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people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation


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what you didn't know about the meaning of tea
children of dune - leto 1
seperis
I went through a period of time for most of yesterday in a truly horrible mood. Today I'm going to post something positive and uplifting, or at least, on the less-rage portion of the continuum, because undirected rage is both exhausting and terrible for the complexion.

Tea

I ordered--okay, at this point, we can call this a tea habit--a lot of tea. I even ordered those UV containers for my tea. Short version; I have a lot of tea. It has its own shelf that is overflowing.



Current teas number at roughly forty-five types, both in sample amounts and in larger amounts. Current larger amounts of awesome are cherry, apricot, orange, irish breakfast, and yunnan jig. There is sizable rooibos population growing, with one representative of green tea.

Highly Recommended: cherry tea.

Highly Recommended Mix: two parts cherry to one part chocolate or chocolate chip tea. (There are chocolate pieces in the tea.)

This sounds like a dark hell of darkness; it is not. It's really good. Water should be just pre-boil or at boil for no more than a few seconds to avoid deoxygenation. Seep for no longer than four minutes (ideally, three and a half). Tea purists do not dilute their tea; I am not a tea purist, I'm just a tea drinker. If you go for the full four minutes, six parts tea to one part cold water, or five parts tea to one part cold water for this specific mix. I don't know why this works on this mix, but for me, it's ideal.

This one will require you to test by flavor; it took a few tries to get the balance just right. For some reason, the combination of cherry and chocolate brings out, for me, a super bitter undertaste and I like sugar, but not that much. The chocolate is also--weird. I really dislike the chocolate tea on its own, and it seeps strong, which is part of the reason for the dilution. But mixed with cherry, yeah, good. Next up will be a raspberry chocolate mix.

Somewhat Recommended Mix: one part chocolate chip tea to one part vanilla tea.

This is still being studied; I can tell eventually it will be good, but there's something about the chocolate teas that make them work against the black tea in a very nauseating way in the underflavor, even if the first taste is really good. Have tried one part milk to five parts tea and that didn't help at all, but added a new and really unsettling taste to it that seriously didn't work. Will advise when I get this one working.

Highly Recommended: orange tea

Highly Recommended: Central Market lychee tea. Do this one to boiling point, seep time three to five minutes.

Highly Recommended: Three parts Irish Breakfast to one part milk.

I don't like milk in my tea. However, this one seriously does it for me.

Highly Recommended: Three parts Darjeeling to one part milk.

Shockingly good.

Highly Recommended: rooibos ice tea.

Okay, the Rooibos ice tea is possibly my one big surprise. Very few teas on their own transfer to ice tea well. I'm a Southerner and ice tea is an art. I'm also a Texan, so ice tea is always an experiment.

Okay, here's the thing.





First of, you have to understand this. When you are south of the Mason-Dixon, the meaning of tea is different. For the purposes of this entry, I will refer to ice tea as 'ice tea', but in reality, when you say tea down here, the default assumption would be 'ice tea'. If you don't want it in a glass over ice, you'd better say "hot tea".

Ice tea is not like hot tea; there is an entirely different aesthetic involved that affects preparation, storage, and consumption. That's why you never see me order ice tea north of the Mason-Dixon. It's apples to oranges; while it can be good both places, the meaning of the tea is entirely different. There, it is a drink, one of many. Here, it is so much more.

Here, it is tea.

Ice tea is an all year staple that spans all the seasons, though the nadir is reached during the Barbecue Cook-Off Season, Chili Cook-Off Season, and Early Football Season (these seasons can overlap each other)(note: these all overlap with Fajita Season, which never ends; Tamale Season is more complicated and beyond the range of this entry). It's only equal is 'Beer' (domestic); however, there is a sizable purist minority who insist that beer created anywhere outside the Texas border is not domestic (exception: any beer made in Mexico is considered domestic). Those people refer to their beer by brand (example: :"Bring me a Shiner" for "Bring me a Beer"). Distant third is the 'Wine Cooler' (women between the ages of twenty-four and forty-five before graduating to 'Beer'). Fourth is 'Coke' (any dark carbonated beverage) or 'Sprite' (any light carbonated beverage). The latter two are exclusively consumed by a.) children under age sixteen and b.) weird people.

[Note: There are people who drink wine with their meals. I don't judge! I have a friend who is into that sort of thing! What I'm saying is, if you ever ordered wine and you noticed an older couple, one of whom may or may not have been wearing overalls, looking at you oddly and you felt judged; yeah, you were. They went home and told everyone they knew. We all laughed.]

Ice tea is for constant casual consumption but more specifically it is prepared and created for drinking during meals, preferably in some outdoor location with some sort of animal being prepared above a bed of charcoal with a side of potato salad. You're making a drink that has to have the flexibility to blend with a.) beef, b.) chicken, c.) pork, d.) barbecue sauce, and e.) pasta and/or potato salads and beans (note: in Central Texas, it must also compliment no less than three types of coleslaw, any variation of Polish sausage, and anything cooked by any Czech/Polish/Mexican grandmother. When in doubt, look at the name of the town you are in.) (second note: from twenty miles north of Austin to the Mexican border, it's expected to at minimum work with any kind of Tex-Mex food item. The Fajita Test is considered the gold standard). It is palate cleanser, fighter of dehydration, and social enabler. Ice tea is all things to all people. Ice tea contains multitudes.

To drive the point home; gallons of tea are sold in the grocery store on a daily basis. Right by the milk. And there is always a shortage.

Classic southern ice tea has many, many recipes, so we'll go over a few of the more staple varieties as practiced by ice tea makers.

1.) bring water to boil, adding sugar before adding tea. Seal into container* and place in refrigerator.

2.) bring water to boil, add tea before adding sugar. Seal into container* and place in refrigerator.
* Some people add ice before placing in refrigerator. Others prefer a more individualized single glass approach.


Types of tea: bag form is preferable.

A regional variation, though not universally accepted, is to add some sort of fruit-flavored tea at one part to two parts plain black tea. This is more likely to occur during a.) Thanksgiving, b.) Christmas, c.) wedding/baby showers, or d.) summer lunches.

There. Now you're ready for the rest.





Recently, my mother has become caffeine sensitive. This is a problem (please read all of the above before asking why). After much soul-searching, I decided to do the unthinkable; to attempt ice tea with non-black tea non-bags.

I bought several types of rooibos from Central Market. One of these was Rishi Organic Scarlet Loose; with it in hand, I began my journey.

Using the stove, I heated up the required amount of water and waited until it was about a minute from boiling before turning off, added the loose tea, and warily decided that I'd hold on the sugar until I had an idea of what I was dealing with. Added to pitcher and stared, as it is very red.

It's also, to my surprise, naturally somewhat sweet. I added a very little sugar, sealed, and refrigerated, then got my mother a glass and proceeded to see what she'd make of it.

So far, this is very, very good. It's not exactly like the taste of black tea, but I'll be honest, that's not a minus. To me at least, this one was much better iced than hot; it's remarkably smooth, with a lightly sweet finish even without sugar, and it's goddamn sublime with ice. Nine out of ten drinkers of ice tea will not be disappointed.

(If you want to try this tea and can't find it, next time I go to Central Market I can grab some samples if it's one they carry regularly; I can't remember if this one was one of the special blends or not.)



One day, I hope to have time to explain why the Fajita* is considered the perfect food, as well as Why When Someone Says They Are Making Tamales, Do You Want Some, you say "God, yes, thank you."

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I'm a tea barbarian. Just give me Lipton in a teabag and I'm good.

Interesting about the 'tea' having different meanings south and north. If someone wanted tea up here, it's hot, not cold. I guess it must have been the climate? that dictated the meaning.

Well, also, if you order ice tea north of the Mason-Dixon line, it will be unsweetened, unless clearly specified otherwise.

It will probably also be acidic from sitting around too long, or it may be that raspberry crap from the soda machine.

I'm a Yankee to my core, but that core has a very soft spot for proper ice tea.

Classic southern ice tea has many, many recipes, so we'll go over a few of the more staple varieties as practiced by ice tea makers.

1.) bring water to boil, adding sugar before adding tea. Seal into container* and place in refrigerator.

2.) bring water to boil, add tea before adding sugar. Seal into container* and place in refrigerator.


The sugar, oh God the sugar. A friend who used to work at the local catfish buffet told me they used a 5 lb bag of sugar per batch. Some of that stuff's so stiff it is no longer truly in liquid form, but can stand on its own. It would make a perfectly acceptable maple syrup substitute. Word to those health nuts from CA, ALWAYS ASK if the tea is sweetened or unsweet. Lifelong allergy to sugar has taught me that lesson. Also, it takes a bit to get used to, but once acclimated most outsiders cross over to the local point of view and imbibe it like the crack it is.

*grins* Yes, the sugar.

I tried agave in ice tea as a sugar substitute; with black tea, that worked surprisingly well, so I'm keeping it on hand for a few family members who are diabetic or don't like sugar.

as an English person, I'm just going to stare in horror at this concept of 'tea'. Or that you'd drink it with any meal that wasn't breakfast or a snack. Seriously. Tea in its natural state should only be drunk at breakfast or after dessert.

Tea : take one teabag. Boil water in kettle. pour water on teabag. 9 times out of ten, add milk and/or sugar. But three-to-one? That's some seriously milky tea.

Tea is life in the south.

That's some seriously milky tea.

You'd think so. It was a slow process of adding milk, and it was still ungodly strong.

I lived in Texas (Needville and then Brenham) for a couple of years, and the tea thing was bewildering to me, as I am from New York City. Working in a restaurant in NY, if someone wants tea, they specify hot or iced (we say "iced", not "ice"), and if they don't, you ask, although they probably mean hot tea unless it's summer (May - August). Northern iced tea is typically unsweetened, and customers choose to sweeten (or not) at their own tables. Working in Texas was totally different and I was not expecting it at all. Everybody just says "tea", and when you ask if they want it hot or iced they look at you like you're crazy. Even in winter.

Also in Texas iced tea almost always means black tea -- usually a nondescript black or peach-flavored black before descending into more exotic flavors -- while in the North my expectation is usually a black tea or an herbal tea, typically mint-flavored.

IT IS ALL SO BEWILDERING. And dude. Sweet tea? Is really, really sweet. @_@ I find it appalling. My friend from North Carolina could go through several gallons a week.

Okay, but now I have ~questions. I make iced tea a lot, especially during the summer, as an alternative to juice, which is both more expensive and has a lot more sugar. (I flavor my iced tea by the glass with Splenda.)

My technique, such as it is, is to start with cold tap water, which I bring to a brief boil and pour immediately onto my tea bags of choice in a two-liter pitcher. (I don't dilute -- I find that practice kind of weird.) How long do you let your tea steep for? And do you seal and refrigerate immediately? I leave the tea bags in for a while and let the tea cool a bit before I seal it and put it away. I have an aversion to sealing and refrigerating hot foods (learned from a Food Safety class), which has carried over to hot liquids? IDEK if it applies.

My current favorite iced tea is Tazo Passion, which is not red tea even though it looks like it -- it's herbal tea with added flavors which turn the liquid red, but it's not Rooibos, which has caffeine in it. ANYWAY. It's really yummy -- it's got some hibiscus flavoring in it which makes it kind of spicy.

(OT: on the subject of hibiscus, I used to work in a French-Senegalese fusion bistro and my chef made this AMAZING juice that was flavored with hibiscus and ginger. It was thick and sweet and really, really spicy -- we'd make a big batch in a pot the size of a person and then divide it up in quarts and freeze it. I wish I remember how to make it. OMG so yummy.)

Also, what is your opinion on tea-juice combinations? Tea-lemonade mixes are becoming a ~thing. Is this ever exciting for you, or does it offend your tea-purist sensibilities?

I DID NOT EXPECT TO HAVE SO MUCH TO SAY ON THE SUBJECT OF TEA.

My technique, such as it is, is to start with cold tap water, which I bring to a brief boil and pour immediately onto my tea bags of choice in a two-liter pitcher. (I don't dilute -- I find that practice kind of weird.)

It's more common when making sun tea than just tea on the stove, since sun tea concentration can end up really high. Usually the ice added does enough to bring strong sun tea down, though.

How long do you let your tea steep for?

I do three to five minutes while adding sugar, stirring it in, and transferring it to a pitcher and don't remove until I am ready to put it in the fridge. I've seen tea where the bags just stay in the pitcher until it's time ot make a fresh batch of tea, then they're tossed.

And do you seal and refrigerate immediately? I leave the tea bags in for a while and let the tea cool a bit before I seal it and put it away.

This is a personal taste thing; I usually try to get it in the fridge still hot for fast cooling. This is a personal flavor thing for me.

I have an aversion to sealing and refrigerating hot foods (learned from a Food Safety class), which has carried over to hot liquids? IDEK if it applies.

My sister and my mom both have this aversion big time. When they make tea, it's a timed ritual to make sure it's cooled enough to add ice and not instantly melt the tea down before refrigeration. I don't add ice (usually) and do the individual glass approach, which probably makes a difference. When I add ice, I have the tea cooled significantly before adding and refrigerator storage.

Also, what is your opinion on tea-juice combinations? Tea-lemonade mixes are becoming a ~thing. Is this ever exciting for you, or does it offend your tea-purist sensibilities?

Tea and citrus are awesome. I've added fresh lemon juice, but now I'm curious how orange would taste. *makes note*

I DID NOT EXPECT TO HAVE SO MUCH TO SAY ON THE SUBJECT OF TEA.

God, I stared at this entry in shock when I realized I'd written a short history of southern tea right in the middle there.

Whoa... the iced tea thing is ~complicated! I have obviously never had a proper iced tea experience, I've just thought "Why would someone do that to a nice cup of tea?o_O". Possibly it's my mother's (she isn't a good cook, but an excellent baker)horrible experiment with cold tea, sugar and salt as a re-hydrant when I had a bad stomach flu that still haunts me.

I'm trying to figure out if there is any Swedish equivalent and can only come up with the use of Scandinavian vodka (brännvin)at all occasions and as a cure all. Since the temperance movement won in the 1920's we've had to make do with coffee, but those rituals are being destroyed by the spread of lattes and frappuchinos.

Southern heat waves make a difference, trust me. I love hot tea, but I can't stomach it when I'm going to be outside for any period of time, and dairy and high heat really don't mix.

Since the temperance movement won in the 1920's we've had to make do with coffee, but those rituals are being destroyed by the spread of lattes and frappuchinos.

*wistful* I loved tea time when I was in Finland. Which seemed to be "anytime in teh afternoon two or more guests showed up". My host mother was an incredible baker, so I used to get really excited when we had guests; the sweet rolls and cakes and delicious foods would come out.

Then again, Finland was my place of eternal hunger. I think I ate my weight every day there from mid-September until I left in January. Tea time got me through to dinner.

And now I want a cuppa. *Goes to brew a pot*

I just made more cherry chocolate. This stuff is a drug.

As a Charlestonian tea-drinker that moved to Connecticut, I thank you. Most confusing culture-clash of my life, and I have been all over the globe, seriously.

*nod* It takes exposure and existence in a climate of super humidity and heat to really absorb the necessity of ice tea.

A few years ago I was in the South for a fandom meet-up and all the Southern girls insisted that we Yankees try sweet tea. They talked it up so much that I was pretty disappointed when I tried it and discovered that it was just sweetened iced tea. I don't add sweetener to my tea so it was too much for me.

I've recently become interested in tea and have been getting mine from Teavana. Their teas kick serious tea ass.

I'm still going through Adagio's website to test all their teas. Beyond delicious. *marks down teavana*

Oh, tea. I know that every time I go home to visit there will be 1-2 pitchers in the fridge waiting for me. My grandmother, god rest her soul, would put a 2 lb bag of sugar in a gallon of tea. It was like syrup; it was amazing. Also, tea in my extended family is almost always found in reused milk jugs, the better to take along w/ a covered dish to the baby shower/funeral/picnic of your choice. Also, it is always Luzianne. We don't mess around. Now that I live among the Yankees I cherish the visits home where I can order "tea" and know it'll come sweet and cold and not overbrewed (why is it a mystery to those of the non-Southern persuasion that you can't leave tea bags in there all day?) and delicious. In conclusion, tea. Yes.

Also, tea in my extended family is almost always found in reused milk jugs, the better to take along w/ a covered dish to the baby shower/funeral/picnic of your choice.

As tea was intended to be for quick access and transport. Yes.

Now that I live among the Yankees I cherish the visits home where I can order "tea" and know it'll come sweet and cold and not overbrewed (why is it a mystery to those of the non-Southern persuasion that you can't leave tea bags in there all day?) and delicious. In conclusion, tea. Yes.

I have seen people leave the bags at the bottom of the pitcher. No matter how much ice dilution, that last inch is like the condensed espresso of ice tea.

YES YES YES YES Fajitas are the perfect food!!!! Also, YOU MUST ALWAYS TAKE THE TAMALES!!! Also again , tamales must always be made by at least 3 women standing around a kitchen table bitching to each other (at least, that's been my experience).

I am so damn homesick for Texas right now, I can't even tell you. Thanks for this post and reminding me of many of the things I love about my home state.

Because I'm all grown up now and living in the sophisticated Northeast and all (and yes, I have learned to drink wine with my dinner, the shame!), but in the summer I always reach for the ice tea.

Fajitas are my number one favorite food. They are delicious and you can carry it about as you eat and be social! Tamales are like the perfect fast food; they even come in a handy case!

Because I'm all grown up now and living in the sophisticated Northeast and all (and yes, I have learned to drink wine with my dinner, the shame!), but in the summer I always reach for the ice tea.

Once you're conditioned to ice tea summers, you can't go back. *nods understandingly*

Iced rooibos tea, I must try that. I already like hot rooibos.

Caffeine is a headache trigger for me so I’m in the same predicament as your mom so I’m always looking for anything caffeine-free. Lately, I’ve settled on rose tea. Not rosewater or rose-flavored water poured into hot water but real rosebuds infusing into the hot water. It is sublime when freshly brewed on a winter day.

The iced rooibos was amazing. I'm not sure it even needs sugar, at least not this blend I bought. It's delicious.

Not rosewater or rose-flavored water poured into hot water but real rosebuds infusing into the hot water. It is sublime when freshly brewed on a winter day.

*makes note*

Irish Breakfast tea is a thing of awesome. And I love Darjeeling too. I have a somewhat sizeable stash of teas - so that people have a choice when I say I can't drink coffee and therefore don't keep any in the house. Mostly I use tea bags but I like loose tea too.

Fajitas = NOM! The only trouble is, I always have to cook them since no-one else in my family can.

Irish Breakfast tea is a thing of awesome. And I love Darjeeling too. I have a somewhat sizeable stash of teas - so that people have a choice when I say I can't drink coffee and therefore don't keep any in the house. Mostly I use tea bags but I like loose tea too.

I love it, but loose it is strong. Perfect for mornings, but I love the flavor so I'm trying to get a less powerful afternoon variation.

Fajitas = NOM! The only trouble is, I always have to cook them since no-one else in my family can.

I don't know how the world existed before them, to be honest.

i was born and raised in california by a texan. it is insanely difficult trying to describe what southern ice tea is to anyone here. because you're right, it is MUCH MORE than a drink, and to describe it, you pretty much have to give them a history lesson on culture.

mostly, i get blank looks in return.

mostly, i get blank looks in return.

I think the missing component has to be the heat and humidity combined with outdoor eating that helps people make the transition.

Tamales. Yes. Oh yes. And don't ask me to cook them because that's a Process.

They actually call it ice tea in Texas? Over here in Georgia its proper name is 'sweetea'. One word, not two. And I can't stand the stuff despite having many, many proper southern relatives. It's tea-flavored syrup and I don't find that refreshing or any kind of help in staying hydrated at all.

The rooibos sounds promising though! *makes note*

IAWTC. I live in Georgia too, and nobody calls it iced tea (or ice tea, either). It's sweet tea (and seekergeek is right; even though I'm spelling it out as two words, it's pronounced as one). It sounds like it's made a little differently, too -- you start with a concentrated sugar syrup, then you dilute it with water until it becomes a liquid. I do like sweet tea, although there are many restaurants in town where I order something else instead, because the tea is too sweet for me.

I like my own personal homemade version. It's not made with the syrup so it's not so sugary sweet, and I usually add fresh mint while the water is boiling...mmm, minty goodness. Very refreshing.

I did indeed experience culture shock when I went to college up north in Pennsylvania. I ordered tea in a restaurant, and they brought me out a mug of hot, steaming stuff. I was quite taken aback. Down in Georgia, you have to specify hot tea, if that's what you want. (And, yes, I love hot tea too, but only in mornings or early afternoon, and never in the summer.) And then there was the first time I got a cup of iced tea in the dining hall - it was unsweet! Oh, the travesty! Adding sugar to a cold glass of unsweet iced tea is not the same. All the sugar sinks to the bottom, no matter how much you stir the darned thing. You end up drinking a bitter (because it's cafeteria tea and has been sitting around for too long) glass of unsweet tea, with one super-sweet sip at the end. Yuck.

Edited to correct HTML fail.

Edited at 2010-07-04 12:43 am (UTC)