Tea drinking can be quite a serious endeavour. With thousands of options, hundreds of potential benefits, uncountable flavours and a very little time to try them all, enjoying every cup of your tea should be of the utmost importance. Make a cuppa and get comfortable. We are going to find answers to 6 most common tea questions tea beginners usually have.
Tea Question #1 – Am I choosing the right tea?
The most common question every tea drinker will eventually have is how to choose the right tea. There are thousands of different tea types, and thousands of tisanes to choose from, some similar, some different, but all of them unique.
What to do?
The best way to know if you are choosing the right tea is by defining why you want to drink tea in the first place. To ditch a habit of sipping sugary drinks? To improve your wellbeing? Maybe you want to practice tea meditation? Or simply to explore different flavours?
Once you know what your reason is, it will be easier to choose the right tea. The next step is to read a tea description and to ask more questions. Pure unflavoured teas will be great for tea meditations, pure unflavoured tisanes and real teas are a perfect choice if you want to enjoy the benefits, and flavoured teas and tisanes are flavourful enough to keep you away from sugary drinks. Strong blends and tea powders are great for cooking and aromatic strong teas make delicious tea syrups.
Tea Question #2 – Am I buying high-quality tea?
One of the most complicated questions to answer is how to know your tea is of the high quality. All teas should be of a high quality, regardless of their classification and type. That means, even if you are choosing broken leaf tea, it should be flavourful and stored properly. Some high-quality teas will have a lighter scent and flavour– such as Dragon Well green tea – but that doesn't mean the quality isn't high. Some tea contain only small leaves particles or even dust, but they should still be flavourful and tasty.
What to do?
Buy tea from dedicated and specialised tea sources. Learn more about the type you want to buy. Every cup of tea you drink should be a tasty one, cheap or expensive. Tea liquor shouldn't be murky (unless it contains powders such as matcha tea). Learn the difference between different leaf grades, to know exactly what to expect.
Tea Question #3 – I have a tea I don't like. What should I do?
Every now and then you will try a tea you don't like. Maybe you don't like one of the ingredients, maybe it's too bitter, and maybe it just doesn't taste right. If you don't want to throw it away, there are ways to both use it and enjoy it.
What to do?
If the tea is fresh, try to give it a second chance or find an alternative use. You can try to:
- experiment with steeping time and leaf-water ratio – you could try using less leaves and more water, or try to steep it for only 30-60 seconds.
- add different condiments and try different sweeteners – adding milk or/and sugar will reduce bitterness.
- steep it with fresh fruits – find out which fruits are great for steeping with black tea
- use it for cooking – intense teas are great for making tea sugar syrups and for adding to cakes and cookies.
- add food flavourings such as vanilla, caramel, lemon or orange
- cold brew it in the fridge – cold brewing will reduce bitterness and offer a completely different flavour profile.
- make a milk tea – stronger black teas, darker oolong tea and some white teas are great for making milk teas
Tea Question #4 – I would like to drink tea, but I'm afraid it has too much caffeine. Which tea shoud I choose?
Unless you are highly sensitive to caffeine or need to avoid it altogether, a cup of tea in the morning is unlikely to give you the same energy boost as coffee. In fact, even a cup of tea in the afternoon is unlikely to keep you awake at night. Tea contains caffeine, and some teas may contain more caffeine than the others, but rarely more than coffee. For example, a shot of espresso is likely to have 60 mg of caffeine, while you can expect 10-50 mg of caffeine in a cup of tea. Some may contain more, but on average, expect 20-30 mg per cup.
What to do?
All real teas contain caffeine, regardless of the type. White tea can have more caffeine than green tea, and green tea may have more caffeine than black tea. You can choose to use less tea leaves, steep them for 1-2 minutes, opt for unbroken longer leaves rather than tea dust or teas with broken leaves, and choose teas made from older mature leaves such as bancha, or teas with stems such as kukicha.
Tea Question #5 – How to save money on tea?
You tried it; you liked it, and now you want to have it all. It's very easy to get hooked on tea. And yes, it may become quite an expensive hobby. But a very fun one too.
What to do?
If you want to try as many types as possible, try subscription boxes. They allow you to test different teas for a fraction of a cost of a full-size packaging. Next thing you could do is swapping teas with other tea drinkers. Homemade tea samples make for a great and thoughtful gift. You can also try to experiment with making your own tea blends using some of the most common teas – Assam, Darjeeling, Sencha or Dark roasted oolong. And last, you can plan your tea purchases in advance and buy it when it's on offer.
Tea Question #6 – I would love to drink tea, but it's just too complicated to brew. Is there an easier way to do it?
One of the most common tea questions many new tea drinkers have is how to make a good cup of tea fast. The truth is, different teas will require different brewing techniques, but it doesn't need to be complicated. Brewing tea may sound easy, but some teas are not so forgiving to brewing mistakes. Dan Cong oolong teas are a great exampe – you over brew them and they may turn very bitter. Regular green tea may also become undrinkable if you steep it in boiling water for 5 minutes.
What to do?
Until you are comfortable brewing different types, choose teas that are good for beginners and will not be bitter or too strong, even if you over-brew them. Flavoured blends are often easier to brew than unflavoured pure teas because they may be more forgiving to brewing mistakes.
Investing in a simple to use teapot will also make brewing much easier. Our recommendation? 300 ml side handled teapot with a removable mesh filter. It's easy to clean, easy to use, and suitable for all tea types. Alternatively, try novelty blends that don't require any brewing.
All teas usually come with brewing instructions, so pay attention to temperatures and steeping time to get the best flavour.
Final Thoughts on the Most Common Tea Questions
If you are new to tea, the number of types and flavour may seem overwhelming and you will undoubtedly have many tea related questions. But that's also what's great about tea. Even if you try a new type every day, it will still keep surprising you. Each type will offer something different and with every cup you drink, you will learn more about tea and your own preferences.