Discussion Post: Tea! Who Drinks It, Why Do You Like it, What is Your Technique, Does Anyone Put in Lemon or Is That Just Made Up?

Another random fun discussion post! Tea! Counterpart to our “coffee” discussion. Get all your tea opinions ready!

For myself, I am a child of a tea drinker and a coffee drinker. My mother drinks English Breakfast tea made with boiling water, steeped for 3 and a half minutes, and then the tea bag dunked 4 times before being removed. And she only drinks half a cup at a time, and then the half full cup sits around the apartment and we CAN’T TOUCH IT, because at some point in the day she will stick it in the microwave and reheat the rest.

My Dad used to drink instant coffee out of a 4 cup measuring cup before going to work. Come to think of it, I know that because I used to get bored in the morning and bounce next to his side of the bed saying “wake up wake up wake up wake UP!” until he got up. It is just possible that the little hopping shouting 3 year old at 5am is part of the reason he needed a 4 cup measuring cup of coffee in the morning.

Anyway, tea! My grandmother (mom’s mom) was also a tea drinker, but in her old age reached the “can’t stand waste” point and used to reuse tea bags, drink a cup with the bag in it, then refill it with new water and put it in the microwave to heat and drink another cup off the same bag.

One more tea story! Years ago I was out for breakfast with my parents and my aunt. I arrived late so everyone was listening to my order and, for once, I ordered tea. The waitress asked “would you like lemon or cream?” And I said I wasn’t sure, my mother said “well, you can’t have both!” and my aunt said (in that “I will be the loving supportive person even when her own parents aren’t kind of way”) “yes you can! you can have whatever you want!”. And then my Mom had to explain that lemon makes cream curdle, so I literally could not have both.

Okay, that’s all I’ve got on tea from my side of things! Questions for you:

Does anyone use lemon in their tea? Or know anyone who does? Why would you do that?

Lemon tea

Does anyone else have a Grandma who started reusing tea bags towards the end of life?

Can You Reuse Tea Bags In The Garden [7 Ways] #3 Brilliant!

Do you like changing up your tea flavors (my thing), or are you committed to the one and only flavor you like (my Mom’s thing)?

Amazon.com : Bigelow Tea Toasted Coconut Almond Bark, Black Tea, 18 Count  (Pack of 6), 108 Tea Bags Total : Grocery & Gourmet Food
This was my tea this morning

Are you a plain tea person, or a cream no sugar person, or a honey person, or a sugar person? Or do you change things depending on mood?

Learn Which Teas Traditionally Take Milk and Sugar

Ginger tea for tummy aches-it works, right?

Ginger Tea | Yogi Tea

And finally, the MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION, is Chai a subcategory of the larger world of Tea, or is it a thing all on its own?

Also, is Chai defined by flavor or by process? Is Chai = Earl Grey, or more like Chai = Iced Tea?

28 thoughts on “Discussion Post: Tea! Who Drinks It, Why Do You Like it, What is Your Technique, Does Anyone Put in Lemon or Is That Just Made Up?

  1. So many questions! I will sum up some answers. I wont mind using tea bag again like your grandma. Might be I have become old 😊. I wont mind trying other flavours of tea, have tried lemon tea too; but I love milked boiled tea with masalas like ginger,clove,cardamom or Desi tea leaves. After all this, at the end I would say I am basically a Kaapi (coffee) person 😊.
    Good interesting post 👍

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  2. Okay, I have to say!!

    First, Chai literally transalted means “Tea”. But of course, now when we use the word Chai we mean the specific Indian style preparation of tea with milk, spices, sugar. But it won’t be wrong to call any tea drink ‘chai’…in fact many people in India call green tea – hara chai (green chai).

    I am a true-blooded purist tea drinker. Have drunk tea since I was a kid as most people in India do.
    My morning cup of tea is the classic Chai –
    boil water with ginger and cardamom
    add loose leaf black tea – has to be loose leaf – tea bags are gross and not real tea – https://www.theteaclub.com/blog/loose-leaf-vs-tea-bags/
    The loose-leaf has to be a blend of Assam and Darjeeling for the right mix of aroma and strength. Then add a little milk, sugar and let steep for 5 minutes. Then drink the wonderful spicy, sweet, and strong chai!

    Then the rest of the day, I drink green tea – again has to be loose leaf – I will brew the tea in a traditional tea pot. and sip it all day through work. I rotate the green tea varieties depending on my mood – maybe classic Jasmine, sometimes Genmaicha or Sencha, or even the flavored ones with elderflower, tulsi, etc. This is drunk plain – no milk, sugar, lemon etc. Just enjoy the flavor of the tea.

    And finally, towards evening to cut down on caffeine I will switch to an herbal tea – this can be chammomile, or mint, or maybe a blend from my health store. For these herbal teas I get muslin bags (mightyleaf brand or similar) and just steep the muslin bag in a large mug.

    So TLDR:
    – stop using tea bags – they are not real tea and they taste gross
    – Black tea should be drunk with milk/sugar. Other teas should be drunk plain
    – All tea is wonderful and one should drink it all day long

    P.S. never get tea from a coffee shop like Starbucks…they only sell tea bags (which is gross see above) and they don’t store it properly so the tea catches the aroma of coffee making it weird.

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    • Wait, so you are making the radical claim that rather than Chai being a subset of Tea, Tea (as defined by Western culture) is a subset of Chai? WHOA!!!! Mindblowing!!!!

      I agree on the “never get tea from a coffee shop” rule, but for me it is more because they never boil the water. Coffee is all about water at a certain temperature, so they have “hot” water in some big carafe that you can put on the tea. But that is totally different from pouring boiling water over tea.

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      • Tea & Chai are both derived from chinese roots

        I think Tea is used for shipped route & chai for the overland route

        Almost all languages use Te- or Cha- as the root word

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        • Yup… And in kerala we use both the root words…. So tea leaves are tey-ila where ila is leaf in Malayalam. And the concotion made of it is chaya , derivative of chai.. Although we sometimes call black tea tey-ila-vellom or tea leaves water..
          I guess tea came from the coast while chai came from the rest of the country.
          You can find a nice infographic if u google spread of the word tea

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  3. `
    You forgot the additional complication of what is meant by “milk” in regard to tea. Is it skim milk, whole milk, or cream? And do you add milk to tea or tea to milk? And do you heat the milk first?

    It always has confused me and I welcome clarification!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I prefer heating tea with water & then adding milk finally

      Some people mix milk with tea & then heat

      Btw, Kerala & Pune had the best milky tea in my experience

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  4. I feel somewhat addicted to tea.Three cups of sugar no cream plain tea is a normal for me in a day.Tea can be more refreshing than body twisting yoga for lazy folks like me.Though I am trying to cut down on one cup in the evening.
    Has anyone ever had the chance to drink kashmiri tea?The name is deceptive as it is grown elsewhere too,but the aroma and colour is divine.A bright strawberry pink shade-completely natural!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I drink tea as most other Indians would – with milk. Even in that there are many varieties. Irani cafes in Hyderabad are famous for cutting chai (full cup of tea split into two small cups for two people to share). Irani chai is something you need to taste – the tea leaves and milk are boiled continously resulting in a more creamly flavorful chai. I read this article last week and has more insights into chai vs tea – https://www.livemint.com/mint-lounge/features/opinion-how-tea-became-chai-11599193312020.html

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I drink both tea and coffee. Tea, I usually take it just with hot water and nothing else in it. It’s my calming drink late at night (along with a large glass of milk) if I need it, camomile tea especially, and then if I have the flu then ginger tea or just hot water and honey works.

    My Mom though loves tea! Green tea from Asia and others like it are her favourites. I am more of an “at home take what is there, not much care what flavour unless I need some specific one for a specific purpose” person, but I am more of a coffee person (both hot and cold) anyway if I need a pick me up during the day.

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    • Maybe it’s a Mom thing? Once you start raising a child, you suddenly gain very specific and picky tea tastes?

      On Thu, Sep 17, 2020 at 10:49 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • I think that might be true! I definitely got much more tea-fixated post-baby. I think it’s nice having something concrete you can control that takes a few minutes start to finish, so there’s even a chance of completing it! Plus of course the importance of caffeine has increased dramatically.

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  7. I’m a total masala chai person! Tea with milk, and add a homemade chai masala blend (cardamom, clove, ginger, fennel, cinnamon, black pepper, nutmeg. If you want to be a little fancy add dried rose petals and a few strands saffron too) once the milk is done boiling.

    I also tried my hand at making suleimani chai a couple months back! (Yes yes, that was totally inspired by Ustad Hotel) Tasted nice, but my husband who doesn’t like cinnamon much wasnt the biggest fan 😄

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    • Okay, when you say “tea with milk”, do you mean what that means to me, “tea made with hot water and then I add milk”, or do you mean “tea leaves in milk and no water”?

      On Thu, Sep 17, 2020 at 11:17 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Both milk and water usually. So what we do is, we pour approx two parts milk first, with approx one part water (there are three of us in the house who drink tea, which is why we have those proportions), bring that to a boil, THEN put the tea leaves/powder + masala (if you need it) and then let that steep for a couple minutes.

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        • So watered down milk brought to boil, then throw in whatever you want, then strain into cups?

          On Thu, Sep 17, 2020 at 10:13 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  8. The German word Tee includes all kinds of infusions, so for completeness’ sake: herbs, okay, fruit and too many artificial flavors, rather not.

    I’ve become a coffee person over the years, but my mom still prefers black tea: loose leaf Darjeeling, second flush. Pour on boiling water and let it steep for no more than two minutes. The resulting liquid will still be a very light color, mild taste and a nice alternative every once in a while. Just don’t spoil it by adding anything else.

    Stronger teas do mix well with additional flavors. My wife’s family boils their concoction with lemon already in the water. On holiday, we last bought a mix of black tea with dried mango and other fruit that was a surprisingly good compromise to both our tastes.

    Masala chai definitely doesn’t depend on what regional variety of the tea plant you use, it’s just a (general) way of preparing it. It’s just that there are so many recipes. The powder you buy in a box and just add to hot water isn’t really tea, and doesn’t fully satisfy me anymore. Then I have masala from an Indian supermarket that I can just add to regular tea along with some milk and sugar. Somehow, that often turns out too weak. A Pakistani once showed me his way of preparing chai, where he first roasts the tea and cardamom a little, before adding the liquids and letting it boil with the milk. The result comes closest to what we got from the street vendors in India. It’s the recipe I’ll try to remember whenever I feel really stressed and am looking for a soothing ritual. I’ve started adding in other spices too, ginger and cinnamon and everything that’s listed on that store-bought masala.

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    • HA! My “tea is what mother’s drink” theory! Your Mom drinks it, you claim to still be a coffee person but it sounds like you and your wife are increasingly leaning tea-wards. Just watch out, by the time your kiddo is old enough to remember, you will be tea drinkers, such is the Fate of Motherhood.

      On Fri, Sep 18, 2020 at 1:31 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  9. As Shreyans said, tea bags are not the best, but I must admit I can’t stop using them.
    I read a blog of a polish girl who studied chinese and now lives in China and is a tea expert. I learned a lot from her about the types of tea and how to prepare it. Thanks to her I started drinking loose-leaf. Last year I asked her to buy some good leaves for me and she did. Unfortunately she asked if I like strong tea and I answered I prefer delicate taste and now I own 10 types of good but very very delicate types. The problem is I’m not sophisticated enough for this kind of drink. It’s too bland for me. I brew it like it should be brewed – few times, and every brew is longer and stuff, but it’s so time-consuming, and the result doesn’t give me this comfort feel I want from tea.

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  10. I really only drink tea when I’m under the weather, so my opinions are kind of unwavering. Lipton decaf tea bags, microwave the water first (because I’m too lazy to boil it), steep it and literally leave the tea bag in there the whole time. Add honey and yes, lemon, because I heard it helps with a cold in a similar way that honey does, but I’m not sure exactly what it does. Used to drink iced tea with sugar when I was a kid, and then stopped liking it. Sometimes I change up my tea flavors if I find something interesting and fruity, but not often, because one time I tried green tea when I was really sick and it was THE WORST THING EVER and I was upset on top of being sick which was no bueno.

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    • Well, this is horrible! That’s not how tea is supposed to be at all! Although, on the other hand, I think you are the first person to actually drink it with lemon, so you are in a small way superior to us too.

      On Tue, Sep 29, 2020 at 7:52 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      Liked by 1 person

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