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Camellia Sinensis (Tea) + other xanthine containing plants
#1
I really love a nice cup of tea. Brewed right with reasonably good tea it can be wonderful.

So, what are your favourite types? Are you a PG & Tetley person, or do you go for the higher end teas?

Most of the time I just drink Yorkshire Tea Gold teabags, because I'm lazy & they're quite nice, it's a good balanced blend, Taylor's seem to be the best of the large UK tea merchants. I sometimes get Taylor's Assam or Darjeeling if I'm feeling flush. I have to be a bit desperate to settle for a PG or something, it just doesn't taste right after you get used to premium tea (some of this stuff can be as much as 5 or 6p a cup).

I got some high grade Basilur Ceylon OP1 tea, that's great, still got a packet saved, but the stall in the local market that sold it has closed now. Going to need to find a new source for that, it's amazing.

Also occasionally have some Chinese green tea or white tea. The Chinese brands seem better than English branded green teas. I want to try some Japanese & Korean teas too.

I still like Co-Op 99 tea sometimes too, I think it's a blend of African teas, much better than the typical supermarket own red label rubbish.
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#2
I am more toward higher end - as far as my budget will allow.
After a few years of trying everthing I could I've settled with what I like best for not too much $$

My favourite teas are the lightly oxidised first flush darjeelings although not much of a fan of the more black second flush. After that I like green tea. Whites good, oolongs I tired of a bit but some are  great. I have had a couple of yellows but they are so rare. Pu erh - only ever had one and despite being of good quality I found it pretty bad - tastes infused Egyptian mummy powder.

Black I like traditionally English with milk and no sugar - been though loads of types/gardens but usually just have a half decent teabag - if it's well blended it usually very drinkable - the annoying thing with loose leaf is even if you love a particular garden the tea can radically alter flavour and profile from one season to the next or with a slight change in the processing. So teabags are a pretty do-able reliable option for this sort of tea and I have had some very good teabag teas. Most of the time if I'm not drinking green I am more normally drinking coffee.

I also find many loose vendors the quality isn't always great for the extra money especially noticable with greens but then I have never seen half decent green tea in a bag - this you have to buy loose.
"Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law"
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#3
I found the Chinese brands make some ok green tea bags, but I prefer black tea usually.

Basilur Ceylon OP1 loose leaf is the best tea I've had, good for a calm afternoon tea, the quality is excellent, all whole small curled up leaves.

There is a small tea estate in Cornwall if you want real English tea. Bloody expensive though, not tried any yet. I might treat myself for Christmas. They sell tea plants too, but they wont survive the winter in most of the UK.

And it looks like all the Cornish tea they sell is blended with Indian or Chinese teas, shame.
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#4
It's all down to what you like at the end of the day; one of my best friends is of Chinese heritage and is happy with Chinese supermarket green tea bags. When I got really into tea I asked what her parents drank (since they had actually come from China); her mum drank green and made oolong here and there; the shocker was her dad drank tea made from PGtips or Tetley type bags with a bit of Nescafe added...
"Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law"
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#5
I've never had a really good green tea & I think a lot of bad tea comes from China as well as good. Tea plants can soak up pollutants so you don't want tea from a really polluted place or old leaves.

The English branded green tea bags seem to be really bad. The Chinese supermarket green & white teabags seem to be drinkable, the white tea bags are quite nice, the oolong bags I tried were terrible. I wouldn't often choose a green tea bag over a black tea bag though, even if it's PG, Tetley or Typhoo, but it beats something like Sainsbury's Red Label, or Twinings green tea bags.

I've been drinking Yorkshire Gold in teabags, mainly just through laziness, it's a hassle to clean the pot out with loose tea, etc. It's really nice for a teabag, I haven't found any better teabags, their loose blend is pretty good too, but I'd like to try different high grade teas from around the world.

So far, I've got Basilur Ceylon, it's awesome. Thin curled up whole leaves. Mild relaxing effect, high theanine content, low caffeine, delicate flavour. I'd like to find some other rolled whole small leaf tea as good as that. The stall that sold it in the market closed, I don't even know where I could buy that again.

I want a good tea dealer. I want to find whole leaf teas from China, Japan, Korea, India, Sri Lanka, other parts of asia & africa... at fair prices for small amounts. Maybe I'm missing somebody local, or I might have to order online. If I can't find any that might have to be my new business.

The Chinese supermarket has a selection of loose Chinese teas. I'm not sure which the best ones are though & I've been disappointed before with green tea bags. I was thinking of trying gunpowder.

I was missing the obvious local one, but I think of them more as coffee dealers... http://www.pollardscoffee.co.uk/loose-le...-green-tea

Ringtons looks ok too, should try them? http://www.ringtons.co.uk/tea-c1/loose-tea-c4
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#6
like Pukka Green Chai. Although I mainly drink the Vanilla Chai these days ( no caffeine )
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#7
Recently i've been trying some green teas and ginseng tea, big fan of masala chai. Couldn't say i have a favourite brand of any, my mum works with someone who gets some really nice, quality green tea, i actually ran out. Went to the local organics shop, bought a couple of their decent loose green teas and they were all nasty. Need to get more from my mums work mate i think.
Junglist!
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#8
I should try some spiced teas too, had a carton of 'chai latte' from Tesco & it was nicer than I expected, tasted of cinnamon. There's a cafe that does Kashmiri tea that I should visit.

Another thing, don't make green tea with boiling water, it's extra nasty that way, it should be off the boil, 65-80c.

Black tea should be made with water that is still boiling & the pot (or cup) should be warmed first.

I'm going to go into Pollard's & see what they have got, it's near to my friend's new micropub.
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#9
Found I had some not a all bad Clipper black tea bags. 
I haven't used the sites you mention Passiflora - if pollards are storing their tea in clear jar that would make steam come out of quality merchants ears - just how much clear jars will damage tea with a fast turn over I don't know. It should always be stored air tight to avoid taking on ambient flavours though.

Most of my green tea has come from Imperial tea who are based in lincoln; they are expensive though you get what you pay for to a large degree - My budget  currently doesn't allow me to any decent green tea. Quality isn't so important if you are after flavoured tea.

I really don't like flavoured tea other than the occassional earl grey but if you like spiced tea a traditional Indian recipe for Elaichi chai: the original recipe I got mid-late 80s went:

ELAICHI CHAI

10-12 cardamom pods slightly crushed
1 1/4 pints milk
4 tsp tea leaves or 3 tea bags
4 tsp sugar

You were supposed to bring it all to boil, simmer 4-5 minutes then strain and serve hot

Obviously this is a lot of tea so I adapted the recipe; 4 tsp tea leaves is a bit vague (as are some old recipes) given the various grades and strengths of some teas so tea bag is easier and I found it a bit easier just to add powdered cardamom to taste since there is a massive difference between a lot of the cardamom you get when green cardamom is opened it should be oily and black if it is fresh. A long boil maybe too much for some teabags/tastes to I suspect, but you have the core recipe there.
"Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law"
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#10
Broken Orange Pekoe is the tops but good tea like good Coffee is not cheap and I am currently drinking PG black and a very ordinary Typhoo green. Clipper is nice for ordinary and flavoured as is Pukka. Like the occasional Earl Grey but would like to try some genuine Chinese green and White. Never heard of Yellow. We now have no specialist Tea and Coffee shop which is a disgrace for a town with 100 000 inhabitants, just discovered it bought some of the Pekoe and some lovely Guatamalen Coffee and it shut. So am now drinking supermarket rubbish. Big fan of flavoured, peppermint and clipper Lemon and Ginger being favourites also Redbush, Vervain and chamomile. Keep promising myself i will order something decent but funds are low so its Douwe Egberts Coffee and Millicano instant. Can anyone recommend a reasonable online merchant for Tea and Coffee.
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