The Tea Detective
Uncovering and Exploring the Facts About Tea
Buying Tea - Tips For First Time Shoppers
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Like anything, shopping for tea for the first time can end up being a frustrat-
ing experience if you  don't know anything about it.  If you're like most of us
(me included), your first tea purchase came from the shelves of your local
supermarket.
And that's okay.  I'm in
no way a "tea snob."  
Some of my favorite teas (Lipton Black Tea
with Lemon, and  Snapple ready-to-drink
bottled iced tea) come from the supermar-
ket shelves.

But if you want to experience the fullness,
flavor, and subtleties of tea, you'll have to
eventually take a step up and try
loose leaf
tea.

I can already hear you asking - with so
many different kinds of teas out there to
choose from, how do you know what kind to
buy?  Well, hopefully I can help make that
decision easier for you with a few tips, and
some helpful information.
I know how confusing it can be in the beginning, with hundreds of names flying at you, and not
understanding what in the world it all means.  That's one of the reasons I created The Tea
Detective - to help you understand and embrace all that tea has to offer.
Choosing the Right Brew For You
Since there are so many different kinds of tea
to choose from, the best way to decide is to
rely on your own personal tastes, what you
like, and dislike.  Think of tea as wine.  Each
different kind has its own unique personality-
some are light and sweet, some dry and
heavy.  Like wine, each tea has its own
unique flavor, depending on where it was
grown, the soil, climate, type of processing,
etc..

So how do you choose the right tea for you?
Depend on your palate.  Do you like light,
sweet flavors, or do you go for bolder, more
intense, in-your-face kind of flavors?  Do you
want something stimulating, or would you
rather something relaxing?  

        If you want a mild tea, very light and low in caffeine (although at about 20 - 50 mg per
        cup, tea is naturally low in
caffeine compared to coffee and soda), you might start out
        with a
white, or oolong tea.  If you want tea that is still light, but with a bit more flavor,
        one that's fresh and aromatic, go for a
green tea.

                                                            If you want stronger, bolder flavors go with
black, whole
                                                            leaf teas from China.  And, if you go for the really bold
                                                            flavors, you might want to try
pu-erh tea, with a dark,
                                                            smoky, earthy flavor.  

                                                            Or if your palate goes more to the spicy side of things,
                                                            then
chai tea is just the ticket.  This spicy black tea of
                                                            India is boiled with cinnamon, cardamom, pepper, cloves,
        and ginger, then sweetened with honey and vanilla to create a spicy, sweet, and satisfy-
        ing conoction.  

        Do you have a favorite fruit?  Maybe peach, or strawberry?  
        
Hot or cold, day or night, flavored teas are wonderfully satis-
        fying.  They come in nearly every flavor imaginable, from kiwi
        to coconut.

        But if you're yearning for something light and relaxing at the
        end of a long day, a nice
scented tea will definitely fit the bill,
        maybe a cup of chamomile or
jasmine tea.

        The great thing about buying tea is that it's relatively inexpensive.  For under ten bucks
        (that's about equal to the cost of two medium cups of coffee from a franchise or boutique
        coffee shop), you can get about 20--30 servings of tea.  So if you end up not liking one of
                                                           your choices, you're not out much.  Give it to a friend, or
                                                           leave it in the office lunch room, and it'll get snapped up
                                                           faster than you can say "it's not my cup of tea."
                                                        
                                                           The good news is that with all the choices of tea available
                                                           today, from the basic black tea, green tea, oolong, white
                                                           or pu-erh teas, to
blended, flavored, scented, herbal, chai
                                                           and spiced teas, it's certain that you'll find a favorite tea.
        And I'm not a betting person, but this is one time I'll bet you, that there's more than one
        tea out there that you'll end up falling in love with.
 Enjoy.
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