Hello My Fellow 'Hounds
I'm hoping to find someone quite knowledgeable in all things tea amidst our ranks - someone who knows the best way to brew, pitfalls to avoid, and differences between teas.
So, if you believe you're migh-tea smart when it comes to tea, help a poor lil' feller out, and hit reply!
Now then, on to the questions!
1) This question was more or less stated above, but what really is, in your opinion, the best way to brew tea? I'm a fan of French-press coffee, and I recently discovered there's such a thing as a tea press; in fact, Bodum®, one of the more popular manufacturers of the ubiquitous French-press, have their own line of tea presses (see photo below). Is this a good way to go? Has anyone tried it / liked it? Or should I scrap this idea altogether, and prepare my tea by (*insert preferred tea preparation method here*)?
2) I'm going to guess that premium loose tea leaves, rather than ready-to-use tea bags, make the best tea; that said, loose tea generally doesn't come with directions (I assume). How will I know how long to steep the tea? I know people have individual preferences for the strength of their tea - which translates to different steeping times for different people... but, as a rule of thumb, what is an acceptable steeping time for loose:
A. Earl Grey
B. Japanese Green Tea
C. Indian Chai
D. Chamomile (and similar herbal teas)
F. "Breakfast Tea"
G. Black Tea
H. White Tea
**Green Tea Questions**
3) What is Macha Green Tea Powder, and is it any better for making green tea than actual green tea leaves?
4) Is "Indian green tea" the same as regular or "Japanese" green tea? I have noticed Indian/Kashmiri chai blends (prepared teas, from brands like Stash, Celestial Seasonings, etc) that use "Indian green tea." Does Indian green tea contain the same healthful properties as regular green tea?
5) Being fairly health conscious, I am trying to include more green (and white) tea into my diet. I have noticed that some green teas are quite bitter, while others may be milder, or possess a nuttier, more earthy flavor. I can never seem to get to the bottom of a bitter cup of green tea, but I can easily polish off a smooth drinking cup. I also find I enjoy some of the nuttier green teas I find in some Japanese restaurants. Which green teas would you recommend for me?
** And Finally.. **
6) What common mistakes do people make when buying / brewing tea? What pitfalls should I avoid?
7) If you live in or are familiar with the Los Angeles area (especially West LA), where are the best spots to buy tea?
8) What's the best way to store loose tea?
9) Lastly, being a huge fan of Indian (some call it Kashmiri) chai, I welcome anyone and everyone to email me their favorite recipes for the perfect cup of cardamom and cinnamon infused chai.
If you've managed to read this far down, THANK YOU! I greatly appreciate any and all help - the collective knowledge on this board is a tremendous resource that I absolutely treasure!
I look forward to your replies!