|Buying Tea - Tips For First Time Shoppers
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|Like anything, shopping for tea for the first time can end up being a frustrat-
ing experience if you don't know anything about it. If you're like most of us
(me included), your first tea purchase came from the shelves of your local
|And that's okay. I'm in no way
a "tea snob". Some of my fav-
orite teas (Lipton Black Tea with Lemon, and
Snapple ready-to-drink bottled iced tea) come from
the supermarket shelves.
But if you want to experience the fullness, flavor,
and subtleties of tea, you'll have to eventually
take a step up and try loose leaf tea.
I can already hear you asking - with so many
different kinds of teas
out there to choose
from, how do you
know what kind to
buy? Well, hopefully
I can help make that
|decision easier for you with a few tips, and some helpful information.
I know how confusing it can be in the beginning, with hundreds of names flying at you, and not
understanding what in the world it all means. That's one of the reasons I created The Tea
Detective - to help you understand and embrace all that tea has to offer.
|Choosing the Right Brew For You
|Since there are so many different kinds of tea
to choose from, the best way to decide is to
rely on your own personal tastes, what you
like, and dislike. Think of tea as wine. Each
different kind has its own unique personality-
some are light and sweet, some dry and
heavy. Like wine, each tea has its own
unique flavor, depending on where it was
grown, the soil, climate, type of processing,
So how do you choose the right tea for you?
Depend on your palate. Do you like light,
sweet flavors, or do you go for bolder, more
intense, in-your-face kind of flavors? Do you
want something stimulating, or would you
rather something relaxing?
If you want a mild tea, very light and low in caffeine
(although at about 20 - 50 mg per cup, tea is natural-
ly low in caffeine compared to coffee and soda), you
might start out with a white, or oolong tea. If you
want tea that is still light, but with a bit more flavor, one that's fresh and aromatic, go for a
If you want stronger, bolder flavors go with black, whole leaf
teas from China. And, if you go for the really bold flavors, you
might want to try pu-erh tea, with a dark, smoky, earthy flavor.
Or if your palate goes more to the spicy side of things, then chai
tea is just the ticket. This spicy black tea of India is boiled with
cinnamon, cardamom, pepper, cloves, and ginger, then sweeten-
ed with honey and vanilla to create a spicy, sweet, and satisfying
Do you have a favorite fruit? Maybe peach, or strawberry? Hot or
cold, day or night, flavored teas are wonderfully satisfying. They
come in nearly every flavor imaginable, from kiwi to coconut.
But if you're yearning for something light and relaxing at the end of
a long day, a nice scented tea will definitely fit the bill, maybe a cup
of chamomile or jasmine tea.
The great thing about buying tea is that it's relatively inexpensive. For under ten bucks (that's
about equal to the cost of two medium cups of coffee from a franchise or boutique coffee shop),
you can get about 20--30 servings of tea. So if you end up not
liking one of your choices, you're not out much. Give it to a
friend, or leave it in the office lunch room, and it'll get snapped up
faster than you can say "it's not my cup of tea."
The good news is that with all the choices of tea available today,
from the basic black tea, green tea, oolong, white or pu-erh teas,
to blended, flavored, scented, herbal, chai and spiced teas, it's
certain that you'll find a favorite tea. And I'm not a betting person, but this is one time I'll bet
you, that there's more than one tea out there that you'll end up falling in love with. Enjoy.