeaForum is a good resource. And I highly recommend the book Tea: History, Terroirs, Varieties by Kevin Gascoyne.
90&#37; of tea is bad or mediocre and winds up in teabags. Maybe \<0.1&#37; of the global harvest = the high-end stuff geared towards "enthusiasts." Online specialty vendors, usually based in the East, are your best bet. You won't find the very best teas in most tea houses, although there are certainly exceptions.
Here are a few of my favorites lately, I'd consider these among the best you can get of the varieties I lean to, which is Black, Darjeeling, and Green.
Yunnan Pure Gold, Teaspring (China, Black) - Peppery, leathery, malty, complex, sweet. Extremely high quality Dian Hong (black tea from Yunnan). Some Dianhong's have perfect beautiful gold leaf appearance but mediocre taste- this example has not hugely impressive leaf appearance but a sublime flavor profile.
Keemun Xian Zhen, Teaspring (China, Black) - Keemun is one of China's 'ten famous' tea's. This is one of the finest Keemuns available. Smooth, burgundy-wine-like, elegant flavor profile.
Halmari Gold Assam (India, Black) - Assam is India's largest tea-producing region, but makes mostly cheaper 'ctc' tea found in tea bags. This on the other hand is the cream of the crop, and to common ctc Assam as say a Chateau Lafite is to a Box of Gallo. Malty, smooth, complex, not harsh. This is the estate's direct retail site.
Cha Wang Huang Shan Mao Feng, Teaspring (China, Green) - Many would recommend Dragon Well (Long Jing) as the archetypal China Green for a newb to try, and that's all well and good if you can find it, but the best Dragon Well is extremely pricey and hard to procure. Due to the famous name, one is usually paying just for the name because the best is not commonly available retail. This on the other hand is one of my favorite China Greens I've had in the past few years. Succulent, notes of asparagus or artichoke.
Castleton Second Flush 2017, Vahdam (Darjeeling, Black) - Darjeeling has had some issues lately, but this is an archetypal 'muscatel' Second Flush Darjeeling. Fruity and complex.
Gopaldhara Wonder First Flush 2018, Vahdam (Darjeeling, First Flush 'black) - First Flush Spring Darjeelings are referred to as black, but they are not really fully oxidized, and perhaps closer to White or Oolong. Astringent, notes of melon. This was one of my favorites in 2017 and a daily drinker for me. Haven't tried the 2018 yet but I trust it is a good example, as this estate tends to be consistent.
Jin Guan Yin Golden Tie Guan Yin, Seven Cups (China Anxi Oolong) - I'm not an expert on Oolong, but I've had a fair amount over the years. Tie Guan Yin is a leaf varietal, and a very common item on a typical North American teahouse menu. This is an excellent example. Minerally and vegetal. Seven Cups is run by Austin Hodges, one of the original 'specialty tea' renaissance evangelists in the US and a respected figure in the industry.
And like coffee, preparation is key. It's really impossible to achieve consistent results without a scale and timer, and perhaps thermometer for green/white especially, which aren't to be steeped at boiling and can be fussy.
>There's a couple of things you can do to get the right temp water. First, you can get a candy thermometer (or a meat thermometer, but they tend to allow moisture in) or digital cooking thermometer, boil the water and then let it sit until it reaches the proper temp. Boiling and then letting it cool is the suggested method no matter what, and I believe even most programmable kettles do this.
Derp. Didn't think of this. I have a digital thermometer. Thank!
>As far as your steeper, that is a pretty standard piece of equipment but I would suggest getting a basket infuser. They're only about 5-10 depending on where you go and will let the leaves have a bit more room and thus produce a better flavor.
I'm getting this guy from amazon: Finum Brewing Basket, Medium
>The absolute first and most important thing you need to learn about tea is that you need to drink what you like, and avoid what you don't. Green tea isn't for everyone, and as long as you have had a cup you knew was brewed right (go to a tea shop if you can, use distilled water, etc...) if you don't like it, don't drink it! If you love lots of sugar and milk in your tea, go for it (just watch the calories if that is a concern for you). Tea is a very personal beverage and should be consumed the way you like it, not the way you are told to like it.
>That being said, I always suggest trying new teas without any sweetener. Some of the teas do not mix well with sweetener, others have their more subtle and pleasing flavors become more pronounced. Some teas are simply something that, due to the complexity of its flavor, are best enjoyed plain and if you want it sweet you should go for a different tea - not because you can't sweeten what you want, but because you can achieve an optimal cup without paying so as much for the higher end teas (for instance, if you're going to load up on honey, a good sencha will not vary significantly in flavor from gyokuro). But if you like a certain thing - by all means to it! Some people LOVE bitter teas, and I recommend they get a good black tea boil the water and leave it steep for 15-20 minutes. It isn't for everyone, but that's what makes tea so special - it is your cup, drink it how you want!
I plan to try everything straight and by the brewing guidelines they come with adjust from there. Thank you so much for the detailed post!
As others have said, there's nothing wrong with supermarket tea (Bigelow's Earl Grey is still one of my favorites, for example, and I've tried all sorts of Earl Greys. Numi's Earl Grey is great too, can't be beat, and is in many supermarkets) ... it's ok to try around.
That said, if you know where to go, some bulk teas will be even cheaper.
For example, Upton Tea's Season's Pick Teas are not the best, but they can be pretty darn good, and they are fantastic values. Also, if you poke around, you'll find some great deals for certain regions and seasons. Lately, for example, Assams and other Indian teas have been shockingly inexpensive (maybe even immorally so), and you can get some great deals. Similarly, some Myanmar teas can be great deals. It's like a lot of things: there are some great deals among the less popular; fads come and go in cycles, and it's cheapest to explore options when certain types of teas are on the downswing.
Also, depending on where you are, take a look in antique and vintage stores for handmade pottery (and other non-handmade stoneware and porcelain). Sometimes you can find really great one-of-a-kind pieces for really inexpensive. Don't worry too much about matching tea sets; the highest-end stoneware is all one-of-a-kind anyway, and building a collection of eclectic pieces I think is more satisfying in the end than a matching set.
Similarly, look in thrift stores and ebay for things like kettles and infusers. They just need to work, which isn't saying a lot when it comes to boiling water. Infusers just need to be able to let tea expand enough; tea balls get a bad rep, but if they're big, you'll be fine, and they're often easier to find for cheap in thrift stores (although infusers are one piece of equipment I recommend just paying money for--a Finum basket or House Again infuser on Amazon are your best bets). I imagine you could even forego a kettle altogether if you are just drinking yourself and have access to a microwave, or just want to use a saucepot.
Id say get a sample of a couple of different teas to try out. There are many websites to buy teas from, brownestrabbit having listed some of them. There is also Teavana and Republic of Tea as well.
For equipment, I would get a simple teamaker such as this one from Adagio. Other places carry this style of teamaker, but I dont know their pricing. It is a simple cup with a filter at the bottom, and acts like a gravity press when you place it on top of any cup or mug. Theres a video review of it in the comments of that page.
After that, id say get a e-kettle. A cheap 20$ one from walmart or target will suffice. Nothing too fancy, just something to boil water very quickly.
Since you are just starting out, dont buy into all the clay/yixing/cast iron/bone china/etc teapots. You can think about those later in life. Your focus should be on the taste of tea, not on what it comes in.
There are a couple of different types of teas, and ill make a quick and dirty list for ya here. And always try and go whole leaf/loose leaf if you have the option.
These contain the actual tea leaves, Camelia Sinesis and Camelia Assamica
A couple of tips:
that it often cannot appreciate something that doesnt come up and punch your tongue in the face. So if you smell a very sweet tea, try to stray away from it.
TL:DR- Get a cheap teamaker, get some loose leaf green tea, no sugar.
PS: I like to call drinking earl grey while in my chair "pulling a Jean Luc", in reference to Capt. Picard from Star Trek.
If you want to know more, feel free to shoot me a message, will be glad to help.
> I'm sure you're tired of noobs asking for help here, so thanks again :)
Not at all. I'm happy to see noobs asking, it means the community is growing.
>I'm sure at some point some of you were preparing tea just like me,
Yup, you bet your bottom dollar I was.
>what did you change since then?
Order in small amounts, it will help keep both the tea and your palate 'fresh'. Plus vendor offerings change with the seasons.
>How do you weigh your tea? One way would be to prepare 1l cans instead of a cup, then I could use a regular kitchen scale and would not have to fiddle with the digital spoon.
Personally? I don't, I eyeball it. In my itsy bitsy gaiwan I add enough dry tea leaves to cover the bottom.
For your purposes though I would recommend getting some storage tins and some very small plastic baggies. You can sit down and weigh out a bunch of individual servings and bag them and store them in your tin; when you're craving tea all you have to do is grab one of the baggies, drop it in and you're good to go.
>I could use a bigger tea infuser where the tea could unfold completely.
You absolutely positively have to be doing this no matter what. Give the leaves space to breathe, no matter the brewing method.
> I really want to step it up this year, and get something citrus-y and refreshing for the summer (any recommendations?) that's delicious cold.
Send a private message to Liquid Proust Teas on Etsy (I linked to him in my other comment), super friendly guy, great prices, even better tea and he can do custom blends for you. He has some really interesting blends, like the Fake Mead which has powdered honey in it. (Paging /u/LiquidProustTeas).
The IngenuiTEA is pretty great for a starter infuser. That's what I got when I first began exploring loose tea. Mine has mostly been replaced by actual teapots these days, but I do still use it on occasion to brew a cup to go. Tons of room for your tea to expand, the strainer is nice and fine so you don't get sediment, and it's easy to clean up. I got the 32oz. one because the price difference was negligible, but it depends on if you see yourself sharing with anyone or not. This Hario teapot is what replaced mine, and I absolutely love it, so there's another option for you to think about.
As for kettle, you may just wanna go with something cheap to start out and just use a kitchen thermometer to get it to the right temp (that's what I did for a long time). Temperature control is good, but that one isn't very big. If you decide to get some nice teapots down the road, you may end up having to replace it with something bigger anyway.
Not sure what to tell you about for a cup, it just depends on your needs... how long does it need to stay hot, does it have to completely seal, etc. The ones that come with infusers shouldn't necessarily be a deal breaker. Most infusers are removable and may come in handy some day. This one is on my wish list (I have a different one by the same company that is great but can't vouch for this actual one).
For tea, Adagio is a great place to start, that's what I did. They have lots of little 4-pack samplers that are awesome. Verdant still has their $5 for 5 samples deal which is pretty hard to beat, although some of their stuff may not necessarily be geared towards beginners.
You should consider getting an electric kettle. This is the one I use at home and the only one I can really recommend from experience. The temperature controls can be a bit fiddly at times, but once you get used to them its super easy to get the temperature you want. This is another popular programmable kettle which I've heard a lot of good things about. You can also surf around on Amazon and read some reviews, there's a large variety of electric kettles around. Another option is to keep boiling your water on the stove then letting it sit and cool and using a meat thermometer to gauge the temperature.
As for brewing, get a gaiwan! One, Two, Three, Four, Five, and there half a million more options out there. This is an awesome simple guide to using a gaiwan. Look up some tutorials on youtube or google for some more detailed info, or search around /r/tea a bit.
Next on the checklist, SAMPLES! Don't order 100 grams of a tea that you've never tried. Here's some basic sampler packs: One, Two, Three, Four. Plenty of other great sites offer samples too, check out /r/tea's List of Retailers on the sidebar.
Hope this helps, and sorry if this was too rambling and in-cohesive, I've had a lot of caffeine.
Also, I want to leave you with this guide. It's an incredibly well done piece. Good luck!
Disclaimer: I have received so many canisters of fruit-flavored teas that I'll never ever drink - and I am an adventurous eater, I'll try just about anything once - that it has reeeally turned me against the idea of gifted tea unless you're totally certain the recipient will like it. If you must give someone tea, I'm also very strongly anti-sampler. One very nice tea is usually a better gift than four alright teas.
This is the situation that gift certificates were made for. Someone else suggested Adagio. If it seems too impersonal, combine it with a nice mug or a nice strainer for loose-leaf teas, like this one.
If she's not an adventurous person, that's okay and you're not going to turn her into one by buying her teas she might not want to try as a gift. If you really want to pick something instead of getting a gift certificate, remember that it's supposed to be a gift and not a chore, so get her stuff that you know she'll like. If you really really really want to get her a tea instead of a gift certificate, instead of getting her a sampler of new and different stuff, get her one or two things that she already enjoys, but a higher quality product than she'd ordinarily buy for herself. The one tea gift I've received that I actually drank all of was from somebody who knew that I loved jasmine green tea, so he got me...jasmine green tea. It was awesome.
If you know that she likes black tea and fruit-flavored teas, I bet she would appreciate a really nice earl grey, for instance, or maybe an oolong tea.
I'm fairly serious about my tea (although still a lightweight around these parts) and drink pretty much exclusively iced black tea.
Short answer: Harney & Sons Malachi McCormick ("Decent Tea") if you're looking for just a better version of what you're drinking; a good Irish Breakfast tea if you're wanting to really start exploring. (H&S also does about the best Irish Breakfast I've managed to find.)
Long answer: Icing tea does a couple of things. It kills aromatics and kind of damps down the entire flavor profile. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, it just means that you want to emphasize different flavors to make sure you have a nice cup of tea. This means what you don't want is a low-body aromatic tea; what you do want is something with a lot of body and a strong characteristic taste -- black breakfast teas and similar blends will do you no wrong, here. Irish Breakfast tea is a (very) full-bodied tea with strong assam notes that takes very well to being iced; if that's a new one to you it's going to come out as a bit of an experience, so go slow and give it a chance to grow on you. Most put milk and possibly a little sugar in it; I drink it black, but it's definitely an acquired taste. The "Decent Tea" blend at H&S
(Note that all tea if cooled too quickly -- like icing immediately after brewing -- will have solids precipitate out, turning the tea opaque. This doesn't affect flavor at all; some consider it unsightly, but I actually have kind of come to enjoy the grey-brown of a good Irish Breakfast or the more orange tint of a Scottish Breakfast. Don't let the appearance put you off. Cheaper teas frequently don't turn opaque as there are insufficient solids; sometimes they will merely turn 'cloudy'.)
Normal rule of thumb is one teaspoon of leaf per 'cup' -- for iced you want it a little stronger, so i'll fill an 18oz glass with ice and do two solid teaspoons (maybe just a bit more), ending up with something like 16oz of chilled tea, which should be about right.
Note that details of brewing will make a big difference too -- it's not nearly so sensitive as coffee, but details still matter. For black tea, you want to get water to a boil and on the leaves and steep for 5 minutes. Use filtered water for brewing and (ideally) for the ice -- this makes a big difference, as the dissolved minerals in tap water not only affect the taste but reduce the solubility of the tea. Put the leaves in something decent -- try to avoid using a tiny cheap tea ball or something. I use this basket for brewing in a 12oz wide-mouth mason jar, which I then pour directly over ice in a solo cup (or thermos or w/e for travel).
If any of that is daunting, though, jump in with what you have and you'll easily be able to improve on what you've been drinking thus far. Twinings has a decent irish breakfast blend in tea bags at most supermarkets that makes an okay cup if you're curious about the blend.
Let me know if you have any questions; I'm a huge iced tea fan and could likely talk about it indefinitely.
Since you think your taste buds are out of whack, I'd say try a bunch of sampler sets. Some tea is scary expensive but it doesn't have to be! Online vendors will provide the best value for your $$$ but if you have a good teashop near you with friendly staff you may be able to show you some cool stuff. The samples given at teavana tend to be tea with a bunch of other shit added to it you won't get a good idea of what actual tastes like unless you get lucky and find a person who's really into it.
Many vendors have tasting sets. I have a soft-spot for upton because they've been around for so long. Their low/mid tier teas are good. Their "premium" teas aren't so premium IMHO. However I quite liked this sampler. It is a bit expensive. Honestly I think other people will provide better recommendations.
Also for brewing tea, a good thing to start with a simple brew basket like this. Put leaves in, dunk in water.
Do you have a problem consuming caffeine at night? Personally, my favorite and most relaxing form of tea is using a gaiwan with some oolongs, jade pearls, and some raw pu-ers. It's decently easy to get that kind of set up, especially if you allocate beer money to tea stuff.
For beginning...! Adagio.com has this tea maker giftset that comes with a choice of a five flavor sample pack. If you're doing night time tea, I'd get the herbal set and perhaps get some caffeine free tea samples. For day/morning... definitely black or green.
And after you get that, Verdant Tea has a Five Teas for Five Dollars sample you can get. I honestly like Verdant Tea a lot, but they're generally more pricey (you get what you pay for!). So this is a really good deal.
If you really want to get into it, then you can get something like a variable temperature kettle for things like white teas, green teas, etc. Not all teas are made to have boiling hot water poured on them! You can do that, or use a thermometer in your kettle to get your water to the right temperature.
And then you'll need your handy mug or fancy tea cup. Just whatever you like to use. I personally have a clear mug I like to use generally and a fancy tea cup in the mornings. It's very personable and you can customize your set to however you feel like. That's what's great about tea!
What are you looking for and what does he like? You can get a standard infuser like this one that I use.
Or you could get him a "reverse french press". The reverse french press is one of the best and easiest ways to brew. It lets the leaves float in the water, but allows easy extraction of the water into a mug (it is much harder with a regular french press because pressing down the leaves can cause them to expel a lot of bitter flavor into the water).
Generally speaking, avoid anything that will smash the leaves, or will not let them float easily. If he generally uses a big teapot, make sure to get something for that. If he typically uses just a mug, the two things I listed will work great. I even use my regular infuser in my large tea pitcher/pot.
But, if you give me a price range and a general idea of what you would like him to have, what he already has or what kind of things he likes, I can definitely help you out. I love tea myself, and would hope that my wife would ask someone knowledgeable when she goes to buy something for me.
OH! And if you're looking to get the best bang for your buck, avoid teavanna. They're not bad they're just overpriced.
I'd suggest Harney & Sons because they have samples and free shipping in the US. Check out their flavored black teas for a start- I'd recommend Paris, Earl Grey supreme, New England Breakfast, and if you want an intensely flavored tea that tastes sweetened but isn't, try their Hot Cinnamon Spice (amazing with a bit of milk!).
I also love their flavored Oolongs- pomegranate oolong and milky oolong. They are distinctly different than the black teas (do not add milk!), but very delicious.
Lastly, I'll suggest a couple green teas that are great for beginners. Genmaicha is green tea with puffed toasted rice (which sounds weird but is so good!), and Hojicha (roasted green tea-- very low caffeine but reminiscent of coffee)
If you haven't brewed loose-leaf tea before, I'd suggest a mug basket infuser (like this) It's the simplest way to brew tea for one person. Just measure a heaping teaspoon of tea per 8 oz of water (for Hojicha a full 2 tsp since it's light). Good luck and hopefully you enjoy whatever you end up trying!
Starting out places: TeaSource.com Harney.com and Adagio are great. Use CatShip19 til the end of May to reduce Teasource's free shipping to $30. Harney is always free shipping. Adagio, I'd have to look up.
I can't really recommend a tea cup without knowing your brewing preferences. Are you brewing for one or more? Do you like to have frequent small cups (consider gaiwan or gungfu style), like to brew at your desk (just get an in-mug infuser) or if you want a simple tea-pot: I love the style of ones that have a metal basket and lid that pop out for easy cleaning (link for ref, but I don't know the brand). Big glass tea-pots are nice for show. Clay supposedly can improve taste (?).
Personally - I make milk based Chai in a pot on the weekends, otherwise most of my tea is brewed with the linked in-mug infuser basket in a beautiful hand thrown clay mug from a local pottery shop. I suggest going this route until you know what types of tea you like - then you can buy the gear best suited to brew that style.
I'm surprised no one has mentioned Hamilton Beach 1.7 L. I've had it for a just about a year and a half, it has a standard 1 year warranty if any malfunction happens (no questions asked), its a bigger kettle (1.7 L is on the larger but not crazy huge end of electric kettles). I did quite a but of research and because I like mine programmable and also not crazy expensive (I didn't exactly think controlled temperature water was worth 200$ on some I saw while researching mine). I bought mine for either 40$ or 45$ with Amazon Prime (so free two day shipping, and it stays at this price, not from a third party), and it does have a really nice, although h not necessary for myself, guide on the side of the kettle telling you in small subtle print what temperature for what tea (or coffee) drink is needed. It only does preprogrammed temperatures (the temperatures for white, black, green, Oolong and coffee) and it does tell you the exact temperature at every moment, as it's boiling or sitting at room temperature. So there is a bit of control manually if absolutely necessary. But I find complete temperature control is unnecessary when it comes to tea brewing. The preprogrammed temperatures do tea well.
Edit: here's a link to Amazon where it's sold by Hamilton Beach at a 10$ discount for 3
$39. (Just a note, I never got a feeling that it was cheap even though it's definitely in the lower end. Hamilton Beach makes great small kitchen appliances and this steel kettle has been amazing. Plus their customer service has always been really easy going). http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B0083I7THI/ref=mp_s_a_1_7?qid=1459456433&amp;sr=8-7&amp;pi=AC_SX236_SY340_QL65&amp;keywords=hamilton+beach+electric+kettle&amp;dpPl=1&amp;dpID=4186x8-tdwL&amp;ref=plSrch
>I likely won't bother with Gog-Fu brewing or a Kamjove though. I just wanted something that is still relatively hassle free (which is why I started with teabags) but still delivers the benefits (or even more).
Yeah you can just get a basket infuser for super cheap and brew in the mugs that you already drink in.
I can personally however suggest getting a kitchen scale for around $10 because it will be easier to use the amount of tea that you actually want to use with one.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01LQ7NQTW/ is the infuser that I use and it is great while being cheap. I have two of them.
If you are drinking green tea it also would be a good idea to get a kettle that has some sort of temperature control as well. It can be pretty easy to put water in that is too hot for green without one.
I think its largely going to depend on what you want out of the kettle.
Any kettle with temp control would be ideal. You want to look at your price vs. use and see if one with a digital exact temp will be preferable to one with predetermined settings.
Gooseneck kettles are lovely and provide a very steady and controlled pour so finding one that allows this is beneficial but often costs a lot more.
I am currently using this one: https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B019J0A092/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_lgo7BbGV0DHER
It has a hold feature so my water stays at temp for 2 hours which is great as I tend to start water, get distracted, and then remember I wanted to make tea! Plus it's good for longer sessions with tea that needs steeped many times and I can have water at the perfect temperature instead of steadily cooling.
However this is the kettle I actually wanted: https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B005YR0F40/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_xoo7BbFWKM023
I think there might be a better version of this now or an alternative that is better since I have been happy with my less fancy version and cant afford the nicer one I haven't looked into it!
First of all, if you're concerned about getting all of the flavor out of tea, you need to be brewing loose leaf, not bagged. Bagged teas are fine sometimes, but they have a fraction of the flavor of a good loose leaf tea. All you need to brew loose tea is hot water and a strainer to get the leaves out of the water. I use a brewing basket from Finum. you can buy it on Amazon, and Upton Tea sells it for a few dollars cheaper, but they charge shipping, so if you're not getting tea too, it's about the same. A lot of other tea shops also sell infusers, so you can probably add one to your order and get it all at once!
If you're shopping from Adagio, as /u/saltyteabag recommended, I suggest their Spiced Apple Chai, if you like apple cider type flavors. Brew that up and add some milk and a touch of honey and that's one of the most delicious drinks there is.
For regular tea (no flavors), I usually prefer Oolongs. Adagio has a good selection of those as well.
For a cold, what I like is some gunpowder green tea with peppermint and honey.
I just throw a spoon of tea and a spoon of peppermint leaves in a cup, drizzle with honey, and add hot water. Most of the leaves will sink to the bottom, and those that don't aren't bad to drink. That's one of my favorite ways to drink tea and relax. It's called "grandpa style" and it's mentioned in the FAQ in the sidebar (which I definitely recommend reading). It's easy and there's not a lot to mess up.
I get my peppermint leaves from Mountain Rose Herbs, as it's cheaper than buying it from some tea places, but Adagio has peppermint tea, and that would work fine.
The gunpowder green tea I used to get from Twinnings, but my local grocery store stopped carrying it. I got my last batch from Upton Tea, but Adagio also has gunpowder green tea.
In my experience, flavored tea almost always smells better than it tastes unless you load it with sugar. On the other hand, high quality straight tea almost always tastes better than it smells. I've never heard this from anyone else, so it might just be me.
My first foray into the world of tea involved a microwave and a Bigelow variety pack. I can still remember how disgusting the green tea was. A microwave can get the job done, but I'd strongly recommend getting an electric kettle and a cheap thermometer (unless you get a variable temperature kettle). After a while, you'll get a feel for it and won't need the thermometer, but it's really helpful in the beginning to eliminate any doubt.
There are so many different ways to brew tea, and a lot of it comes down to personal preference. There's really no "best" method. The most important things are that the leaves have lots of room to expand, that the water isn't too hot, and that you don't leave the tea in for too long. Based on your post, I'd recommend this for now.
It sounds like your water temperature and steep time are alright, so the problem is likely the water or the tea. I'd experiment with bottled spring water. If it still tastes bad, the problem is the tea itself. I'd recommend getting a bunch of samples from a place like Adagio or Upton. Make sure to get black and oolong in addition to green, because no matter how well you brew plain green tea, it's still going to taste like grass (but without the feet), and maybe that's just not your thing. If you'd like some advice on which samples to get, just send me a message and I'd be happy to help.
I bought the standard Hamilton Beach kettle with no gauge or anything about a year and a half ago,and that has been working without issue since then. I later bought the same brand but with temperature control and it has worked well for the about 6 months I've had it, but I find that it will generally overheat the water by about 5-10 degrees F (when set to below boiling obviously).
Right now I'm eyeing the Bonavita gooseneck kettle with temperature control as an upgrade, but if you want something cheap I would definitely say the basic Hamilton Beach is a good choice. Costco generally has it for I think cheaper than Amazon, so if you have access there I would take a look.
On a sidenote, I've been told it's better to start using a plain straight to boil kettle so you can get a better intuition for how you actually brew your tea, but I honestly just forget about my water too easily when I'm doing other things and making tea so the temperature control is good for me! Remember, you can always get a thermometer inexpensively, which is good to have around the kitchen anyway :D
*I'm not an expert but this is my personal experience!*
If you have teas that like to open up at all, getting stuffed into a tiny bag can prevent them from opening and steeping out all it's goodness! When I was first getting into tea I always made jasmine pearls loose in a teapot and it tasted amazing. Then I tried ordering one of those tiny novelty steepers to use at work and my tea tasted like nothing.. because the jasmine pearls had no space to open up!! and something like oolong? there's just no way it will be able to open up to its full potential in a tiny bag or steeper. It sounds to me like when the tea actually had room to open up and steep more in the bigger bag, it was getting over steeped at 5 minutes. When the tea was cramped in the smaller bag and wasn't steeping to it's full potential, you had to steep it longer to achieve a similar taste. It might be interesting to experiment steeping in a large basket or steeping free in the cup grandpa style to see if you get a similar effect!!
One caveat; I haven't had this problem with teas/tisanes like rooibos or certain black teas that already come in small fragments. If the tea itself doesn't expand a lot, the small steeper should be okay!
As a general rule of thumb, the recommended preparation for most black teas is 1-1.5tsp or 2-3 grams of loose tea per 200mL or 6-8 fl oz of water (most standard-size mugs are around 8-10 oz depending on how much you fill them), and steeped for 3-5 minutes depending on your desired strength with water temperature anywhere from 190-212F/90-100C.
For me personally, I generally do about 1.5tsp or 2.5g of loose tea in a strainer like this, either directly in the mug or in a teapot. I steep with water around 200F/93C for around 4 minutes, or maybe only 3 minutes for a broken-leaf or CTC grade, then I pull the strainer out of the water. I find that full-boiling water makes the tea a little more bitter than I like, but feel free to play around with your brewing parameters and see what you like best.
Halmari Estate Assam is my favorite. I hope you enjoy!
For a teaware splurge, I'd suggest a Zojirushi instant hot water heater. I've yet to see anyone unhappy with that purchase.
A good water filter, if you need one.
As for teapots, cups, etc: there's the practical answer and the fanciful answer.
The practical answer is: if you're new, you don't know what teas you'll enjoy, much less how you'd like to prepare them. A good, solid bet would be a basic mug infuser like this or [this] (https://www.amazon.com/Extra-Loose-Infuser-House-Again/dp/B01N1OTXHW), or a gaiwan, or a simple medium-size ceramic teapot. From there, you can figure out if you prefer a certain variety, then get the best type of gear to maximize the brew for that variety.
The fanciful answer is: really, you can brew any tea in any set up. So, if you really love the look of a Japanese kyusu, you can still use it to brew a strong western breakfast blend. Go for it.
I did see a good suggestion here, that a lot of people who like yixing teapots really just like the aesthetic of them (guilty as charged!), in which case you can find ceramic pots that can work for any style of brewing for any type of tea. You can find these at vendors like: teaware.house, Dazzle Deer, Taiwan Tea Crafts.
Welcome to loose-leaf tea, I hope you find it as amazing as I do!
It looks like that’s a blend of Indian black teas. If so, I can’t recommend these mesh strainers enough! I brew all of my Indian teas in them. They’re super easy to use and they fit directly into most mugs. Great for brewing one cup at a time. They also allow more room for the leaves to expand than most mesh strainers, which I’ve found to make a big difference. Plus they come in all different colors so you can collect them all :)
Do you live in a major metropolitan area? A tea shop where you can ask for advice is a great place to visit, and usually you'll be able to sample a wide variety of teas on the spot. Check out the FAQ on the sidebar for some light reading or a site like Teaclass for a little heavier reading.
A supermarket isn't a bad place to start out, though there's usually more choices in something like a whole foods or trader joe's. An asian grocery store usually will have better quality chinese/japanese tea, both in loose leaf and in teabags, and specialized tea shops are the best places to go.
If you're set on online shopping, a site like Upton Tea or Adagio where you can order a wide variety of samples so you can find out what your tastes gravitate to is the best route to go.
In terms of tea preparation, start out simple. If you have a mug, great! All you need is a way to steep your tea. If you choose teabags, that's it. If you want to go for loose leaf, you need an infuser basket or a tea ball. You want a way to boil water, either a stove top kettle or an electric kettle, and a way to measure the water temp like a meat thermometer. Different teas have different steep times and water temperatures to use so your brew doesn't come out bitter from oversteeping or burning it with water too hot. That's it to start off with!
I'll drop some stuff anyways:
https://www.amazon.com/Zojirushi-SJ-SHE10-Stainless-Sports-32-Ounce/dp/B004YB3J4K/ref=sr_1_sc_3?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1467067756&amp;sr=8-3-spell&amp;keywords=zoristi+thermos because it keeps my water hot for a solid 12 hours and it holds enough that I can travel multiple places and still have liquid to make a cup in https://www.amazon.com/PRESS-ART-TP-160-500ML-CAPACITY/dp/B00AIVMID8/ref=sr_1_2?rps=1&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1467067811&amp;sr=8-2&amp;keywords=kamjove&amp;refinements=p_85%3A2470955011
You're on a budget, so why not just look at what works: I figure you want to save money and heating water is a simple thing, there's all kinds of things out there... but I was in college just last year so I know how convenient it is to have everything come in a box from Amazon: I've never used one of these before, but 25 perfect reviews should say something... maybe? It's only $40 right now which is pretty low: https://www.amazon.com/Epica-6-Temperature-Variable-Stainless-Cordless/dp/B01G7OL9ZW/ref=sr_1_18?rps=1&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1467067863&amp;sr=8-18&amp;keywords=electric+kettle&amp;refinements=p_85%3A2470955011
Over time you'll realize how many different things can be introduced into the art of making one awesome cup after another, but for now it is best to focus on what you like and dislike and then go from there :)
Here is what I use, and I love it. This strainer actually lets the loose leaf tea expand, unlike little tea balls. It's also easy to clean. I get a pot because I like to brew 2-3 cups at once. I pour one in an insulated mug so it's drinkable by the time I finish the first. This set also comes as a brew-in-cup system for singles.
1:Water temp. Either get an electric kettle like this that you can set to heat to a certain temperature, or bring to a boil and let cool to the right temperature. For greens that is always BELOW boiling. 170-190 degrees F, and it can vary by the type of tea.
2: Preheat your brewing vessel, be it cup or pot, by swirling some of the water inside and dumping that out. Starting with a preheated pot keeps the water temp. stable during brewing. You want a lid for the same reason.
3: Add loose tea leaves to the infuser.
4: Pour in your water.
5: Let steep. For green tea that is going to usually be 2-3 minutes, but it can vary by strain. Overbrewing green tea makes it bitter.
6: Remove the infuser. A good quality loose leaf tea can be brewed 2, and sometimes three, times! Let it cool between brewings, and you want to use it the same day.
7: Pour and enjoy! I like to brew in one cup/pot and drink from another. Pouring into a cold cup drops the temp of a green tea to almost drinkable right away.
I tend to order online and in bulk. I like to buy 8-16 oz of loose leaf at a time. I've enjoyed Republic of Tea, though they can be expensive and some of the flavors are a big miss. Their Vanilla Almond is to DIE for! Right now Rishi Tea is my favorite. They do greens very, very well. I recommend the Green Flight sampler pack to get started. The name is a play on taking a vacation across regions of the world by sampling greens from each.
I just ordered some Numi jasmine green tea, but I haven't gotten it yet. I'll update you when I do.
Having recently transitioned from bagged to loose tea, I enjoy it. Their Irish Breakfast is great, and their English Breakfast is also very good. The Earl Grey is pretty good, albeit a bit finicky. I've found the spiciness of the bergamot (both aroma and taste) is at its best if steeped for 3.5 minutes using about 1 and 1/3 tsp per 8 oz., which is not how Twinings suggests making it. Their Lady Grey is fantastic.
Also, you may want to invest in a very fine mesh infuser, if you haven't already. British distributors tend to have very small leaves, apparently to maximize the caffeine content of the steeped tea, which does result in some tea dust. I've gotten great use out of this one, which comes in a couple sizes and colors: http://www.amazon.com/Finum-Brewing-Large-Basket-Black/dp/B000J3JFJU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1397428756&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=finum+brewing+basket
If you are looking at teas from unusual origins, say the country of Georgia, try what-cha.com.
if you are looking mainly at Chinese teas, Yunnan sourcing and teavivre are good places to start.
you can get some wonderful Taiwanese teas at Beautiful Taiwan Tea, and they have a very reasonable threshold for free shipping. You can also go to Yunnan sourcing's Taiwanese sister site taiwanoolongs.com
If you want to go down the rabbit hole that is Puerh, try out white2tea (they also have some gorgeously yummy black teas and oolongs) as well as the aforementioned Yunnan sourcing.
yunomi is a decent place to go to for Japanese teas, but since it is a marketplace type website, you would have to do some hunting (and Japanese teas are not my speciality, so I will leave much of that to other users.)
for flavored teas- there's really a plethora of places to get those, but the one that I have found with the best tasting flavored teas of the bunch is New Mexico tea company. This is just personal opinion, some people like Adagio better (and I do love Adagio's chestnut tea as well as a few others, so don't take that as a strike against Adagio).
I would stay away from most mall-type stores like Teavana because a lot of their teas are more cheap filler ingredients and less tea, just to cover up the low quality of their teas.
On the subject of tools, seeing as you are a coffee guy, might I suggest a hario teapot? A gaiwan would be the next step in going towards the gong fu style of tea. A very basic 100ml gaiwan would cost you less than 5 bucks + shipping. (shipping is expensive from here, so I would suggest getting more than one item).
For very basic tea drinking there are always in mug basket infusers.
Or you could always go grandpa style, where you just toss your leaves in a mug and refil the water whenever it gets low.
There is a whole world of gadgets you can get to make tea in! Our FAQ is really helpful here If you are just stepping into loose tea an infuser mug like this is a good place to start. They're not super expensive and they make tea just for you and if you decide you are done with tea forever you have a nice mug. This is a good one too.
Teapots come in a ton of shapes and sizes, I'd pick something that 1. Is not too big (cups of tea should be small not big imo) 2. Won't break easily 3. Is easy to clean.
Give this a read while you're at it.
EDIT: Points 2 and 3 mean stay away from glass pots if you're clumsy like me and is made of a material that won't degrade and absorb like plastic. Good old ceramics are your best bet unless you know what you are looking for in a clay pot.
I will have to do so! Thank you so much for your help - I am not super experienced with Chinese teas but hopefully I'll be able to taste whether it's the quality it claims. (But, I'm not picky so I'll probably enjoy it regardless). I'll have to open up the tins and see.
Do you have a recommendation on brewing style? I normally brew Western-style with a stainless steel tea infuser - do you think this method would be good for this type of tea? I don't have access to a gaiwan set or anything like that, although if it's really superior I could be convinced to buy something....
My ritual includes the following items which make tea at work for me:
This is the best $60 I ever spent. These are my favorite teas I can recommend:
Boil water, steep and drink! I usually load up on the tea and steep for about 5 minutes because I like my tea strong. The Nissan Thermos is the best insulated mug I've ever owned. It has kept my tea hot for about 4 hours with the lid on. Absolutely amazing.
Before you go out and buy a lot of tea, only to find out it's not to your liking, explore your options a bit by trying out sampler packs.
A bunch of good samplers where linked to over here, but that's mostly for straight unblended teas.
I hardly drink flavoured teas myself, so I can't really give you any good recommendations on that, but perhaps someone else will chime in.
Adagio carries a lot of samplers, many of them containing fruity tea blends, so you might want to check that out.
If you don't have anything to steep your loose leaf in, I recommend picking up an infuser basket that allows you to brew directly in your cup/mug. If you end up liking hot tea, you can always invest in teapots and whatnot later. (And so begin the hopeless teaware addiction many of us suffer from!)
This, and this should do well. Avoid smaller infusers such as this, as your leaf needs the room to expand and interact with the water while steeping. A cramped infuser will not allow your leaf to do so, and may lead to an inferior brew.
> I think I will start with some fruity tea, is it acceptable to put honey/sugar into that?
It's your tea, you're free to drink it however you like it best. I do recommend steering away from your usual preferences every now and then to experiment a bit. There's a lot of different flavours to be found in straight tea, and it'd be a shame not to give it a shot. If you like it better with sweetener though, by all means drink it with sweetener.
> I had some tea bags but wasnt a huge fan, not very strong of a taste, would loose leaf tea be better?
I'll list some of my own favorite teaware, but I'm not sure how it would match up with your expectations or her preferences.
ceramic teapot, grandma style: I had one of these I really liked, which was lost in a move (stolen by customs, probably). If you are ok with the idea of looking at local thrift shops for that might be the way to go. There's no reason something like this couldn't be sold new but a really classic look and feel works even better, and ceramic cleans up as well as anything you might buy.
glass teapot: I have one just because I picked it up in Chinatown on a whim, a Kamjove version. Since I don't brew tea Western style much and usually use a different device I hardly ever use it, but it is functional, and cool looking.
basket infuser: my parents bought me one of these (not a teapot, but it seems as well to move off that theme). It's a "For Life" brand version, and it works a lot better than I expected, so I actually do use it. Those cost more than I'd ever pay for a Western style brewing device (around $30, as I recall), but other versions online cover the same function, one just mentioned here in a post not long ago: https://www.amazon.com/Yoassi-Extra-Fine-Approved-Stainless/dp/B01LQ7NQTW/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=basket+infuser&qid=1574063246&sr=8-1
gaiwan: way off the subject; this is a much better way to brew tea. It's just a different approach, "Gong Fu" instead of Western style, kind of a long story. For as inexpensive as these types of items tend to be you could probably pick her up an inexpensive gaiwan, that basket infuser, and a glass teapot for not very much at all, and kick her tea habit into a next gear.
We might talk about the tea part; a token effort at upgrading her exposure to that too would be great. What kinds does she like?
I'm not in the UK, but these are kettles that I've used and have been awesome without having any problems. Both of these kettles are great for any types of tea you might want to brew. I really like the precision pour that you get with the gooseneck kettle, and also it is a favorite kettle if you like to brew coffee too.
BonaVita Variable Temperature Gooseneck
Breville Variable Temperature Kettle
I CAN BE SO USEFUL TODAY!!!
The Libre Tea Mug has the exact same design as the mug you describe, but has glass on the inside, and plastic on the outside. Here's a video. There's a 10 oz version and a 14 oz version, and a 9.5 oz handled version.
However, I bought one of these and decided it's not the best thing in the universe. There were plenty of good things about it, but it had some flaws:
I can't really recommend it, but if you've used the Activitea and found it usable, you might be happy with the Libre. The design looks pretty much the same from the photos, as far as I can tell. But I have continued searching for the perfect tea mug.
Contenders thus far:
I've been shopping around for quite some time. These are the two winners as far as I am concerned, though they skip out on being see-through and hiding the tea in the lid, but I can't see any well-designed options out there with those traits (although this Thermos mug has the infuser in the lid, but I wasn't so excited about it), so I'm giving my seal of approval to these. There are other contenders I think, but these are equal or better compared to anything I can find. I might also just go with a Contigo and brew in a teapot and just deal with the fact that the mug has no internal tea infuser.
Adagio has a pretty good teapot/tea sampler to start out with. This:
is what I use. I also recommend buying a programmable electric kettle since different varieties of tea require different water temperatures. I have this:
and it's been amazing. I drink mostly Oolong and green teas, so I wanted something that had temperature control.
The best way to find what your preferences are, and to understand your palate is to try what sounds appealing to you. Adagio is a pretty good place to start. :)
If you want a nice looking Japanese tea set you can find some authentic Japanese tea pots at Den's tea
. The cheap one's use metal strainers rather than ceramic but they would still be good quality. If you have any Chinese tea shops near by you can find some cheap ceramic cups to go with it and probably not go over budget.
Instead of the tea ball look into a cup with a strainer. It is so much easier and it makes much better tea. (and when you do multiple infusions it makes it easier to save the leaves as they are less likely to roll off)I found this on amazon but there are probably cheaper options. Especially just buying a well made strainer that fits a cup you already have.
I use this one. Chan teas is unfortunately closing but that cup and strainer set works great and it is a good price. The strainer is more than $12 on amazon [by it self] (http://www.amazon.com/FORLIFE-Extra-fine-Infuser-Porcelain-Dish/dp/B001JP1KPO/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top) probably because it is so well made.
Not quite sure if this is what you meant, but I have this teapot (around the size you mentioned, 450ml is ~15.5oz) which has a removable mesh strainer and it's pretty sweet: https://www.amazon.com/Hario-Chacha-Kyusu-Maru-450ml/dp/B0006HINDI/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1493529901&amp;sr=8-2&amp;keywords=kyusu+teapot
Pretty sure that pot has been recommended here before. Not sure as far as a plain old infuser, but anything you can get that gives more room for the tea leaves to expand would be best!
You could try out Harney's sachets (they're shaped like a small pyramid, and filled with loose leaf, so it's kind of like drinking loose. Its much better quality than what is put in teabags, and the sachet provides the leaves room to expand). I don't know where you're located, but they're pretty far reaching (I'm in NZ and they're in several stores here... which is definitely saying something), or you could order online;
*Edited to add; if you did want to look at an infuser, I think these are incredibly fantastic and super low hassle;
You just pop them on your mug, scoop in the tea, pour hot water, take out when done. Boom! re-useable metal teabag!
are you sure it wasn't just a low quality water bottle you tasted from?
I have 3 Klean Kanteens I use for all kinds of things and none of them leave a flavor behind because its just steel and no plastic lining that collects off flavors. Are you sure it wasnt a cheap lining? my first reccomendation would be a insulated klean kanteen. Its by far been my favorite and I've been through a lot of tea mugs.
If you're set on glass though I owned [this] (http://www.amazon.com/Lifefactory-Glass-Beverage-Bottle-Turquoise/dp/B004C3LVXQ/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1427182808&amp;sr=8-3&amp;keywords=16oz+glass+water+bottle
) for a while before I moved to metal and it held up well and the coating was nice to protect my hands from hot drinks. I was always careful to prewarm it but I never had it crack when I was lazy a few times. It DID shatter when it went flying out of my backpack side pocket like 10ft onto a concrete hill...but if you're set on glass it would be my choice. I usually make my own teabags from cheesecloth or this stuff to steep on the go.
another cheap option is to get something like this
and buy a mason jar. That way when it shatters, you can just get another jar for very cheap.
edit: Also with the mason jar you can just use something like this
gives you a better quality brew to go and lets you control how long you brew a little easier and better than french press style mugs imo.
I might recommend this kettle, mostly just cause it's cheaper than the one you chose. The one you linked to will work well, I'm sure. If you're looking to splurge, this is the kettle I'd like the most, but I'm gonna get this kettle soon.
The pour is actually very important in making good tea, and most people don't realize that. Gooseneck kettles have a great, easily controllable pour. You might not notice it for a while, so that's why the first kettle is good for beginners.
I use a BonaVita 1L variable temp. gooseneck but that's a bit out of your price range. If you're only brewing tea then this one will work just fine. If you do pour over coffee then you may want to save up a bit more and get the gooseneck.
I absolutely love mine. Well built, easy to use, and very well reviewed.
So all you really need is a brew basket and a cup (and the brew basket is optional if you're willing to drink around the leaves). Also you'll need some tea.
I imagine you have a mug. As for a brew basket, something like [this] (http://www.amazon.com/Finum-Brewing-Basket-medium-black/dp/B000I68NCS) should be good. Just put leaves in a basket and add hot (usually not boiling) water.
When I started out, I bought a bunch of tea and samples from adagio.com. It's good to find what kinds of tea you like (there is black, green, white, oolong, puerh, yellow, but tons of subvarieties). It's been a while since I've purchased from adagio, so I'm not sure how they are now.
I like buying from verdant tea now. It's pricey and has a smaller selection, but it's delicious.
Best of luck!
If you're looking for loose leaf, this is a pretty good little sample pack to try a couple different kinds. If you're really new though, (coming from Keurigs and Starbucks and such) I'd probably recommend starting off with some less expensive/complex bagged tea first.
Assuming you're in the U.S., Twinings is likely to be the best you'll find in an average grocery store. P.G. Tips are pretty good as well, though as far as bagged tea goes I prefer the selection of Twinings. You can try all the different basic kinds this way and refine your tastes from there. Get a kettle, electric for convenience or stove-top if you like the whistle. Then just put a tea bag in your favorite mug and add hot water. There are also individual tea steepers so that when you have loose tea you don't have to make a whole pot at once.
If you go electric and have spare cash, you can spring for one that measures water temperature. That will make it much easier to make sure that you brew each kind of tea at the optimal temperature. Here is a quick guide on what temperature is best for each basic kind of tea. If you get into more complex teas from there, the supplier will usually have more specific directions.
Lastly, make your tea the way you like it. Don't be discouraged by people who say black is the only way to appreciate tea, if you like it better when it's half cream then more power to you. Milk, cream, sugar, honey, and lemon are all popular additions, feel free to mix and match and add and subtract until you find what's right for you, and then let your tastes evolve from there. (Many darker teas may taste a little bitter at first, but with milk and sugar become quite a treat).
Disclaimer: I literally just switched from bags to loose leaf tea drinking today after hours and hours of research.
I bought a Bonavita Electric Kettle (http://www.amazon.com/Bonavita-Variable-Temperature-Electric-Gooseneck/dp/B005YR0F40/) and chose it for it's precise tempature control and the ability to dual-purpose it for coffee pour-overs as well.
For infusion, I purchased an in-cup stainless steel one (http://www.amazon.com/FORLIFE-Brew-Mug-Extra-Fine-Infuser/dp/B001JPA3Y8) mostly because it has good reviews and Amazon Now had it in stock for 2-hour delivery. There is some well-reviewed plastic infusers as well, but I like the visual of stainless steel in my new ritual.
The process is super easy. I fill up the kettle with water and punch in the temp (160 degrees in my case for Harney Japanese Sencha). Once it's hot I put the infuser in my mug and add a heaping spoonful of loose leaf. Then I pour-over the leaves and set my phone timer for a couple minutes. In no time, the tea is ready and I remove the infuser and dump the contents into composting.
The resulting tea is perfect. Easily twice as good as the experience as using the tea bags (I've been drinking Harney Japanese Sencha in bags for 2 years).
My boyfriend bought this for me: http://www.amazon.com/The-Breville-One-Touch-Tea-Maker/dp/B003LNOPSG
I love loose leaf but I'm always running around. I didn't think I would benefit from a cast iron kettle or anything because I couldn't see myself devoting the time for it. So this has a programmable timer and a bunch of other really cool features. Every cup tastes amazing and it's super easy to take care of.
You could have refrained from buying the cast iron pot. You can make stellar tea with a way cheaper pot. I don't know their return policy, but if you can return it, I would highly recommend that. Look into Gaiwans; Shoot, I use a pyrex measuring cup sometimes to brew tea and just strain through a dollar store tea strainer. I would save the money that you spent on a cast iron pot and put it towards a water boiler that can heat to different temperatures. My favorite it the Bonavita variable temperature kettle.
If you are new to tea, I would recommend getting the smallest weight available of all the teas you buy. I think in Teavana, that is 2oz. This helps you by allowing you to buy more teas to sample different varieties, you can always go back for more if you really love it. Lastly, buying the smallest amount of tea ensures you will finish it faster, which means your tea doesn't have a chance to go stale.
This is the one that I use:
It's pretty cheap ($35.00USD) and definitely not the best on the market, but it's reasonably accurate and heats up pretty quick. What I love the most is that the temperature is customizable at 5 degree increments. I brew most of my tea gongfu style so I really like that feature, and also the "keep warm" function is automatic--it'll keep the water within ~5 degrees of your desired temperature for an hour.
Hope this helps!
It's more wasteful than other methods, but I like using t-sacs if I won't be near a sink. You can make a few up with your favorite tea, and put them in a small tin or baggie and slip it in your bag. Use like you would other teabags. I've had good results with resteeping the bags if it's a tea I would resteep using other methods. I just make sure to use it pretty shortly after the first cup.
The Story of Tea is, from my readings, one of the most thorough and well-researched books on the subject. While it places a heavy emphasis on history and cultivation, it delves deep into specific growing regions, the teas they produce, and the tea cultures of those regions. My only gripe is that they didn't mention samovars in their brief section on Russian tea culture, but a) it's forgivable, and b) now you know.
For similar breadth but (slightly) less thoroughness, Tea is an excellent choice. In fact, this is the book that I would recommend to anyone starting their tea journey. Of course, you can always read both. ;)
In terms of equipment, to brew western-style, you can buy reusable strainers to brew the tea. You put a teaspoon or so of leaf into the strainer, steep as normal, and set the strainer aside when you're ready to drink. I have this one and I really like it. It's good to get a big strainer so that the tea leaves can unfurl - good tea expands a lot when you steep it.
Quality is up to your personal taste, imo. In my experience, higher-quality tea tends to be smoother, lacks the off-flavors (bitter, acrid) that are found in some cheaper tea, doesn't lose all of its flavor on the first steep (you can usually steep high-quality tea multiple times before it runs out of flavor), and is more complex than cheaper tea. Imo it just smells and tastes better all around. It's like saying "How can I tell when I'm eating good quality pizza/drinking good wine?" You can tell cause you enjoy it more
Its not a good plan to invest that much $ without knowing if you honestly like tea or not. To begin just get a simple infuser this one works , hopefully you already have a mug. Just boil or microwave water to start before you are sure you really love tea. You could always get a cheaper kettle but the most basic way to start is just infuser+mug+tea . Grab yourself a few sample from adagio or harney. I like harney to start since their samples are 2$ each. Grab some from as many of the major tea groups as possible. Find what you like. Good luck.
TL:DR Spend more money on tea, less money on accoutrements
I have the Bonavita 1.7 Liter that is mentioned below, and I wholeheartedly support it. I understand that the gooseneck design is pretty, but it is just not worth the price jump in my opinion. I've never had a problem controlling my pour and it has done everything I wanted when I was searching for an electric kettle. It's a wonderful bargain in my opinion! If you have any other questions, I'd be glad to help you!
Edit: It's also worth mentioning that the gooseneck is 1000 watts, while this one is 1500 watts. Not sure if that matters to you or not!
I have a FORLIFE Crurve teapot, makes three cups of tea and is great.
An electric kettle would be a fantastic part of a gift set. This one appears to be one of the best. Good luck.
Just going to toss this out there, the sweetened Starbucks tea will be much different to a plain Japanese green tea or matcha. My husband can drink the Starbucks/other shops version but complains that my tea tastes like bitter vegetables and grass.
You might have better luck with mild Chinese green teas or, as was suggested, a Jasmine green tea since it is a sweet Chinese tea. It can be iced. Some of the greener oolongs are mild and sweetish, too. A milk oolong and oolongs in general are good for anyone that doesn't have much tea experience. (They can be easier to brew)
If she doesn't have tea ware or much experience with loose leaf (if you get her loose leaf) then you might look at a Finnum brewing basket. I know with my mother in law that she claims to really like tea but doesn't have much experience, interest, or patience for anything beyond bagged teas. Not everyone wants more then 1-2 step teas.
Steeping = leaving your tea leaves in hot water so you can get the flavour (and the caffeine) out of them. Different teas do best with different temperature and times. For green tea, you want around 165°F for 1 minute, or check the instructions your tea comes with. Adjust to your liking.
You can use teabags or "loose leaf", which is when the tea leaves come as they are. Both are easy to use and loose leaf can be cheaper, especially if you know where to look or order online. If you do decide to use loose leaf, you will need some kind of basket strainer or other infuser, to hold the leaf while it steeps so that you don't get bits of tea leaf in your cup. My personal favourite is this Finum Brewing Basket.
You don't need to use a teapot. I just brew and drink my tea out of a mug. The teapot I have is only used if I'm sharing tea with someone else.
For brands, check out the User's Choice list from the wiki. I started off buying from Adagio and Upton. Nowadays, I buy from Adagio, Verdant Tea, O-Cha, and Yunnan Sourcing, but all the shops in that list are good ones. As for supermarket brands... I don't really like any of them, because I don't like flavoured tea, and those non-flavoured teas tend to have been on the shelf long enough that they're a little stale. (Also I have a huge backlog >_>)
Some green teas worth trying out:
Hope this helps.
There's a lot of different approaches to brewing tea, just one of which is the familiar teapot method. A really popular glass one is https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B0007WTBQ0/. One really good reason for white/glass teaware is that they allow you to easily evaluate the color of your tea, which is helpful in appreciating it better and learning how to brew your tea.
When you say Japanese style, do you mean the Kyusu teapot, or do you mean teaware with Japanese designs on them?
I have the Bonavita variable temp gooseneck kettle and I absolutely love it. The gooseneck is much better than the stubby spouts for gongfu. Easier to control the pour. Plus 1L is the perfect size, so that I'm not continuously boiling the same water.
By the way, there have been quite a few threads in the past with the same discussion, you could probably find some good info by searching for "electric kettle" or something like that ;)
I use this in my teapot, or the medium one in an individual mug. Works perfectly and solves almost every one of your problems. Taking it out is easy because the top is plastic and the lid acts as a drip tray. This is the most important part for me because it solves the prepared tea storage issue with only one vessel. Also, I've found that the tea does have plenty of room to expand, though I'm sure it has a little bit more freedom in the press.
A cast iron teapot can be great, especially with a tea candle to keep it warm.
The most important thing is to use a basket style infuser.
I would recommend a 330mL French Press (for making single cups) because they have a wire filter built in, are cheap and easily available.
I've also enjoyed using this basket style infuser because it makes single cups, the lid keeps the heat in, and the lid doubles as a drip catcher if I plan on doing multiple steeps of the same tea.
My S.O. and I are a big fan of her Bredemeijer vacuum insulated 1.2L tea pot, which keeps tea for two hot for a couple hours. On that note, having a vacuum insulated mug is great for tea on the go, or for keeping tea warm while you pour into smaller, traditional cups.
I have 3, two 24 oz and a 45 oz. I love them. The infuser on the 45 oz is too small, so I use a large Finum basket instead.
I like the 24 ounce for teas that can be brewed in volume- blacks and herbals, mainly. I use smaller glass pots for teas that can be resteeped, like oolong. The Forlife pots look great, are easy to pour from, have nice brewing baskets (on the 24 oz), they're durable, and the gasket on the lid keeps it in place both with and without the basket.
There are a lot of very long comments here. To summarize:
It's good that you bought some loose leaf.
First, though, depending on the size of your tee ei, you should probably look into an upgrade, even for western-style brewing (lots of people love Finum: https://www.amazon.de/gp/aw/d/B000I68NCS/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?__mk_de_DE=%C3%85M%C3%85Z%C3%95%C3%91&amp;qid=1504620481&amp;sr=8-1&amp;pi=AC_SX236_SY340_QL65&amp;keywords=finum)
Second, keep trying new tea. Green teas are great, but there are many great prolongs, blacks, whites, puerh, and herbal tisanes.
Third, consider trying gongfu style (Chinese-style) brewing. For many of us, it was a revelation. In terms of convenience, o often don't have time for gongfu brewing, but it is a special treat when I do.
I have a Contigo Autoseal Tumbler and absolutely love it. It's super easy to clean and keeps my tea hot for a few hours (yes, hot).
As for a kettle, get him a variable temperature kettle so that he can adjust the temperature based on his tea preference. I have this Cuisinart kettle. I've had it for 4 years and still works great.
If you want something simple to make tea for one, I would suggest something like this. I don't like the in-mug infusers. I usually end up having to look around for something awkward to get it out of the cup like a fork or chopsticks otherwise I end up burning my fingers. Tea pots are nice but I find them to be more ceremonial than I feel like dealing with when I just want something quick.
As far as temp goes, usually for green tea you're good to go once small bubbles start forming in the pot/kettle. You don't need to worry about having a thermometer nearby or anything like that.
And the corn pops green tea you're describing sounds like Genmaicha.
> How do the infusers work with the dunking?
Just pour the hot water over it and let it sit (OK, sometimes I will dunk mine once or twice if some leaves didn't get wet, or there's a lot of foamy scum floating on top). When it's done, pull the infuser out and let it drip back into the mug/pot/whatever until it pretty much stops dripping.
> It says you can have multiple infusions so do you...
Not all tea is really suited to that. Sometimes 1 infusion pretty much gets all the good stuff out. Ususally it's tea in big pieces or whole leaves that is good for this. As you say, just set the used leaf aside in the infuser and use it again with fresh hot water.
> which infusers would you recommend
Ones that are basked-shaped, with fine mesh, and big enough to let the leaf unfold/unroll/expand. Something like this.
Hi! If you want to get into tea, I would reccomend starting by watching Alton Brow's episode on tea here. It's a good background on everything involving tea and tea brewing.
If you have a Peet's Coffee near you, you can go and order mugs of tea (brewed with loose leaf). They will give you free hot water refills so you can drink as much as you can handle. You can find a tea you like without having to commit to a huge container.
I prepare my tea in the morning in a tea pot (I have this one, but I don't like it because it's hard to clean) and pour it into a travel mug.
They make travel mugs that are similar to a frech press (here) where you put the leaves and hot water in and just push down a stopper to stop brewing. I'm really picky about the lids on my travel mugs, so I don't own one.
For resusable tea bags, the most popular style is a [tea ball] (http://www.amazon.com/Progressive-Stainless-Steel-Mesh-Ball/dp/B00004RIZ7/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1407090137&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=tea+ball) (although the one I linked is a little too small to allow the tea to fully unfold). They are cheap and fairly easy to clean, but you have to be careful where you store them so they don't get bent up.
They also make tea bags for loose leaf tea. These would be easy to pop into your travel mug. You can also find bags made of muslin that can be washed out, but I don't know where you would do that.
Hario 700ml teapot is excellent and pretty cheap as well. The basket is huge, which is a significant advantage, imo. The lack of spout makes it more compact and it's top is very wide, so it's super easy to clean when it stains.
A bottom-dispensing teapot like this one is a super easy way to do gongfu. You can look it up on youtube or something to see exactly how it works.
It doesn't have the same romance as traditional teaware, and you can't build up a patina like with yixing clay or other unglazed ceramics, but it is super convenient. Sticking a coffee filter in the bottom makes cleanup even easier.
Do you have a teapot already?
Nut and Spice sampler
Orchard Black Teas sampler
I'm sure everyone thinks I'm a shill for Adagio at this point, but I swear I'm not! I'm just very happy with their teas.
EDIT: oh, you like herbals!
Tazo Passion (teabags, but sooo good)
Herbal Tea sampler
What do you think about ingeuinitea?
Am I getting sucked into some gimmick or is it actually convenient?
I would go for the white tea but it's kind of expensive for a beginner, so Alishan Milk Oolong it is.
The reason I'm getting into tea is because it seems like it's a healthy alternative to straight water, but the taste puts me off atm so a fruity, creamy flavor would be nice
This Alishan Milk Oolong brand seem good to you?
Random question: Do you believe drinking tea before sleeping is bad? I've heard it has caffeine but idk if it's tea-specific or what else, the green tea I have doesn't seem to bother me
Lastly, any specific method of measuring water temperature you recommend? Should I just buy a thermostat and wait for boiling water to cool?
I can attest that the Cuisinart is an excellent unit and lasts a long time:
I also have experience with the Breville and greatly enjoy it.
I don't think you can go wrong with a traditional Chinese-styled teapot and strainer over a sharing cup. It's simple, cheap to get into, and can well handle many different tea types.
I hope you enjoy exploring tea, it's a wonderful world,
A little more than $20 but nice is this Hamilton Beach programable one I just got on sale on Amazon for $33. Has different temp settings which is SUPER nice
I know people who have this style of temperature-controlled kettle (controls on handle, a water level window, etc) and recommend it, but a few have complained about the taste of the water in a kettle that boils the water where it is in contact with plastic like this. I don't own or use any of these, so I can't give a personal recommendation one way or another.
I have both the Bonavita and the Hamilton Beach temperature controlled kettles, and both give great results without the plastic window. The Bonivita is more expensive but the gooseneck spout is great for slow controlled pours into small gongfu teaware. The Hamilton Beach is more standard with a quickflow stubby spout, but it controls the temperature well at half the price or less of the Bonivita.
If anyone wants a digitally-programmable kettle for cheaper than this, this is the one I have. I love it. I got it at the recommendation of someone else here on /r/tea and it's fantastic.
It's pretty accurate (not as accurate as some $100ish programmable kettles I've seen, but hey, it's a $40 digital kettle), and the time-programming feature might be very confusing, but it's overall a great buy. I love this thing. Very small parts of the inside (such as the silicone gasket for the temp sensor and for the fill bar) are plastic, but overall the inside is almost all metal and doesn't impart a taste to the water. And besides that, silicone is food-safe even at high temperatures.
It is tiny, but it'll work. Ideally you want something bigger that'll allow leaf expansion, especially for some of the bigger leaf teas like oolong and some whites/blacks. The holes might be too big for rooibos.
If you like it, upgrade to something like this https://www.amazon.com/FORLIFE-Brew---Mug-Extra-Fine-Infuser/dp/B001JPA3Y8/ref=sr_1_2?s=kitchen&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1467332365&amp;sr=1-2&amp;keywords=forlife+tea+infuser
I treated myself to this after a year or two of wanting a convenient kettle, it's held up perfectly for 5 years of constant use now. I'm a barista by day, tea lover at home, so it was sure worth it. Coffee, just like tea, often benefits from more control of temperature than the standard "off-boiling".
Brewing really isn't complicated at all if you invest in the right equipment. You can get a functional variable temperature kettle for ~$40 on amazon and an easy to use tea pot for ~20.
Honestly I would recommend decent equipment first over a wide variety of teas to begin with.
I would also point you to upton tea which has really cheap samples and offers pretty much the best price for any tea I have found on multiple vendors.
If I were you I would spend it on a nice kettle like this or some teaware, or just save it for something else
You're not going to find great quality tea on Amazon
If you want a quality tea sampler I would highly recommend What-Cha's Intro to Tea Collection
For Loose leaf tea I would suggest that you get an in-cup infuser like the Forlife Tea infuser
I have the Forlife and I love it. It gives tones of space for the tea to expand (which is very important) and it just works great. I think you might like to start with a tea like darjeeling. Darjeeling has a wonderful floral taste and is referred to as the champagne of tea.
While Puerh is a wonderful tea I have found that it is very easy to get inferior Puerh that will leave you with a bad impression. Puerh is also a tea that people either love or hate so it might not be one for beginners. Peet's Puerh is ok but I would stay away from Teavana's Puerh.
Most importantly get out there and try tea. You will find what you like. Don't worries about tasting bad tea. Tea is cheep and you won't lose out by trying new stuff.
Definitely go loose leaf.
For the tea brewing
This teapot is nice. I also like this style of in-cup infuser - both give the tea a reasonable amount of room to expand.
I would recommend starting with samples - What-Cha do two sample sets - one for a range of blacks, greens and oolongs; and the other just for Taiwan oolongs. They are in the UK and ship quickly. Linky if you're interested
I would probably recommend starting with oolong - iirc roasted have a lower caffeine content, but you'd need to check. Based on what you've said I think there are quite a few oolongs you will enjoy.
Adagio do some flavoured teas which might be worth looking into, too.
My understanding re caffeine in tea is that per-cup it has less than coffee, and one of the other compounds in it (l-theanine?) makes it less buzzy. I've also read - but am not sure how true it is - that if you re-brew with the same leaves each subsequent brew has a bit less caffeine than the previous one.
Beyond that I can't comment on the caffeine content, as caffeine doesn't much affect me (something which I'm incredibly pleased about, as I do have periods of suffering from anxiety and tea helps calm me).
To echo everyone else, gaiwans are inexpensive and really great to use. I find making tea in mine a lot of fun :D If you would still like to brew western style, I'd recommend getting the Finum Brewing Basket, which is really easy to use and also not expensive ($10). I find that, although I prefer gongfu brewing, it demands more time and more attention, and isn't something I can do while I'm working. So I end up using the brewing basket and my gaiwan about equally.
>This might work for you: http://www.amazon.com/Aladdin-10-00753-002-Tea-Infuser-Mug/dp/B001Q3L9P0
>The mug is microwave safe, so all you need is it, a way to measure the tea, and the tea itself. It's worked very well for me so far.
u/BouncingYeti made a good suggestion! It's something I'm looking into. Hope this is what you're looking for as well :)
I suggest starting with an infuser that can be used to brew right in your cup. This one is my favorite, the large one; not the floating basket. Alternately, or additionally, a small glass teapot is wonderful at first because you can see the color of the brew while you're discovering your preferences. Most loose leaf tea can be brewed for more than one infusion, sometimes many many infusions. An electric kettle is extremely handy, especially if it has variable temperature settings. One that's clear where you can see the size of the bubbles also works for gauging temperature. Ask questions in the forum if you're wondering about anything. Everyone here is keen to help. Enjoy your tea!
Really I'd recommend getting a filter like this one and an electric kettle. They have some cheap ones (like ~$15) that you should be able to use in your dorm room. Just put water in and hit the button, it shuts off when it's done. There are more expensive ones that allow you to set the temperature which is nice for some of the more delicate green and white teas but in a dorm setting, I'd just go for something like this.
As for tea, I highly recommend anything from adagio. They also have some kettles but they are Stainless Steel and more expensive. They are also the makers of the IngenuiTea which you can get from them or elsewhere. My coworker has one and it's nice. I prefer the strainer I originally linked to because I can just store it in my mug and it doesn't take up that much space.
For those of you interested in an electric kettle, consider this Bonavita kettle. It has restaurant/barista precision when it comes to accurate temperature. Kettles like the one posted here can have a variance of 5% of the set temperature which can mean almost 10 degrees difference if you're aiming for 180, and even more when you're heading to black teas. This kettle here is accurate within 2% of the exact temperature you set it for. Check around at good tea and coffee shops (you'll see baristas shooting for 205F when doing coffee) and using similar devices. Don't risk scolding your precious leaves! Simple brewed beverage enthusiast here.
An electric kettle that tells you the temperature. Even better if it keeps it at your desired temperature for you. If you plan on getting into tea, it's really nice to have.
I first started out with using a normal stove kettle with a thermometer. It was a pain in the ass. A few months later as I got more into tea I got a cheap electric kettle off Amazon and used the thermometer with that. Still a pain in the ass. Used that set up for about a year until I finally upgraded to a kettle that tells me the temp, let's me set the temp I want, and keeps it at that temp for an hour. I can also set the clock on it and have it heat up the water before I wake up so it's ready to go when I want tea in the morning.
My advice: Skip the fiddling around with a thermometer and just get a decent electric kettle right from the get-go. Even if you decide you don't like tea anymore the kettle is still great for anytime you need warm/hot/boiling water for something.
Here is the one I have When I bought mine it was like $40 or $50 I think, it's only like $23 right now. That's a steal. It's a pretty solid electric kettle, especially at that price. I'm sure there's much nicer ones that are even better, but that one has been great for me personally. Haven't had a single problem with it. My only complaint is that I wish the cord was a bit longer.
Hario Chacha Kyusu Maru Tea Pot, 700ml - $15
Teaology Luna Double Wall Borosilicate Tea Cup - $3.95
I'm very much still learning, but I love this cheap little setup and it's been working especially well with my Oolongs and Greens. I picked up a sample of Pu erh Pearls from Adagio (pictured), and it works just fine for that as well if you're okay with western brewing techniques.
These books, because Amazon is that one up-and-coming online bookseller, right? ;)
Tea: History, Terroirs, Varieties
Tea Wisdom: Inspirational Quotes and Quips About the World's Most Celebrated Beverage
For brewing, you can't go wrong with a simple in-the-mug infuser.
An electric kettle is great, too. It frees you from stoves and microwaves, so you can brew right at your desk.
Oh, and you may wish to check out Mellow Monk's Green Tea -- green tea from independent artisans in Japan. /selfpromotion
I've had this Hamilton Beach kettle for a few months now and I love it. It has pre-programmed temperatures, the ability to program your own temperatures, and will hold your temperature for up to an hour (I don't remember if you can set it for longer or not). It has a clock and it has a neat feature where you can set a time that it will turn on and heat your water- so you can have your water ready when you wake up in the morning or ready for you when you get home from work.
Some like having the tea leaves float, others use an infuser. It's really your preference. I would suggest this. I use it quite a bit when making tea for myself. Word of advice, tea places like Teavana (while having some fantastic tasting stuff) are incredibly expensive/overpriced. There are much smaller shops that sell loose leaf at perfectly reasonable prices. Davids TEA and Adagio are my personal favorite online tea shops.
I've been using [Finum Brewing Baskets] (https://www.amazon.com/Finum-Brewing-Basket-large-black/dp/B000J3JFJU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1479061928&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=finum+basket+large) for the last decade or so for brewing one cup of tea at a time. The fine mesh is easy to clean if you rinse is out right after steeping. The large one is ideal for most mug sizes. I find the medium-sized basket to be a little too small for mugs larger than 10 oz.
EDIT: If you're looking for a decent and affordable tea pot, [Hario] (https://www.amazon.com/Hario-Chacha-Kyusu-Maru-700ml/dp/B0007WTBQ0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1479062141&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=hario+tea+pot) makes some good ones. Despite the glass looking thin, it's actually quite sturdy.
We just got a Bonavita and we LOVE it. However it's electric vs kettle, so probably not what you're looking for, but ours is stainless steel and heats up fantastically. Lots of preset temps, holds the warmth for up to an hour, it's fantastic.
For western style brewing (little bit of tea to lots of water for a longer time) a brew basket is a good way to go for a single person. The ones from Finum are great, but theres a bunch of different options out there . I have been using a Davids Tea one for the last while and have no complaints about it at all.
If you want to get into brewing with gongfu parameters (lots of tea, little water, quick infusion times) then I'd recommend picking up a cheap gaiwan in the 100ml range to start out and see if you're into it or not. All you really need is a gaiwan and a cup or mug to pour it into. If you want to you can get little tea cups, strainers, and a fairness pitcher, but none of that is actually "needed". I'd start out simple and cheap then re-evaluate if you find it's something you really enjoy. This was my first gaiwan - its nice looking but simple, affordable and well built. Comes with a saucer too which is a plus for me. After a year or so of use I realized a smaller one would be more suited for me and I picked up a 55ml one from Bitterleaf that I love to death. The size really comes down to how you want to drink and you might not know whats best for you until you just buy something and use it for a while.
rah is of course right to suggest you spend more of your budget on tea, and less on ceremony. however, then you should instead invest in an effective tea brewer/seeper that makes good tea and skip the ceremonial pieces altogether. like a "french press" for coffee, there are various contraptions that may do a better job at making tea than ceremonial pieces. or as rah suggests, simply get any teapot with a large mesh center basket and go from there. I'm not advocating these products, simply giving you more to consider.
Hario. I own this particular size (450 ml), and it's perfect for 1 big cup or 2 smaller cups. The glass will get hot where the tea contacts it, but the handle has never gotten hot on me. It pours really well and is easy to clean too -- always a plus at work.
TLDR: Yes, I can tell a huge difference between Darjeeling and Assam, even between different grades of tea from the same garden- but I've been drinking quality tea for 12+ years now, and I especially like good Indian tea.
What are the specific teas in the sample box, what is the vendor, and how long have you been drinking loose-leaf tea?
Palate is like a muscle. I'd fail at telling a Burgundy from a Bordeaux (without some practice), because I don't have much wine experience. But science shows that, to use a term I really dislike, becoming a connoisseur of something (or say learning an instrument) even physically changes specific regions of one's brain.
I'd wager I could distinguish between any decent orthodox single-estate Assam and an equivalent grade Darjeeling, blindfolded, 999 times out of 1,000. I've had many thousands of cups, of hundreds of different examples of these over the years.
The two regions produce quite different product. Assam uses plants that are primarily C sinensis var assamica genetics, and Darjeeling mainly C sinensis var sinensis genetics, although this is an oversimplification. In any case, genetics, terroir (soil and climate), cultivation, and processing cause different regions to produce very different teas, esp to trained senses. The book Tea: History, Terroirs, Varieties, by Kevin Gascoyne is a beautiful introduction to the topic.
I use the Cuisinart CPK 17 and I love it. If you're a big coffee drinker with french presses and expensive drip stuff get the Bonavita Gooseneck, but I love my Cuisinart. Would recommend
I don't like tea balls very much because they don't allow the tea to fully expand, which results in a less flavorful tea. I prefer metal strainers because they are easier to clean and produce a more flavorful tea.
This is the one that I use: http://www.amazon.com/FORLIFE-Brew---Mug-Extra-Fine-Infuser/dp/B001JPA3Y8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1317657140&amp;sr=8-1
Though, if you find a good tea ball, it might be more ideal, simply because you could store it inside your thermos after you're done drinking the tea.
For some easy mug infusing, a brewing basket like this is a nice thing to have. Brewing tea this way is about as easy as throwing in a teabag, and you can use any tea you like.
This seems like a very good kettle, but honestly, if you're going to buy a kettle that expensive I'd recommend the Bonavita 1-Liter Variable Temperature Digital Electric Gooseneck Kettle simply because you can adjust the temperature by the degree, instead of by increments of 10, which is more accurate. Of course you lose the nice looking design and 0.7L of capacity, but it stays warm 30 minutes longer and is more accurate.
I'm a fan of insulated glass mugs and steel infuser baskets - here's a cheap set on Prime. As far as equipment, you mostly need a kettle. You can either go for a basic stovetop kettle, simple and cheap but no variable temperature - or electric kettles. A good one can run for quite a bit more cash (like mine, not cheap but highly recommended), but are easy and can have variable temperature.
Loose tea isn't cheaper than tea bags, but I'd say it's definitely better and way more diverse.
For a variable temp kettle I just got this and it works great. Same brand as top comment but it's variable temp (also comes bigger in a 1.7L)
For infusing: this is neat and not too pricey, not glass but allows you to see the leaves. You can also get one of those neat glass mugs that have the infuser in it that you just lift out, I've got one of them too but not a link.
I use the Hamilton Beach Variable Temp Electric Kettle It heats up water faster than my stove. I really like it. Its great if youre on a budget, you can get it used, amazon fulfilled, for around 30 dollars (I bought it because of this. If i had the mony for a Zojurshi i would have bought one ;)
Thanks for the reply!
Just checked the FORLIFE infuser, and here in Germany it's ridiculously overpriced. I quickly skimmed amazon.de and found for example this or this. Would they work? Is there anything that I should pay extra for? The first one seems to have slightly better ratings, but it's made out of plastic (if that makes a difference?).
Thanks again! :)
Well I'm obviously slow but here it is. Great deal with Prime.
It's also available at Macy's, which is where mine was sent from as a gift.
If you want simple western style brewing, which of you are in the Americas or uk is the norm these two items will get you set up right. All you need is tea. especially if you want to get into oolongs, which can be very fussy about temperature, you will find a kettle with temp control a dream come true.
Also if you were in the USA look at Harney and sons. They a great first step, offering a wide variety of low cost samples with free shipping.
FORLIFE Curve Tall Tea Mug with Infuser and Lid 15 ounces, Turquoise https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0017938B6/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_nGsKBbWD971BZ
Epica 6-Temperature Variable Stainless Steel Cordless Electric Kettle https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01G7OL9ZW/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_OGsKBb3ETZ80H
How about a reusable teabag or even disposable tea bags? If you happen to live by a Daiso or other kind of dollar store, they sell disposable teabags for about $1.50 for a 100 pack. I think that there are also collapsable tea filters, if you don't mind a non-metal filter.
Otherwise, those are pretty small in terms of infusers (~2.5x4in) that would actually work well with tea. My last suggestion would be using a strainer like this although it's not too different from the second infuser I linked earlier (aside from maybe you could use this to scoop out the leaves). If space is the priority though, I think your teaball is already effective for your needs.
Starting out, all I'd get is a simple pot with a removable infuser such as this. Something like that will make perfectly great tea. You can always get a fancy tea set later; it's mostly an aesthetic thing.
The Bonavita's are by far the best. Having that kind of control when pouring is awesome. They have a model for 90USD with temperature control. as well as a model for 60USD without.
If you're willing to pay (what I believe to be) a lot for a variable temperature tea kettle, I can not recommend this tea kettle enough.
I've had mine for...about 6 months now I believe. It still works as perfectly as the day it was bought. It's also gorgeous so there's that too.
On Amazon the price fluctuates but it drops down as low as $79.99 every once in a while. If you don't mind waiting, I'd recommend it to save the $10-$20. Also, don't let that weird "You save 51%" thing fool you, it actually retails for $100 on Cuisinart's website.
Honestly something like this would be much better as it it half the cost and basket is bigger which allows more leaf expansion. I have the 300ml version that I like. Also consider a tea basket strainer like one of the following. Also reference the vendor list here for vendors in the EU.
Not quite preset temperatures, but control of the temperature. $29.99 with Amazon prime! Very easy to pour, well worth it, and I'm someone who switched to this from a Breville One Touch.
Thanks for the reply! She isn’t as into tea as myself and for whatever reason prefers bags. I actually have a really nice Basket Infuser from when I first started exploring tea more seriously a few years back, and I still use it occasionally (especially when a tea has a good amount of tea-dust or is particularly small). The mesh is quite fine and leaves next to no sediment, and it really gives a great amount of room for the leaves to expand. I offered it to her before but she didn’t seem that interested. I can’t knock it too much, everyone has their own preference.
Those are kick ass, really love the beautiful & unique Russian one!
I just found my favorite infuser, works awesome.
Just a guess, but but Bonavita brand electric kettles are well liked in this sub. Especially the Gooseneck var. temp. is popular.
I'm personally thinking about getting one.
EDIT: I see that heir non-goose neck ("mongoose"?) kettle is now half off on Amazon.
That's a really great infuser. It was recommended to me here and I love it
I'm actually still using my $10 kettle/boiling water tap in my dorm but I have my eye on this one. My friend has it and she loves it.