Tea Buying Tips

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There are more than 3,000 varieties of tea! Many more than one person could ever sample. Yet most supermarkets stock mostly plain bagged teas, and perhaps only a handful of loose leaf teas.

To buy quality tea, you generally need to deal with a specialty tea merchant. Specialty tea stores will often have 300 or more varieties of tea on hand. And they’ll often let you sample them too!

Most large cities have one or more specialty tea stores. Any many reputable online retailers sell fine tea online.

When buying loose leaf tea in bulk, look for tea that is nice and dry. If the leaves still feel like they have moisture in them, don’t buy them.

Also make sure there’s not a lot of unwanted material mixed in with the leaves, i.e. bits of twigs, stems, yellow leaves. You want a product that’s free of impurities.

The tea should have a deep color and a fresh, pleasant fragrance.

Tips on Choosing a Teapot

Teapots come in all shapes and sizes. In general, the three main considerations are size, correct type (material) and style.

Choosing a teapot that’s right for you

If you plan to use the teapot to make tea for yourself each morning, a small 1- to 2-cup teapot (14 oz) is just right.

If you like to make a pot of tea and drink it throughout the day, or if you wish to make tea for company, you’ll need a larger teapot (20 to 30 oz).

Teapots are usually made of cast iron, ceramic or glass. A glazed interior is an important feature, as it will prevent the pot from absorbing flavours.

Cast iron teapots have the advantage of distributing and holding heat better than ceramic or glass ones. This allows the tea to release more flavour. Cast iron teapots are considered the best kind of teapot.

Ceramic teapots are more lightweight, and come in a huge variety of styles and colours. The traditional “Brown Betty” teapot is a favourite in North American homes. These teapots are well-suited to black teas such as Earl Grey or English Breakfast.

Glass teapots are used when preparing hand-sewn flowering teas. A transparent teapot allows you to observe the beauty of the flowers as they open up. They don’t hold heat as well as other types of teapots, so a tea cozy or teapot warmer should be used.

The stainless steel type of teapots commonly found in cafeterias are best avoided. Better to put your teabag directly in your cup than let it steep in a metallic container.

Some teapots come with removable strainers that allow you to easily remove tea leaves from the pot once they have steeped. This makes serving and cleanup a lot easier.

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