Sunday, October 30, 2011

Tea Time

As most of you know I am a crazy tea fiend, which is why I've been up for the past 3 hours researching electric tea kettles with temperature gauges which you can set for different boil temperatures. Something I learned tonight is that when people say they don't like Green Tea cause it's "too bitter" or "too strong", that often means the tea has been "overcooked" as boiling hot water (212F or so) has been poured on it, and it doesn't react all that well to such hot water. Boiling water is meant for Black teas and Herbal, but for Green (and even more so for White tea), a lower temperature of 175-185F is better. Super interesting. I've never really been all that careful in the past with water temperature and I bet it does make a huge difference - especially if you start buying proper loose-leaf fancy teas and not just $2 boxes at the store.

So the tea kettle thing is still undetermined. There is a nice looking one from Cuisinart:
Cuisinart Stainless Steel
It's "variable temperature" which means it has a sensor in it to test the temperature of the water, pretty cool. Kinda pricey at $80 but looks pretty solid. Adagio Teas has one for $49 called UtiliTEA. Then there is one from Chef's Choice, PINO and Aroma that I looked at too. The Aroma one looks cool cause it changes colour as it gets hotter :) Kindof amazing, but probably just a gimmick. The problem is, none of these (even the Cuisinart) came off scott-free in the reviews on Amazon. Some people talked about plasticy taste, some people talked about leakage or rusting or the fact that the "expected temperature" was never actually correct, it was more like a rough ballpark. So a ton of reading and I still don't know which to get. Chef's Choice sound more annoying than anything else, I don't know much about PINO, and enough people ripped on the Aroma that I probably won't get that one. So it's down to UtiliTEA vs Cuisinart probably - price difference of approx $30 but the Cuisinart does have more features - like a "keep warm" button, kinda cool.

I've also been looking at new tea to buy online. My friend Rachel likes Adagio, and they seem pretty good. I'm in love with LUPICIA Fresh Tea, and their Green Rooibos was probably the most awesome thing ever. Though no need to order them online as they have a store here in San Francisco. The Republic of Tea is another local one and I've had their Melon White Tea before and it was pretty darn fantastic. Reasonably cheap and they have really nice tins too, so I think I might try a few of those. Finally, some friends at work just recommended Upton Tea Imports in Massachusetts. While their website desperately needs some better design, apparently their product is above and beyond any competition. So I'll have to try them out too. (Aside: TWG Tea from Singapore is so awesome but I was never able to find it here in San Francisco area. Looks like TWG is sold at Dean & DeLuca in New York City, but they have a St. Helena store in Napa Valley too, and see to sell TWG so I'll have to check that out next time in the north bay).

I have always been a tea fiend but I think I'd like to start drinking more tea at work. I usually defer to coffee cause it's so easy and quick and really I should rock some tea more often, especially fancy tea at work cause that would be fun. I have no idea why I haven't taken in some of my tea choices from home into work! Crazy!!!!

Finally, I never knew about this but should have suspected it - there is a tea social network called Steepster!!! hahaha. I should join and rate my favourite teas. Hilarious. Someone on there gave the Singapore Breakfast tea from TWG Singapore a good rating - well deserved. That tea shop was SO FRIGGIN GOOD. If I ever end up back in Singapore I am gonna drop like $100 at the TWG tea shop before heading back. :)

On that note, tea time! Actually I better go to sleep, why am I up so late about something so unnecessarily stealing my focus away from sleep!??! Oh right, cause this is exciting and when there is exciting stuff going on, I never go to sleep at a reasonable time. Oy. :) Anyway, a "bonny day" to you all, and happy steeping (and/or sleeping).

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