Please Describe the Taste of Black Tea.

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irishearl

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Thank you for the comments. What I mean is a generic black tea you might commonly find in tea bags, for instance Bigelow.
I never thought I liked teas having early on only experienced mass produced teabags. Then some 20 years ago I discovered quality loose leaf, bulk teas. Very different experience and love them. I'd compare most mass produced black teas in teabags vs. loose leaf with the analogy of instant coffee vs. whole bean, premium roasted coffee.
 
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rushx9

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Indeed the bag tea is cut very fine. The thing is I don't have access to loose teas or the brewing equipment, although I do have a french press...
If you work at a grocery store, try some Bigelow Oolong or Twinings Lapsang Souchong. Twinings Prince of Wales is a good Kee Mun or true English Breakfast tea. Some Darjeeling is really good, but some supermarket brands are iffy. Unfortunately, the most common bagged mixed Assams, Ceylons, and Kenyans are usually astringent, metallic, and harsh if you don't add sweetner, milk, ice, or some combination of the above. They tend to make great iced or milk teas, just not so great straight up, unless you're one of those folk that chews on lipton bags between cups.
 

frozenchurchwarden

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Most tea is just bitter. I seriously doubt if anyone enjoys drinking it other than for ritual and as a source of caffeine.

If you want to have fun with Tea try some Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong (AKA Lapsang Souchong): What is Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong Red Tea? — Shizen - https://shizen.us/learn/zheng-shan-xiao-zhong
It's basically liquid Latakia.

I genuinely enjoy the taste of tea. Caffeine doesn't do anything for me. Some teas at higher quantities (several cups in a row) do produce a relaxing effect though (especially yellow tea that I have been indulging in lately), I don't know if its theanine or what.

If all your tea is bitter you may be brewing it in too hot water and/or too long. Some bitterness can be good depending on what tea it is, but if it's all bitter then something is wrong either with your tea or your method. White tea is rarely bitter.

I have heard some people enjoy taste of beer. Now that's a mystery to me, it's like bitter piss to me. Funny how tastes vary.
 

frozenchurchwarden

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I genuinely enjoy the taste of tea. Caffeine doesn't do anything for me. Some teas at higher quantities (several cups in a row) do produce a relaxing effect though (especially yellow tea that I have been indulging in lately), I don't know if its theanine or what.

If all your tea is bitter you may be brewing it in too hot water and/or too long. Some bitterness can be good depending on what tea it is, but if it's all bitter then something is wrong either with your tea or your method. White tea is rarely bitter.

I have heard some people enjoy taste of beer. Now that's a mystery to me, it's like bitter piss to me. Funny how tastes vary.
I'm mostly taking a jab at varieties like Orange Pekoe tea, that stuff makes me nauseas and has nearly brought me to vomiting on several occasions. It's likely that I've over-steeped it most of the time, but from what I can tell the only "correct" way to treat the Tea would be to steep it for all of thirty seconds and impart virtually no flavor at all.
I just don't see any point in that product existing, and yet it's the most common type of "Tea" on the market. For some unfathomable reason someone must be drinking all that Tea but it's really only fit for the trash bin.

I have explored some Pu-Erh Tea in the last year, very different from anything available locally. I don't even find the "Earthy" profile particularly pleasing either but it may as well be the best Tea ever made just because I have a hard time screwing it up.
Ironic that the only place I've ever seen it is sold direct from China on Ali-Express from retailers who pop up and disappear quickly due to regulation, as though the Chinese are intent on not allowing anyone outside their own country to have any of the good stuff.
 
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rajangan

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If it's fresh, the cause of the problem of flavourless yet astringent tea is likely overfermentation. Websites and common parlance state(s) that black tea is 100% oxidized but this isn't exactly true. The tea master monitors the fermenting piles and purely based on experience and his (or her, maybe) sense of smell decides when to heat up the tea to denature the oxidizing enzymes. If he doesn't do this, the tea gets darker but loses all of its distinctive flavour.

Orange PEKOE (OP) is actually a grade of tea and not a type. Nobody really knows where the term originated. It is the largest of the whole leaf grades. Smaller grades then proceed to op1... All the way to SFTGFOP (super fine tippy golden flowering orange pekoe) or maybe more, I'm not sure. All other things being equal, the higher grades (smaller leaves) have less strength and colour but a broader spectrum of flavour than OP.

The grades produced at an estate depends upon their picking frequency and their machinery. I have toured the Temi estate and the Glendale estate. Temi only had a handful of grades because they had a small number of sorting screens and were less efficient about picking, but Glendale had pretty much all of the possible grades and were able to sort the leaves into a dozen sizes (and even the dust by particle size).

Out of all the teas I have had, my favorite was the Glendale broken orange pekoe (BOP) which is the largest grade of broken leaf. Good, strong cup, but lots of flavour.
 
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Thank you, thats all good information. Heres a related question: Do you notice any mood altering effects of drinking tea aside from the caffeine?


Yes, depending on tea and amount. I have been drinking this yellow tea lately and there is mood alteration if I drink more than three cups in a row (usually about four). Makes me relaxed and feeling pleasant.

It's not the caffeine alone, but perhaps synergic effect of caffeine, catechins and l-theanine (and perhaps GABA). Search the term "tea drunk". I believe it's also called cha zui. Tea also contains GABA which until recently was believed not to be able to cross blood-brain barrier but this has been challenged recently.

It is unlikely to happen with generic bagged black tea. Also one cup isn't enough. What I have read online, people usually report it after drinking certain green teas or oolong.
 
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hairvise

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May 23, 2018
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and white tea tastes great but does not have much kick at all. Which makes it great for late night when you need a little more get up and go but still want to sleep.
I think that the notion that white tea is lower in caffeine than other teas is a misconception, so I would be careful about that. This article here I think does a good job explaining all the factors that go into how much caffeine any given tea has

Caffeine in White Tea: Myth-Busting and Facts - Tea Cachai - https://www.teacachai.com/caffeine-in-white-tea/

your particular white tea might not affect you very much, but for other folks, I would be careful. I have had some white and green teas they have been very strong in caffeine.
 
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rushx9

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Yes, depending on tea and amount. I have been drinking this yellow tea lately and there is mood alteration if I drink more than three cups in a row (usually about four). Makes me relaxed and feeling pleasant.

It's not the caffeine alone, but perhaps synergic effect of caffeine, catechins and l-theanine (and perhaps GABA). Search the term "tea drunk". I believe it's also called cha zui. Tea also contains GABA which until recently was believed not to be able to cross blood-brain barrier but this has been challenged recently.

It is unlikely to happen with generic bagged black tea. Also one cup isn't enough. What I have read online, people usually report it after drinking certain green teas or oolong.
I collect cakes of a special Yunnan red(golden tip black) tea called Drunk On Red. One properly brewed cup can bring on cha zui, but you can continually re-brew if using gong fu method without bringing on bitterness.
 

rushx9

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I think that the notion that white tea is lower in caffeine than other teas is a misconception, so I would be careful about that. This article here I think does a good job explaining all the factors that go into how much caffeine any given tea has

Caffeine in White Tea: Myth-Busting and Facts - Tea Cachai - https://www.teacachai.com/caffeine-in-white-tea/

your particular white tea might not affect you very much, but for other folks, I would be careful. I have had some white and green teas they have been very strong in caffeine.
Contrary to common belief, there is more caffeine in all white tea, and some green teas, than in most black teas. The catechins compete for receptors and the higher acidity causes less absorption. Fermentation (really a controlled oxidation) in black teas makes the caffeine more absorbable, and enzymes destroy many of the competing compounds.
Very similar to why perique and some burley seems to have more nicotine. The processing makes it more absorbable, and the high sugar content of VA acts as a buffer.
 
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hairvise

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May 23, 2018
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Contrary to common belief, there is more caffeine in all white tea, and some green teas, than in most black teas. The catechins compete for receptors and the higher acidity causes less absorption. Fermentation (really a controlled oxidation) in black teas makes the caffeine more absorbable, and enzymes destroy many of the competing compounds.
Very similar to why perique and some burley seems to have more nicotine. The processing makes it more absorbable, and the high sugar content of VA acts as a buffer.
Some serious tea expertise here in the pipe forum. I’d love to hear from all of you where are you by your tea!
 

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