Worst Tea?


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Worst Tea?

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Aug 6, 2007, 12:21am

Apologies if this is a repeat (it has to be, right?), but I'm new to 'Tea!' (the forum that is, not the beverage).

My vote for worst tea ever goes to Red Rose. Weak. Vapid. Insipid. Tastes like lukewarm dishwater--even when it's piping hot! FMV brand is bloody awful too.

Aug 6, 2007, 5:51am

This message has been deleted by its author.

Aug 6, 2007, 8:07am

I tried Lapsang souchong sp? based on someone raving about how wonderful it was. No, no, a thousand times no.

Aug 6, 2007, 8:13am

Instant (powdered) tea tastes prettty vile. As do decaffeinated teabags. If I'm desperate, and it is all that's available I try to mask the taste by adding a few drops of vanilla essence. Sorry, but cammomile tea is awful! :P

Aug 6, 2007, 8:20am

#2, *giggle*!

I vote for every black tea brewed from a tea bag. Unless it's one of those supersized teapacks, it just doesn't work, and the tea leaf quality is just sub-par. And if you buy the supersized ones, you might as well brew the stuff from scratch (i.e. with loose tea).
My guess is that tea bags are always filled with the stuff they sweep from the floors of the transit sheds in the harbours ;-).

Other than that, most green tea just doesn't do it for me, except one sort called Morgentau (morning dew), which is green tea plus sunflower, cornflower and rose blossoms. I drank it first on a train, and actually went to ask at the restaurant car what type/brand it was, so that I could buy it myself.

Aug 6, 2007, 8:22am

#4, I never add anything to my tea (except cream and candy to East Frisian tea and milk to indian/yogi teas)! If it needs "help", it's not brewed again :-).
I actually like camomile tea :-). And hot milk with honey. I am weird, I know.

Aug 6, 2007, 8:37am

>5 GirlFromIpanema: In a TV documentary I saw years ago the presenter referred to teabags as 'tea made from dust'. I think it pretty much sums up how I feel about teabags :P I'll drink Twinings teabags at work, only because its too fiddly to use leaves there. Otherwise I'll avoid teabags at all costs (and usually choose coffee if necessary).

I fell in love with green tea while in Japan on vacation. At first the flavour seemed a little 'fishy' tasting but I quickly grew to like it. However, the green tea I brew myself never seems as good. If the water is too hot, or you leave it to draw too long it gets bitter very quickly. Genmaicha is good though and doesn't get too bitter. It has a nutty rice flavour. You can get it from most Japanese/Asian grocery stores. Again, teabags are only for moments of convenience or desperation :D

Aug 6, 2007, 8:51am

Well Camomille must be fairly high on my list of worsts...

I wasn't very impressed with raspberry leaf tea, it just tasted of leaves. But I tried it again recently and it was much better, it might be sensitive to brewing conditions.

Ordinary teabag tea isn't a worst for me, not a favourite either. However when its made with 'hot' water from jug or the bag is left to brew in the bottom of the mug, or UHT milk ... or all those other perils of ordering a cup of tea it quickly does become worst.

Very worst - my brother sent me some jasmine tea (pure flower blossom) from his stay in China, the thought was much appreciated. As was the dried fish snacks he's included in the parcel. Even though seperately and securely wrapped, the jasmine tasted and smelled of fish. Very unplesant.

Aug 6, 2007, 9:08am

>8 reading_fox: LOL...yeah, a teabag in a cup of boiled tap water with either UHT milk, high-fat milk, frothy (latte-style milk) or cream..... errr, I'll have coffee thanks :P

Aug 6, 2007, 9:34am

Any store brand black tea in the US is just awful. As for herbal tea, pumpkin seed tea was an ordeal. And I'm definitely not a fan of Lapsang Souchong, unless it's used as a cooking ingredient.

Edited: Aug 6, 2007, 9:56am

The tea that unfortunately is still served in many venues across the world where a cup of tepid water and a teabag are brought to you and you are expected to dunk the teabag into the water, which is by now even colder than it was when first poured in the depths of some distant institutional kitchen.

#5, GirlFromIpanema - I agree, any black tea that comes in a teabag, and I would add any tea that is made in the cup with a teabag rather than with loose tea leaves and a teapot.

#2, perioductus - not sure what to say (whilst chuckling) as I have to declare an interest, but I tended to find that in the absence of a housekeeper (increasingly rare these days) one usually had to go to the kitchen oneself, search it for the necessary ingredients and produce tea for both oneself and the reverend incumbent.

Edited to add that I love Lapsang Souchong and have just finished a huge steaming mug of it whilst typing this message.

Edited: Aug 6, 2007, 10:35am

to #6

Hi, girl
buddy here

Tell me about candy in your tea. What kind? Only did that once, but with coffee when we ran out of sugar. It was okay. Would like to know more about candy in tea, though. :).

Aug 6, 2007, 11:30am

I prefer loose leaf tea but sometimes I'll go the quick and easy route with tea bags, though I mostly tend to use bags from Stash, Mighty Leaf and a few others.

Believe it or not, Lipton bags make a good iced tea, but I wouldn't drink them hot.

I'll also add my name to the list of those who do not like chamomile or lapsang souchong at all. When I tried lapsang, at the insistence of a friend, I thought it had an aroma and taste of burnt leather. I should have realized she would like it as she was a smoker.

Red Rose is awful, but I've only ever had it once when I asked for tea at a diner many years ago.

Aug 6, 2007, 12:42pm

Red Rose in Canada is better than the version sold in the US, same for Lipton's and Twinning's.
The only bag tea I will consider is PGTip's...the rest is only good for spreading around the garden.

Aug 6, 2007, 1:45pm

Mmmm....PGTips. Best bagged tea.

Aug 6, 2007, 2:15pm

#12, candy (or "Kandis" here) is just huge lumps of refined sugar (I couldn't find an exact translation). We usually have it with East Frisian tea. Two lumps of sugar, a spoonfull of cream and the tea...- bliss!

Aug 6, 2007, 3:14pm

I know it's probably universally loved but I've never got on with Earl Grey. It just tastes like tea with washing up liquid, yuck!

Edited: Aug 8, 2007, 9:26pm

oh yes, I'm so glad I'm not alone. I've never liked Earl Grey's tea, either, but am often hesitant to say so, as it is so beloved by so many. It's so frustrating when friends offer "black tea" and then proudly bring out the EG. Many people are quite surprised when I describe it as a flavored tea (which I generally reject, along with any other black tea flavored with oils).

And yes, for those of us who have to use teabags at work, PG Tips is superior (but warning to North Americans - check the expiry date on the box before purchasing!).

For my worst tea experience ever: I have to admit it was my own sister who offered me Decaf Earl Grey made by soaking one teabag in a liter thermos. (shudder).

(edited to correct spelling error)

Aug 7, 2007, 10:02am

I had a ten year period when I hated Earl Grey, but suddenly it appeals to me once again. Actually, I prefer Lady Grey, which I've only had in tea bag form. I'm a loose tea person, but at work I usually resort to bags because of time issues.

I think everyone has a right to like or dislike certain teas, and I give any guests a choice - I'd never call EG "black tea" - that's kind of misleading. During my first trip to London I was at a couple's home one evening. I asked if they had herbal tea, and they served Lapsang Souchong. Not only is that not herbal, and I stayed up half the night, but it's not something I enjoy.

Aug 7, 2007, 11:42am

Thought I'd chime in on behalf of the lowly teabag! :) I use teabags about half the time I drink tea, mostly for convenience's sake.

I like Red Rose & I collect the Wade figurines that come in the box.

I don't like anything that says "smoky" or Earl Grey. With few exceptions, I don't like any "flavoured" black teas.

For loose, I buy a lot of Harney Teas.

I drink out of large Nicholas Mosse mugs ALL day long! :)


Aug 8, 2007, 11:58am

I'm new!

Lipton makes me sick.

Aug 8, 2007, 12:16pm

I'm with #3 on Lapsang Souchong. It's like drinking a campfire. Bleah.

And I have to say that flavored/spiced teas always seem like, well, a tease. They smell delicious, and then taste insipid.

#4 -- I've never eaten a decaffeinated teabag. I guess I won't, now. : ) It reminds me of an anecdote I've heard from the early days of tea in England: some Londoner sent a box of tea to a country relative, but the instructions either arrived late or not at all, and you know the rest: the recipient boiled the tea, threw out the liquid, and served the boiled leaves.

A friend of mine studies burnt seeds from archæological sites. So one day we looked at the contents of a teabag under his microscope. HUGE mistake.

Aug 8, 2007, 3:10pm

#22: How many dead insects? ;-)

Aug 8, 2007, 3:55pm

We didn't even try to count. But they didn't bother us as much as some of the things that we couldn't tell what they were.

Aug 9, 2007, 10:14am

"And I have to say that flavored/spiced teas always seem like, well, a tease. They smell delicious, and then taste insipid.

Check the ingrediants - anythign with aroma, or oils isn't worth buying, they are precisely as you have described them. You cn try brewing very strong, but then they tend to ahve abitter edge.
A lot of the rest taste almost exclusively of the same ingrediants - rosehip and hibiscus.

However by careful consideration it is possible to find some very plesant ones.

#21 I thought everything made you sick currently...? what in particular does lipton have that its competitors don't?

Aug 9, 2007, 10:30am

#25 Very true. Currently everything but water and broth and saltines makes me dead.
But Lipton always makes me sick. Even when I'm healthy. It has the weirdest aftertaste, and then my body revolts, and I feel crappy all day.

Aug 10, 2007, 8:08am

The worst tea has to be that served in cafes. How come they can make a nice hot cup of coffee in any form: but if you ask for tea, it comes to the table a cold and insipid brew! There is nothing like settling down on a nice sofa, surrounded by dappled sunlight, with a good book, and a hot cup of Tea in hand. Bliss!

Aug 10, 2007, 1:44pm

I used to love smoky aromas, but lapsang souchong ruined it for life. Then there was kukicha, some of which I found once in a store specializing in Japanese cooking: it smelled like sweat. I threw most of it out.

Aug 10, 2007, 8:43pm

I am currently into Lipton Vanilla Tea. It is a good drop, when taken prior to sleeping. I enjoy Lady Grey tea also.

30lamalmaison First Message
Edited: Aug 12, 2007, 6:08pm

Hello, I just found this group. My favorite tea is Darjeeling and I do use Twinings teabags for that first cup in the morning rush while getting ready for work. I also keep a supply at work for my afternoon tea break. But I love brewing a pot of one of the Darjeeling loose teas I get from an Upton tea. There aren't too many places near me where I can buy loose tea. I do keep a pretty teacup and saucer at work. I think tea doesn't taste as good in a mug. And try to never drink it in those foam things. Am I crazy for thinking they ruin the tea?

Aug 13, 2007, 10:24am

I find the styrofoam cups are murderous for tea.

Aug 13, 2007, 6:06pm

>30 lamalmaison:
>31 PensiveCat:

Why limit it to tea? My experience is that styrofoam is ruinious to most things.......


Aug 14, 2007, 9:17am

True, but for some reason kids don't seem to mind their fruit punch in styrofoam - probably because it's fun to chew. This doesn't mean I recommend!

Aug 14, 2007, 3:31pm

>33 PensiveCat:

Hey, I guess it ups the fiber content of the punch! LOL

Aug 15, 2007, 1:48am

I must say that I do like both chamomile and Lapsang Souchong, but I know they are both an acquired taste. As are all smoky teas, like Tsar Alexandre.

Tea Forté has the best chamomile I've ever tasted.

But we were talking about the worst teas. Where to start ...
I really dislike teas flavored with cinnamon, because they smell great then the taste lets you down - no cinnamon flavor at all. Lots of my friends like the Good Earth cinnamon tea, and I think it's dreadful.

Once a party of my friends went to afternoon tea at the Sheraton Palace Hotel in San Francisco; their Garden Court is a fabulous ambience for afternoon tea - so elegant! However, one of the group ordered a Darjeeling (which is normally one of my favorites) which was so bitter no one could bear it.

Red Rose was rightfully mentioned, and then there's any Bigelow tea - talk about lowest common denominator. How do you expect people to be persuaded to like tea if that's all you offer them? And that's the brand my company stocks at all the break rooms.

Aug 15, 2007, 2:35am

>35 staffordcastle: one of the group ordered a Darjeeling

I bet it was Twinnings. I have a tin of loose leaf Darjeeling and I think I will throw it out.

Aug 15, 2007, 3:02am

#35 - "I really dislike teas flavored with cinnamon, because they smell great then the taste lets you down - no cinnamon flavor at all."

staffordcastle, one of the many great things about living in Africa is that the spiced tea is real tea flavoured with real spices. I haven't found cinnamon so often, but cardamom, cloves and mint are commonly put into tea served at little roadside stalls. Tea flavoured with fresh green leaf tips off a lemon tree is found in some places.

Aug 15, 2007, 10:21am

I, too, find that cardamom (when not stale) adds a richness to black tea, as does fresh ginger (in moderation). Probably real cinnamon would too. The problem with those commercial "cinnamon" teas is that they're flavored with the oils, which are so volatile that in boiling water they release only scent and no flavor.

Africa must be an interesting spot to explore tea - I'd love to hear more!

Aug 15, 2007, 11:17am

#38 - Nycticebus, this is off-topic for "worst teas" as these should rank amongst "best teas", but here are a few experiences.

In Sudan roadside tea is made by filling a tea strainer with loose tea leaves and dribbling boiling water through it into a small glass (not a cup). The water is constantly bubbling away on a small charcoal stove. The tea is very strong and black and contains five or six teaspoons of sugar. I like mine sweet (it's incredibly refreshing and rehydrating after a long trip across the desert in the back of an open lorry) but it is virtually impossible to persuade the vendor to reduce the amount of sugar in any case. Tea is normally served black (shai sa'ada) but milky tea (usually with powdered milk) is served in the morning (shai bi laban).

Sudan also boasts karkade (hibiscus in English, I think), which makes a red fruity tea. You can buy it, loose and already dried, but if you're in the right areas you can just pick it where it grows wild and dry it yourself.

Kenyan local tea is made by boiling milk, water, tea leaves and sugar all together. The Kiswahili word for tea is chai, which now seems to have been appropriated by globalised coffee outlets to produce pale imitations of the real thing. Masala chai has curry-like spices added to it. I've drunk chai in many situations, often with fresh milk still warm and frothy from the cow. When it is boiled over a wood fire it takes on the smokey flavour. One of my most memorable ones is in a Masaai friend's house where the dried cattle dung fire produced an even more interesting taste.

South Africa is rightly proud of its rooibos tea. This is not a black tea - it literally means "red bush" in Afrikaans. It can be found in abundance in Alexander Mccall Smith's excellent The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, set in Botswana.

Aug 15, 2007, 12:37pm


The language of tea might make for a new thread as well. Regarding "Shai/Chai" - that's the word for tea in many languages, including Hindi/Urdu (which is, I'm guessing, how it got appropriated into US/UK commerce). The origins of the words "chai" and "tea" are usually said to be Chinese, so I wonder whether the Kiswahili word came from Hindustani (via Britishers or via Asian immigrants) or from elsewhere...?

I'm interested, too, that the adjective for "plain" tea you mention, sa'ada, matches the Marathi (a major Indian language) and I think also Hindi word for 'plain' or 'unembellished.' I'm guessing that word must be Arabic and have come to India via Persian. Amazing, isn't it, how words travel the world along with foodstuffs!

Aug 15, 2007, 12:57pm

I think the Kiswahili "chai" is linked to the Arabic "shai", as Kiswahili is largely Arabic vocabulary with Bantu grammar (some say that as many as 70% of Kiswahili words derive from Arabic). But I don't know which came first, nor exactly what is the link between the Indian, African and Arabic words. There was a great deal of trade across the Indian Ocean between Arabs, Africans and Indians, and then the British Empire also created new links.

"Chai" was also used in colloquial English in Britain, maybe brought back from India via army slang during Imperial times? And "char" was also used in Britain (a nice cuppa char) - a variant of "chai" or another word completely?

Fascinating topic.

Edited: Aug 16, 2007, 8:47pm

hmm, we've gotten far off topic. Sorry everyone. Maybe we need a new thread on Henry Yule's Hobson-Jobson?
(edited to fuss with touchstone)

Aug 18, 2007, 11:39am

Worst tea? If we're talking variety (as opposed to brand), my vote goes to camomile. But I love lapsang souchong. Except for staffordcastle (35 above), Tea group members--and most tea drinkers, in my experience--like one or the other, but not both.

If we're talking about brand, I guess Lipton is my least favorite, although their green teas are OK. I grew up on Red Rose because my Mom liked it as an everyday tea, so to me it's what "plain old tea" tastes like.

It also bears mentioning that too many diners and restaurants serve "tea" by giving customers a cup of tepid water with a tea bag in the saucer. You cannot make decent tea from that, no matter how good the leaves! I once asked a waitress, "If I'd asked for coffee, would you bring me a cup of water with some beans on the side?" and then sent the tea back in favor of something else.

Aug 19, 2007, 12:29pm

>Message 43: karen5l

So true about the diners and cafes in the US! It's so sad. I just suffered through a 3-day workshop; and at each of the coffee breaks they also offered a thermos of warm water next to a fancy wooden case with a glass lid filled with prettily wrapped teabags. Not only was the water less than hot, but - one of my major grouches - it had been heated by running it through the coffee machine, so it was infused with the nastiest odor of stale coffee, something even a coffee-drinker would reject.

A colleague sympathizing with the plight of us minority tea-drinkers suggested that this was simply the result of a deeply held American aversion to tea going back to events at a certain harbor in Massachusetts. This leads me to wonder whether the situation might be better in Canada.

Well, as far as the woes of the world go, this is minor stuff indeed, but still and all....

Aug 19, 2007, 7:09pm

If I'm in a cafe or restaurant I usually ask up-front whether its going to be a teabag or a teapot + leaves before I order :P There seems to be no consistent pattern to whats on offer. I've been in some fancy restaurants where there are only teabags and some pretty ordinary looking cafes which end up serving great tea leaves. So you can't predict!

Aug 21, 2007, 1:52pm

Lapsang Souchong reminded me of sucking on bacon rinds. Not for me, either!

Also tried a Chrysanthemum tea---and it may be that I brewed improperly---that just had a hot dead flowers/lawn clippings feel about it.

Aug 21, 2007, 11:18pm

Lapsang Souchong seems to be the one of the most divisive teas. I love it, especially in the winter, and the husband of a couple I am good friends with does as well, but his wife hates it with a passion. So when I visit, I bring some for us to share as she won't allow "that stinking stuff" in the house normally.

Which do I hate most? Celestial Seasonings Morning Thunder. All the problems of bagged tea, plus they set out to make a tea with the taste of coffee. If I had *wanted* coffee, I would have drunk coffee.

Aug 22, 2007, 12:15pm

>> Message 47: grizzly.anderson

I will admit to loving Lapsang Souchang all year long, but, agree it is especially delightful in the winter. On cold and rainy wintry weekends I've been known to make a hot toddy with strongly brewed lapsang souchang, fresh lime juice, a touch of sugar and a shot of tawny port. Good for what ails ya!

Aug 26, 2007, 2:12pm

Ever since my in-laws came back from living in South Africa for a brief time and first introduced me to rooibos, I've adored it. A local Persian restaurant near me has a lovely rooibos with apples and almonds in it that is loose-leaf and served in a tea pot. So I find it ironic that one of the tea varietals that I love is also found in a form I detest. The Republic of Tea has a vanilla rooibos that is foul, imho. The vanilla is overwhelming and reminds me of the artificial flavor used in marshmallows. When we moved a few months ago I just threw the box out because I couldn't bear to drink another cup (I only ever had one) and I didn't want any friend to potentially hate me for foisting the box on them!

Aug 26, 2007, 9:19pm

I'm afraid I wasted a good trip to Harrods by buying a box of one of their blends - little realizing that instead of leaves it was all powder - and absolutely dreadful! To this day, I don't know if I picked up coffee by accident, though I'm certain I didn't.

Aug 26, 2007, 9:32pm

Somehow I've ended up on Lipton's mailing list (must have entered a competition at some stage..?). Anyhow they sent me some teabag samples to try - Green Tea with Apple and Green Tea with Peach. After a sip of each my husband and I immediately tipped both teas down the sink. The tea was cloudy, and bitter and the flavour altogether horrible.

Aug 27, 2007, 9:48am

My friend got me a tin of tea from Harrods, which is good, though a bit sweet (it's flavoured). Problem is the tin top got stuck and won't open. The heck? I said. It's supposed to be from one of the poshest places in the universe. So, maybe it's not the worst TEA ever, but it's certainly the worst tin.

53SweetMercury First Message
Aug 28, 2007, 10:50pm

I'm surprised that no one mentioned Pu-Erh. I'm the only person I've met so far who likes it; everyone else is disgusted by it.

That said, pretty much any commercial bag-tea is gonna be gross—dust and fannings, maybe a broken leaf or two. It's not so bad with something like peppermint or other herbs that aren't as sensitive as true tea.

Aug 29, 2007, 9:43am

I'm actually quite a fan of Pu-Erh...it does taste a bit like dirt, but it reminds me of fresh soil which is good dirt.

Aug 30, 2007, 4:30pm

I had my first experience with Pu-Erh a few months back. It was aged 8 years and I thought quite delightful in an earthy kind of way.

Aug 31, 2007, 12:02pm

#37 -

Sounds lovely! I've tried tea with mint, but not the other flavorings. You are so right about the difference of using real, fresh spices.

Edited: Sep 12, 2007, 9:37am

Pu-Erh is something I will have to try......fresh soil which is good dirt...sounds promising...
Lipton teabags in cafés don't clear up my day. At least, I do know now, that it is not real tea, I mean not real black tea anyway. At a beach café ( I don't want to insult an otherwise great country) I ordered black tea. The eighteen year old waiter came back and oriented me, that his country had nothing like black tea, or anything like tea, but peppermint. I knew, that country served very good black tea, so I insisted. The poor youngster went back to the bar and finally arrived with a teabag and hot water. Then he informed me seriously that this is "yellow tea", as the tag shows. The only nice thing with "yellow tea" is, that it makes me hear the ocean in the background, especially with a high dose of chlorine water in the cup.

Sep 18, 2007, 7:46pm

I've mentioned elsewhere my disdain for Lapsang Souchong and Earl Grey. (Or if I haven't, consider it said here.)

I also dislike flavoured teas, pretty much for the reasons described. All promise, no delivery. I include chai in that, but I have to admit I've never had "proper" chai, just the swill most cafes sell under that name.

The absolute worst tea ever, though, is the stuff you get from some dodgy fast food places (like McDonalds) where they give you a teabag, and a cup with boiling water and a splash of milk. The milk stops the tea from drawing properly, and tastes disgusting. There's a similar problem with places that fill the tea jug from the steamed milk they use for making coffee. The milk should be fresh and cold.

Sep 19, 2007, 11:46am

The worst tea I have ever tried was Guayaki Greener Green Mate. Something about the green and mate combo made the tea taste like burning hay. I can see possibly using it as a marinade, but definitely not for drinking.

Sep 19, 2007, 1:36pm

#58 Anome:

My Indian co-worker is the exact opposite. He abhors adding cold milk to hot tea. In the office he microwaves his milk to heat it up before adding to his tea.

Sep 21, 2007, 3:08pm

The biggest problem I've found with bagged tea is that most often people just keep it in the cardboard box it's packaged in. I've found that keeping my tea bags in a tin produces a much better cup of tea, even in comparison to loose-leaf brews. This is why the tea I'm drinking at work tastes like water ... I'm going to have to bring in my tin again.

I'm not a big fan of most herbal tisanes, including rooibos and most fruit teas. Camomile I have to be in the mood for. I do love mint, though.

The worst tea I've had claimed to be hazelnut. I think it was Lipton. I had two sips - just to be sure - before I threw it out.

Sep 22, 2007, 4:46pm

#58 and #60
Yes indeed, those of us who like milk tea (which is not to insist it's the only way to take tea) divide rather neatly into those who prefer to steep it in just-boiled water and then add milk and those who prefer to steep it in a mixture of hot milk and water (or even all milk). The latter is usually the South Asian practice. I don't know the chemistry of it, but I will say that in my experience, everything else being the same (tea, flavor and temperature of water and of milk), steeping the tea in the heated or even boiled milk does change the flavor. Some people prefer this effect, and others don't.

My personal aversion to adding cold milk to already brewed tea is that it cools the tea, but I suppose if the tea is done steeping already, that doesn't really matter, and perhaps is even preferable as it prevents the tea from continuing to get bitter.

For more on the milk tea (I hesitate to call it "chai" because that term seems to have been applied to some other drink made out of a syrup), see this thread: http://www.librarything.com/talktopic.php?topic=632 after item #59.

Sep 22, 2007, 10:30pm

>> Message 48
Oh my - that toddy recipe sounds fantastic. I may have to stock up on some limes for this winter...

Sep 23, 2007, 12:01pm

me, too #48. Thanks, grizzly, for bringing to my attention. Don't know how I missed it before. :)

Sep 23, 2007, 5:04pm

#63 Grizzly and #64 Buddy: Let me know if you try the toddy recipe. It is one I came up with myself. Everyone I've ever served it to though has loved it!

Oct 21, 2007, 6:09pm

Red Rose used to be all right, but lately they have gone downhill, I agree. The worst in recent memory was Forelli or somethng like that I got at a dollar store. A freind of mine hates Liptons--says it's swept up from the floor of the factory.

Nov 3, 2007, 9:13am

Worst has to be Earl Grey. Can't stand the stuff. I also used to be a bit of a teabag snob - I'd drink tea made from Tesco's Assam teabags, but turn my nose up at the popular branded teas. A few months ago we bought a big box of PG Tips, because I wanted the cuddly monkey which was being given away with them. I assumed the bags had just been shoved in the back of the cupboard somewhere. A month or so later, my other half made me a cup of tea, and I told him afterwards it was a stonking cup - was it the Whittard's 1886 blend, or the Russian Caravan? It was PG Tips. I've been happily drinking it since. If I make a pot I use my loose tea, but if it's just a quick cup in the morning, PG Tips does the trick.

Nov 3, 2007, 3:28pm

53: I love pu-erh! The first time I tasted it, it was mixed with chrysanthemum flowers in a Chinese dim sum house. When I bought my own pu-erh and chrysanthemums to make at home, I tried the pu-erh on its own and enjoyed it.

Also read somewhere that pu-erh was tested and found to reduce one's cholesterol (should one's cholesterol need reducing). You need to drink several cups a day, but tea as medicine sounds pretty good to me.

Nov 4, 2007, 12:17am

Jesmona - I was just sitting down with some Lapsang Souchang and catching up on the group when I saw your reminder about the toddy. I like my first attempt, but I think I'll make the tea a bit stronger and use a little less port next time. But I plan on having fun working out the perfect combo. And I'll definitely be sharing the recipe.

Nov 5, 2007, 5:22pm

You need to drink several cups a day, but tea as medicine sounds pretty good to me.

Me, too. I just wish it was some other kind of tea!

Nov 10, 2007, 2:16pm

Decafinated tea is an abomination before the Lord (or lady, or wood spirts, pick yer deity).

Once if a fit of necessity, I tred Boston Teas decaffinated. I think if I collected my lawn trimmings it would have been better. ish.

I'm an American tea gourmand, rather than gourmet. I consume tea in astonishing quantities and rely on teabags about half the time. Having nicely wrapped teabags of something delish to take along to resturants - where tea is a very unreliable thing - is a necessity.

Nov 19, 2007, 5:32pm

Although I happen to love it, I know that Lapsang Souchong is one of those teas that you either love or hate. Very little middle ground there.

Decaf teas are horrible almost without exception - weak and insipid. Apart from that, I once tasted Gunpowder tea and the flavor made me think of a cigarette butt steeped in hot water. Not sure if the tea was brewed wrong but it was truly horrible!

Red Rose and Lipton aren't great either but I'll drink them in a pinch.

Nov 20, 2007, 11:45pm

I thought that Celestial Seasonings Vanilla Hazelnut Tea was really outstandingly godawful. And having just looked up the ingredients this minute, I'm not all that surprised.

(Ingredients: Roasted carob, roasted chicory, milk thistle, roasted barley, natural vanilla and hazelnut flavors with other natural flavors, cinnamon, licorice, anise seed, and vanilla bean. Contains Gluten and Soy lecithin.)


Nov 21, 2007, 9:37am

Wow, anytime a tea can make a Celiac's sufferer ill, it would be best to stay away. Besides, certain additives are made for coffee.

Dec 28, 2007, 1:35pm

If you can't find genmai cha in the store, you can use sen-cha and toast rice on the stove, and add a few grains to your cup...its the same thing.

BTW, i highly recommend sen-cha as far as green tea goes...just don't brew it too long or use too many leaves.

Oh, and most commercial teabags are not made from the tip +3 leaves(the good part of the tea plant)...it is a bad grade of tea.

Dec 28, 2007, 1:50pm

I actually don't think all decaf teas are necessarily awful--I have some decaf English Breakfast fr. Tealuxe that I like in the evening if I'm craving black tea.

I hate rooibos. All kinds. I tried & tried to like it but I think it's horrible.

Also I don't like super-sweet teas, like anything flavored like caramel.

And Lipton & Bigelow teas are nasty.

Dec 28, 2007, 1:50pm

I forgot to add the tea I hate...and yes, another vote goes to Lapsang Souchong. Yecht.

Jan 2, 2008, 6:50pm

Speaking of gunpowder, that is another one I don't like. Cigarette butts is a good description, though it reminded me more of cow manure. Not that I go around tasting cow manure, but the smell and color was manure-y.

Laci LeBeau dieters' tea has actually killed people, so beware of that one. It may have been taken off the market by now.

Jan 17, 2008, 5:01pm

The other day I tasted another tea in NYC that was very bad: Mighty Leaf's black tea flavored with orange. I don't recall its name, but it tasted like fake orange and was so cloyingly bad that I had to toss it. This does not happen often as I'm usually easy to please when it comes to tea and like Bigelow's Constant Comment which is flavored with orange and spices.

Jan 21, 2008, 2:13am

Was it the one with green and black teas, orange, jasmine, and vanilla? I'd heard good things and hoped to love it, but didn't - at all. I couldn't finish it. Probably the worst investment I've made, tea-wise, in years. ($9 v. $5 for the only real screw-up since then.)

Jan 21, 2008, 2:17am

Not that $9 is a huge amount, but it's the upper end for my everyday teas, and I can't remember another total loss like that. $9 shouldn't be bad. It might not be great - depending on type - but a blend of this kind has no right to taste so artificial and strange at that price. It's not necessary.

To any lovers of this blend, I apologize; but at least what I had was not good, though I thought it a fluke.

Jan 22, 2008, 1:08am

My unfavorite tea is one that is put out by Adagio Teas - it's called Valentine's. Never will I love that one!

83lsavatski First Message
Jan 22, 2008, 5:36pm

My vote is Rooibos Earl Grey. Takes good Earl Grey and royally messes it up.

Edited: Jan 23, 2008, 2:14am

Ooh. Or is it 'ew'? - As in, 'Ew, ick!'? (And other great fragmentary utterances... ;) )

Jan 23, 2008, 12:52pm

I've never been able to get into chamomile. I try it every once in a while but it's always ickier than I remembered.

Almost anything by Celestial Seasonings is right out; if I'm going to be using bags, I'd rather not use ones that make tea that burns my throat.

And vanilla hazelnut tea, no matter what the brand, is always unpleasant. Unfortunate, as I love hazelnut, but as a tea flavor it just doesn't work for me.

Jan 24, 2008, 11:02am

Lipton. I swear they don't even sell tea; just bits of potpourri in little baggies.

Jan 24, 2008, 4:30pm

I don't like any kind of fruit tea: mango, apple, berries etc. I hate vanilla, Eary Grey and English Breakfast--too bitter for me even with sugar.

The absoulte worst though is this "comfort tea" with licorice in it--wretch worthy!!

Jan 24, 2008, 4:40pm

Eastofoz, if they're too bitter 'even with sugar', I think the problem is tea or flavoring quality. This is true of English Breakfast, as of anything else. My first experiences with it (and vanilla flavored black) were not good, but neither was the _quality_ - vs. the type - of tea, involved. At six or so dollars for 4 oz. loose tea, or anything above, it should not be a problem. (It could happen, but it shouldn't.)

Jan 24, 2008, 5:13pm

Hi Eurydice, I can't say I've tried those teas loose but I have tried the tea bags from Lipton, Twinnings and Ahmad. I'll have to give the loose version a try. Thanks for the suggestion :)

Jan 24, 2008, 7:07pm

Hope it helps. :) Not that a spot of milk is amiss in smoothing out a breakfast blend or Assam. Also: you probably have tried it, but just reducing brewing times on some afternoon-type teas helps. I was given a Taylors of Harrogate Spiced Christmas tea that's very nice (more citrus than spice) at 3:30, but really a bit acidic and rough at the 4:00 most similar, loose blacks can stand. I used to use Ahmad for an inexpensive filler tea: their English Breakfast, brewed two bags to a large mug for just 2:30 - 3:00 (I usually would go 5:00), and laved with milk, ends up with a good body, better flavor than many equivalents (readily available teabags, modest price), and less of the trouble that comes in at the end of brewing. Without milk, it's probably undrinkable, but there's no tell-tale bitterness, with. I've had both adequate and poor experiences with their other teas... Twinings Lapsang is not bad: mild, mellow, forgiving. But I know this from a friend's addiction. :)

(Sorry for turning a 'worst tea' thread into a 'not-so-bad' digression! ;) )

Jan 25, 2008, 5:24pm

Eurydice, that might have been it. I bought it in a Manhattan cafe and don't recall its exact name but it was awful. And, as I said, I'm very easy to please and like many of the teas mentioned here. I'll even drink Lipton in a pinch but, of course, I know it's nothing like a really good cuppa!

I also tried a chocolate tea in Paris and although I love chocolate, the flavor combination was strange and not enjoyable at all.

I've never liked Bigelow almond and hazelnut flavored teas either. Their flavors are abrasive and unpleasant. By contrast, Republic of Tea's vanilla almond is delicious.

Jan 25, 2008, 6:03pm

Yes, nut teas are very touchy, indeed. Only a few seem to succeed. Long ago, I enjoyed Fortnum and Mason's Almond. White base to the tin, red trim, picture of a flowering almond branch and almond in the center? But it palled on me. Indeed, I adore almonds, and vanilla, but the latter fares better in tea. If I say what almond can taste of, it'd ruin it for somebody; the association isn't disgusting, but is hard to shake.

I quite like a dark-tasting chocolate note, whether good flavoring or a natural element in certain Chinese black or Assam teas. Once I had it successfully added to rooibos. And I keep meaning to try Harney's Chocolate Mint someday as an after-dinner tea, good for digestion and precluding dessert. But though I like their Valentine's (being a fan of rose congou and enjoying a rare touch of romanticism both help, here), I positively hated the chocolate-hazelnut 'Florence'! ('Paris' and 'Bangkok' are another matter. I've never tried 'Tokyo'.)

Speaking of sort of trendy, 'better' bagged/'sachet'-packed teas: One I do see often in cafes and small shops here is Numi, and they're not bad. In fact, I quite like the Aged Earl Grey. (But Raspberry Darjeeling is NOT a success...)

If you ever see the dried lime they make, brewed nice and hot and - unusual for me - well sweetened - it's marvelous. Very tart, but just great with a bit of sugar, especially in dead of winter. Almost like hot Thai limeade. I haven't had it in years. Actually, I've a lot more respect for their herbals than any other I've gotten in a grocery. They tend to be interesting, high in quality, pleasant flavored, neither artificial nor boring. (

Jan 28, 2008, 9:42am

Interesting that you should mention Numi Aged Earl Grey as someone gave me a box of it as a Christmas present! Yes, I like it too. It is full-bodied and has a nice hint of bergamot.

I'm happy to say that Whittard's of Chelsea opened up two branches here in Boston. As much as I like Tealuxe, IMO you can never have too many good tea purveyors.

Yes, I think that raspberry can be a bit tricky when it comes to tea. I do like Tealuxe's Raspberry Earl Grey although not nearly as much I like their lush and fruity Pear and Pomegranate tea.

Although it isn't my favorite citrus fruit, lime sounds like an intriguing flavoring for tea. Since other citrus fruit have been used successfully before, why ever not?

94vans27 First Message
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hi guys

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welll i do so yea like appels

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hi craig

Jan 29, 2008, 4:24pm

MarzipanLady, nice to know about the Boston Whittards and Tealuxe.... Boston, at least, being a potential destination this year. I wouldn't want to miss a good place for tea, if I happened to be there! Pear and Pomegranate sounds delicious, and I'm glad to have a seconding on the matter of Aged Earl Grey. :)

I see now I wasn't perfectly explicit, though you may have understood: the Numi Dried Lime is literally that - sliced dried desert lime, no tea! A very potent but delicious tisane... in fact, I've talked myself into looking for it!

Jan 29, 2008, 4:36pm

Thanks for getting back to the subject, Eurydice!

Plus, I'm glad for the reminder. I need to hop over to Boston when I get the chance. Tealuxe, Whittard, and I hear they have a Wagamama (that's not tea, but a noodle place I enjoyed in London.) Good times.

Jan 29, 2008, 5:09pm

Oooh..... I loved Wagamama, the one time I was in London! It's (almost) the only place I went to eat twice. (Hot chicken-and-leek croissants from a little take-away place I passed constantly, doesn't really count...) Thank you for letting me know! April, I murmur to myself: April. I can wait till then!

Feb 7, 2008, 2:04pm

Worst tea EVER... Liptons!!! Those little black tea bags you get in the store...Ew!

Feb 8, 2008, 2:26pm

Tea, especially black teas, make me sick now. I drink them anyway. The worst ever was some loose leaf jasmine green tea my mother bought me at a tea shop. It tasted like soap. Lipton's is pretty bad too. very bitter.

One of the best teas I ever got was from an ex-boyfriend. His father had a tea factory in Darjeeling and he brought us back some leaves that had been barely processed. Very plain, very good, very fresh.

I have this idea that when I retire, I will open a tea shop and used bookstore. I doubt DC is the place for those homey comforts, though.

Feb 8, 2008, 3:07pm

I live in the DC area. I'd come to your tea shop and used bookstore. :-)

Feb 9, 2008, 8:14pm

My wife encloses Lapsong tea in a ziplock, and I can only open in after she goes to work. What a smell!

Feb 9, 2008, 8:33pm

Well of course Earl Grey is a chinese tea, not an Indian tea at all. I have been forced to drink it as in many coffee shops it is the only black tea available. The best Indian teas are from the hills in Northern India. The dark red teas that I like are not from the best quality leaves, but I likes 'em. The US packaged teas are very weak partly because the bags are too small with not enough tea and no room to expand. A British sized teabag will swell to something the size of the bowl of a serving spoon. One US tea that I will drink is from the Charleston SC plantation, but only after all the British tea bags are gone! The US versions of Twinings, Red Rose, Tetley, are almost undrinkable - "gnats piss" is the favorite British expression ( I hope I am not offending anyone by this). There are many flavors of Earl Grey, and sometimes the amount of added bergamot oil is just about perfect - if you like that sort of thing.
Those flowery herb teas? I can't stand them.
Give me railway station tea, any day!

Feb 11, 2008, 6:53am

Chamomile is my very least favorite tea. I was forced to drink it occasionally as a child and it always made me gag. After that I think most fruity teas are pretty much a disappointment, but they don't actively disgust me. I'm also not a fan of Earl Grey as it doesn't really taste like anything much to me, or the really strong green teas as they taste too strong. Other than that I'm good with anything as long as it's made properly.
Unfortunately, getting tea out usually doesn't work for me as my only options are Sweet Tea (iced tea and sugar with approx the same amount of both, I believe if left sitting it would make excellent rock candy)or Iced Tea some occasional places have hot tea, but they don't use boiling water (my grandma says that's true of coffee too though, since they're worried about law suits, but as I don't drink coffee I have no idea about that) Hot water + tea = sadness.

Edited: Feb 20, 2008, 1:51am

#103: I've noticed that Jasmine tea smells and tastes like soap or incense until you sweeten it a bit or cut it with some milk. I've tried to drink it straight several times and it's always come out unpleasant until I've sweetened it. Some canned jasmine teas, like Pokka, are presweetened as well, I believe.

Feb 20, 2008, 8:00am


I went to Washington D.C. for vacation a couple years ago and went to a lovely tea room/shop called ching ching CHA. http://www.localdc.com/chingchingcha/ They were small, just set into a little line of shops, but it was my favorite part of my trip. They had a wonderful display tea called Peach Blossom.

Sorry, to go off topic, but I wanted to respond to the DC comment.

On Topic
I still say Lipton's black teabags beats all other teas for worst tea hands down. My least favorite type of tea is Lapsong Souchong but I think that has to do with personal preference more than quality, so I wouldn't count that.

Feb 20, 2008, 9:20pm

99: If you're in the Boston area check out Dado Tea in Cambridge/Harvard Square. It's mostly Korean and Japanese teas and a very nice little spot.

Mar 9, 2008, 11:45pm

I just recently had a tea that I have to add to my worst ever. It was a tea I ordered in sample size from Adagio Teas called White Tangerine. I took 2 sips and threw the rest of the brewed tea and the loose tea away. Yuck!

Mar 10, 2008, 2:53am

A friend of mine bought a few ounces of loose lotus tea and hated it. He gave it to me, knowing I like some of the more perfumey Asian teas, but I hated it as well. I just drank my first cup of it about a half hour ago and I don't think this is the kind of flavor I can just let grow on me.

Mar 11, 2008, 3:26am

I join in the Lipton and Red Rose hate; they are dreadful. I may be in a minority, but I'm perfectly happy with Twinings Darjeeling bags, as long as I have boiling water and a little milk . . . I've given up ordering tea in restaurants in this country (the US), it's hopeless. Bad enough they bring the lukewarm water with the Lipton teabag on the side, they usually do it in those little metal pots that lose warmth at light speed.

Not crazy about herbal/fruity teas, except blackcurrant with a bit of honey.

Also greatly dislike Earl Grey.

And, as an aside, why is it that people who know one likes tea think that means they should gift one with any kind of tea? Hate to sound ungrateful, but . . .

Mar 11, 2008, 10:58pm

Ej: because they don't know enough about tea to realize it matters. A bit like wine (and many other things), it obviously does help to aim for quality and know people's preferences.

Bostonbibliophile: Sounds lovely, and I will definitely be there. (Thank you.) I don't know much about Korean teas, however. Any comments or pointers?

Jun 16, 2008, 3:41pm

The worst cup of tea I've ever had was in Nicaraqua. They made some sort of lemon-flavoured ice tea by mixing powder and water and then heated it in the microwave... yes, really disgusting! It was like a bitter lemon that has been in the burning sun for some hours.

In France (where my father lives) it's also very difficult to get a nice cup of tea.

Here in my Dutch hometown Arnhem however, there are lots of places where they serve really good teas.

Jul 8, 2008, 11:20pm

The worst tea I have ever smelled or tasted was loose Valerian tea. I bought it because it's suppose to help you sleep. Well I tell you what the smell alone can knock you out. When I bought it and put it in the car my kids started complaining about a smell that resembled cow manure. I agreed and we started looking for the culprit and low and behold it was the darn tea in the paper bag. I'll try anything once so I made some put sugar in it tried and it was just as nasty as the smell.

Jul 9, 2008, 9:55am

I had a box of valerian on the subway with me once, and suddenly everyone had that "what's that smell?" look on their face. Needless to say, that stuff didn't last in my home. I've heard about its calming properties, but I think it would have to promise immortality before I went near it again (besides in pill form, which isn't as bad). It's got a pretty name, though.

Jul 20, 2008, 4:38pm

I recently had my first Yerba Mate experience, and I have to say, it was not entirely pleasant. In the cup it actually smelled good, but when I tasted it I was not pleased, and the aftertaste was horrendous. I had to go find a piece of gum. I thought it tasted like dirt (kind of like a dusty dirt road). My brother then tried it and suggested it tasted like lint.

Jul 20, 2008, 4:39pm

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Jul 20, 2008, 6:18pm

Heaven knows, I'm not that picky--I like Celestial Seasonings, for cryin' out loud-- but I cannot stand rooibos teas. Just...gag. It's like regular teas gone sour.

And there was this twelve pack of teas given me as a "gift" by people who apparently do not like me. The brand? Those well known experts of the leaf, Target.

It tastes...like licking a Target. I use it for cleaning grease.

Jul 20, 2008, 10:38pm

I am not fond of Earl Grey, Chamomile, English Breakfast, Chai, and recently added: White Tea.

I don't mind White Tea with a flavoring, but by itself it is too bland.

Jul 21, 2008, 4:11am

#118: You should drink it from a bombilla, not a cup. Alas the taste is the same :-)

Jul 23, 2008, 9:34pm

Bombilla. That's the word that went through my head when I first tried yerba mate. Well, more like bomb! ill! aghhh!

Jul 24, 2008, 1:53am


Duly warned.

Jul 24, 2008, 1:55am

What if it's someday like coffee, that 'black and vile liquid'? Yerba mate takes over the world??

Jul 24, 2008, 11:00am

Anything's possible, those Rooibos has yet to eclipse the popularity of tea and coffee, and it's one of those "alternative" drinks like yerba mate. I must admit, I'm not the biggest rooibos fan, unless it's flavored - the chai isn't bad at all. Yet I haven't found a flavored mate that's done it for me.

Jul 24, 2008, 1:04pm

The Celestial Seasonings "morning thunder" has yerba mate in it and is not bad. It is cut with black tea, but I wouldn't recommend it for purists.

I've been drinking those yogi teas and I really like the ones with licorice root. I hear it isn't all that good for you, so I try to limit it.

Jul 24, 2008, 1:32pm

I've always loved the name "morning thunder" - BOOM! I'm awake! They mentioned it on Seinfeld - that he drank it not knowing it was caffeinated, and then he was walking around feeling so great.

Jul 27, 2008, 6:26pm

Morning Thunder is my favorite caffeine bomb. Tea Story: When I was in a high-pressure AP high school program, I made a triple-strength pitcher of the stuff to get me through finals (we had 9 hours of class! Plus 2 hours on the bus and home studying and at least an hour of extracurricular. None of us slept that week.) . I brought a cup along and my friends and I drank the stuff like rotgut whiskey, with shuddering and making of faces. 3 slugs would make your eyelids jitter.

We all did well on the tests, though.

And yet I too hate straight up mate. What's with that stuff?

Jul 30, 2008, 2:02am

I love mate. All the hate is making me sad. :(

I hate rooibos though. I can't drink it. I get Lupicia samples in the mail regularly and they are ALWAYS some blend of rooibos. Most of the time I give them a shot, hoping this time will be different, but I only manage a few sips at most before I toss it. Red, green, doesn't matter. I just can't drink it.

Jul 30, 2008, 3:20am

Now you've done it. I actually ordered some mate because of this talk.
#130: I see no hate here, just an impression of mate being an acquired taste :-)

Aug 1, 2008, 5:47am

Pu erh tea, which is also called green-blue tea, or youth tea. I tried two of them : one from the late shop Chinagora in Alfortville, one from Le Palais des thés in Paris. It is supposed to keep you slim and fit (probably a trick to sell it despite its taste). Well, like many things that are supposed to keep you slim and fit (fatless yogurt, skimmed milk, Vichy water, Diet coke, tofu) it is yucky. Tastes like mud.

Aug 1, 2008, 5:57am

Yes, I generally think "keeping me slim and fit" means exercise, vegetables, fruit, and plenty of nuts and low-fat protein. Water. Fiber. Low sugar.... and tea. ;)

- Because I certainly can't stomach Diet Coke! But I like tofu, and even non-fat plain yogurt (though low-fat is markedly better).

In honor of all of you, I commit to trying mate or re-trying pu-erh.... just in case.

Aug 1, 2008, 8:46am

There's a tea shop near me that serves what they call Orange Mate - mate with a slice of fresh orange. It's pretty good! I think the orange cuts down a bit on the bitterness of the mate.

Aug 2, 2008, 1:09am

#134 TamaraF

"There's a tea shop near me . . ." I can't help feeling a bit envious. I have no idea where the nearest tea shop is, but it's far, far away.

Civilization. What a great idea.

Aug 2, 2008, 6:46pm

ejj1955, if your location is correct, Google says there are a couple that don't seem too far away. (An hour's drive? Maybe?) Not right next door, but it's a place to start.

Aug 2, 2008, 7:26pm

#136 Wosret

Thank you! There are some places that don't seem too far. Maybe I'll check some of them out after my car gets fixed . . .

Aug 5, 2008, 10:47pm

I think Trader Joes English Breakfast is the worst I've had. Odd because I enjoy their other teas.

Aug 6, 2008, 2:55pm

I so agree! It has a bitter, almost metallic, flavor.

Aug 6, 2008, 8:12pm

Ew, then it must take like those Lipton "tea" bags every restaurant deems worthy to offer. The nerve!

Edited: Aug 17, 2008, 2:11am

I had mate a few times in grad school, but really acquired a taste for it when I visited Patagonia. I won't take any offense if people don't like it though, since technically it's not "tea". ;-) I have had a few friends that I shared with comment that it tastes exactly like it looks (when served in a bombilla).

Morning Thunder though. Wow. I haven't thought about that stuff in years. I tried some in high school, for much the same reason as Carapace. I hate coffee, and I think I dislike Morning Thunder even more. A more bitter, harsh drink I cannot imagine. Including Lipton served with lukewarm water from a tiny stainless pot in a diner. At least with enough lemon juice and honey that can be made palatable.

Aug 17, 2008, 12:07pm

ohhh...that must be bad if the typical lukewarm lipton is better...lol

Aug 17, 2008, 12:14pm

I can't stand Blackcurrant tea. Tastes like roasted candies to me.

Peppermint tea comes next on my list :/

Edited: Aug 19, 2008, 11:44am

Nettle tea. Most fruit flavored teas, especially the ones with fruit blends (forest fruits? ugh!). Other overpowering flavors (including most Celestial seasonings. I don't really like rooibos either.

Tea made with water that's any colder than boiling is revolting, worse than any flavor you can add. Except the flavor of unwashed coffee/soup containers.

But this discussion has made me want to get some Lapsang Souchong again.

And now some literature I want to share (yes, it's very relevant). From Agnes, translated from Dutch by me (I don't think there is any official translation):

'What do you want,' Agnes asked, 'I have mango tea, orange tea, strawberry tea and ordinary tea.'
'For Pete's sake,' Arthur said, 'ordinary tea. Tea should taste of tea. Not of orange. One has to choose. Either one eats an orange or one drinks tea.'
Agnes put two spoonfuls of Earl Grey into the pot, poured the water on it and put the teapot, the sugar and two bowls on a tray.
'Am I right, or am I not?' Arthur called from the bed.
'You are right,' she shouted back.

Edited: Aug 19, 2008, 11:49am

</i>So what did Arthur say when he tasted the Earl Grey? :-)

(Inquiring minds want to know...)

Aug 19, 2008, 11:51am

He said "This is excellent tea". And they both had three bowls.

Aug 19, 2008, 11:51am


Aug 19, 2008, 11:53am

It seems even people who don't like flavored tea but are hard core true tea drinkers go for Earl Grey. There's exceptions, but it tends to be the case. Just my observation.

Aug 19, 2008, 11:59am

i am one of them. i can not stand any flavored tea...except Earl Gray. it's Earl Gray or stong Irish tea for me.

Aug 19, 2008, 12:02pm

The Earl was always my first love...and fruit teas in general make me want to vomit - so maybe you're on to something, LadyG.

And Wester, thank you for the reading. It made me smile.

For anyone interested, Numi puts out a lovely Gen Mai Cha (Toasted Rice Green). It's light and crisp. Really yummy.

Aug 19, 2008, 7:35pm

I dislike flavored black teas, including Earl Grey, but very occasionally like fruity teas--including blackcurrant--with some honey to kill the bitterness.

My all-time, every day, flat-out favorite is Darjeeling, though. Have some next to me ;-)

Aug 20, 2008, 2:18am

Rather natural, refined, tea-suiting flavors like the bergamot oil in Earl Grey, vanilla, spices, almond pieces, blackcurrant or apricot, jasmine, and rose tend to meld particularly well with tea. And they've been used in scenting it for a long time. Often those of us who turn our noses up at most flavored teas enjoy some of these.

Still, I think it's funny that 'ordinary tea' should be Earl Grey. For me, it should certainly be plain. - Particularly when those being rejected bear such similar flavors (orange and mango, both rather warmly citrus).

None of which, of course, is to dispute its classicism - or worth.

Aug 20, 2008, 9:14am

Dispite liking a lot of flavoured teas, I'm not a huge fan of Early Grey, though a lot depends on how it is brewed. I dislike it least when it's very weak.

There is quite a difference between added flavouring (eg fuits of the forest) and added flavours - orange oil. The former tends to associate a lot of icky aftertaste while the latter when well done, can be very plesant. The presense or absence of bits of dried fruit has nothing to do with either, and seldom contributes much to the flavour. Check the ingrediants!

Aug 20, 2008, 10:51am

I used to quite like Earl Grey, but now I don't. I'm not sure what changed. I really love Lady Grey, though. I bought a loose-leaf Earl Grey Creme a while back, which was flavoured with vanilla, and then it turned out I didn't like it, either!

Aug 20, 2008, 11:21am

I've been served a variation on Earl Grey that had lavender flowers in it, and didn't like it at all, though my hostess loved it.

Aug 21, 2008, 11:08am

>153 reading_fox: Sorry, I'm not following. Are you meaning that the difference is between adding particular ingredients such as bits of fruit, flowers, berries, etc. to tea and adding flavored oils (such as Earl Grey's bergamot, orange oil, vanilla extract, etc.) to tea? Or have I misunderstood?

If that's the difference you had in mind, then I'm surprised you prefer the oils to the stuff. Granted, the stuff is not tea, but shouldn't it give a more 'real' taste than oil? I tend to like my tea pure, but when offered the choice between, say, tea with real cinnamon in it and tea with cinnamon oil, I've usually preferred the former because it has some mouth flavor, while oils generally just give scent. Perhaps I've been making a mistake. I suppose most of the flavors in orange, cinnamon and the like come from the oil anyway. But what about fruits? Please elaborate!

Aug 29, 2008, 10:30pm

Green tea, in any form. So of course, my most recent tea gift was a rose-scented green. So I serve it when my friends come for tea--they like it. Earl Gray is my second least favorite. Cannot stand the stuff.

I must confess to going for tea bags alot. I'm the only tea drinker in the house, and brewing a whole pot just isn't worth it most of the time. My current morning pick-me up is a generic Ceylon Black. Surprisingly good, with an excellent caffeine kick.

New here-hello to everyone.

Aug 30, 2008, 4:33pm

>157 RitaFaye:

Hello, Rita, and welcome! With you on the Earl Grey thing.

It's a mystery to me (sort of) why people assume that if you like tea, you'll like all tea. Few items of food or drink have so many different varieties and such big differences between them (e.g., say you like steak--your favorite cut might be a strip steak, but if someone gives you a T-bone, are you likely to consider it inedible?). But with tea . . . non-tea-drinkers just have no idea.

Aug 30, 2008, 5:39pm

The worst, the absolute worst imho, is that stuff some coffee machines are programmed to spew out as tea. Some unmentionable instant stuff, coming partially through the same tubes as the coffee (still carrying some of that flavour), and obviously not getting any time to brew at all.

Though I appreciate the attempt to cater to us tea drinkers as well: yuk!

Aug 30, 2008, 6:32pm

Yeah, I think it's been mentioned in another thread, but coffee overpowers tea - no, not in enjoyablility, but even a few drops of coffee in a cup of tea ruins the taste. I only use the one at my job when I absolutely need the caffeine and won't be actively savoring it.

As far as tea gifts, though they are appreciated, it is a bit rough when I receive something that's not my thing. Especially when someone goes away and gets "tourist tea". That is, a box of teabags flavored with favorite fruits of the region. I've had "Hawaiian tea", "Florida tea", "Canada tea"...no thank you. Cheap Ceylon tea flavored with pineapple bits or maple syrup is not my cup of tea. I do try it once to be nice, then I usually bring it to work so that it goes fast. I'm a bit of a snob, I guess. It's the thought that counts, isn't it?

Aug 30, 2008, 10:15pm

>160 PensiveCat:

Honestly, I don't think it's snobbish at all. Tea with fruity bits in it is not at all the same as a cup of Darjeeling, for example. Just because I like chocolates doesn't mean I like jelly beans, even though they are both candy.

Sep 3, 2008, 11:15am

I'm not completely against fruity bits, but there's only a few types that I like (mango, for instance), and the rest is too much for me. Yeah, like a chocolate lover doesn't like all types of candy (or even chocolate, for that matter), a tea lover does not like all types of tea.

Sep 3, 2008, 12:25pm

Worst tea I ever had was powdered chai. I don't know what I was thinking. < shudder >

Sep 4, 2008, 1:26am

"powdered" and "tea" should not be in the same sentence together (well, except this one!)

Sep 4, 2008, 2:30am

I dunno, the tea used in Japanese tea ceremony is a powdered green tea, and it's usually pretty high quality; an acquired taste, though.

Sep 4, 2008, 9:42am

Matcha's a different story, but powdered as in powdered chai, that's really mostly sugar mixed in with lousy tea. I had the powdered chai once, and it was rather nauseating.

Sep 4, 2008, 4:14pm

There is a company called Kataluma Chai that sells a wide variety of flavored chai in powdered form. It's a bit like hot cocoa and it's actually really good, expensive though. I drink that in the winter, instead of hot cocoa when I really need a treat. They have chocolate and white chocolate chai, raspberry chai, and about 20 other flavors. I prefer the chocolate varieties myself:) But, that's the only powdered chai I've ever tried that tastes good at all. The others are "icky"!!!

Sep 4, 2008, 4:30pm

I was obssessed with one particular kind of powdered tea. It was the type they put in a vending machine and it was surprisingly good. I was addicted to it when a relative of mine was in the hospital so I spent many hours there drinking "powdered tea" until the whole floor was closed for de-germing purposes then I had to talk to the people in charge and insist they take me to that machine. They had to drag me to a back doors and weird shortcuts to get to that specific room with the vending machine.

Now I'm convinced that powdered tea was "powdered" alright! :D


Sep 5, 2008, 11:31am

I wonder, for those of you who don't like particular types of tea (like greens or oolong), whether the distatste comes from incorrect brewing methods? Someone I know recently said that she was still trying to find a green that she liked, that she didn't have to add honey to, and I asked her what temperature water she was using. Turns out, she'd been using boiling water straight from the kettle, so of course the tea turned out bitter!

Sep 5, 2008, 12:36pm

*Just a quick note about chai/tea/char words for those that asked aaaaages ago:
There is one character for tea in Chinese, but two pronunciations -- Teh and Cha, (depending on which area of china pronounces the character), thus, people hearing about the drink from one area heard 'Teh' whereas the other heard 'Cha' -- and when some of the british first heard 'Cha' -- they happened to be british people with an arhotic/non-rhotic dialect -- which adds an 'r' sound after any vowels that sound like 'ah', hence 'char' -- when it doesn't normally have it. (Of course, these are the same people which do not pronounce the 'r' at the end of 'star'). (With apologies to any linguist out there that can explain it far more accurately than I can with their eyes closed and hands tied behind their back.)*

About the only kind of tea I can't stand in any way, shape, or form is anything with any kind of mint in it.

I'd rather choke down a bad american celestial seasonings blend made with re-heated lukewarm water and a second-use teabag than go near anything with mint.

(most) Everything else is ok by me.

(Also, one more note - Matcha 'powdered tea' is very finely ground green tea leaves which is then used to make a special frothy 'infusion' in water. It's not quite the standard over-brew-bad-tea-then-dehydrate-to-powder powdered tea. It has a purpose for its creation in the japanese tea ceremony, and nowadays is used to flavour things like ice cream, candies, etc.)

Sep 5, 2008, 9:13pm

Kassetra, interesting information. Thanks...

I'm not fond of mint either.

I tried "Elderflower" tea today. It was awful!

It tasted a bit like mint and onions.

Edited: Sep 6, 2008, 12:41am

#169: Sometimes I feel that way about Chinese greens. I love oolongs and Japanese greens but for some reason I always feel like I'm brewing the Chinese varieties incorrectly (usually with dry leaf volume). Maybe I just haven't picked the right one, or I've been given low quality leaves, I'm not sure. I use the same volume of leaf and temperature of water but it always comes out sub-par.

Sep 7, 2008, 4:06pm

Thanks for the explanation of cha and teh! That's very interesting and helps my understanding of the migration of the word, from "teh" in Southeast Asia and variations on "teh" in Europe to cha in Japan and chai in south asia.

I think it's been discussed in another thread the fact that chai just means tea, but the word was hijacked (by Americans I'm guessing) to stand for sweet spiced milky tea (because most south asians drink their tea that way) and from there to any possible "tea" concoction involving milk (chocolate?? personally, I can't imagine how one would be able to taste any tea under chocolate).

Also, it's true there's a huge difference between tea that's been ground into a powder such as matcha and instant "tea" made, well, I don't even know how.

In India and probably in other places where there are more choices for black tea, they sell something called "dust tea" which is essentially the powdery sweepings after the nicer leaves and bits have been separated for the better tea mixes. Dust tea is the cheapest, so most commonly used, which may be why adding spices, milk and sugar is so agreeable.

And speaking of tea from vending machines, this is reasonably drinkable in some countries, but in the US machines that I've tried, it is nasty stuff indeed.

Sep 7, 2008, 9:33pm

I can't help myself. Since the conversation has turned to tea from vending machines, I think that the machine on the Heart of Gold which invariably produced "a plastic cup filled with a liquid that was almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea" (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy) deserves an honorable mention for worst tea.

Sep 8, 2008, 3:56am

#174 - I was thinking about that one too!

Sep 9, 2008, 4:28pm

Dust tea? What a funny name...

Sep 11, 2008, 5:47pm

Well, I didn't even consider instant tea or vending machine tea--I know better than to touch the stuff. I would drink green tea before those. The closest I've come is bottled instant iced tea served in a hospital cafeteria--not really good, but drinkable.

It's not that green tea is bitter to me; it seems to be more bland and perhaps a bit sour. I've had it brewed at a number of different temperatures, and with/without flavorings; I still don't like it.

Sep 11, 2008, 9:35pm


First time I tried Green Tea I felt it tasted like liquid fish (whatever that is). Then it became the "IN" thing and everyone wants to suddenly drink Green Tea cuz it's healthy (even though everything else in their lives is not).

I just think Green Tea is overrated & tastes fishy.

Sep 12, 2008, 1:41am

Ah, well, all the more for me! :-)

Sep 12, 2008, 4:50pm

LOL! Now I'm thinking of my Vietnamese friend in college who explained how traditional "fish sauce" is made. Green tea is definitely off the menu.

Edited: Sep 14, 2008, 8:50am

#180: My father's a Vietnam War veteran and, if you're talking about the same method of fish sauce making that he told me about, ...Urp.

Oct 12, 2008, 5:56pm

I don't like Cammomile (or Chamomile, or Camomile---don't know how to spell that and these are the 3 spellings I found on above post:)), or Raspberry, or usually any fruity tea (except orange). Also not a fan of the teas served in most Chinese restaurants (in the U.S., anyway).

Oct 12, 2008, 7:41pm

Yes, JackFrost, I believe that would be the same method. Urp is right.

Oct 23, 2008, 11:12am

I recently bought English Classic Tea's English Breakfast Blend, which has a strong taste of leather. Never got that from a tea before.

Nov 2, 2008, 9:56am

Tried a rooibos again last night...had to toss the whole thing b/c I was so sickened by it. Any ideas on different ways to make it drinkable...i put a little honey and milk in it. the smell makes me gag.

Nov 2, 2008, 2:09pm

Tiegster - what brand of rooibos is it?

Nov 2, 2008, 2:27pm

tazo african red bush

Nov 2, 2008, 3:03pm

Hmmm, haven't tried that one.

I have found Numi Teas rooibos to be quite good, and also Mariage Frères Bourbon rooibos is excellent.

Nov 4, 2008, 8:50am

Just returned from a week on the road having to make tea with water heated in a hotel coffeemaker. Blecch! It was ALL the "worst tea ever!"

(There's no place like home...)

Nov 7, 2008, 8:52pm

#189 Oh, I agree completely. Ick!

I now have a new worst tea. Lapsong Souchong, or however you spell it. Got a sample from Uptons, and the smell! Smelled like a bonfire got rained on. The tea actually didn't taste like that, but unfortunately drinking it required my nose to be far too close to that odor.

Perhaps I can drink it when I get my winter sinus troubles.

Nov 8, 2008, 7:59am

#190: A friend of mine bought some Lapsang on a shopping trip recently, and sat in the back seat of my car as I drove home. At one point he opened the bag to sniff the tea and I immediately asked him when he'd bought some beef jerky. I have no idea what it tastes like but the smell...

Nov 8, 2008, 11:44am

Lapsang Souchong (and other smoky teas, like Russian Caravan) are definitely an acquired taste. Many people like them (I do myself), but many don't. For me, though, it's very much a case of drinking them at the right time; it's not for any time. On the other hand, my sister's boss drinks Tsar Alexandre (a smoky tea from Mariage Frères) all the time - it's his favorite.

Nov 8, 2008, 5:49pm

Actually, this thread reminded me that I hadn't had any Lapsang Souchong in ages, so I bought some, and I had some today. It's very nice (IMHO etc.)

Nov 8, 2008, 8:41pm

I agree and it's too bad, becasue Red Rose used to be all right. I think people actually get it in part for those little statuettes that come in the boxes.

As for me, I don't like gunpowder. I also tried something called Forelli's from the dollar store that was pretty bad. But then I tried a different variety of Forelli's that was all right. So who knows.

If you don't like lapsang souchong, then you don't like smokey teas. I do like them.

Nov 16, 2008, 3:39pm

Yick I still can't do Lapsang Souchong, those I want to get some for my chicken.

Sinus trouble tea...I always have a stash of sub-par teas to take when I'm sick and my senses are off.

Nov 20, 2008, 4:18pm

Ok, I haven't read the whole string, so if I missed this question anywhere, please forgive me. I am, and have been since my early teens (48 now) a Pepsiholic! Needless to say, I am now a diabetic and searching for something to replace the Pepsi habit. I have never been a coffee or tea drinker before. I do usually get cappuccino if it's available, but I have never found anyone who makes it as light, fluffy and sweet as the first cappuccino I drank aboard a cruise line years ago. Yes, I like things sweet!

This is my premise: I know nothing about teas and/or coffees other than dunking a Lipton teabag in a hot cup of water, or the general brewing of a coffeemaker. What advise can you give to someone who knows nothing about the subject? Are there special methods of brewing? What do the different tea flavours taste like? Any advice you can give is welcome, especially since it's becoming quite chilled in the evening and I would love to cuddle up on the sofa, and drink something wonderful while reading a book as I do nightly before retiring. I am so looking forward to what all of you tea connoisseurs can educate me on!!!

Nov 20, 2008, 4:43pm

There are many people more knowledgeable than I am about tea on here, but I'll give it a shot: and I'll start with coffee. Supposedly the best way to brew coffee is with a French press, in which you mix the grounds with hot water and then, after a few minutes, push down the press to separate the grounds at the bottom, leaving you with good coffee. French press coffeemakers aren't expensive (I've been pricing them on Amazon), but just as easy and pretty darn good is to use a single cup cone, such as a Melitta, with a filter; you just put in the filter, put in ground coffee, and pour hot water into it. The advantage of this is that you can make a fresh cup whenever you want and not waste half a pot if it's just you.

Purist prefer loose tea to bags, but there are a lot of decent teas in bags and they are a lot simpler. I personally think Lipton is one of the worst teas out there . . . tastes muddy and bitter. But there are black teas (try Darjeeling, English Breakfast, Irish Breakfast, Assam, etc.), flavored black teas (many people like Earl Grey a lot), green teas, white teas, and herbal or fruit teas, which technically speaking aren't teas at all. But if you like fruity flavors, some of these are nice and somewhat sweet.

Of course, I'm wondering about the world of artificial sweeteners--for starters, how do you feel about Diet Pepsi? I haven't drunk soda with sugar for years, barring some "real" cola when very sick and needing to settle my stomach, but I'm perfectly happy with diet soda in a huge variety of flavors. I try not to overdo it, but I drink Diet Pepsi, Fresca, and the supermarket brand of flavors from pomegranate to grape to black cherry.

You can also use Splenda (made from real sugar but okay for diabetics--and one plus is you can make some desserts from it, especially custardy things like puddings and pumpkin pie) or Equal or some other sweeteners.

Just some thoughts . . . oh, yes, and there are tons of drink mixes with Splenda or other sweetners you can have, including the handy ones that you mix with a bottle of water (Crystal Light, 4C, and Propel are among the brands out there).

Nov 20, 2008, 5:06pm

Your question is quite OT, why don't you start another thread? It will also be clearer then that you want advice. Call it "Newbie wants advice on tea/coffee" or something like that.

Nov 23, 2008, 7:49pm

Same goes for me, Red Rose used to be allright. When I lived in Florida people used to complain they couldn't get it down there. Now it seems kind of dishwatery these days.
As for my worst my vote is for Lipton. Great iced but too bitter when hot. And to Message 191: JackFrost I had to laugh because the Lapsang is rather stinky, I worked for a tea store a few years back and every time I opened the canister it reminded me of socks! Never did drink any, maybe I'm missing out??

Nov 23, 2008, 7:56pm

sorry folks, my message is a little displaced...I was responding to msg #194 by ainsleytewce saying Red Rose used to be ok. Apologies if anyone started reading wondering what the heck I was talking about! Anyhoo, #197 thew me for a loop, coffee, soda and everything in between.

Nov 23, 2008, 7:56pm

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Nov 23, 2008, 8:12pm

>200 beachgirl66:

Sorry: I was attempting to respond to >196 IceQueenTN:'s queries, as he/she mentioned coffee, tea, and soda . . . it was a bit off-topic, but that seems to be a common feature of LT threads.

Enjoying my Darjeeling now, with milk.

Nov 23, 2008, 11:13pm

oops, sorry myself...just went back and read 196. Guess that query caught me somewhere between my second cup of green tea, and my 3yr old tugging at the apron strings, so to speak!
Darjeeling with milk is a personal favorite of mine...enjoy!

Nov 25, 2008, 8:55pm

This message has been deleted by its author.

Nov 28, 2008, 9:37am

RitaFaye (190) wrote that Lapsang Souchong "Smelled like a bonfire got rained on."

AHA! Now I understand why I looove Lapsang Souchong and the delicious smoky aroma. Way back when, my Girl Scout troop went on a weekend camping trip and it rained hard the entire weekend. We managed to build a campfire, however, and huddled under a tarp. It was great fun!

I've heard that smell is more closely linked to emotions and memory than any other sense. So perhaps when I smell the smoky Lapsang, I'm subconsciously remembering that campfire in the rain? ('Cept next time I drink Lapsang, it will be a conscious memory...)

Nov 28, 2008, 11:17am

ladygata - maybe you can add Twinings 'herbal revive' with lemon & ginger to your stash of sub-par teas. I tried it with 2 bags and it's still watery, but you can really taste the ginger so it would probably kick the crap out of a cold :)
After a few sips I immediately rotated the box in my cupboard to the ICE section (in case of emergency)!

Nov 28, 2008, 11:26am

#156 Apologies for the huge delay, I missed this thread amoungst so many others. What I meant was there are three ways to add a non-tea flavour to tea.

1) Add the stuff. IE mango flavour by adding mango pieces. Although intuatively this shoudl be the method that produces the best flavour I've found it not particularly good. By the time the fruit has been freeze dried, mixed with tea and stored when you add some hot water to it little flavour remains to infuse the liquid, unless you leave it for ages, by which time the tea will be very bitter. I'm sure it still tastes good were you to chew it, but that's not tea. Hibiscus is about the only fruit that actually works. Various herbs - mint, camomille etc do too, and then the red and honey bushes of afric. But none of these are normally mixed with tea.

2) Add an extracted oil. This soaks into the tea leaves, and infuses out with the hot water. Providing the manufacturer has taken some care this as in the case of Early grey can provvide a very strong/different balance.

3) Add fruit 'flavour' normally nature identical artifical synthetic compounds, sometimes just aroma. Cheap and easy it tastes like it too.

Dec 29, 2008, 8:46pm

I got rid of the lapsong souchong!!
My very strange sister likes it! No one in this family would touch it, but she had at least 3 mugs of it while visiting for Christmas. It went back north with her.

Dec 31, 2008, 2:13pm

I'm not against Celestial Seasonings, but I had a bad experience with a black tea from there. But I've made lemonade out of lemons (or rather sweet tea out of bad tea), so it's all good!

I also have an unidentified gunpowder tea sent to me in an unmarked zip-loc bag. It's a bit too sweet for a green tea for me, but I mix it with some truly mediocre but fragrant jasmine tea I have and it all balances out.

Jan 1, 2009, 6:15pm

I really don't like Earl grey or any flowery scented tea. I don't like lipton hot tea either, though their pre-made iced tea in a bottle is pretty good. I do like Red Rose black tea, and quite a few loose leaf oolong teas (though the foojoy tung ting oolong I got at the import store was downright nasty).
I like green teas too unless they come with burned rice for flavoring. The rice is cloying and makes my throat itch.
The best tea I've had is a black tea blend that came in an aluminum foil stick with holes in it. I dont recall the name, but I will go to the restraunt that serves it just for the tea. Luckily for the restaurant, all they serve is tea and desserts. :)

May 23, 2009, 9:18pm

Amaranthic (209) wrote: "I also have an unidentified gunpowder tea sent to me in an unmarked zip-loc bag."

Are you sure it was tea? Maybe you were supposed to smoke it, not steep and drink it?

After reading RitaFaye's comment (208), I'm in the mood for some lapsang souchong. Yes, I must be the "very strange sister" in my family!

May 24, 2009, 4:46am

>4 digifish_books:
You're right, powdered tea is vile. Whittard of Chelsea used to sell it, but I am glad to have gotten the chemical taste out of my mouth (tasted like that 80s drink, Tang, or somesuch).

I tend to go to a private tea reseller, where I buy sencha tea, gunpowder tea and white tea. It may be a tad expensive, but you know where you go with these.

May 24, 2009, 4:46am

This message has been deleted by its author.

Jun 2, 2009, 1:30am

I just felt like adding that Red Rose tea is pretty good cold-I brew about 3 or 4 pots and stash them in the fridge in big Powerade bottles for around the house and long rounds of Disc Golf. For a hot nice cup, though, Red Rose is par at best, but it has an earthiness that I like in good English ales and a peaty Scotch. On those days when you need to look fancy though, I think Twinings is a pretty good call, and believe it or not Private Selection (a store brand my local Kroger's grocery store has) has been good to me over the years. They even have Rooibos tea, which does have a dusty flavor, but that fits right in with my taste for Adnams, Samuel Smith's and Laphroaig Scotch.

Apr 11, 2010, 3:57pm

I also like Red Rose (the Canadian Version) but not as much now that they changed hands.

Years ago a lovely friend gave me a 'market spice' tea in quite a nice tin (one with a round top and a Chinese design). You could smell the tea from a ways away.. it was strong and very gross. To make matters worse, it was so oily somehow that I could not clean out the tin!

Apr 11, 2010, 5:13pm

red rose is an okay tea but the worst tea I've ever had was "great value" tea from walmart

Apr 14, 2010, 12:55am

I can't stand Eggnoggin by Bigelow. I love almost everything by Bigelow, but that tea is just heinous. Eggnog does NOT belong in tea.

Apr 14, 2010, 12:58am

I purchased bacon tea from 52teas. Yes, I am one of the ones who bought it. Not that great, but I will use it up. Tastes more like a strong black tea with a bit of a bite (bitterness?) to it.

Apr 14, 2010, 9:08am

pollysmith, the Great Value teabags make great compresses...soak the bags through and put on tired puffy eyes! (I don't like to waste good tea as a beauty product, so I keep cheapies on hand.)

Apr 14, 2010, 10:10am

Sometimes teas I don't fancy are perfectly fine for making rice with ;) I can't stand wasting tea either!

Apr 14, 2010, 12:35pm

#190 #208 I agree that Lapsang souchong tea is probably the worst. Its dries over a smoky pine fire but the stuff I have tried is like drinking liquid smoke.
Tea should be enjoyable and not be something you do battle with (that's the same reason I don't drink Starbuck's coffee)

Apr 14, 2010, 2:03pm

I tend to mix Lapsang with Assam and drink on on thunderstormy or blizzardy days. Straight up it is a bit much, but it has a place in my tea pantry (Only 4 cupboards now, working on paring it down).

Apr 19, 2010, 10:30pm

Bcteagirl, you should try Russian Caravan. It is a blend of Lapsang and (depending on where you get it) Oolong, Keemun, and/or Assam. Or just keep blending your own, of course.

Apr 20, 2010, 12:57am

I will pick some up next time I travel to the city, thank you :)

May 3, 2010, 5:17am

So I'm not the only one who doesn't like Market Spice? I really dislike it- agree on the weird oiliness, and the flavor is way too strong and not nice- sort of sweet, I guess? I live in Washington, and Market Spice tea comes from Seattle, so it's everywhere around here!

May 3, 2010, 11:40am

I don't like it at all.. and it has ruined some nice tea tins to boot.

May 3, 2010, 12:31pm

I tried Lapsang some time ago as a result of this thread. I thought it was awful, but I have the strangest desire to try it again. I am feeling a bit nostagic for the days when I lived in the country and we burned wood to heat the house.

I hate anything made with hibiscus, but the worst tea, as noted by others, is any tea made with even a hint of coffee. I hosted a meeting at a hotel where they served starbucks from large plastic carafes. They use these same containers (presumably rinsed) for the hot water. The end result was a nauseating cup of hot water with the faint aroma of burnt coffee. Coffee never really comes out of many types of plastic which is, of course, why most places use metal containers. They actually told me that no one had ever complained about it before.

May 3, 2010, 1:27pm

They try to tell me no one has ever complained about the coffee water before at most conferences I go to. I don't buy it.

May 4, 2010, 2:33am

Agreed about the hibiscus, and about coffee contamination :-P

May 12, 2010, 12:05pm

227,228,229> Coffee contaminated tea is repulsive. But, even worse, is if you get a poorly washed spoon that was previously used to scoop out onions. Long story, and a very gross one.

As for the worst actual tea, any tea with rose. It is very... odd.

May 18, 2010, 11:51am

> 230

That reminds me of the worst cup I ever had, served on a Pan Am flight nearly forty years ago by a flight crew who'd spent most of the night black-taping overhead lights which tended to switch themselves on at random intervals. It tasted like 50:50 tea/coffee (probably both 'instant'), but I seemed to be the only one on board who noticed or cared! I should have taken the hint when on a 15% full plane most people found that they had been assigned the same seat. After the undrinkable drink the flight was diverted because of fog, and on landing heavily after the second diversion the plane's windshield broke, the plane abandoned, and passengers finally reached their intended destination after a twelve hour delay. I'd like to think it was the 'tea' episode that eventually sent Pan Am out of business, but I now realise how lucky I was to have lived through that day!

May 21, 2010, 12:10pm

I haven't read the whole string, though I gather the most points are either just a taste preference, poor tea quality, wrongly brewed tea or what I'd refer to as 'tea mishaps.' I've had a couple experiences like that, especially since I'm in the U.S. where it is more a coffee culture and most hotels and restaurants have terrible bagged tea.

I was wondering if anyone else had this experience:

The first tea I started drinking when I was a kid was Bigelow's Constant Comment tea. I really loved that tea when I was younger and have had it occasionally since then, still enjoying it. However, when I recently revisited the tea my experience was very disappointing. The tea was very weak from the first and had a complete lack of the distinct flavors I remembered.

Has anyone else noticed this or did I just get a dud? Opinions?

May 21, 2010, 2:01pm

>232 HollowSpine:
When I was growing up, we brewed iced tea with a mix of 1/2 Constant Comment and 1/2 orange pecoe. We did this because the Constant Comment was pretty strong.

However, now, I try the same thing and find it not strong enough. Could be age related, or could be that they've changed the recipe/formula.

Anyway, now I buy an orange spice blend from Stash tea that works well mixed with an orange pekoe. But, I also think I'm probably buying better quality teas than my mother did.


May 21, 2010, 2:03pm

word encountered while reading Peg Kingman's Original Sins:

From the Concise Oxford
bohea · n. a low-quality black China tea from the last crop of the season.
– ORIGIN C18: named after the Bu-yi (Wuyi) hills in China.

May 21, 2010, 2:34pm

I think I've come across that word in Georgette Heyer, and, while the context made me think it was tea, I didn't get the "low-quality" bit. (Should have looked it up, but I have to admit I rarely do that if I have to interrupt reading to do so.)

>232 HollowSpine: It's so true. About the only places in the US you can get a decent cup of tea (away from home, I mean) are in shops that specifically cater to tea drinkers. Even many fairly nice restaurants have no idea how to prepare or serve tea.

May 23, 2010, 1:06pm

I don't think the "low-quality" aspect was originally there; I've seen it used in 18c novels where the context demonstrated that it was a treat to be invited to take "a dish of bohea" with someone. (BTW, it's pronounced "bo-hay", to rhyme with "tay"!)

I actually purchased a packet of Bohea at Colonial Williamsburg many years ago, but don't remember what it tasted like.

May 23, 2010, 1:21pm

The dictionaries I checked show the pron with a long "e", so that it would be pronounced "bow-hee." Etymologies note that it's after a place in China where tea is grown, but I have not found an explanation of when the negative connotation became attached to it (haven't pulled out my OED yet, though).

One older dictionary gives two definitions, one for "any tea" and one for the negative sense.

May 23, 2010, 2:11pm

In earlier periods of English, the "ea" combination was pronounced as a long "A", a usage still seen in such words as "break" and "steak". Other words mutated, like "meat", which was pronounced "mate" as late as the sixteenth century. I suspect "Bohea" is one of the words that, because it has fallen out of common use, has lost the earlier pronunciation. FWIW, in the eighteenth century, "tea" was pronounced "tay".

May 28, 2010, 8:01pm

>233 Osbaldistone:
Thanks for the reply, I bet you're right it is just a changed recipe, it's too bad though since it was so nostalgic for me. I'll try the Stash blend.

>235 ejj1955:
Yes, it's so aggravating in 'high quality' restaurants even if they have good quality bagged tea they tend to ruin it with luke warm water. Especially when at the same time you see your coffee drinking friends served steaming hot coffee. It's baffling that anyone would think that tea shouldn't be served hot as coffee. (that is of course if it is black tea not green or oolong).

Edited: Jun 24, 2010, 12:38pm

Lapsang souchong is easily among the nastiest teas I've ever had, along with Pu-erh. Yech.

I know Red Rose is in my screen name, but that's pure coincidence - red is my favorite color and rose is my favorite flower, and I wasn't aware of the tea brand when I made my screen name. I don't care much for the tea by itself; I only use it when I make chai and the tea is merely a carrier for the spices and milk.

I don't drink a lot of commercially-made spiced teas because they smell lovely, but taste bitter.

I wholeheartedly agree with whichever poster said that if a tea needs "help," they don't make it twice. I don't add sweeteners to my tea (except for a little honey in my lemon or chamomile when I'm ill - honey helps a sore throat).

Jul 19, 2010, 12:56pm

I have to put in a good word for Lapsang Souchong. The one I'm drinking at the moment - China Eagle from Whittard of Chelsea - is very strong and only needs one heaped teaspoon of it for my six-cup teapot. Perhaps some of you are making it too strong? Actually, if I make it too strong it tastes of fried pork sausages (I mean the traditional British banger), perhaps a bit off-putting for some.

My favourite hate? Another vote for Earl Grey. Why anyone would pollute decent tea with bergamot is beyond me - disgusting stuff.

Jul 19, 2010, 12:59pm

I also enjoy Lapsang (In the winter!) and cannot stand Earl Grey!

Aug 15, 2010, 2:08pm

I hate to say it but I purpusely drink the cheapest black tea I can find. I've done the 100 bag Lipton stuff--but I've also done generic brand teas.

I feel like the vile stuff keeps me on my toes. I also feel like I drink so much tea that I can't afford the premium stuff.

Aug 25, 2010, 11:01am

Although I also occassionally buy Red Rose or other cheaper teas I do have to note that as the TeaSource says, "Tea is the most affordable luxury." It truly is! You can get 50 cups of very good quality tea for under 10$.

What I usually do is just allocate a tea budget for each month (usually two 2 oz. bags of good quality tea depending on any deals the TeaSource is offering) and then one or two boxes of cheaper stuff. Then I just drink the cheap stuff when I'm on the run or just need a quick fix and the more expensive stuff when I have time to enjoy it.

I also patronize one tea shop for the most part so that they know me and my tea tastes and occassionally give me free samples and discounts as a repeat buyer.

Aug 25, 2010, 11:59am

One of the many mysteries of life for me is that the grocery store carries 20 different varieties of green tea and not one of Darjeeling.

I've been making do with English breakfast but it's obviously time for me to order some Darjeeling, as I am missing it fiercely.

Aug 25, 2010, 3:37pm

I hear you ejj.. Darjeeling is my favourite as well. :)

Sep 15, 2010, 1:56pm

Lapsang Souchong is the WORST TEA EVER!

Sep 16, 2010, 1:37am

I have discovered the definitive answer to this question: the worst tea is NO tea.

Well, okay, there's some other tea in the house--herbal, green, and white. I have a cup once in a blue moon. But I'm out of black tea and my package from Amazon with my Darjeeling better get here tomorrow, or I may just lose it.

Sep 16, 2010, 11:35am


Sep 16, 2010, 8:00pm

Ahhh . . . tea arrived today. Happy dance!

Edited: Sep 17, 2010, 10:56am

#250 - Thank goodness - I'd been holding my breath on that one.

Edited because the rest of the post was in the wrong thread.

Sep 17, 2010, 12:09pm

LOL! But as I've no doubt whined before, it defies reason that there are literally a dozen or more varieties of green tea in the supermarket and not a single Darjeeling. The choices of black tea that aren't flavored are dismal.

Sep 17, 2010, 12:44pm

I agree! No darjeeling, Yunnan, Assam, just the dreaded 'orange pekoe'. I want to ban that word from supermarkets, make them list the source of their tea ;)

Edited: Oct 20, 2010, 3:23pm

Shudder! I just had some of the worst tea I've ever had: some chocolate caramel chai tea from Bigelow. Also currently drinking some Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride tea that is more odd, sweet-smelling liquid that is apparently supposed to be consumed, but seems better suited to just smelling like Christmas than tasting like anything. Shudder again. I must bring more teas from home so as to avoid unwanted teas.

Oct 20, 2010, 4:13pm

My employer supplied until very recently only a selection of Bigelow teas. Needless to say, I've brought my own tea from home for years.

Oct 20, 2010, 4:42pm

I'm finding out I'm not a fan of pu-erh. My husband loves it and is trying to convert me. He tried to hide blend some with keemun and darjeeling (which I do like) but I could tell it was in there and couldn't drink it.

Jan 20, 2011, 6:59am

Worst "tea" ever was yerba mate. Remember when you were five years old and you bought a quarter's worth of strange pellets from a vending machine at a petting zoo, then proceeded to feed those pellets to adorable, smelly, baby goats? Yerba mate smells and tastes like an infusion of those goat pellets from the petting zoo.

Runner up for worst tea ever: lapsang souchong. I strongly suspect lapsang souchong of being an infusion of week-old cigarette ashes.

There are a few others I don't especially like, but those are the only two I really can't abide.

Jan 20, 2011, 8:45am

You should have explored the goat pellets a bit more. Both yerba mate and lapsang souchong are acquired tastes :-)

I drink both once in a while, so I think one of the really cheap scented teas takes the price with me. Kwong Sang Tea Company, Mint Tea. Rats, just thinking about that tea gave me an headache!

Edited: Jan 20, 2011, 3:32pm

>257 AM00000:

Oh my gosh, those were the exact ones I was going to list. On a whim I ordered about 4 oz of lapsang souchong. I hate camping and everytime I made it, the room smelled, reeked actually of campfire. If I used the same straining mechanism afterwards for say an Irish Breakfast, I had to make sure it was extra clean, otherwise the campfire aftertaste would phoenix-like emerge to ruin the cup I was making. I did drink all 4 oz, but the smell was unbelievable. The taste wasn't nearly as bad though.

I still have the Yerba Mate, half used. I actually found the smell of that much worse than the lapsang souchong. It's a very unique, headache inducing smell.

I also hate bergamot. It's obnoxious. Someone bought a huge bag of loose EG for me at christmas time from a BJ's or Sam's club. I swear to god the makers must have used a gallon of bergamot on it. Disgusting.

Jan 20, 2011, 2:52pm

Not the worst tea (that would be anything with so much extravagant flavouring it's like drinking cologne--Mariage Freres, I'm looking at you), but the worst "something" that comes in a teabag: wormwood.

I have never tasted anything like it. Unless you tasted it (and possibly the very same brand?), YOU have never tasted anything like it. All the usual adjectives I'd use to describe something awful, fail. It isn't just bad, it is strangely bad, bad in a wholly novel way, like discovering a new colour. A colour out of space! maybe IT came out of space too.

I kept the box with the remaining 19 teabags, and occasionally ask people to give it a try and tell me if they can come up with a comparison. So far, no one wants to experiment...

Jan 21, 2011, 6:43am

>260 LolaWalser:

I guess that's the herb called wormwood that's the 'active' ingredient in absinth In that case, it contains a relative of the cannabinoids better known for other uses.

Tried smoking it?

Jan 21, 2011, 10:33am

Ha, yes, it is because of the absinthe "cachet" that I picked it up.

Tried smoking it?

If I find no volunteers for this unique experience, I shall!

Jan 21, 2011, 4:42pm

257: Totally agree about the Yerba Mate.

I do like Lapsang on occasion. I usually mix it with a strong black tea like Assam to cut down on the smokiness a bit.

Cheap Jasmine teas are just horrid IMHO.

Jan 21, 2011, 8:04pm

Any tea where you're forced to brew it with water from a jug that has previously held coffee!

Jan 21, 2011, 9:24pm

>264 Kek55:
Oh, you are so right! :-P

Jan 21, 2011, 9:48pm


And yet when you complain at conferences you are always 'the first one who has ever said anything' *everytime*

Jan 22, 2011, 4:00am

Fully agree on the yerba mate. I took one sip and thought "this tastes like a barnyard." I tried to finish it, but I just don't have the mettle.

Mar 4, 2011, 6:19pm

Here's what to do with those tea bags you don't like:


Mar 4, 2011, 8:57pm

I would highly recommend trying Harney and Sons Chamomile. So good!

Mar 4, 2011, 9:01pm

(Chamomile comment was for #8.)

My first try at Pu-Erh seemed very "fishy" but I have since grown to enjoy it with milk or cream.

I am not much of a fan for lavender.

Mar 7, 2011, 12:41pm

I laughed at the mate post.
When I first lived on Isla Mujeres there was a large "Argentine mafia", mostly dive guides and realty types, who would gather on the beach every evening for mate.

They'd have their little wood cups and weird metal straws and thermoses of hot water and some cookies or bisquits and sit around sipping and chatting for sunset. I found it a totally charming gathering and custom and used to stop by whenever I could.

But I quickly learned not to actually drink the stuff. It's like snorkeling in peat.

Apr 12, 2011, 3:05pm


I had my first sample of this while visiting the Celestial Seasonings factory. Let me just say that I should have thought this one through: I hate the smell of alcohol so the smell of the kombucha should have clued me in.

I definitely am NOT a fan.

Apr 23, 2011, 6:32pm

I hate visiting my parents because all they have are Bigelow green teas (including Keurig pods! :P) and/or peach flavored teas, which I can't stand. I once bought a box of nice Earl Grey from a TJMaxx (full-leaf in pyramid bags!) to leave there. A week later, my mom mailed it back to me!

I like Pu-Erh, I drink it when I'm craving coffee but have had two cups already that day, or when I'm trying to get started on a slower day. I don't mind the fishy taste because I loooooove fish :D

I am really curious about that wormwood tea, though!

Apr 24, 2011, 7:55am

This is a bit off-topic, but I'm really regretting buying a couple of hundred grammes of loose camomile flowers.

The stuff is so light it fluffs out all over the place if you're a bit over-enthusiastic about taking the lid off the caddy.

And, after you've made your camomile tea, half of the used stuff sticks to the infuser like nobody's business. I either have to wash it off instantly under the hot water tap - which makes me worry how it may be building up in the plumbing, or leave it till the morning to dry - when scraping it out and cleaning off the last of it is the devil's own job.

So if anyone's thinking of trying it - don't! Buy the teabags.

Right. Rant over. Carry on.

Jun 7, 2011, 10:24pm

Celestial Seasonings Sleepy Chamomile. I tried some years ago, and it was horrifying... :/ Most of the CS teas are good, but that one... It turned me off to chamomile forever.

Jun 11, 2011, 5:43am

#274: couldn't agree more. But I grew fresh camomile one year and that worked beautifully - no fluff and annoying little bits that stick to the strainer.

Jun 11, 2011, 4:01pm

#276 - That's good to know. I'd been vaguely thinking of growing some - I must give it a go sometime.

Jun 11, 2011, 11:47pm

>277 alaudacorax:
The leaves of chamomile have a lovely scent - you don't use them for tea, but I love stroking the leaves to release the scent.

Jun 16, 2011, 1:28pm

I found teas with "holy basil" pretty awful.

#272 - I though kombucha was a fermented drink. I bought some and it tasted like vinegar, so not inclined to give a second try.

Jul 13, 2011, 12:27am

Powdered instant green tea... ick! A few years ago I thought it would be a good idea to purchase some - I like green tea, and I like iced tea... so why not instant? I've learned my lesson - some things you shouldn't cut corners on!

Jul 13, 2011, 11:04am

280- agreed. Once bought a green tea latte (it seemed like a good idea at the time), but they made it with the powder and it was the most disgusting thing I've ever tasted. Had plain powdered green tea in Japan and it was not something I care to repeat but it wasn't' nearly as awful as that latte.

Jul 13, 2011, 1:35pm

I had a green tea latte once myself; while it wasn't disgusting, it was so bland and featureless that I might as well have been drinking hot sugar water.

Jul 14, 2011, 2:39pm

>280 Lizbeth978:

You aren't refering to matcha are you? I was drinking that for a while and thought it was pretty good. Not a regular tea experience though. And there are a lot of different qualities of it online, very hard to get into drinking this in the US.

>279 psocoptera:

The holy basil I have been ordering is good, a little minty tingle at the end. It's not mixed with anything else. Maybe it's a better grade.

Jul 17, 2011, 4:54pm

Uh I can't remember the name but it was gross.

Jul 17, 2011, 5:25pm

I can definitely agree on Kombucha- one sight of that floating fungus was enough to put me off the stuff forever.

Jul 17, 2011, 10:03pm

Earl Gray is like drinking a nasty cologne to me.

I can't abide herbals with chamomile or hibiscus in them.

Jul 18, 2011, 1:26am

I don't like hibiscus in herbals either. Too sour.

Jul 20, 2011, 10:19pm

Bleck! I can think of two horrible teas. One was this tea from a staff kitchen in an ER, it was watered down and pale grey; all the sugar in the world wouldn't help. That lil bag was concentrated nasty. The other is blueberry tea, for some reason I just can't stand it.