Tea, Nectar of the Gods, and Things to Drink it With

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We all have a lot of feelings about tea. Good feelings! Slightly less good feelings! Scared and anxious feelings! It’s okay, we understand. There’s a lot of tea out there. A lot of decisions to be made. Take a deep breath, you don’t have to do this all at once. We all love a good peppermint or chamomile, a nice Irish Breakfast. Still, though, it’s worth maybe opening your heart and mind to some new options. Did you know that chocolate mint teaexists? What about smoky earl grey? Brown rice sencha? I know, I know. You need a minute. It’s okay.

Whatever kind of tea we choose to drink, we can agree that we need something to drink tea out of. Ideally, something totally awesome. There’s nothing worse than looking forward to a nice cup of tea all day to have a mug of lukewarm water with a dusty teabag floating on top handed to you unceremoniously. And if you have loose tea (which, duh, you do), then you need some equipment to make sure that you’re getting all that you can out of each tiny little dried-up leaf.

For the tea enthusiast on the go, are you ever frustrated that your leaving-the-house routine is so much more complicated than it is for people who just pour out a cup of coffee and go? Well, maybe that’s just because you don’t have a to-go cupthat will let your loose tea steep and then be easily removed when it’s ready!


If you just want to make your tea with some loose tea and then BLAMMO, pour it and drink it, then maybe this is for you! This is a pitcher, which magically keeps your tea leaves inside and pours out your delicious perfectly steeped tea, into a mug or a to-go cup or I guess if you’re really hardcore your mouth? Just kidding, don’t do that.

There’s also the option to just dunk your tea right in your mug, without extraneous equipment, via the use of a tea strainer. Tea strainers can be metallic or mesh or little spheres — or they can be AWESOME. I have one shaped like a duck! And this one is a DINOSAUR. Are you ready for this cup of tea? No, you’re not.

And for the purist, there’s always teabags — but obvs the earth-friendly reusable ones, which you can dump the tea out of afterwards and then wash by hand or in the machine. Does this make you feel like a character in Portlandia or possible Quinn, Medicine Woman? Enjoy that.

This post goes hand-in-hand with A-Camp’s High Tea with Laneia, Rachel, and Riese.

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Rachel is Autostraddle's Senior Editor and the editor who presides over books as well as news and politics coverage. Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel currently lives in Michigan. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy."

Rachel has written 736 articles for us.

68 Comments

  1. Thumb up 1

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    Tea, tea, glorious tea! I’m English so being a tea fanatic is par for the course, but even for a Brit I love tea a ridiculous amount.

    Thanks for making my day with this, Rachel! And you reminded me that I haven’t had a cup of tea in almost an hour. Going to put the kettle on now! <3

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    can we discuss favorite teas? i’d like that. i’m indian, so i’m pretty much obligated to say that a proper cup of chai can work miracles. but i’m also a lady tenor in an a cappella group, so my throat can feel pretty out of sorts after long rehearsals. organic throat coat herbal tea keeps me from cracking like a prepubescent boy, which is AWESOME.

    now, your feelings!

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    I love aged puerh. It tastes earthy, which is nostalgic for someone who spent a childhood eating dirt.

    I like Harney and Sons for my tea swag, in SoHo during the work week and in Millerton, NY for a nice weekend lunch and some romping in the Berkshires (yikes that sounded waspy).

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      honestly, if it tastes and smells bad, there’s like a 900% chance it was brewed badly. usually the problem is too-hot water and too-long brewing time, both of which can make bitter yucky tea. one of my best friends is a total tea freak/snob and has taught me many things about tea, and one of them is that most americans fuck it up on the regular. if you are willing to invest $$ in trying to make fantastic tea for yourself, go to a real tea store (if there isn’t a local one, you can try teavana which is in a lot of malls and things) and buy some tea (bags are fine for a beginner but loose is better) and ask them how it should be brewed, temperature and time-wise. if you get a 2 oz bag of teavana tea, there is a temp and time guide on the back and then you can buy any tea anywhere and have your little guide to how to make it! my favorite thing is english breakfast with milk and sugar, which should be brewed at about 195 degrees F / 95 degrees C for 2-4 minutes. (i think you can probably also find all of this info online and apply it to grocery store tea bags, if that’s what you gotta do)

      herbal tea, however, comes in all kinds of fruity harmless flavors and is much harder to screw up because you can pour boiling water on it and let it brew forever and nothing bad will happen because it isn’t actually tea, so you could also try that.

      tl;dr cooler water shorter brewing time feel free to sweeten.

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    doctormccoy, what’s your desi chai recipe?? Mine is:

    2 cups water in saucepan
    1 tsp clove/cardamon/fennel seed combo ground in coffee grinder
    3 tsp loose Mamri black tea
    boil couple minutes
    add 1 cup milk, bring to boil
    pour through strainer into cups or mugs. sometimes I ad fresh grated ginger if it’s cold or I have a cold.

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    I have two of the Tea-Rex strainers, I got one and then later my sister saw it somewhere and got me one as a stocking stuffer. The only problem is that the loose leaf tea I use most often is too finely ground and won’t stay in the tea-rex while it’s steaping.

    So I just use them for decoration, cause who can resist cute little green t-rex’s in the kitchen.

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    Teeeeea~ J’adore. There is very little better than a cup of strong, sweet black tea. Yerba mate, drunk the traditional way= also amazing. I also used to have this incredibly gorgeous Moroccan red tea, which I’d mix with coconut milk for Thai-style deliciousness. I have yet to be able to find this tea again, which saddens me.

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    I have the dinosaur tea diffuser, and when I use berry tea it looks like the t-rex was mortally wounded in an epic battle. Then I drink its blood and win evolution.

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      You are my hero! I have the tea-rex as well, but I had yet to consider the berry tea/ battle for evoltuionary supremicy possibilities! This seems like a perfect solution to it’s too big of holes problem. Thanks!

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      Went to school in Montreal and love to stop at Dobra in Burlington when I go to visit. Last time I was there a man at the counter asked for something “kind of Starbucksy” and the guy behind the counter said, “we are QUITE the opposite of that.”

      Then girlfriend and I managed to fumble a mug of chai that took 15 min to prepare and had to ring the little bell, at which point the waiter threw a towel at us. So we had to ring the bell again to order another one. He then demonstrated how to hold the tray under the cup to prevent spills. If I didn’t have friends who’d worked there, he might have turned me off, but I knew better and just giggled like a child.

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    My favorite is definitely an iced lavender-chamomile peppermint on a really, really hot day. I like pretty much all tea though, but nobody here understands it. The other day I had some peppermint and a box of PG Tips in my shopping cart and when my parents suggested that I only got one I looked at them with daggers in my eyes and said “BUT I NEED THEM FOR REASONS.”

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    Dave’s Tea (maybe its only a Quebec and Ontario wide chain?) has really cool loose blends that involve whole coffee beans for those trying to cut on the coffee but not ready to commit full time to chicory/yerba-mate type fancy hippie substitutes.

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    Tea! I love tea, in almost every way. Straight, hot, iced, with lemon, with honey, with a cube of sugar, with milk… all of it. Picking a favorite is impossible, but amongst the top five are pu’er, chocolate mint, iced coconut and green tea, jasmine, and toasted rice sencha.
    Hmm. I think I’m going to go make a cup of tea.

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    Huge fan of loose leaf tea! The tea shop in my home town sold this milky oolong that smelled like sweet butter and was insanely delicious. I use a Tea Tiger for when I have to take my tea to-go and it’s lovely. The only problem is it can be hard to remove the leaves if it’s a brew that gets bitter quickly.

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    Here in Ireland, Irish Breakfast Tea is just ‘tea’ and all over forms of tea have to be specifically identified. So it confused me when I went to the states and asked for tea and they were asking me questions and Im like BITCH JUST GIVE ME MY TEA I’M IRISH I GET WITHDRAWALS.

    Seriously though, tea is our answer to everything; good news, bad news, catastrophic events, boredom… people who don’t drink tea here are looked at nearly as oddly as people who don’t drink alcohol.

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    Just impulse bought a whole bunch of flavoured tea including vanilla tea, which I never knew existed, because of this article. This is amazing. I feel great already and it hasn’t even arrived yet!

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    If you have a palais des thes in your city then I implore you to go there. You can order online tooThey do the best loose leaf, green and white tea infusions ever.

    Green tea with cherry blossom? Yes please!

    I’m am irish person with the affliction of migrainesso I only get one cup of Barry’s tea a day…

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    Tea made by Stash is amazing.

    I don’t know if anyone here is familiar with the Rishi label, but it is produced in my hometown (Milwaukee) and it is delicious. I’m a huge fan of green tea and they have got that right.

    Peppermint tea is pretty delicious too.

    I had several Ukranian friends in high school, and one of them liked to attempt to mix tea and vodka. (I never had it but in hindsight it sounds disgusting.)

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