How do I start drinking tea?

Andres Nava 
Tea enthusiast and owner of Tao Te Tea

I was a first-time tea drinker at one point. My experience with tea on the internet was overwhelming to say the least. What attracted me were the health properties of tea. I thought that by drinking tea I could lose weight. I was hoping tea would help clear up my skin as well. So, my first motivation was mostly health. Being that I wanted to use tea as a part of my health regiment, finding the best tea was an important goal for me.

There are a lot of different reasons that people drink tea. One of the most popular reasons is health, but other reasons include relaxation, general well-being, and genuine appreciation for the flavor.

Regardless of why you’re here or how you got to this article, you’re here because you’re interested in tea. The last thing I want for you is to be overwhelmed by all the "information" on the internet. Tea should never be overwhelming.

There is an enormous wealth of information that can be found online on the subject of tea. It’s easy to get lost in all the facts and opinions, I stress opinions. Hopefully this article will serve you as a starting point, and will be a clear guide on how to get started enjoying your tea hobby.


Which tea should I buy?

There are so many different teas available. And everyone claims to have the best tea or “premium” quality tea. There are even counterfeit teas that make false claims to be from a particular region or false claims to be organic.

Please, do not be discouraged, but be aware of what you buy and from whom.

When choosing a tea, go with your gut instinct. No starting point is a wrong. At worst case, you may spend money on a bag of tea you don’t particularly enjoy. I’ve bought many bags of tea that never get finished, and there’s nothing wrong with that. The idea is to get out there and explore fearlessly. One time, try some green tea. The next, try some black tea. If you’re feeling daring, try some fermented pu'erh. Once you find something you really enjoy, go for a large quantity of 200 g or more!

I remember the first time I bought tea. I purchased a sampler pack of eight different teas. I spent a whopping $95 for that sampler. It came in all kinds of fancy little tins. I have been tracking my order online for a few days until it arrived at my doorstep. As soon as the arrival notification popped up on my phone, I eagerly drove home to enjoy the new experience. The sample pack I purchased came with an assortment of green tea, black tea, white tea, and an herbal tea. Each of the eight tins contained only 5 g of tea – when the products set sample size, they weren’t kidding. Needless to say, I blew through that $95 worth of tea in no time. My first purchase of tea was my first lesson, price is not everything. In my experience, I have enjoyed some notably delicious cups of tea that were surprisingly inexpensive, and I have had some unremarkable cups of tea that were outrageously expensive. I suppose the same can be said about wine and other indulgent pleasures.

There’s nothing wrong with purchasing a sampler. If buying a $200 sampler is reasonable and you are feeling adventurous, then by all means, do it. The main point that I’m trying to convey is that there is nothing wrong with getting out and trying something new, that why you're reading this article. Explore and learn what you like and don’t like. Picking and “bad” tea is not necessarily a bad thing. It will teach you what you do not like.

BEST ADVICE I CAN GIVE YOU...

The greatest piece of advice I can give you is not to start by buying large quantities. 100 g of tea can last the average tea drinker a whole month if they are drinking their tea religiously. To get a feel for what types of tea are available, I would recommend purchasing different teas in quantities of around 25 g, just enough tea to give you the opportunity to experience that tea a few times before deciding on investing in a quantity of 100 g or more.

What about equipment, what kind of tea maker should I buy?

To start, notihing more than two pots and a strainer is needed.

When it comes to buying tea, exploring is the right answer. But when it comes to tea making equipment, follow the opposite.

Not much is needed to make tea. All that is required is two pots and one strainer. Before I invested in an electric teakettle I would heat my water over a stove and steep my tea in the same pot. To strain my tea, I would pour the pot of steeped tea over a strainer and into a teapot. It was a simple and economical start.

There is nothing wrong with enjoying tea economically. Do not feel pressured into purchasing fancy teaware or an electric kettle. Two pots and a strainer will do. The most beautiful thing of it all is that my tea tastes the same now being made in a fancy $200 tea maker as it did in a five dollar pot. The funny truth is that I still drink my tea from the same cup. It has been many years, and I still drink my tea from the same simple handle-less cup. I love my simple cup. I can feel the warmth of the tea directly on my hands, and I love to look at the Chinese inscription of characters that list the 10 ways of health.

If you feel comfortable buying an electric kettle, or an automatic tea maker like the one Breville produces, go for it! I'm all for enjoying whatever you can. But if your approach to tea is slow and steady, or economical, two pots and a strainer can still make a perfectly good cup of tea worthy of a tea master's approval.

good luck and best wishes!

It’s hard to cover every subject and every angle in a single blog article. I truly want for every single one of you to feel comfortable in your tea journey. If you have any questions left unanswered, or feel like there are some subjects that you would like me to elaborate further on, please, do not hesitate to leave a message at the bottom of this article. Also, there is a contact us link at the bottom of this webpage. If you send me a message, I promise that I will get back to you personally and give you the best answers and guidance I possibly can.

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