How to Enjoy Tea Without Being a Snob
Whether you’re new to tea or a seasoned enthusiast, it’s easy to understand why tea is so popular. Its wide variety of flavors, calming properties, and health benefits make it something that can be enjoyed by everyone. But there’s a fine line between appreciating tea and becoming a snob, which can easily be crossed. In this blog post, we’ll explore how to enjoy tea without becoming a tea snob.
Don't be afraid to experiment
With so many varieties of tea available, it is easy to become overwhelmed and want to stick to what you know. Varietals, regions, and processing styles can create teas that are vastly different. Don't dismiss a particular style of tea just because you have tried one type and didn't like it. Experiment with brewing techniques or different producers and you will see how different the final product can be.
If you take away anything from this post it should be this: there are no hard-and-fast rules when it comes to drinking tea; enjoy what tastes good to you and find a balance between snobbishness and exploration. If a certain tea smells great but tastes strange, that doesn’t mean you should never drink it again – experiment with steeping times, temperatures and ratios to find the perfect cup for your palate. Don’t get too caught up in specific rituals around making tea; feel free to add whatever elements you feel fit! Maybe you love adding honey or an orange slice to your oolong; don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Finally, remember that sharing your passion for tea is part of the journey; discuss your findings with friends and family and help others explore their own passions for tea!
Learn the basics of brewing
Some people spend years studying the art of tea preparation but that is not required to brew a great cup of tea. Whether you brew in a Western-style teapot or gong fu style, you don't have to spend years studying or hundreds of dollars on equipment to brew a fine tea
Chinese tea culture has been steeped in tradition for thousands of years and the art of tea brewing has been an important part of Chinese culture. In the gong fu style, the tea is brewed in small amounts with attention given to the temperature of the water, steeping time, and the number of infusions. This type of tea brewing brings out the subtleties and nuances in the tea and can be very enjoyable and relaxing. Learning the basics of this style of brewing can be done in just a few hours and can be a great way to enjoy tea without the stigma of snobbery.
Of course, western-style tea brewing has its own merits and is popular in the US. In this style of brewing, the tea leaves are placed in a tea infuser and brewed in hot water for a few minutes before being removed. This is the fastest and easiest way to make tea but the flavor of the tea can be more muted due to the longer brewing time and lower temperature of the water. Brewing tea in the western-style also has an interesting history, as the tea infuser was invented in the 18th century by the British as an alternative to loose-leaf tea. Despite their differences, both the gong fu and Western styles of brewing are enjoyable ways to enjoy tea without feeling like you're part of an exclusive club.
Be open to different types of tea
For a long time, I didn't think that I liked green tea, what I had experienced was bitter or tasted fishy. Now that I recognize the different production methods and brewing styles, I can treat each tea in a way that brings out the sweet delicious notes that I have read in so many reviews.
I've also found a whole range of other teas that I didn't even know existed. White tea, which is the most minimally processed and has a light delicate flavor. Pu-erh is a dark tea made from fermented leaves. My favorite is Oolong, which is semi-oxidized. This is a hugely diverse category, with flavors ranging from lightly floral to spicy, earthy and complex. The possibilities are almost endless. The best part is you don't have to know everything about tea to enjoy it - just be open to different types and give each a try.
Don't get caught up in labels
Find what you like. If you don't enjoy certain flavors, try something else. There are plenty of inexpensive varieties that are great for daily drinking and there are plenty of really expensive teas that may not be worth it. Do you enjoy it? Then go for it. Don’t limit yourself just because it doesn’t fit someone’s definition of “high quality.”
Be mindful of the details: Temperature, steep time, water quality, and tea-to-water ratio—all can make a difference in the flavor and aroma. Keep experimenting until you find the method that works best for you. Don’t worry about what others think: As long as you are enjoying your tea, let others worry about their own experiences.
Relax: Brewing tea is an art form, but at its core, it is meant to be enjoyed. Don’t get too caught up in technique or tasting notes; instead, savor each sip with all five senses in mind and simply relax into the experience. Invest in quality: If your budget allows, investing in quality tea can elevate your tea-drinking experience tremendously.
Enjoy tea for what it is
Besides water, tea is the most consumed beverage in the world. Don't let anyone tell you that you need to spend more than you can afford to enjoy it. Grandpa style is how many people in China enjoy tea and it requires no special timing or equipment.
Tea can be a meditation just as much as a refreshment. It is what you make it. Take a moment each day to stop the inane chatter of the world and just focus on the flavors and aroma.
Remember Gong Fu just means with skill. As you drink and brew more tea, you will gain the skills. the fun is in the journey. Don't let anyone's sense of snobbery put you off from enjoying tea. Everyone should be able to enjoy a cup without worrying about it being 'good enough'. Enjoy the journey, find what works for you and don't get caught up in anyone else's sense of rules. And of course, don't forget to sit back and enjoy a good cup of tea.