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I am a big fan of This type of brewer if you already have a kettle to boil the water and are new to loose leaf tea. It's easy to use and easy to clean, and easy to brew either Western style or pretty close to Gongfu style (for the timing of the steeping, to see if you prefer this style before investing in Gongfu teaware).
Time for tea
I recommend the Adagio Teas ingenuiTEA Bottom-Dispensing Teapot for making tea.
I highly recommend this type instead of a coffee press. Easy to use, easy to clean.
The forlife is a good infuser, I have used it in the past. At work, I used to use an Ingenuitea because it is really straightforward to use and clean. And then any old mug is fine.
The leaf and water matter the most, but make sure your leaves have room to bloom and move around, or you'll get a weird brew.
I use a metal tea ball but you can also buy open tea bags and fill them yourself and sweet little teapots with a place for the tea leaves to infuse. At the tea shop where I used to work we sold a lot of these clever little pots Ingenuitea
I use one of these. It makes it so simple. Throw some boiling water (or even just the hot water from the water cooler at the office) along with a few lemon slices and about 1/4 more than my usual dose of kratom. Let it sit, put it on a cup to let it pour/strains, add some lemon.
A bottom-dispensing teapot like this one is a super easy way to do gongfu. You can look it up on youtube or something to see exactly how it works.
It doesn't have the same romance as traditional teaware, and you can't build up a patina like with yixing clay or other unglazed ceramics, but it is super convenient. Sticking a coffee filter in the bottom makes cleanup even easier.
I've done it. I usually throw all of my tea in one of these. I'll tear open one or two green tea packets and throw them in sometimes to compliment whatever else is in there. It's not bad, actually. I've never tried with anything other than green tea, though.
edit I wouldn't suggest putting it in an infuser, though. I've tried that and it makes for gritty tea.
What you might be looking for is a gravity tea brewer. They are super convenient and quick as well as being really easy to use.
You boil water or heat it to the temperature for your tea, put the tea leaves in the gravity tea brewer, pour the hot water over the leaves, let it sit for the amount of time for the tea, and then set the gravity tea brewer on top of your mug and the tea comes out. Cleanup is as simple as dumping the leaves in the compost, a flowerbed, or trash, and rinsing out the brewer with water.
I don't know if you use amazon or not, but here are a few options:
Loose leaf tea can be purchased from one of the many sites in the sidebar or at a local store. I find loose tea at my local natural store in bulk so I can measure out my own.
Do you have an infuser for loose leaf tea?
I would highly recommend the ingenuiTEA or a basket.
I've been using the IngenuiTea. It has a filter for loose leaf tea that pops out easily to clean.
Oh my god this is great. From Arizona to /r/tea in one step.
I can show you the woooooorld
If you don't want to dive right in to the super fancy stuff, check out Black Mango from Tao of Tea. It's made with good quality black tea compared to what you'd get in bags, but it also had a really pleasant and not overpowering mango backing. I've been making sun tea with it (You're in Texas so I figure you know how to make sun tea ;)). Let it sit for a few hours, pour it through a strainer or a coffee filter to get rid of the leaves, pour it over some ice and get refreshed as fuck.
You can do sun tea with just about anything. For most teas I actually start them with warm/hot water (Nowhere near boiling, though.), especially something dense like some oolongs.
If you want to try hot teas as well but don't want to mess around with a fancy teapot or gaiwan or whatever, check out the Ingenuitea. Easy to use, no mess, easy and quick cleanup, filters really well, etc etc etc.
As for some "nicer" teas, what sort of flavors do you enjoy? Bold, in your face? Or more subtle and light? Right now I'm working through a bag of Green Dragon and I'm loving it. Lots of flavor, has a nice deep earthiness to it, with some nice grassy notes.
If you're feeling brave, pick up a Puerh (I have the Velour in my cupboard right now and it's pretty solid) . It's kind of a love it or hate it flavor profile. It's aged, and with a good Puerh, it can be at it's best after a decade or more of aging. Some people describe it as rich, deep, earthy, complex. Others describe it as wet dirt flavored. Which I guess is kind of accurate, but it's good dirt.
I got my wife one of these: [link]
Does great at keeping leaves out.
I have been using this for a while now: [link]
and I am wondering if this is something like this that can make tea rather easily but comes in glass?
edit: minor question has anyone here used this [link] ? if so how does it work for different teas, I can't see a temp control.
If you want something simple to make tea for one, I would suggest something like this. I don't like the in-mug infusers. I usually end up having to look around for something awkward to get it out of the cup like a fork or chopsticks otherwise I end up burning my fingers. Tea pots are nice but I find them to be more ceremonial than I feel like dealing with when I just want something quick.
As far as temp goes, usually for green tea you're good to go once small bubbles start forming in the pot/kettle. You don't need to worry about having a thermometer nearby or anything like that.
And the corn pops green tea you're describing sounds like Genmaicha.
What do you think about ingeuinitea?
Am I getting sucked into some gimmick or is it actually convenient?
I would go for the white tea but it's kind of expensive for a beginner, so Alishan Milk Oolong it is.
The reason I'm getting into tea is because it seems like it's a healthy alternative to straight water, but the taste puts me off atm so a fruity, creamy flavor would be nice
This Alishan Milk Oolong brand seem good to you?
Random question: Do you believe drinking tea before sleeping is bad? I've heard it has caffeine but idk if it's tea-specific or what else, the green tea I have doesn't seem to bother me
Lastly, any specific method of measuring water temperature you recommend? Should I just buy a thermostat and wait for boiling water to cool?
I use one of these.
I use a gravity tea brewer. There are many on the market and they don't take up much more space than a tea mug. They are also easy to clean if you only put tea leaves or herbs in them and nothing with sugar.
Examples of gravity tea brewers:
Adagio Teas 16 oz. ingenuiTEA - $16.60 Prime (not affilate link) - Out of Stock on site - Video link
Teavana 16 oz. Perfect Tea Maker - $19.95 Prime (not affilate link) - $19.95 + shipping (there is a sign-up code, too) on site - Video link
I really like my Teavana Perfect Tea Makers because they are so easy to clean and all the parts come out so I can really get in there. An overnight vinegar, bleach, or citric acid dilution soak should help with stains, but scrubbing with baking soda and an old toothbrush will really clean it up well.
same as the ingenuitea from the looks of things.
they work alright.
Exactly 16 ounces.
I put water in this and put it in the microwave for 2 minutes.
make your own teas.
This is hat I use at work. [link]
I just heat up some water in the microwave and steep it at my desk. Works great!!
The IngenuiTea teapot from Adagio is cheaper, does the same thing, and doesn't give any money to Teavana. You can't lose.
For the love of Camelot!
My Nana was from England and moved here on Thanksgiving Day 1947. When I was growing up I thought we had a particularly fancy family member because there was a picture of The Queen hanging on the family wall! England has given me many things: CS Lewis, a love for Earl Grey that borders on creepy, the taste of warm milk straight from the cow, history.
This teapot is amazing
Thank you for the contest - it gave me warm feelings.
InginuiTEA [edit for link]. it's about $15 USD and it's the coolest thing to happen to my tea since robot-shaped tea infusers.
I've only had one problem with it: with opaque tea mugs, it's easy to overfill, because you can't see how full it is and the teapot drains off pretty quickly. The solution: put it down for a few seconds, pick it up and check the water level, give it another coupla seconds as required.