Wednesday, October 10, 2007

FAQs and Not-So-FAQs

Lately, I've been getting a lot of questions through my ask page. I've decided to post a few in my blog. If you have a basic tea question or a question about Vee Tea, feel free to ask me! For more complex questions, contact me to arrange an hour-long tea class or consultation (in person or via telephone).

"Where can I get your teas?"

I get this question a lot! The answer is, "in my kitchen." I don't sell tea. I am a tea educator. I offer tea tours as well as tea classes, consultation, and training, and I write copy for tea sites.

"Are you doing tea tours in India?"

At this moment, I only offer tea tours in NYC. However, I am interested in putting a group together for a trip to India in the near future. If you're interested, let me know early in the planning stages so I can be sure to include you and your interests. Otherwise, I am available for classes and events outside NYC. (Contact me for more info.)

"I'm a coffee drinker and want to drink tea instead. What do you recommend?"

Congrats on your decision to make the transition! I think you'll find that it is very beneficial to you. On to the answer! If you like the roasty flavor of coffee, try the Japanese roasted twig tea "houji-cha." If you like a robust flavor and more caffeine, try Indian Assam black teas. Is earthy and rich more your bag? Try a pu-erh (also spelled "pu'er") tea (unless you're on a tight budget!). If you want something really smoky and strong, opt for Chinese Lapsang Souchong, its more mellow sister Tarry Souchong, or its cousin Russian Caravan (also from China). If like spices and you drink your coffee with a lot of milk and sugar, try an Indian Masala Chai (commonly called "chai" in the US). If you want milk and sugar sans spices, try an Assam black, a "breakfast blend" (China Breakfast, English Breakfast, Irish Breakfast...), or one of the Ceylon (Sri Lankan) teas that says something like "takes milk and sugar well" on the packaging. If you don't want any caffeine, like the woody notes in coffee and don't mind a little sweetness, go with the African red "tea" (tisane) rooibos. If you usually drink flavored coffee, pick up a similarly flavored tea. Welcome to the world of tea!

"What is a low quality Chinese tea from the last of the crop called? B---A (five letters)"

Hmm... was this a crossword puzzle question?! I'll put the fact that I consider this to be cheating aside for a moment and answer your question. "Bohea." When Chinese tea first became immensely popular in England, a lot of it was mixed with other vegetable matter to increase profit. Excellent teas from the Wuyi region suffered badly from this kind of pollution and their name ("bohea") became synonymous with cheap, degraded tea. Sad, but true.

"I am so envious of your do you make your living? Are you an heiress? (I am smiling)"

Like a lot of other New Yorkers, I work two jobs. I'm not an heiress, but some guy called me "Paris Hilton" at the park last week. (I think it was my sunglasses. I just hope it wasn't all the weight I lost in India!)

"Does herbal tea have any caffeine in it?"

Generally speaking, no, herbal teas (a.k.a. "tisanes" or "infusions") do not contain any caffeine. However, yerba mate is VERY high in caffeine and any herbal teas with chocolate or kola but will have a little bit of caffeine. Blends with any "true tea" (white, green, Oolong, black, pu-erh, or (rarely) yellow tea) will also have caffeine, even if they're labeled "herbal." For more info, read my article on Caffeine and Tea.

I hope this clears a few things up! Contact me if you have any tea questions!

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