Looking for a full-bodied decaf black tea
- Paladar Feb 1, 2007 01:53 PM
A friend was recently banished from caffeine by her doctor and has been looking for a flavorful (not flavored) black tea ever since. Her favorite regular black tea is PG Tips but she's found that the decaf version is a weak comparison.
Also, if you can let me know where I might be able to find it as well, that would help.
If eighty percent of the caffeine were gone, would that be acceptable, or can she have NO caffeine? 80% of the caffeine is extracted from tea in the first 30 seconds, according to the people at Upton (my favorite online tea source), so you can pour water over, let it sit half a minute, dump the water, and put new water on it. I've tried doing that with a PG tips bag, and those bags are so strong, it still tasted pretty good. If she doesn't mind dealing with loose tea, she'd have more options.
I decaffeinate a lot of my tea, according to the method posted below, but to be safe, I let it sit at least a minute. The stronger the tea (pu-erh, for example), it might need to be steeped twice before it's safe.
That being said, I've tried MANY of the loose-leaf decaf teas out there and most are disappointing. Harney and Sons has a decent decaf Assam, but for a quick cup without the hassle of decaffeinating it yourself, Barry's makes a really good bagged decaf tea. I find it in my local Asian market which happens to carry a lot of products from the UK. And I think Typhoo's decaf (only the imported one) is pretty good, too.
I also want to add that, when I stopped drinking caffeinated tea, it was hard to find good hearty beverages. I found that honeybush can be steeped for a long time and has a good body like a black tea (can take milk and sugar, too), and several of the coffee substitutes out there, like Teeccino and Rocamojo (both can be found at Whole Foods-type stores) are satisfying.
I have to recommend my favourite, Lapsang Souchong. It's smokey, pungent flavour makes it the ideal tea for coffee drinkers, IMHO.
I am hooked on Barry's Tea, an Irish tea. The gold blend is my favorite. I've not seen the decaf version where I buy it, at Bristol Farms, but you can buy it online. The box looks very generic but what excellent flavor. It's well-loved in Ireland too.