The Ultimate Tea for Beginners Guide

Being brand new to loose leaf tea can be a daunting idea, but it doesn’t have to be. In this ultimate tea for beginners guide, I will help guide you along the journey to make it as painless as possible whether you are learning for yourself or if you are looking for the perfect gift for the tea lover in your life I have you covered!

You are probably thinking at least one of these questions.

  1. What even is loose leaf tea and how is it different than the store-bought tea?
  2. How do I know what is right for me or my loved one?
  3. How do I store it?
  4. What tools do I need to make it?
  5. How do I brew it?
  6. Does loose tea expire?
  7. Is tea vegan?
  8. How important is the water I use?
  9. What tea is most popular right now?

I’m here to tell you I have the answers to all of these questions and more! I offer personalized recommendations based upon your likes and dislikes as well as demos of products so you can see it before you buy it.

What even is loose leaf tea and how is it different than the store-bought tea?

Traditional tea is made from the Camellia Sinensis plant. This plant is used for Green, White, Black, Oolong, Pu’erh and even Matcha tea. The difference in the types of tea is when the leaves are picked and how they are processed after they are picked. You can learn more about the types of tea and the history HERE.

After the tea is picked and processing is finished your loose tea is removed from the barrels. This is the freshest tea there is. After the majority of the loose tea is removed from the barrels then the tea sachets are filled, lastly the tea bags at the common store are filled. Because the tea bags are the last in the process, they have the least amount of flavor and are the most bitter when they are brewed. Loose tea is the first in the process which to me makes it the best flavor.

The loose tea with Sipology contains no added sugar (unless noted), no artificial flavors and no artificial coloring making these teas even more delicious to me.

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How do I know what is right for me or my loved one?

Knowing what tea is right for yourself or for a loved one is a complicated decision. The first question I always ask is do you want to have a caffeinated tea or a caffeine-free tea? Are you interested in a latte style tea or something you can drink plain? For caffeine free do you want something herbal or something fruity? For something caffeinated do you want something deep or something light? As you can tell there are so very many different options and complexities when it comes to picking a tea. I’d love to dig deeper with you and provide you a few options that I think you would like. Check out my quiz and get a recommendation based on your feedback.

How do I store it?

Storage of loose-leaf tea is important to keep those flavors at the highest quality. Storage is also important to keeping your tea the longest you can possibly keep it. Another key in storage is that it is away from anything else that has a strong odor, for example don’t store your tea near some raw garlic or your tea will grab those flavors from the garlic and you’ll have garlic tea.

I recommend sealed dark containers in a cool dry place to get the most from your buck of tea. I would love to show you how I have my set up and share some additional recommendations check out the full post on Tea Storage to learn more.

What tools do I need to make it?

Having the right tools to make tea is just as important as the tea itself. You don’t need to start with a ton of different high-end tools you can make it very simple and start with just a few key staples.

  1. Cup – because we all need the cup that makes us happy
  2. Infuser – you can start with something disposable and then grow into something more sustainable
  3. Perfect spoon – to measure out your perfect quantities
  4. Tea – because we are talking about tea after all
  5. Timer – I recommend our perfect tea timer but you can get by with any timer in a pinch

As you can see it doesn’t take much to make those cups of tea it is just a little patience and finding what works perfectly for you. Check out the six essential tea accessories for more detailed information and a few other items I have in my toolbox to make tea.

How do I brew it?

Can you guess how many different ways you can brew tea? If you guessed two you are correct for the main ways to brew.

You can hot brew it and drink it right away. You can hot brew it and pour immediately over ice. You can hot brew it and chill it overnight. You can brew at room temperature safely in your kitchen. You can even cold brew in the fridge overnight. The most popular way to brew is using the hot method.

There are a few key steps in the brewing process, first is the amount of tea for the cup you are using. Wherever you purchase your tea from will come with instructions for how many teaspoons per eight-ounce cups, typically it is one to one and a half teaspoons per each eight ounces of water. The next key component in the process is time, time is critical so that you get the best flavor possible without turning your tea bitter.

Does loose tea expire?

Does tea expire? The short answer is no, but there are ways that your tea can degrade and not be as rich and flavorful as you would like it to be. The key part of this is all about storage and organization. You are going to want to make sure you keep your tea away from oxygen, light and other strong aromas as a start. When your tea leaves are exposed to light it will start to degrade your tea and make it turn into a metallic taste, and no one wants tea that tastes like metal, am I right? Tea in close proximity to strong aromas like an onion or garlic for example will begin to absorb those aromas into the leaves making your tea taste, for lack of a better term, gross. I have some tips and tricks for the best storage and organization ideas that I have incorporated into my tea arsenal I’d love to share with you.

Is tea vegan?

Yes, yes and more yes! Even our hot chocolates are vegan friendly by not including any dairy in our processing. There are a few exceptions to the rule but they are clearly labeled as such for having dairy in them, you will notice that this is few and far between in our Sipology products as we want to be as friendly as possible to all of our customers and friends. I encourage you to learn more about our deliciously rich hot chocolates.

How important is the water I use?

Just like the quality of tea you use the quality of the water is also important. If you are using dirty water you will have dirty tea, it is as simple as that. But the tricky part about water isn’t just what you can see but it is also about what you cannot see.

One really important thing about water is that when it is boiled it loses oxygen so if it is boiled a second time it will make your tea taste stale. You should always use fresh filtered water whenever possible for the very best possibly cup of tea you can have. Be sure to read up on other water facts to help you have an even better cuppa tea next time.

What is most popular right now?

Oh boy is this a hard one to answer. Let’s start with what are some of the staple tea’s out there that are a never fail type of tea.

  1. Earl Grey de la Crème
  2. Irish Breakfast
  3. Peppy Peppermint
  4. Naturally Sweet Lemon
  5. Egyptian Chamomile

After thinking about some of the staples that everyone should have in their pantries I start to think about flavors of the season. I will say that I have a top 10 fall and winter list as well as a top 10 spring and summer list. These two top ten lists give you all of the most up to date information on what is in the catalog and what is popular this season so be sure to check those out.

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