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Viewing 12 posts - 26 through 37 (of 37 total)
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  • #7445

    liberteas
    Participant
    @liberteas

    Well, first of all, there are two … well actually THREE … different terms that I even have trouble keeping separated. First is blending. Blending is not only the act of combining different teas, but also blending fruits, nuts, herbs, spices and the like with teas … like a masala chai blend for example. Chai blends are not usually flavored – that is, altered by the addition of flavoring oil – but they are blended heavily with spices.

    Blending in itself is a pretty easy process, but, depending upon what you’re blending it may have little effect on the overall flavor. For example, if you’re trying to make a strawberry tea, and you’re blending a black tea with dried strawberries, the overall flavor is going to be black tea. The strawberry flavor will be weak, at best. Other blending components, such as spices and herbs, have more of an impact because they do produce a strong flavor when infused.

    Then there is flavoring. Flavoring is the act of adding flavoring oils to the tea leaves. These oils are intensely flavored extracts that are absorbed by the teas. When you get a caramel tea, for example, the caramel flavor is not going to come from the addition of caramel chips … these are added primarily for the purposes of appearance. Or going back to my strawberry example, you might add freeze dried strawberries to the black tea, plus add strawberry oil to the tea leaves and allow the oil to be absorbed to create a strawberry flavored tea.

    The act of flavoring is more difficult, but you have to start with good oils. Then there is how to flavor them. Some tea artists use a direct method by applying the oils directly to the tea leaves, some tea artists may use a more indirect method by applying the oils to a piece of cheesecloth (for example) and putting the cheesecloth in with the tea to allow the tea to absorb the oils. In my own experience, I have found that some flavors work better using the direct method, while others work better by the indirect method.

    The third and final term is scenting. Scenting is almost like the indirect method I mentioned above, but it is generally accomplished at an earlier stage of tea development and generally done before the teas are made available to the tea purveyors (be they wholesale or retail). This is the best way to create a jasmine tea, for example. Jasmine oils do not create as pleasing a jasmine flavor … generally when you find a “soapy” or overly-perfume-y tasting jasmine tea, this is the result of flavoring with oils instead of using the layered scenting process at the early stages of tea processing.

    To answer Peter’s bottom lime question … it can be learned. It can be done at home… but I certainly would not compare it to knitting (but then, I never learned how to knit). My practices are primarily self taught, having done a lot of research in my early years. It wasn’t until after I had embarked on my that I actually attended a class … and at this class that I attended, the act of blending but not flavoring was taught, so I felt a little cheated out of the cost of tuition.

    The biggest piece of advice I could give someone who actually wanted to learn how to flavor (or even blend) is to give it a try, and don’t give up if you don’t succeed the first time… the reason it took me over a year to create a blend (a few of my blends took at least that long), is because my first attempt was not quite what I wanted, so I kept trying until I was satisfied with what I created.

  • #6774

    liberteas
    Participant
    @liberteas

    I met him briefly too. Didn’t have much time to say anything to him except that I appreciate his tea.

  • #6299

    liberteas
    Participant
    @liberteas

    After learning a little bit more about the individual who made the comment, I would have to say that no, we (the tea community) aren’t the most snobbish community on twitter or any other social network.  I would instead say that for the most part, the tea community is comprised of human beings, just like any other community.

    Some of those human beings are nice, some might be snobbish.  Some might even be bullies, and then there might be some who are willing to jump in when they are witnessing one of their own community being treated badly by those bullies.  And then… there are those who insist on not only bullying others in the community, but, also behave so abhorrently that they disgust the others in the community … and give that community a bad name as a result.

    That’s all I have to say about that.

  • #6295

    liberteas
    Participant
    @liberteas

    OK… maybe I’m a bit out of the loop here because I don’t spend a lot of time in the forums here.  Maybe it is more snobbish and dramatic than I realize.  I don’t know.  But, I would have to disagree that tea drinkers are snobbier than say… a religious type community or worse yet, a political community.  In the interest in playing nice and keeping some anonymity from my former trolling tendencies (it might surprise you to know that I have not always been the mild mannered tea reviewer that I am now), I shall not name names… but I will just say that I find the tea community is much nicer than the other places I’ve been.  Heck… there was more snobbery exhibited in a hard rock forum that I used to frequent than on Steepster. 

    Then again, it could be that I found my snobby niche. 

     

  • #5981

    liberteas
    Participant
    @liberteas

    Rare Tea Republic has an awesome Temi First Flush:  http://www.raretearepublic.com/content/temi-sftgfop1-first-flush

    Not to mention that there are some other impressive first flush at Rare Tea Republic.

    Also, try KTeas, they have an awesome line of first flush from the Glenburn estate:  http://www.kteasonline.com/glenburndarjeeling

  • #6166

    liberteas
    Participant
    @liberteas

    I had a Teavana sales associate in the tea shop last week and she
    confessed they have a script they must learn word for word AND, and this
    was gross! They often tend to pick the candied fruits and other non tea
    pieces out of the big tea tins
    !! Really? Why on earth would you tell me
    that and think I’d be ok knowing that?  Then again she also told me
    they had tea tastings referring to the thermos things they have out in
    the store. I almost died.

    OK, I’m officially grossed out now.  I don’t think I’ll ever buy tea from Teavana again. 

  • #6164

    liberteas
    Participant
    @liberteas

    No sniff boxes, no glass tea displays, no loose tea touch points.

    I think that sniff boxes would be a good idea; however, when the salespeople are behind the counter, and you’re inquiring about tea, they open the tea tins and wave the lid around so that you can catch the aroma.  Of course, this does require their assistance … and I do understand not wanting to have to go through a salesperson just to catch a whiff of tea. 

    Personally, I do not like it when tea stores display their tea in glass jars, and I have walked out of establishments that do so without buying anything.  Storing tea in glass is a bad idea, in my opinion.  I think the fact that Teavana does store their tea in the tins is their one redeeming quality…

    I don’t really respect Teavana’s approach, the fact that the people who sell the tea know very little about the tea and don’t have that passion that I think someone in the trade should have.  The company itself seems devoid of the passion for tea, they’re focused on the bottom line only.  I realize that business is business and blah blah blah… but, as someone who is passionate about tea I want the people who sell tea to me to be passionate about it too. 

    I used to love the store when I first discovered one in a mall not far from here … not far, but not close by either.  It required a special occasion for my husband to be willing to go there.  But it wasn’t the teas that got me excited about the store because at that time I was doing my own tea thing, but, because it was actually a tea store… people were catching the tea wave (I’m still a Cali girl at heart) and that made me excited. 

    Then when I shopped there, I realized that I was more knowledgeable about tea than the person behind the counter, and I was teaching her things … and that was a little disconcerting.  I realize they’re probably only making minimum wage and to them it’s just a job.  But, again, the tea lover in me wants the person who sells me tea to love it just as much as I do.

  • #6079

    liberteas
    Participant
    @liberteas

    There are several companies that have a similar service.  A couple of them are:  Design a Tea and Ovation Teas.  There are also companies like Mad Pots of Tea and Blends for Friends that will blend a tea for you based upon your likes/dislikes and/or personality profile that you submit to them. 

    I used to flavor/blend my own teas and operate my own tea business, but decided a couple of years ago that it was time to close it. 

  • #5937

    liberteas
    Participant
    @liberteas

    I seem to order from 52Teas on a weekly basis.  I swear I need to subscribe, but there is this part of me that fears that as soon as I do, I won’t like the tea that is offered.  LOL!

    Upton is a great company to order from, they always send samples along with the order, and they personalize the labels for you… makes me feel special when I get an order. 

  • #5846

    liberteas
    Participant
    @liberteas

    Yes jars can be closed and airtight.  But, most jars are either glass or plastic – and they allow light to reach the tea leaves.  Plastic I wouldn’t trust because I would worry that the plastic could taint the tea.  Glass can absorb heat.  It might not be enough heat to damage the tea, but, as a tea consumer, I simply wouldn’t feel very confident in buying from a purveyor who chose to store their tea in this way.

  • #5882

    liberteas
    Participant
    @liberteas

    I do not add milk to Oolong or green tea unless I’m making a green tea latte or a green chai latte.  Otherwise, no.  I haven’t tried milk in hojicha, but, I can see how that might actually be tasty.

  • #5844

    liberteas
    Participant
    @liberteas

    I don’t care if they are wearing gloves or hairnets… what does bother me though is when I go into a tea shop and they store their tea in jars.  This bothers me to no end.  I walk out of tea shops, buying nothing, if they store their tea in jars.  Tea should be stored in a dark, cool, airtight place away from the elements that destroy it, and if a tea purveyor doesn’t know this, I feel like they don’t know enough to be selling tea. 

Viewing 12 posts - 26 through 37 (of 37 total)

liberteas

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@liberteas

active 1 year, 4 months ago