Tuesday, March 8, 2011

tea time

I've always liked tea. Iced tea, that is. I thought people who drank hot tea when they weren't sick were a little bit crazy. Then I set foot inside a Teavana store. I tried their free samples and fell in love; however, that love was tempered by the price list. I discovered Teavana on the first day we were in D.C. for the school trip I helped sponsor last fall, and each day I was tempted to go back and buy some tea ... but the prices held me back. I kept thinking about Teavana, though, and after I (again) decided to get my caffeine consumption under control, I finally made my first purchase in January.

Yes, Teavana tea is expensive. Some tea blends are insanely so. And I very nearly didn't purchase the one tea I really wanted, the one I tried in the store, because it runs $12 for 2 oz. But it's actually pretty affordable when you really look at it. First of all, I found a coupon for $10 off a $30 purchase. With the Youthberry tea alone, I was almost halfway there. I decided to try one of their other recommended teas, Weight to Go. (The name is ridiculously stupid, I admit. But the tea is ridiculously good!) That put me at $20, and with a $4.50 for 2 oz. mint tea and a canister to hold some of the tea added to my cart, I ended up at just over $30. Cue the coupon!

The other reason Teavana is more affordable than it appears at first blush is that the leaves can steep three times before they lose their flavor. I admit, I was skeptical of this claim at first--after all, I've long mocked my dad for using the same tea bag three or four times. But it really is true; I always use the leaves three times before throwing them away. Each brew tastes different, and much of the sweetness in the fruit tea blends is gone after the first brew. The flavor is still enjoyable, though--and I sometimes add just a pinch of raw sugar to the latter brews.

I got quite impatient while waiting for my friendly UPS man to deliver my precious tea package, and when it arrived, I practically tore into it. My first sniff of the Youthberry tea just about sent me to the moon. My first brew, though, was less than stellar, and I quickly learned two important brewing lessons:
  1. Don't use a tea ball. Loose leaf teas expand when wet, and a tea ball is too constricting. I "borrowed" a small sieve from my mom, and the results are infinitely better.
  2. Unless you like a weak flavor, don't go with the recommended amount of tea. It's hard to measure the tea blends, as some have pieces of dried fruit. When the directions say to use 1 tsp of tea and one dried pineapple piece fills the teaspoon, it's hard to know how much to use! I've started eyeballing it--I just shake tea into the sieve until the bottom is covered. I figure I'm using about twice the recommended amount.
I've recently started making iced tea, as well. The mint isn't great iced, but I think Weight to Go is even more delicious cold, and Youthberry is excellent either way.

I've really fallen in love with tea, and I'm drinking much less coffee and pop than I did before. Tea is supposed to have a lot of health benefits, too, and I haven't yet heard anything redeeming about pop--so it seems that drinking tea is a better vice! If you're in the neighborhood, stop in and let me make you a delicious cup of tea ... I'm sure you'll love it!


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Also, you should try some jasmine tea. My wife really enjoys it.

  3. I love tea! I haven't tried Teavana yet, but after reading your post, I think I will have to! :)

  4. Teavanna is amazing Adam and I first found it in Chicago while he was training there! I loved the one that had a chocolate taste to it!

  5. Dear brother,

    Would you like some Earl Grey? I've just discovered that I'm not a fan. Should have gone with your jasmine suggestion.


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