Tea for Two

Photo: amazon.ca

Photo: amazon.ca

Over a year ago, I reached Tea Freedom! That is, I used up all the tea bags in the house – over 200 of them – that I had stockpiled or been gifted over the years. This included a last, miserable month of having no black tea in the house, and making myself finish up the green and herbal teas.

I am happy to report that I made the switch to loose tea, and have not accumulated any tea bags since then, and have not given in to tea madness buy purchasing 20 new kinds!

I started off with 2 loose leaf teas received as a gift, Chocolate Orange Spice (saved as an occasional treat) and Golden Monkey, which was the best quality tea I’d ever tried. I almost felt like it was too good to use! Then I decided to buy 3 varieties locally and get no more until they were used up. I chose a single-variety black tea, a cinnamon-clove black tea, and a raspberry-flavoured black tea. I found the plain black tea was not much better than supermarket tea bags, so it didn’t justify the price. The cinnamon-clove was nice, but no better than the usual chai blends. I loved the raspberry. It took me 6 months to drink up all three 50g packages (which cost $6 each).

Discontinued peppery chai :(

Discontinued peppery chai 😦

Next I went to the mall tea shop, David’s, and bought two kinds of black tea: Saigon Chai, and La La Lemon. The chai had cardamon pods and peppercorns and lots of lovely things – it was excellent. The lemon had a very strong lemon flavour and smelled wonderful. Despite being a black tea, it was too similar to lemon herbal teas. (Er, what did I expect?) They were not at all economical at almost $10 each for 56g (2 oz). For everyday black tea, I decided to go with PG Tips loose tea. It is not delicate – it is just basic – and I am 100% happy with it. I am still going strong with that box which is likely to last me a year.

Black currant en route to me

Black currant en route to me

I am currently being held hostage for my next tea shipment. I ordered 3 varieties from a Canadian company online. This time I chose two flavoured black teas, black currant and orange, and a tisane that Rom and I can share (honey licorice). On Thursday, I had a notice stuck to my door saying I’d missed the courier and I should contact them for re-delivery. I did that, and the same night, the courier company called and informed me I had missed two delivery attempts. I said that was incorrect – there had only been one notice. The caller said, “It says here there were two, so that’s what I have to go by.” To get my tea, I either have to pay $10 for a “third” delivery attempt, or pick it up at their depot 15 km away. To top it off, the depot is only open Monday to Friday business hours. Grr! That had better be some good tea. I won’t order from them again as long as they use Loomis Express (and I will certainly be letting them know).

Meanwhile, Rom still buys tea bags for himself, usually chamomile and rooibos. He is very particular in that he doesn’t drink any black, green or white tea, nor does he like anything with rose hips, hibiscus or fruit flavours. Not very traditional British, eh?

Most of you know I am an affirmed coffee drinker and that tea is secondary for me. I like to wind down in the evening, brew up just one big mug of loose tea (no china cups for me) and enjoy the flavour. So loose leaf tea is here to stay. Not sure where I will be buying it, though!

20 comments

  1. Thanks for the advice. I think our tea bags procreate.

  2. Fiona

    Tea Freedom … ha ha! Well done, especially on the resolve not to buy more black tea until all the herbals were used up. Seeing those names is making me wonder if I should buy some experimental teas…like ‘Chocolate Orange Spice’ and ‘Saigon Chai.’ I have that problem of things being ‘too good to use’ with beautiful soaps and candles (but never with edible/drinkable things!)

  3. Oh im a tea tragic. Not teabags…loose leaf.. i have shelves of the stuff. … i think it whim take me until my old old age to drink it all but luckily my mother is as bad. .. lol

    • Hi Yvonne, I think it took me about 2 years to use up all my tea bags and I really made an effort! I am trying not to fall back into my old ways, but all it will take is one gift box!

  4. Each to their own I suspect – my tea of choice at home is Ceylon Tea. Not as ‘strong’ as other types and I am true to one brand (Dilmah). Tea bags or loose, it’s the box with the red stripe for me.
    It is good that we all have our likes and dislikes because if our tastes were the same life would be a bit boring wouldn’t it:)

  5. jamielredmond

    Your post inspired me to get out of bed and finally drink one of the bags of PG Tips I picked up in England – but they are nowhere to be found! I think I must have had a fit of “being good” and left them in Spain rather than bring them home to add to our cupboard.
    I did pick up two tins of loose tea in France that made their way home with me. I’m almost ashamed to admit that I bought then for the colour of the tin (which would look nice in my kitchen), rather than that I would enjoy drinking them! Luckily for me, one of the tins is exactly what I currently prefer to drink at home, Twinings English Breakfast, and I am down to half a tin. Interestingly, the French call it simply “Breakfast Tea” and sell it in blue tins. Here in Australia it is called English Breakfast Tea and comes in a red tin.
    The other tea I picked up in France also comes in a blue tin (to match my blue kitchen things) and is called Russian Earl Grey. I suspect I won’t like it and will palm it off to my husband. It is still unopened.

    Also in my current tea collection I have:
    10 regular earl grey bags
    About 220 Twinings English Breakfast bags
    About 4 Dilmah tea bags (my old favourite)
    Two Lipton tea bags (for my step father)

    My husband has his own tea collection. I only drink black tea, he prefers green tea. He has about 4 boxes of different bags currently underway: Rooibos, green tea with jasmine, lemongrass/ginger/lime tisane and lemon/ginger herbal tea.

    • Hi Jamie, it sounds like you have excellent tea in Australia (and even some grown in Australia) so I’m not sure I would be shopping for it internationally if I were in your shoes (except for the tins, ha ha!) I haven’t had any Twinings for a long time but of course I like their Earl Grey and English and Irish Breakfast. I like the sound of lemongrass/ginger/lime. I am fixated on everything lime these days!

  6. I love my loose leaf tea and a post like this makes me smile. Chocolate Orange spice is one I had not heard of before. Can’t wait to try this.

  7. Margie in Toronto

    I am very traditional when it comes to my tea – strong, black, with a splash of milk – pretty much “builders tea” as my gran would have called it. Tea bags or loose I don’t care as long as the water is properly boiled first and it has time to steep. Not an Earl Grey fan – too weak for me – but do enjoy Green Tea on occasion. I do go out to “TEA” often with friends and the one fancy tea I do enjoy is called “Russian Caravan” strong and smokey and drunk plain. Even went out and bought myself some! Day to day tea is King Cole. I keep a variety on hand for friends and I do love the smell of some of the fruit based tisanes but to me they aren’t tea. Each to their own though!

    • I agree that the fruit ones are not really tea – just a hot drink. I hadn’t heard of Russian caravan tea before but it sounds good! (PS I added a reply to your comment on my previous post, about visiting Halifax)

  8. Lisa

    I love tea, although not usually the flavoured kinds. Black tea with sugar is perfect for me. I converted to using loose leaf tea only a while ago. If you are looking for other online stores to try I highly recommend the Teafarm (http://www.teafarm.ca/) on Vancouver Island. Small shop, all organic, and they are trying to grow their own teas in addition to the others they offer. I find the prices quite reasonable. Shipping is free over a certain $ amount and through Canada Post. I’ve never had a problem. I’ve also order from The Granville Island Tea Company with good results.

    • Hi Lisa, I hope you have been keeping well. Thanks for the recommendations! I went with Murchie’s who are also a west coast Canadian company, but I will be shopping around. Teafarm looks very authentic!

  9. I’m still working on my collection. I’m embarrassed to say but I recently just ADDED to my collection. I can’t help it. The tea was SO fragrant. I bought Youthberry Orange Blossom Tea Blend from Teavana. It is a heavenly white/herbal tea blend.

  10. I am a confirmed tea drinker. If I had to chose between giving up sparkling wine or giving up tea – the wine would go.

    I only drink black tea, though. No tissanes. No green tea. No flavourings in my tea. Not even bergamot that is in Earl Grey.

    On weekends I use loose leaf for breakfast. I have a few favs. Not too earthy. Rich and dense but not bitter. Can’t stand a Darjeeling. Waste of money and boiled water. Too weak.

    Australian Nerada tea bags for most other cuppas.

    Milk. No sugar. Perfect. Off to have one now.

    I’d be really mad at the tea non- delivery. I was given the runaround by the post office about one registered delivery once. Sent to wrong PO and different one from what was written on the card left in my letterbox. Then they said it had been moved to the right one. Then on second visit and after one phone call, they said it was not there and I’d have to make more phone calls as is clearly done the wrong thing. I said that I no longer wanted the item and walked out. They tried to argue that I couldn’t leave registered items. But I walked. They came running after me as they miraculously found it. Grrr. Hate crap service and when they obviously lie to cover up.

    • I like black tea with milk, no sugar, but flavoured or unflavoured. Can’t drink coffee made from flavoured beans, though! When I went to the courier office to pick up the tea, they could not show me that they had actually attempted two deliveries, and they had not recorded my re-delivery instructions. The counter guy said he would “talk to the staff,” ha!

      If I had to choose between my two favourite tastes – coffee or sweets – I would choose coffee.

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