Today we delve into a question about personal taste, namely, how to start liking tea. There are so many different types of tea and so many different ways to brew and experience tea, you are bound to connect with at least one of them.
Tea Types and Flavors
When most people think of tea, they think of black tea. Some great examples include the House Blend English breakfast tea, the Heritage Blend maple Scottish breakfast tea, or the Fog Cutter lemon Irish breakfast tea. Black tea is dark and bold, and can often be sharp or bitter depending on the leaves and how it was brewed. If you are wondering how to start liking tea, but find black tea to be too bitter, remember that some black teas open up an entirely new flavor if combined with a little milk or sweetener. Also, remember that sometimes the easiest way to avoid bitterness is by steeping the tea for a shorter period of time.
Green tea is less bold than black teas and has its own successes and pitfalls. Green teas often feature flavors that are more vegetal or floral. For a floral tea, try the Garden Grove vanilla cherry jasmine. Green teas can be temperamental for brewing; if the water is too hot it can scald the leaves and make the brew bitter, so be sure to check the recommended water temperature and steep time on the tea's packaging.
If you don’t like other green teas, I wouldn’t write them off yet. It is important to note that matcha is a type of green tea that makes for a refreshing and invigorating brew. Matcha is powdered green tea, so it can be mixed directly into your mug -- no straining required. Because you consume the whole leaf in powder form, matcha gives a big boost of caffeine and can be used in almost anything from cakes to lattes to beauty supplies. If you are wondering how to start liking tea, matcha might just be the magic tea to suit your tastes and brew style.
The world of herbal teas, or tisanes, is too vast to cover in this article, so keep exploring even if you don’t connect with these suggestions. Rooibos and honeybush teas are made from naturally uncaffeinated plants and bring a nutty, woodsy flavor to their brews. I recommend a gentle green rooibos blend like Tranquil Peach or a honeybush tea like Chocolate Hazelnut.
If you are still asking how to start liking tea and aren’t interested in herbals, try mate teas. Mate is a high caffeine herbal tea and comes in both roasted varieties -- like the Stargazer Mate Chai blend -- or green varieties -- like the Raspberry Revitalizer Lemon Mate blend. If you need lots of caffeine but don't like coffee or matcha, mate teas would be a great choice.
Lastly, there are the more traditional herbal teas made up of herbs and flowers, like everyone’s sleepytime favorite, chamomile (as seen in the Tranquil Dreams and Cuddletime blends). Herbal teas could have any variety of flavors; check out Refreshing After Dinner Mint, Peace jasmine-lemongrass, or Meadow Walk blueberry-rosemary to get started. For the most flavorful results, make sure you have a hearty serving of herbal tea leaves and brew them with very hot water (or cold brew them for a few extra hours). Long steep times are acceptable; brew until the flavors tastes right to you.
Tea Brewing Styles
Maybe there are a few tea flavors that work for you palate, but you still might be asking how to start liking tea. The next thing to consider is how to brew your tea.
If you find the steeping and straining process to be a hassle, there’s no shame in using tea bags. Get pre-packaged teabags, or fill your own teabags ahead of time for easy brewing later. Or, try a tea infuser that fits any mug, any time.
If hot tea doesn’t suit your style, try cold-brewing instead. This process brings out different flavors than a hot brew and may lead to rediscovering which teas are your favorites. Since cold brewing uses cold water throughout, the process is easy on those fussy tea leaves that need just the right temperature. It’s also easy to add fruit, mint, sweeteners, or other fun additions when making a pitcher of iced tea.
Tea Practice and Routine
If you are past the struggle of finding your favorite tea flavors or brewing style, but are still looking to get the most enjoyment out of your tea, consider the context in which you brew your tea. Learn a new tradition like the Japanese tea ceremony where you whisk your matcha by hand. Or learn more about teas like pu erh or oolongs which are often drunk over the course of many short steeps, called a tea session.
The simple practice of slowing down and developing awareness can help answer the question of how to start liking tea. Pick your favorite teapot and spend some quiet time by yourself while the leaves brew. Or make teatime a part of your day by inviting a friend or neighbor over for tea and conversation.
There is no one, single way to start liking tea. Try a few flavors and styles on for size and see which ones fit you best!