I get a lot of questions regarding the “rules” of tea. If you ask Earl Grey drinkers how they like their tea, you will get a few different answers. Some will say that you never put anything in it. Others will say that Earl Grey must be served with lemon. While the rest will just shrug their shoulders and say that they put milk and Splenda in it. I’ll let you in on a secret of the tea industry. The rule with tea is... there are no rules! Drink what tastes good to you. But, if you are new to the gourmet tea world, here are some guidelines:
- Add milk and sweetener (honey, sugar, Splenda, etc.)
- Just add milk (A lot of purists swear by 2%, it has the best balance of creaminess of all milks)
- Add lemon (especially Earl Grey)
- Enjoy straight (This is a must, in my opinion, with Darjeelings and long leafed black teas. By long leaf, I mean a physically long leaf of about 1/2 inch to an inch long)
- Add mint and sugar for Moroccan Style
- Some add lemon or honey
- In general, I do not like to add anything to greens unless I am making Moroccan style tea. The flavor is too delicate to hold up to any additions
- Never add anything to Japanese Green Teas
- Never add anything. These teas have the most complex and evolving flavors. If you need to add something, you most likely either do not like Oolongs or have bought a low quality tea.
- Since they taste quite delicate, I wouldn't add anything to these, especially our Snow Sprout (also named Silver Needle to the rest of the world)
- Most people do not add anything, but I find them delicious with some milk, especially our Pu-erh Chai!
- Anything goes!
- I find that almost all iced teas taste better with the addition of fresh mint.
- Adding a touch of sugar can turn a good iced tea into a great one.
Summary Even though I just listed some recommendations for each tea, remember this list is just a guide. The main thing to remember is to drink what tastes good to you. If you want to add honey to a Japanese green tea, then go ahead. As I said before, the only rule with tea is… there are no rules!
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