Thread: Tea Guy?
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Old 12-19-2009, 12:22 PM   #4
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Default Re: Tea Guy?

Originally Posted by Snake Hips View Post
I have an inquiry, O Great Tea Guy.

Where can I find a good chai? I find most bagged offerings at the grocery store to be lacking; they don't taste like anything but hot water and pepper. Celestial Seasonings makes a good chai to me, but I'm sure you know of better.

Also, I'd like to know what the real difference is between English, Irish, Welsh and Scottish breakfast teas.

And one more; I've seen Darjeeling referred to as the "champagne of teas" - I like it, but does anything make it special?
Not really a drinker of Chais, but I'd suggest a good American online retailer. Special Teas or Adagio are my two go-to spots for great prices and customer service.

English, Irish, Welsh, Scottish, Fresian, Russian etc, are all very similar. There's nothing really proprietary about using the names per se. They are all blends of Assam, Ceylon, Chinese, Tanzanian, etc broken blacks in varying proportions. I would suggest that if you go the route of online ordering, try a bit of each of the constituent teas. Amazing when you taste the different components on their own. Give special Teas a shot as they offer small sampler packs of any of their teas whereby you can go nuts.

Darjeeling being the "Champagne of teas." What you have to understand is that the Indians were the first to embrace western marketing techniques and really attempt to broaden the market. Champagne is evidence of this. Darjeeling is actually 3 different teas based on flushes (teaspeak for harvests). In the Indian climate, tea can be harvested three times a year, so you have first, second and autumnal flushes. First flush is where all the hype and bucks are. Expect a tannic, but flowery/fruity cup. No milk or sugar for this one. Second is very fruity, a bit like ceylon on steroids. Fall is most like what the tea you're probably used to.

WARNING! Tea is a slippery slope. The top of the slope is not as steep as the cigar slope so a lot fewer get sucked in, however, I've been known to drop over $30 for 50 grams (a tad less than two ounces) of good Da Hong Pao (a chinese oolong) so it can get ugly.

Ignore all of my above ramblings after the chai tip if you wish to avoid the steep part.

Also, if you get to the real steep part, at least you save money on milk and sugar.
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