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Debate: tea at your workstation?

Here at CHOW some drink tea at our desks (replete with an assortment of loose leaf teas and infusers)-but others are skeptical about whether this is a common practice. Please weigh in. Do others drink tea at work, and have tea gear sprawling over expense reports and notepads? or if they drink tea is it just with the break room tea bags?

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  1. I have a tin of some loose tea at my desk but it's not open. I got it from a trip in London a few weeks ago. I've been meaning to use those nifty easy paper tea bags that are for infusing. Haven't gotten around to it yet. My colleague has some too - we've drunk some by just pouring a teaspoon into a cup of hot water hoping they would sink (it didn't), but it gets messy. Generally will bring some good teabags from home - Choice or Yogi teas generally.

    8 Replies
    1. re: kayonyc

      If you stir the tea into the water and then cover your tea with a plate or lid (asian stores sell mugs with lids), the tea leaves will sink to the bottom.

      1. re: Torina

        Torina -- "...and then cover your tea with a plate or lid...the tea leaves will sink to the bottom."
        This is amazing, and it works!
        Can someone explain why?
        I like drinking tea with the leaves left in, and this is really good to know...but I want to know why this happens...????

        1. re: liu

          You're so right liu, this is a great tip! Perhaps we'll investigate and do a little video about it on CHOW...it seems like something a lot of people would want to know.

          -Meredith of CHOW

          1. re: mudaba

            Yes, mudaba! This is definitely one of those tips that makes our Chowing life much more pleasurable! I would love to see your video.

            1. re: mudaba

              By putting a lid on, it steams the tea leaves.. which quickens its pace of getting hydrated and infuses the tea flavour into the water faster. Tea leaves sink to the bottom when its thoroughly soaked ('coz it gets heavier)... so by putting a lid on, it just quickens the pace of that procedure! :) You'll also notice that tea leaves dont sink if the water is not boiled.. heat makes the leaves soak up faster, so would make it sink faster. Always make tea with boiling hot water!

              And yes, I drink tea all the time at my workstation!

              1. re: jennjen18

                Thanks, jennjen18!
                This all makes sense...except I do not like to brew high quality green tea and oolong tea leaves with boiling water. I have steeped them at various temps, and some of the subtleties of flavor are lost when zapped with boiling water; I also detect a bitterness if these leaves are brewed too hot. I prefer a lower temp for both good green and oolong tea. Perhaps there are others that also benefit from a lower temp, but these are the two categories that I mostly drink.

            2. re: liu

              It's interesting how something I've always taken for granted is a novel idea for others. In fact, on days where there's no time for the whole kung fu tea process, or when all you have is a cup and hot water, the way to go would be to use less leaves, rinse leave, pour water, cover with lid or plate, and walk away. When there is time to drink the tea, you'll come back to find the leaves all sunken to the bottom and the flavor have come out fully. Any explanation other than that the leaves have gained weight from soaking up the water I don't know.

              One thing about making tea this way is that you probably can't make a decent 2nd cup from the same leaves. Unless you can leave it for an even longer time. Yet, when I have to devote big chunks of time to a project, I will make my tea this way...let it sit and be my reayd reward when I take a break.

              1. re: HLing

                Hello, HLing!
                I am glad to hear you on this, as I know you're equally passionate about tea and all related things.
                I will have to experiment to see if the leaves eventually sink if the cup is not covered; otherwise, perhaps it is the maintenance of a higher temperature for longer to permit them to soak "properly."

        2. I'm known as the "tea lady" at my work. While there's no denying the ease of use of tea-bags, it's still nice to try and make loose-leaf tea at work. I manage this by pre-filling at home with loose tea in pre-packaged tea-bags ment to be filled with loose tea. (got them from Chado tea, in Pasadena..I know Teavana also stocks them) A few of my co-workers think i'm crazy for going this far, but guess who's allways asking for some of my tea??

          I do enjoy many of the Republic of Tea's products, and find they keep well in my desk. My work also has a Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf in the mall, and their product is good, as well. (I personally love the nylon mesh pyramid bags!)

          I think if I brought in all my tea equippage, they'd have me sent to human resources!! *LOL*

          5 Replies
          1. re: Honeychan

            Sounds like y'all need a bombilla straw. It's a little metal straw that has a filter. Traditionally used for yerba mate type drinks. You can grab one at any health food store/coop, probably even Whole Foods.

            1. re: geg5150

              geg5150: Oh, I have a bombilla- I just don't use it for standard tea. Yerba Mate is different to me, and the straw works great for it, but I just haven't brought myself to use it with my "real" tea. Yes, yes..I know it would work just as well..I guess I'm just a tea-snob! /tougune-in-cheek

              1. re: geg5150

                As a young spank out of college working at a commodities trading company... I used to keep a big freezer zip lock bag full of loose Mate (which always got funny looks from coworkers.... who initially thought it was something else).

                Now I work out of my home... so yes I have tea at my desk. However, I work for an Indian owned IT Consulting firm... and whenever I am down at Corporate HQ in L.A..... I raid the owners tea cabinet which is packed with very fine loose teams from Darjeeling. Given that the majority of the employees are Indian.... tea infusers sitting at cubicles is a common sight.

              2. re: Honeychan

                i'm also known as the 'tea lady' around my office. everyone comes over to my office when they need some tea! we have lipton bags in the lunchroom, but I just can't get myself to use them. I'll use an english breakfast one when i'm desperate, but not usually. I have a few different types of loose tea, including jasmine, darjeeling, and a breakfast blend from upton tea. i keep them in metal containers on my desk. I use a porcelain mug that i picked up in chinatown that has a matching infuser that goes inside, along with a lid that you can rest the infuser on after you use it. i also have one of those tea ball things, but i don't like using since it restricts the tea a little too much.

                1. re: twiggles

                  Hah! Yeah, I got labeled the "tea wench" in my office by my boss' sons (who're friends of mine as well) not because I hoard it all in my desk, but rather because we drink so much of it and it's always me making it.

                  We usually do equal parts english breakfast and earl grey w/ milk, but there is also a bag of lapsang souchong stinking up one of my drawers. In the breakroom, we've got the Bigelow combo-pack from Costco and various green teas. I go through the cabinets periodically and throw out stuff to make room for the new.

              3. yup. tea at work is a necessity. it is not on the desk, it's on a dry-goods shelving unit, next to the cereal.

                1 Reply
                1. re: soupkitten

                  definately, tea at work(at the desk) is a necessity.

                2. Yes, there's tea supplied in the common area at my work but it's not the greatest quality (it's better than the free coffee, mind you). I bring my own bags if I'm drinking tea. I can't be bothered with loose leaf at work; a decent quality bag (typhoo or the like) is fine and easy to manage.

                  1. When I lived in the west, I did mostly bags, and some loose, but never brought my best teas to work - my thoughts were that the ceremony of a really excellent and carefully brewed tea did not deserve the distraction of work. Now living in Chengdu china - like many, I carry a container that looks ike a small clear thermos with loose tea leaves inside. There is a screen on top you lift out, and hot water is addeded throughout the day. The city is known for tea culture, so even among taxi and bus drivers there is a high level of knowlegde and appreciation for the different types/grades of tea that are available.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: pepper_mil

                      pepper_mill: Oh, how I envy you! I've been lucky enough to go to Japan (but wasen't able to make any tea ceremony...It's a definate for my next trip there, tho!) and loved how tea is drunk for every meal, and then some. I have a few good import shops I do get my tea from, care to reccommend any Chinese tea?

                      As far as work goes, i'm fortunate as well to work in a major Las Vegas Strip resort, and the main lunchroom stocks Harney and Sons teabags! When my personal stock I bring in gets low, it's an easy walk to procure some pretty good tea, with no effort.

                      As much as I love coffee, tea really is #1 in my heart. So many different types, flavors..It would take a lifetime just to drink them all!

                      1. re: Honeychan

                        Hah, once I figure out a reliable way of recommending them I will...there are so many varieties and grades, plus tea packages here have freshness dates on them, which I don't remember seeing back home.

                        What I have learned so far: I love tie guan yin (the iron goddess of mercy) but the package I bought for not much money didn't impress me...neither did the very high end stuff. The medium high grade was my favourite. So far, every mao feng I've tried has been very vegetal, with a bitter note. Many love Lung Jing here, but I don't get why yet - maybe I haven't tried the proper grade. Learning about tea is just as complex (and fun) as learning about wine, I've found.

                        And I've drunk a really beautiful rose tea, made from milk with dried rosebuds floating in it....

                      2. re: pepper_mil

                        pepper mil, when my wife and I visited China in 2001 we noticed lots of people drinking tea from the containers you describe. The tea inside was almost always very pale in color, like a white tea, but it may have just been very diluted green tea. We speculated on how you could leave tea steeping throughout the day without it becoming bitter. Is it because you go through infusions quickly? Is it because the quality of tea is high and therefore less prone to oversteeping (white teas would also help with this)? Frankly, based on the tea we were served throughout most of China, we weren't convinced that the average Chinese person had any more appreciation for fine tea than the average British person despite how much tea is consumed in both countries. It sounds like, at least in the area where you live, that may not be the case, however.

                        1. re: Low Country Jon

                          Hi LCJ, the teas that people carry do get pretty dark here. As for the taste, some are more prone to bitterness than others and I don't have a good reason why - jasmines do tend to get bitter. We use a slightly lower temp of water for steeping, I think. Will report back if I learn more.

                      3. Definitely Tea. I keep about five varieties of loose tea at my desk in varying degrees of caffeine. I use a tea stick - http://www.gamilacompany.com/tea/teah... - to infuse my cups. Not so fond of tea bags.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: serpah

                          That teastick looks fabulous! I may need to splurge on it at some point ($18 seems a bit steep). I often use a mesh ball stick infuser at home, but the ball is a bit big for some of my work mugs. I bring a thermos of (loose leaf, strained) tea in the morning and if I need another bev in the afternoon, I either use a high quality bag or get coffee.

                        2. I currently have two varieties of loose leaf tea in my desk at work - Jasmine Pearl and Iron Goddess of Mercy Oolong, both from Samovar Tea Lounge in San Fran. Rather than a more traditional tea cup/mug, I have this - http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000... - a stainless steel tumbler of sorts, that comes with its own strainer. Put a tablespoon or so of tea in, fill with hot water from the cooler/heater, and it's good to go. This tumber keeps the tea nice and hot for hours on end. I've been very, very pleased with it.

                          1. Personally I just have a mug and some tea bags at work. However, my husband has a Bodum presspot along with high-grade oolong tea (which he keeps in a Ziploc). I think he takes tea a bit more seriously than I do.

                            1. When I was working, I did have to have my tea at work. Since I really don't care for tea bags, I would bring loose leaf tea. Green, oolong, jasmine, chaomille. Fragrant teas more so, Anyway I put the loose leaves into a small french press for ample brew and to catch the leaves. As a 5 minute escape it worked great for me and I never had a problem with spillage.

                              1. I drink various greens, whites and the occasional dip into a stash of this certain darjeeling i have. as far as i know, I've never seen anyone else besides me running around with a mug that has a strainer in it. I only use teabags when gifted (I was gifted some republic of tea white tea which I thought was surprisingly good, esp for teabag tea) or when i'm at a crappy restaurant. When I was working in San Francisco last year, my workplace did stash a bunch of varieties of teabag tea in the breakroom. I tried some and they were not too bad.

                                1. I make a lot of "iced tea" at work, actually it's just a tea bag (usually Good Earth cinammon) in a water bottle filled with cold water. It's so refreshing and encourages me to rink more water throughout the day. It's not the most proper of tea prepration, but I enjoy it.

                                  1. I stock the breakroom with various tea bag assortments but admit to having my own special stash of loose teas in my own office and have a china teacup to go with. I like it loose in the cup so I don't have a lot of tea gear. Just the spitoon (kidding).

                                    1. i'm not a tea fanatic.. but when your stomach is ultra sensitive to certain types of coffee and all you've got is tea bags of orange pekoe, you learn quick.

                                      i keep a bodum and a mug at my desk along with containers of tea and oft replaced fresh ground beans. just in case i don't feel like cleaning the bodum, a sphere infuser as well. i mostly drink rooibos at my desk and the coffee gets a good rotation.

                                      1. I don't drink coffee, so absolutely woohoo for tea!

                                        What's more, I've got British folks, so tea was always the preferred drink, no matter the time of day or location :)

                                        1. I work from my Home Office. Every day when possible I take a break at 4 o'clock and sit down to tea and something. An excellent habit picked up when I lived in London.

                                          I brew tea from loose leaf tea placed in a metal ball. Lately, I have been loving Earl Gray alternating with Bulgarian Rose, and Jasmine Black Tea. I get my tea from Mariage Freres in Paris or from Two For The Pot in Brooklyn Heights. I brew a large pot, and set up my Tea Tray at my desk. The pot in its Tea Cozy, cup and saucer, and plate for my scone, toast, or whatever.

                                          To make just one cup, I have a metal teaspoon that opens, gets filled with Tea, and sits in the cup like a tea bag.

                                          It makes me happy every time!

                                          1. I do drink tea at work, usually a couple of cups a day. I leave the loose leaves at home and keep a variety of bagged teas in one of my desk drawers. The only piece of 'equipment' I leave out is a hotpot that resides on top of my desk. I use it in lieu of the hot water from the 'Flavia' machine that always seems to come out slightly coffee flavored. Fine if I'm having coffee, but not so good for my teas!

                                            1. I recently bought myself a Cocoa Latte Express Jr. for the sole purpose of heating up water for my tea in my office instead of using the lunchroom microwave or hotpot. It's great, quick, quiet and I don't have to share :) I bring in my own tea bags (many were acquired at the Fancy Foods Show in SF this past January & I've been discovering which brands I like best) since the break room tea option is only a limited selection tea "pods" for use in a particular machine that other people use for their coffees.

                                              8 Replies
                                              1. re: socalqtpi

                                                Socalqtpi, Do you have a link of the Cocoa Latte Junior? We're working on a piece over here at CHOW and I wanted to collect these great suggestions and order them all to make a video about them, but can't figure out which one the junior is (there are a lot of choices)...http://www.nextag.com/Back-to-Basics-... you all for the great ideas. I look forward to exploring them all.

                                                1. re: mudaba

                                                  The "real" name of the product is Back to Basics Cocoa-Latte express (I call it Junior since it is a smaller version of the Cocoa Latte machine that I have at home!) - sorry for any confusion.

                                                  I bought the appliance at Target. Here is the tinyurl for the product: http://tinyurl.com/274zno Hope that helps :)

                                                  1. re: socalqtpi

                                                    Aha! So it wasn't a little frother/pot after all. This is cool! Thanks for clarifying. Looking forward to finishing this story and posting it.

                                                    1. re: mudaba

                                                      Here is another item that I found recently & am considering purchasing:

                                                      1. re: socalqtpi

                                                        Socalqtpi, while in California I found one like that except instead of glass it's made of ceramic at Wing Hop Fung. It was maybe just $8, and keeps the tea warm longer because of the ceramic. I like the novelty of the teamaker (the click of the metal ball) and use it to make greener teas.

                                                        Here's a long thread started by Orangewasabi, who somehow has the ability to generate much discussion no matter the topic.

                                                        1. re: HLing

                                                          Thanks for the suggestion on the ceramic vs. plastic drip tea mug. I just discovered that there is a retail location of Wing Hop Fung near my house, I must now investigate :)

                                                          Also thanks for the link, very educational & informative!

                                                    2. re: socalqtpi

                                                      socalqtpi -- This is a very "neat" appliance. Does it heat only the water, or do you brew the tea in the top pitcher/mug container? Do you put in tea bags or loose tea, and if the latter, how do you remove the leaves?

                                                      Please, do describe this further! What a discovery!

                                                      1. re: liu

                                                        I ended up buying the mug described by HLing (at the Monterey Park location of Wing Hop Fung) rather than the online item I first mentioned -- less price, plus more water capacity! I heat up the water separately with the Back to Basics Cocoa-Latte Express that I mentioned on 10-SEP & put the loose tea leaves in the removeable top insert (with the built-in filter). I add the water & let it brew for the allotted time, then press the button to allow the water to filter through to the mug portion, leaving the wet tea leaves behind. I pour the brewed tea into my tea cup, so that I can add more hot water to the wet tea leaves & continuously have warm tea available for my next cup :)

                                                        The leaves are a little difficult to remove from the insert by hand, but running the filter upside-down under water seems to do the trick. It's quite handy & since it is ceramic, it keeps my tea warm for longer periods of time. Hope that helps those who are curious about it.

                                                2. We are fortunate to have a small kitchen in our offfice. I'm able to keep my electric tea kettle there, as well as a small 2-cup teapot and a good supply of tea. On my desk I have an electric mug warmer. My teapot fits perfectly on my warmer, and keeps the pot warm for hours if need be. I also keep one of my favorite dainty teacups in the kitchen. I figure if I'm going to have tea, I might as well have proper tea! It helps to be married to the owner!

                                                  1. I just today brought in a tin of tea to accompany my new single-brew device. I think tea at desk is increasingly popular, and takes away a little bit of austerity (though not much) from modern work environments.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: Cinnamon

                                                      I , also, am known as the tea lady-
                                                      I keep my tea for 0ne and teas on my desk-no problems
                                                      everyone likes to look at the oolong and baozhong teas that I make

                                                    2. I use to work in an office with a large asian pop (Chinese, Taiwanese) All the asian ladies had tea at their desks. One lady had a large jar ( like a mason jar but bigger) on her desk and put hot water in it at certain intervals of the day. Some how she was able to pour the tea from the jar into her mug with out getting leaves in the cup or tea on her desk. Still don't know how she did it. Most of the other ladies had regular mugs (with a tea bag), but with little mug lids on top.

                                                      1. Because my desk is often cluttered, and time is usually short, I rely on good tea bags, and the hot water from the coffee machine in the break room, and lots of fresh ice (I'm one of those iced tea people). But when I have a little more luxury of time, I use loose tea and one of those spring-loaded spoons made of fine mesh screen. I tried the tea stick, but I find that it seems to clog easily and the brew is weak. Probably just my technique. I also have something that's a clear plastic travel cup with a stainless mesh insert that holds enough tea for a cup, but it's not big enough for most of my morning or afternoon tea breaks.

                                                        1. I've worked for a number of different employers. Some of them provided teas (tea bags), which is a nice plus. If they didn't provide it, sometimes I'd bring my own tea bags. So, yes, I drink tea at work, but only using tea bags and disposable cups (even though I feel like a menace to the environment every time I throw out one of those cups).

                                                          Through all the employers and in all these years, I've known exactly one person who brewed tea in her office. She kept a teapot and various loose teas in her office. Frankly, I found it annoying. I had a lot of work to do, and she had time to brew tea.

                                                          Perhaps it may be a little different at Chow, since your "product" is all about food. But for the rest of us, I feel that the workplace is primarily for work, and please leave your tea paraphernalia at home.

                                                          And no, it is absolutely not common practice to have tea things sprawled all over your desk. Normally that would get you some stares and maybe a talking to.

                                                          1. My desk has a tea drawer. Right now I have 6 types of loose leaf teas (in tins) and 4 types of bagged teas. I also have tea filters for the loose leaf teas. Some are black, some are green and some are herbal (just don't know what I am going to be in the mood for). I use bottled water in the microwave and brew at my desk. My employer does offer tea bags (Lipton) but I have never seen anyone use them.

                                                            1. Doesn't everybody drink tea all day at work except hard core coffee drinkers and the folks who have yet to outgrow soda?

                                                              I keep an ever changing assortment, black, green, herbal because you never know. Bags or loose in the spring loaded ball. I like them all except the spiced or flavored ones although Earl Grey is OK now and then. I avoid getting into a tea rut.

                                                              Funny how people rag on Lipton, etc. Maybe the box at the office is terribly stale. After a spell of drinking various fancy teas, I'll hit a bag of supermarket tea and say heck, this stuff is not bad, especially if you brew a smaller amount. Maybe this is because back during a long hospital stay everything they gave me to eat and drink was repulsive except the Salada tea. You can learn to appreciate the smallest things.

                                                              1. I work at a public counter so we don't have your typical cubie but the work spaces have cubbies. Though I am a coffee drinker, I do enjoy an afternoon cup and have kept a few bags in a sandwich bag in one of the cubbies so I can make a quick cup should time allow. For lunch and breaks I keep a couple of boxes of tea in the cabinet that is assigned to me. The break room has a pot of hot water going almost all day long, so any tea prep is done there, I dont have room or outlets for water pots at my desk. There are quite a number of tea drinkers at work because I've noticed the communal tea bags go very quickly and of course the perpetual tea kettle is always being refilled.

                                                                1. I currently have, in addition to various teabags including peppermint and genmai cha, a large baggie of roasted barley for tea. That one gets stares. But I also have many asian women working at my firm, and they all have large tea collections.

                                                                  1. Yeah, I'm the "tea guy" at work.

                                                                    The problem with tea at work is getting the water the right temperature. The little
                                                                    red spigot on the coffee machine isn't hot enough. So the first thing you need is
                                                                    a container to microwave it up to boiling.

                                                                    If you've gone through all that trouble, then why settle for the brown-colored water
                                                                    you'll get from a supermarket teabag? Mailorder some good stuff from uptontea.com
                                                                    or somewhere. It's hardly more expensive and tastewise: no comparison.

                                                                    Loose tea really wants to be brewed in a pot of its own, so the next challenge is
                                                                    to find yourself a nice, single-cup pot. Those little Beehouse ones that are all over
                                                                    the place now look nice. Or one of those newfangled strainer-mugs. Or a french
                                                                    press. Upton sells some nice single-cup pots too.

                                                                    At this point, there's definitely a risk of becoming known as the "tea lady", or
                                                                    whatever depending on gender. But what a small price for a great afternoon

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                                                                      I've been seeing these people at trade shows: Forlife. For some reason I'm drawn to the simple and elegant design (i suppose I should start a different thread for this), though I have yet to order one for myself. At the last trade show, the girl demonstrated how the Hook Handle Tea Infuser stays up right no matter now deep the cup/pot is, and also the extra fine mesh makes it more versatile in the kinds of loose leaf tea you may want to brew. Again, I have not tested the taste result of this kind of material, but I wouldn't use it on the more delicate tea such as High Mountian oolong, anyway. The convenience of how the infuser fits in any cup is perfect for office though.

                                                                      Scroll down to the bottom to see the hook handle tea infuser:

                                                                      1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                                                                        Ah, Chuckles! I see we have more than a taste for taco trucks in common!

                                                                        I, too, put the filtered water from the office chiller in a cup and bring it to a full boil in the microwave. Then I pour the boiling water over the loose tea in my mug-sized inset infuser basket. I'm of the "teaballs/spoons are worthless" school, since they don't have enough room for the water to circulate through the tea properly. I'm a black tea person, so I usually have a couple of different kinds. My favorite is the French Breakfast tea from Mariage Freres -- I curse/bless the person who got me hooked on it, as it's an expensive little indulgence (except when you compare it to the price of the similar number of cups from Starbucks, at which time it becomes amazingly cheap!). No one in my office has seen fit to comment, except for a co-worker who gave me a small teapot she wasn't using.

                                                                        Oh, and I'm caffiene sensitive, so it's *one* cup of tea, in the morning.

                                                                      2. I don't know so much about tea, but I'm surprised that no one has mentioned using a gai wan. Anyone?

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: yayadave

                                                                          i think no one really uses a Gai Wan b/c it might take up too much space - and i dont know about anyone else, but my desk is pretty cluttered.....

                                                                        2. I keep a box of Irish tea at my desk. At the point where I'm using tea balls and infusers and fancy pots, I think my boss may start to take exception. It's hard enough balancing a can of diet Coke with all the papers I have strewn about anyway.

                                                                          1. In my former office there was a woman who had to put on airs. She would walk around the office with a bone china cup and saucer of tea. We were all laughing behind our hands at her. Silly twit!

                                                                            1. I've had a tea pot with loose tea selections on my desk for at least 10 years. I recently went to one of those teapot/cup combos, that just make one big cup - I like that a lot, I don't have to drink the whole pot before I make more. I keep the open loose tea in zip lock bags, everything stays fresh for me for as long as I keep it.

                                                                              1. Hey everyone, We created a story and video based on this thread! Please check it out: http://www.chow.com/stories/10744 and give us feedback. We loved your ideas and working with them, and hope to create more fun stuff based on your postings in the future! Meredith

                                                                                1. i LOVE tea at work.... i like coffee too, but tea trumps coffee for me. i keep a stash in my drawer, other wise the moochers in my office will get to it.

                                                                                  you know whats great? the "perfect tea maker" - it infuses your tea and then drops it into your mug, strained, so no leaves swirl around, and it keeps things neat b/c it doesnt drip - well, mine doesnt:


                                                                                  good stuff

                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: kimcheesoup

                                                                                    Hello, kimcheesoup.
                                                                                    The "perfect tea maker" that you use is the same one that I have been using -- exclusively -- for at least a year now. Of course, mine is no longer clear, but very stained with tea. Nevertheless, it continues to work perfectly, with no unwanted drips. Mine is the ingenuiTEA brand which I ordered from Gongfu Tea, but it is the same piece of equipment. I love it!


                                                                                    1. re: liu

                                                                                      haha yeah, isnt it great?!!! it makes tea just that much better... and a little more fun too

                                                                                    1. re: welle

                                                                                      that is neat! - i think someone already mentioned a tea stick though, but the one they posted was slightly different.... but still, both look very cool - i just might have to pick one up now

                                                                                      1. re: welle

                                                                                        I've never had any luck with the tea stick. My chow sweetie gave me one as a give years ago, and after trying it a few dozen times, it sits - stylish but unused - among my tea paraphernalia. I don't know what there is about it, be it too cramped, or holes too small, or what, but I can never get tea to actually brew. If I use enough loose tea to make a cup, I get a wet soggy but unbrewed clump of tea leaves. If I use tea dust, I can get a passable cup. but the whole point of brewing loose tea instead of using tea bags is to get away from tea dust.

                                                                                        Note - we did try it again this weekend with some loose tei quan yin, to no avail. I had to start fresh with a french press style pot.

                                                                                        1. re: Loren3

                                                                                          Anything that confines the tea while it's brewing is bad. A tea ball, one of those double-spoons-with-holes-in-them, a tea bag, a high-tech swizzle stick.

                                                                                          If you're making loose tea, it comes out tasting *so* much better if you let the leaves float around while steeping.

                                                                                          Rather than paying a lot of money for a gimmick, just get a small fine-mesh strainer. Steep the tea in anything handy -- a teapot, another mug, a pint glass, a pyrex measuring cup. When it's done, pour it through the strainer into your cup.

                                                                                          This one is ridiculously expensive so don't buy it, but you can find others like it for maybe $3 to $4 dollars:

                                                                                          1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                                                                                            If you don't like the mess of pouring through a strainer into a cup (we're talking about what's practical for a desk, afterall), then an infuser basket is a good choice. Republic of Tea has several (note that the nylon brew basket can be found for less -- it's $3.59 at my local natural foods market): http://www.republicoftea.com/template...

                                                                                          2. re: Loren3

                                                                                            i dunno - i've never had trouble with any tea strainers (tea ball, tea stick, etc) but i do also appreciate loose leaf spinning around freely - its kind of relaxing watching them go round

                                                                                        2. Good heavens- am I the only matcha drinker? I love the taste, and I've even started putting a heaping little tiny spoonful of powdered matcha (forgive the blast-from-the-past reference, but a long-handled coke-spoon-type dipper works well) into one's bottle of spring water, recapping, and shaking well. It tastes just as good as if it was brewed, especiallyif you're an iced green tea drinker, and being here in southern AZ, I definitely am. You get a tasty, pretty green bottle of matcha, and nobody's going to drink yours accidentally because it looks like an algae bloom happened in the bottle, at least that's what some of my coworkers say. It's even easier to have it hot, just bring a mini-whisk or one of those little battery-operated whisk things. You can rinse the whisk off in a glass of fresh water, and then drink that! Matcha's pricey, I don't want to waste any.

                                                                                          13 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                            EWSflash -- I love your description of your "algae bloom" in a bottle, and I know exactly what you refer to.

                                                                                            Although I can not find it on their website to offer you a link, Rishi makes "on-the-go" boxes of small packets of various teas: matcha (about $18 for a ten-pack), and sencha (about $9/10-pack), genmaicha and oolong. As you can determine from the price, the matcha is very good quality. They sell these at Whole Foods in their tea section. You simply open one of the little single serving packets and pour the contents into a 16 oz. water bottle -- then shake. Your method is exactly the same -- and probably more economical -- but these packets are extremely convenient.

                                                                                            I have tried all of their different "on-the-go" teas and find them quite refreshing when poured into very cold water. I often take the matcha infusion to the gym, and I especially like the green "powder balls" that have not completely dissolved; their concentrated flavor makes the otherwise homogenous brew less boring!

                                                                                            1. re: liu

                                                                                              liu- thanks for that tip. I have ordered what turned out to be "instant green tea" packets from DHC, a Japanese cosmetics company that has some healthy foods in their line, and while I like the convenience, I wonder about what i'm getting and what I'm not with the instant part, nutrition-wise. It's lke instant Lipton only green tea in ittle foil packets. Besides, it takes about 4-5 packets to be able to taste it in an average small bottle of water, so I doubt it's more economical than the expensive teas you mention. Sometimes you get what you pay for. I will probably buy it when DHC has it on sale- they always have monthly specials, but probably not when it's full price. But the matcha is always good- when you find a brand you like, stay with it.

                                                                                              1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                Hello, again!
                                                                                                I found something on the "to-go" packets that Rishi makes:


                                                                                                I noticed that the article is from last year and does not mention their delicious matcha. Be assured: they do make it.

                                                                                                To address your concerns (and mine, too), I know that they make a pure product. Also, one packet is good for one 16 oz. bottle...perhaps because of the integrity of the Rishi teas.

                                                                                                1. re: liu

                                                                                                  why not just grind your own? i have a tea grinder from Shirokiya (Japanese store in Hawaii)... it looks kind of like a pepper grinder and uses two ceramic plates to grind tea leaves into matcha powder.... its so good when you do it yourself!!! and you save a bit of money too....

                                                                                                  1. re: kimcheesoup

                                                                                                    Do you know if Marukai markets carry this tea-grinder, as well? I would buy this gadget in a heartbeat! Is it kept in with all the tea-supplies, or in housewares? I've never seen this before in all my tea-travels.

                                                                                                    I'm also really happy to find out my work is supplying great tea, finally! Harney & Sons teabags, in all types of tea. I'm about to drink a cup of green jasmine in a few minutes. I have really enjoed all the H&S's teas i've tasted, even if they are in bags.

                                                                                                    BTW, i'll start a new topic on it, but wanted to let all my tea-drinking CH'ers that the Tea Expo is being held here in Las Vegas, 2008. A -very- fun, informative event worth going to. http://www.worldteaexpo.com/
                                                                                                    A note, tho..It is industry only, if you have a business that's food-related with a business liscence, it's a fantastic event.

                                                                                                    1. re: Honeychan

                                                                                                      hm... i'm not sure, but once i have the chance, i'll take a look and let you know. but so far, i've only seen it at shirokiya......

                                                                                                      Harney & Sons is great! my fav is the hot cinnamon spice tea....

                                                                                                    2. re: kimcheesoup

                                                                                                      Could you post a link for the tea grinder? I'm having trouble finding one online - I contacted Shirokiya Sales & the message came back as undeliverable :(

                                                                                                      1. re: socalqtpi

                                                                                                        sorry - i've never been able to find it on-line. like i said before i got it in hawaii - i live here, so i just went on down to the store and bought it..... try doing a search, maybe you'll come up with more hits than i did. sorry i cant help out with a link: i simply dont have one....

                                                                                                        1. re: socalqtpi

                                                                                                          I FOUND A LINK FOR THE TEA GRINDER....
                                                                                                          after some digging and research, i found a link for you all who were asking:


                                                                                                          there you go...... ENJOY!

                                                                                                          1. re: kimcheesoup

                                                                                                            Since I saw your post about tea grinder I had been looking for what I thought existed ( i thought I'd seen the actual product before somewhere): a small hand-held stone or marble grinder that whose lid is also the grinding element, and serves to keep the contends in side while it's being pressed and grinded. Well, no luck. It's as if they've all disappeared. Some store owners, such as Chinatown shops told me that they don't import "that" anymore, or that it will be very expensive.

                                                                                                            So my search came to this, and no I don't smoke anything, but I wonder if this wouldn't be good for a very fine green tea/match grind? Or am I totally way off? In the mean time I will keep looking for that grinder made from stone that I thought existed...


                                                                                                            I forgot to add this link, which came up when I was doing the search, not sure if it describes the common grinder?

                                                                                                            1. re: HLing

                                                                                                              the product that you talk about sounds great - i havent seen it where i am, but i'll keep a look out.... the hand grinder link you posted should probably work, BUT those hand grinders are usually for spices, and i'm not sure you'd get the fine powder from those that would get with the grinder i posted - i have that grinder: http://www.itohealth.com/pro_gt_green...

                                                                                                              and it works great.... AND coarseness of the grind is adjustable - if you want a fine grind or kinda gritty one, this tea grinder is GREAT.... sounds like the one you're talking about is more portable though?

                                                                                                              1. re: kimcheesoup

                                                                                                                I was surprised that you were able to find a link to the grinder you posted about, since tea grinding just isn't something people in the US do on a regular basis.

                                                                                                                Yes, I'll admit I'm attracted to shiny metal boxes..and portability, so I'm somewhat fascinated with that product from "Half Baked Goods" , the Sharpston. They advertise it as "tabacco, herb, spice and coffee grinder" but I don't see if the coarseness is adjustable. I just assume that for Matcha it has to be very fine? I'm also curious about the "pollen" collector - sounds like very fine cake of left over tea powder to be had.

                                                                                                                Well, looks like I might have to start looking into Matcha drinking. Although, I read somewhere, that making tea from tea leave grounds was once the prevalent method in China, Dynasties ago, but that art has been lost in China, and is now only continued in Japan with green tea....so who know, there might be a return to the golden past in tea for China....

                                                                                                                1. re: kimcheesoup

                                                                                                                  In case anyone is curious about that metal grinder I wondered about, I just got it in the mail today. It's a very well made piece of tool ! It will not grind to powder fine enough for matcha, BUT, it was barely fine enough for making coffee in my Moka pot. The one I got however is 2.5 inch in diameter, and so I had to do the grinding 3 separate times for enough for the 3 cup maker. I made coffee with the grounds and found it to be minus the burnt/bitter undertone that i get if i use the electric grinder.

                                                                                                                  So, I'm ordering a bigger one (4" in diameter) for my coffee beans. I'm looking forward to a quieter morning before the coffee!

                                                                                                2. I'm a bonafide tea nut, even have get-togethers with other local NYC tea guzzlers and visit online tea boads.

                                                                                                  I'm fortunate to be a musician working at home most of the time, so have access to all my tea setups. When I travel, I carry a glazed cebei (really a small 4 oz. ceramic pot with internal straining holes and a wide spout) and do gongfu (multiple-steep) oolong or puerh or green...I don't drink much black tea. Water is the tough part of traveling; can't always get the temp you want at a restaurant. Restaurants try to accommodate me, but sometimes charge for the water/teacup/saucer setup. It's OK. Some places I work (rehearsal halls, colleges) have kitchenettes or at least electric kettles, which helps.

                                                                                                  Toured Japan and Scotland recently...both places offered electric kettles in the hotel rooms, very civilized! :)

                                                                                                  1. Before leaving for work, I brew loose leaves of Twinnings Earl Grey in a glass tea pot with glass insert - Bodum? that I got at Peet's. I time it for 4 minutes, dump leaves down disposal and then pour the tea in a med. size metal (Japanese?) thermos I got at Peet's. Stays HOT for at least 8 hours. Tastes great to me.

                                                                                                    1. Yes, and I have little Chick-Fil-A packets of honey too. Sometimes sticky. Used to work with an Indian guy who would make Chai (and share) on a hot pad in the lunchroom, mmmm.

                                                                                                      1. Two out of five of us at our office drink tea. We mainly do bags since we can order those with our other food supplies and they are paid for, our office supply place has some pretty good brands, but I have been thinking of doing a tin of loose leaf and those tea bags as people in above thread have said because we have lots of looseleaf for our big teavana tea maker at home.

                                                                                                        Luckily I also work a block from a pretty good tea store in DC, that's rare.

                                                                                                        1. I drink a cup of tea at my desk every afternoon. After i've had my lunch and sat at my desk for a couple of hours, everything is so tight, its the thing my system craves...

                                                                                                          sitting at a desk all day is murder on your stomach and digestion, tea helps to sooth...

                                                                                                          1. Definitely break room tea bags. I would LOVE to expense tea gear and gourmet teas to my company but I think they would look at me like I was nuts! Jealous!

                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: Chew on That

                                                                                                              Previous job, after a couple of months of my personal tea ceremony in the break room, I'd converted three other people. Eventually eight of us were going in on the monthly order to uptons, saving a bunch in shipping.

                                                                                                              Even the CEO was involved, but it never got to the point of being expensed.

                                                                                                              Remember, tea contains caffeine and caffeine is a highly addictive drug. Played right you can certainly get your colleagues hooked ... :-)

                                                                                                              1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                                                                                                                I love that last line! Yeah, the trick with my office paying for it is that we have all kinds of beverages for us and clients keeps us from needing to go get something out of office. Unfortunately most of them get their caffeine from coffee and diet coke, but Chuckles the Clone good work! I will keep trying to convert more!

                                                                                                                You know the stomach thing really is true! I switched to tea because of all the bad acid in coffee and diet coke I couldn't have in my system.

                                                                                                            2. Yes, yes yes! I have been drinking looseleaf tea (Upton Tea and Specialteas) for about 7 years at the office. I made the switch solely because office coffee is so yucky and insipid in general, and it was too much hassle to walk to the local coffee house. My tea of choice is high end oolong, which, as you tea connoiseurs may know, is getting increasingly difficult to find these days.

                                                                                                              I have an office where I can close the door, which makes things considerably easier. In the past I simply had bags of loose leaf tea, the Teeli basket infuser and a teaspoon, which I would use with a huge (20 ounce) mug. I also have a stainless steel teakettle that I have perched on a small credenza. Recently I switched to a 4 cup Chatsford tea pot, which I've found easier to use and easier to keep warm, and I've purchased a tea thermometer, too.

                                                                                                              I recently went to 100% tea, save for the occasional freshly-ground and -brewed cup of coffee that my hubby makes for me. I find the caffeine buzz from tea to be a much better experience--much more ethereal, much less of a jolt to the cranium. As a result, I think I'm more relaxed at home and at work.

                                                                                                              My teas of choice: Any high end Ti Kuan Yin (right now I'm sipping the Monkey Picked from Specialteas); Bai Hao Special Grade oolong; and special grade Tung Ting oolong from Upton (an older bag, but still very flavorful).

                                                                                                              One last comment: If you are a serious tea drinker, I highly recommend the stainless steel tea caddies from Upton. They have two lids, and so you are guaranteed that your tea stays fresh and flavorful for a long time.


                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                              1. re: tkalex9052

                                                                                                                I have enjoyed teas from SpecialTeas as well, but recently I have found the oolongs from Teance in Berkeley to be my favorites. Specifically, I like their High Mountain Light Oolong and High Mountain Dark Oolong, but do talk with their tea people, tell them your tastes, and see what they recommend. I have found their teas to be yet one step richer (with more flavor tones) than any other teas I have tried.

                                                                                                              2. Haha, I think this is still a biased sample.

                                                                                                                I do drink tea at my desk all the time. I go so far as to bring canned milk and keep it in the office fridge for myself (I love to drink Hong Kong-style "nigh cha", or milk tea). I keep cheap english breakfast and masala chai tea bags for that purpose. Also keep green tea (loose or tea bags depends on what I've purchased recently).