Sunday, March 3, 2013

I Like Coffee, I Like Tea...

Tea on a Bike
It's hard not to notice that many cyclists are also avid coffee drinkers. I guess I am too, in the sense that I am thoroughly addicted and must drink several cups a day in order to function. But I am not a coffee connoisseur. I am okay with most espresso blends. I keep it simple with a French press. I add a bit of milk. And I prefer a nice big mug over a dainty cup. After more than two decades of drinking the stuff, I have never felt compelled to explore the world of coffee beyond this.

Tea, on the other hand, has always been a danger zone - something that I sensed could plunge me into yet another crazy hobby. Perhaps that is why I've mostly played it safe and stuck to grocery-store tea bags. I did not want to cross that line. 

That is, until recently. There has been a lot of tea drinking at my house this winter and at some point I was gifted a teapot and some loose tea. Long story short, I now have a small collection of delicious teas, about the properties and history of which I know more than I care to admit. It wasn't long before I began to develop my own masala chai recipe, and purchased a dedicated Tokoname kyusu for green tea. Right...

Well, at least playing around with this stuff has kept me sane over the past couple of months - although I use the term "sane" loosely. Earlier today I was debating the idea of a Mobile Tea Party. Inspired by conversations with Jacquie Phelan and by memories of the Xtracycle display at the last Interbike, I had the idea to install a samovar on the back of a bike and turn it into a neighbourhood Tea Chariot. Say a driver is cranky sitting in traffic - I can offer them some tea. A passing cyclist looks thirsty? Cuppa tea. Pedestrian in need of refreshment? Tea! Heck, I can even drink some myself at red lights.

Sadly, I don't think it is feasible to boil water via pedal power while cycling around the neighbourhood. According to this video, it took 11 cyclists on bike generators to boil 1 cup of water with a 1kW kettle! But it's a nice idea. And probably a sign that I should put down the tea (it's Darjeeling tonight) and get out of the house more. 

So: coffee or tea? What's you preference and how into it are you?

90 comments:

  1. My Nissan thermos keeps 34 ounces of tea hot all day. I have a 32 ounce tea pot as well as much smaller ones, including the one you linked. I've found this to be the best method to transport tea when I don't have the luxury of being at home where I can brew small pots.

    My electric kettle is probably the most used appliance in the house.

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    1. 2nd. Make the tea at home, then share it on the road or at the destination. Vacuum jars are the shiznit. I have many sizes and even make oatmeal in them.

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  2. Second the electric kettle Anonymous 9:08 touted. Very useful, especially the ones that shut themselves off once the water boils!

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    1. I love electric kettles, but it's hard to find a good one.

      For years I used a stainless one from GE. When it eventually broke, the same model was no longer available, so I replaced it with a similar one by Aroma that had comparatively positive feedback. Less than a year later, and the "new" kettle is in terrible shape - rusted and working poorly. I need to replace it, but pretty much every model I look at nowadays has negative feedback about parts ungluing and faulty contact points, even the expensive ones. This doesn't exactly inspire confidence, so I am considering switching back to a stove-top kettle.

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    2. I've been using this Chef's Choice model for over a year. http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B0058VCYRS/ref=mp_s_a_1?qid=1362365940&sr=1-3&pi=SL75. The stainless steel is hot to touch but I try to avoid touching it.

      Prior to that I used this less attractive and cheaper Tfal model. http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B000EZU678/ref=mp_s_a_1?qid=1362366071&sr=1-10&pi=SL75. I have no complaints with that kettle. The only reason I replaced it is I thought it died because the electrical outlet it was plugged into had a problem. I wouldn't have replaced it if I had known the kettle wasn't the culprit

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    3. It's really interesting the way you're discussing electric kettles - here in the UK I don't know anyone who uses any other kind. Most of them are just plastic so safe to touch and only cost about £10! Are they not available over there?

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    4. I use the stovetop kettle, but in Japan they have great countertop hot water dispensers - if I were to go back, I would definitely pick on up! I found a few on-line; it looks like Zojirushi sells to the U.S. market. We have a Zojirushi rice-maker that I've been very happy with, so I would think they'd be good quality. Here's just one that I found:

      http://bit.ly/Z1KbZk

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    5. ninjaess - Electric kettles are popular in the US also, though not as ubiquitous as in the UK. Many people are trying to get away from plastic these days, so the stainless ones are becoming increasingly popular.

      Meika - I've read and heard about problems with the Zojirushi water boilers also, especially with those bought recently. It seems that lately, lots of small kitchen appliances are timed to have about a 1 year time span. If I owned a home, I would consider installing one of those boiled water dispensers that's integrated into the sink area.

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    6. I drink both coffee and tea, but I'm not obsessive about either.

      I have an instant hot water dispenser, and I use it all the time- I have a filter on it and a dual handle dispenser so I can get filtered hot water or filtered cold water.

      Depending on how things are plumbed and your sink setup, it might actually not be that hard to install a hot water dispenser that you could take with you when you move. You can email me if you really want to pursue it.

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    7. Velouria - perhaps use your coffee maker to make tea? I put some tea bags in the carafe and program it to turn on when I'm ready to wake up. Nothing like rolling out of bed and having a nice pot of Lapsang Souchong ready and waiting for me!

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  3. Tea, please. I went off coffee several years ago and am very happy I did. I went through terrible withdrawal symptoms, which demonstrates how addictive it really is, and only once in a blue moon do tip back an espresso. The effect is amazing and strong enough to scare me off of it again for several months. The nice part is that by drinking coffee so rarely, I really appreciate its effects. Tea gives me a morning lift and also keeps me nicely hydrated. No milk or sugar in either of them, maybe a little honey once in a while in the tea.

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    1. Coffee, Dark roast, Made with a Vacuum Coffee pot.

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  4. what's the book under your tea pot?

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    1. It's Short Bike Rides in Rhode Island by Howard Stone. Got it at a used book sale, so not sure how current it is.

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  5. Yerba mate.....gourd and bombilla.....very into it.

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    1. I remember trying a yerba mate tea in grad school (not in a gourd) and it had such a strong kick; I felt almost hallucinatory afterward. Not sure whether that's typical, but it's made me hesitant to try it again.

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    2. I don't get that effect......I wish I did! Try it again in bag form...it is much milder, but still has a nice flavor.

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    3. Velouria: odd, your reaction to Yerba Mate. I find it more energizing than tea or coffee but without the adrenaline kick of strong coffee or the heating (= makes me sweat) effect of tea. Indeed, a wonderful post (and pre- and mid-) ride drink is yerba mate with lemon, sugar and, if you are feeling adventurous, a generous dollop of brandy (Chr Bros VSOP $16.99 at Costco), though not enough to cause hallucinations. The main trouble with YM is that it tastes like brewing the clippings from your lawn. I think lemon goes better with it than milk, and YM teabags seem to filter the hay-like taste better than brewing loose.

      I drink 8 to 20 oz of strong coffee (prefer dark roasts) each morning for breakfast, with a dollop of half 'n' half and a rounded tbsp of sugar. I sometimes swap for tea -- not a connaisseur, happy with box-of-100 Liptons from Costco; milk and sugar. For coffee, I buy beans, grind for each use, and brew, depending on mood, in original Melita, stovetop espresso maker (I hear that technically what I use produces not espresso but something else, but so what), or press (but this requires a coarser grind and care lest you steep it too long and make it sour).

      On the road: either strong tea with plenty of milk and sugar -- Indian style, even, leaves boiled -- or the YM described above.

      As for hallucinations, it has been years (and, non-warrant govt officials take not) and it was "outside the jurisdiction", but weed is much better. Would take up a pipe - nice briar - with good, unscented Virginia - elixir of the gods - but don't want to get roped back into tobacco addiction after 17 years since I quite cigs.

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  6. Java Jive!

    It will not surprise you to know that there are implements here for seven distinct coffee brewing techniques, and at least four for tea. Can't find my one Beehouse teapot, but know where the other six are.

    The teapot you linked is beautiful.

    If you like Darjeeling, you may enjoy Nilgiri, too.
    There's a lemon note to it that is delicious.

    I love black teas, but they make tinnitus worse for me, so I drink more coffee these days.
    Here that means various cone filter methods, vacuum pot, Vietnamese/French drip, and sometimes Turkish.

    Cheers to you and Alice B. Toeclips!

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    1. "Beehouse teapot..."

      Ooh those look very nice. Happily I am all set for teapots. No, really I am.

      Have not tried Nilgiri yet, but it's next on the list.

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  7. Oh, and the kettle is a Simplex flat-bottom affair. We (okay- I) managed to kill the lesser kettles.

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  8. I think the heat-on-bike problem is just a matter of a design challenge. I'm a little fuzzy on all the details, but I'd first look into a marine stove, like the Sardine: http://www.marinestove.com/sardineinfo.htm
    Need to check how well it works when rattled around. 35 lbs, 12x12x11. (Note that I am using cargo bike standards for weight, so 35lbs is acceptable, especially if the result is a rolling stove.)

    Then, working with an xtracycle, I'd customize a wideloader and a sideloader (and probably the snapdeck, too). Not sure if I would use hardyboard or metal for the base (it would need to be a hair wider than the existing wideloader), can't have any fabric or wood in close to the stove or its pipe. Stove would bolt down low and forward. Passengers would need to ride side saddle, but it could be a toasty seat.

    Cups could stow on the other side, I assume you want a kettle that can be lashed down to the stove so you can have your hot water promptly.

    The unfortunate part of this project is that the stove is a little expensive, so that impedes the lark. There are some lighter-weight camping stoves available, but I'm not sure how well they cope with being fired and rattled around at the same time.

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  9. Alas, I am far too cheap to get terribly into either. I do enjoy my morning cup of grocery store green tea (the kind that costs $3 for A box of 100 bags,) and the occasional cup of coffee is nice, but I sorta can't fathom drinking several cups a day every day. I think I'd be a jittery mess with A non-stop migraine!

    On the more practical side... doesn't all that caffeine make you have to stop and pee all the time? Seriously, how does that work on long rides?

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  10. British parents=life long tea obsession. I even stopped drinking tea for a few years when a know it all boyfriend insisted I stop consuming caffeine. I was so happy when my mom came to visit and we went over to Victoria, BC which still holds onto the british tradition of proper tea. Tea houses left and right, I was immediately a fallen woman. Back to good old copious cups of tea, just like not watching Coronation Street for years, you just fall right back in! One tip is that black tea for the UK market is far superior to what is packaged for Canada or USA, so if you can have someone send you tea, or find a shop that imports british boxed tea brands, go for that.
    I am not a regular coffee drinker at this point in life, but definitely see how it goes with cycling. After a long ride or a ride into town, I like to go a cafe, consume something calorific and savour a latte. For me delicious high quality coffee once in awhile is better than regular bad coffee. I find coffee caffeine a bit much, so tend to have decaf unless the coffee is divine. However, I am always so tired, maybe if I had really good coffee at home...might I be singing the Kaffee Kontata?

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    1. Just make sure that your friend does not bring back what mine did: PG Tips. DECAF PG Tips.

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    2. Brrrrr. Can't stand PG Tips. Seriously, I don't know where they get that stuff or how they process it, but I couldn't drink it when I lived in England. I liked grocery store Twinings just fine though, especially Earl and Lady Grey.

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  11. Coffee, for me. For the kids during bedtime books, decaf Chai.

    I don't like the idea of being addicted to anything or needing something like this to function, but it undeniably helps. I am not as young as I used to be. Somedays, we just make it through. Survival can be an accomplishment.

    An interesting topic to explore may be safe transport of coffee by bike. Spill protected lids don't cut it. I have a cup holder on the handlebar of my "rain and darkness" bike. When I attempt to use it and complete my ride to the clinic where I work.....even a mid sized bump sends a geiser of brown hotness through the lid (which acts as a spout). I risk coming into the clinic with a very "un doctorly" appearance - if I survive at all.

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  12. Tea for me, even wrote about why on my family blog, http://www.houghfamilyblog.com/?p=5143

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  13. I'm a confirmed caffeine junkie, and I tend to take it however I can get it.

    I've been,among other things, a barista for just about a decade now. I've got to admit that, while I have a rather perceptive palate, I'm a bit jaded on coffee in general. I appreciate a quality cup, but I tend to make budget-minded purchases when I'm actually paying for the stuff. (Cafe Bustelo is best bang-for-the-buck; I use Cafe Supremo for my coffee-infused soap, as it stinks a bit harder.)

    In short, coffee is a tool; it's a blunt instrument I use to pound caffeine into my skull. While I'm more capable than most, I rarely get snobbish about coffee.

    Tea, on the other hand, is fun and the varieties are diverse enough to hold my interest. I can get very snobbish about tea; some examples follow:
    -Bagged tea is shameful.
    -Referring to infusions and tisanes as tea makes me cringe. Up the page a bit, someone refers to yerba mate as "tea"; it's not tea. It's a caffeine-rich infusion made from the leaves and twigs of the mate tree. For the record, it's pretty awesome stuff.
    -"Chai" is the Hindi word for "tea". When ppl say "chai tea", I feel a little bit embarrassed for them.
    -I have a strong preference for tea that isn't packaged with some sort of fruit or fruity flavors. An exception is the Bergamot in a quality Earl Grey, but even then, I'd prefer some mimri-style Assam black tea (typically, Brook Bond Taj Mahal), or some pingshui gunpowder green (Shanghai Brand).
    -Incidentally, also have a strong preference for super-cheap tea, typically found in "Asian" groceries. I get gunpowder for cheap at the Chinese-themed spot, and everything else at the Indian/Pakistani-themed spots. I figure that most folks who regularly drink tea are getting it strong, cheap, and uncut.
    -I make a huge batch of masala chai every Sunday at the cafe where I work. I cannot stand the idea of ppl drinking "chai" made from pre-made concentrate or kool-aid style powder, but that is the most common way in the States, I reckon. Grinding up a lot of whole spices and dicing up a bunch of ginger root before a lengthy steeping is time-consuming and tedious, but there's no substitute for the real stuff.
    -Forget about being frugal; I have to admit: Pu-erh is really awesome.

    Whether one prefers coffee or tea (or yerba mate), it's pretty obvious that a lot of cyclists like to ride their bikes to coffee shops for a fix on weekends. If not for that, I'd probably have stopped working at the cafe ages ago.

    -rob

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    1. One reason I've never gotten into Coffee, is that I dislike most of the really high-end stuff I've had occasion to try. Much of it tastes sour to me and even gives me heartburn. If I want to play it safe, Starbucks espresso blend (made in the French press at home or ordered as an Americano with milk added at the counter) actually tastes pretty good in comparison. I take this to mean that my taste in coffee is fairly pedestrian.

      I cannot stand any kind of sweet flavouring in tea. Even masala chai I prefer unweetened. Herbal fruit and berry teas? Forget it. But I don't consider Earl Grey to be in that category, and I especially like the lady Grey variant with blue flowers.

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    2. FWIW, when i make bulk quantities of masala chai, I leave it unsweetened until it's being cupped for a customer. I don't add any dairy/dairy substitute til then, either. This allows vegans, diabetics, agave freaks, honey enthusiasts, lactose-intolerant folks, etc to get some chai to their needs and/or preferences.

      When I make it at home, I steep it with a h20/whole milk amalgamation, and, after straining, I sweeten it heavily with either demerara or Punjab candi sugar (when available-- which, thankfully, is often.)

      I've never been a Starbucks fan, but it does in a pinch while I'm on vacation in an unfamiliar place. Still, it's consistently over-roasted beans, and the beans themselves seem to be ever declining in quality as wholesale coffee go up. Until maybe 8 to 10 years ago, the overly roasted "dark roast" trend was kind of infuriating; when you see a roaster offering something with a complex but rather subtle flavor profile (eg, yergacheffe, sidamo, Yemenese stuff, etc) in a dark roast, you are beholding a tragedy. With bullshhh beans, the best bet is to over-roast to mask the imperfections of the beans.

      I suspect that the dark-roast craze occurred b/c foolhardy fake epicures found out that some dark coffees are popular with some coffee snobs, so they immediately starting buying a lot of it so they wouldn't been mistaken for Folgers drinkers. It's kind of like when would-be beer snobs try to tell me that they prefer "dark" beers; it's a case where a little bit of knowledge collaborates with a lot of cheesy ambition to create bizarre market forces.

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    3. Blue Bottle Three African made with Airpresso - Not bitter at all. Smooth, deep flavor. Very good. You have to order via fedex to get it out of the Bay Area.

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    4. how is that Starbucks espresso blend ground? an espresso grind is way too fine for a french press pot. going with a coarser grind makes a big improvement.

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  14. Tea for me in Oz but boy, am I outnumbered at the bike cafe, I think it is expected to down a latte or something similar. You usually get the question of "what type of tea would you like?" but the alternatives are almost always contaminated stuff with some sort of fruit or spice. When you ask for a Russian Caravan or Lapsang Souchong, you are met with an expression of bewilderment so its back to English Breakfast almost always.

    If you want to build up to the really smokey stuff then Lap Sang is the goal but an acquired taste, it is smoked over pine needles. I suppose the best guide, generally speaking (and there are some exceptions) steer clear of tea bags and if at all possible stoke up the electric jug/kettle which resides in every house here and loose leaf is by far the best but only if you buy quality and there is a lot of rubbish on the world market.

    Once you get down to asking for a specific garden in the Darjeeling or Assam region of India and then ask if it is the first or second flush picking, you have become a true connoisseur or perhaps the tea version of the coffee crank. In the mean time, you can't beat a cuppa!

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    1. Lapsang souchong is a fascinating beverage, and I've liked the taste from the start. Unfortunately, at the risk of over-sharing, the stuff makes nothing but mischief for my digestive system. (Hint: it has the opposite effect compared to most other teas.) When the friends I'd been cupping with reported similar results, I had to give the stuff up.

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    2. Yuch. I know, "to each his own" but to me Lapsong Souchong tastes like tar. Other than that I don't mind most teas and I prefer basic Oolong. My wife's a big fan of Earl Grey but I'm not crazy about the bergamot. Really, we're both primarily coffee drinkers, the darker the better within reason. We're big fans of whole bean Gevalia french roast ground on the Turkish setting from our local supermarket. I've tried all of the La Colombe dark roasts and Gevalia beats them all.

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  15. I too have a coffee proclivity and a tea problem. My current favorite (subject to change without notice) is Harney and Son's Hot Cinnamon green tea. I'm also becoming a bit obsessed with white teas. And then tge herbals... I've made some of my own herbals for years. Makesme feel all double-double-toil-and-troubly, plus thr smell just incredible.

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  16. Tea for me, several cups of different types every day. My preferences varies, influenced by the time of day, weather, season, although I have some favorites and dislikes.

    About coffee, I will never start drinking it. Awful stuff! I don't even eat anything that contains coffee.

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  17. I enjoy both, but given the choice it's tea all the way. The coffee habit came about while in the military. So many places think Liptons Yellow Label is tea that coffee was the only option. A colleague and I were resigned to a week of coffee while repairing an aircraft in deepest small town Colorado. Then all the way from left field came The Buena Vista Roastery. Real tea! Great coffee didn't get more than a sniff that week

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  18. Assuming that you read German, from your Vienna years, let me water your mouth with this:
    http://www.daskaffeefahrrad.de/node/2

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  19. In the Russian countryside, you can still find wood-fired samovars. Alas, Russian customs regulations prohibit the export of antique samovars without a very expensive license, but perhaps one could be found. On a bakfiets, a little bit of kindling shouldn't be a problem.

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  20. Tea. Used to drink coffee from when I was a baby, almost, but had to give up caffeine for health reasons. Also, as an anonymous commenter wrote above, wanted to cut down on the number of addictions too. Now it's just herbal "tea" for me, with strawberry & cream flavoured rooibos being the current favourite. If only you could get it in bulk! Threw away tea related paraphernalia when I moved last, it just didn't feel right with herbal teas, a mug and an electric kettle will do nicely.

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  21. Velouria-

    Hmmm. Likes English 3 speeds. Likes tea. What about the Lake Pepin Tour?

    Bertinjim

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  22. I prefer coffee, myself. But I read this tip I find very useful, either for coffee or tea: Do not boil the water. Turn whatever you're using of just when you see the tiny bubbles form.

    To taste the difference just make this experiment: heat two containers of water, one of them boils, the other doesn't. Let them cool down, and taste both.

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    1. Almost absolutely true, and you'll want to use different temperatures for different products. Use @160d F for green or white teas, to ward off excessive astringency. Most coffee you'll want to do at just under 200d F.

      Exceptions do exist: If you're making turkish-style coffee, you'll want to bring it to a boil twice-over. And, I tend to bring my masala chai to a boil and then simmer it at length; it's supposed to be xxxtra dank, and any dairy/sweeteners you add will just kinda make the flavors pop.

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  23. Unfortunately, unfiltered coffee contains diterpenes, which elevate one's cholesterol levels.

    http://www.livestrong.com/article/463263-dripped-coffee-cholesterol/

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  24. Moderate coffee user here, but nonetheless obsessive. I think many coffee-loving riders would enjoy the process and results of brewing with an AeroPress. I know I don't take an overnight ride without one.

    BTW -The Cafe Americano at Kopplins in Saint Paul, MN is the best cup of joe on Earth.

    I also recommend the coffee episode of Bob Dylan's Theme Time Radio Hour. You all gotta hear Ersal Hickey sing about coffee.

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  25. Both! Coffee in the morning, tea in the afternoon. Three kids on, I NEED the caffeine and have a very sad addiction... that I love!

    Coffee is done using the pour-over method. I like that I can make one cup at a time and that it's always fresh, but it also seems less wasteful to me than the big old plastic coffeemakers that break every couple years and go to a landfill. The last one I bought lent a HORRIBLE plasticky taste to the coffee - it was undrinkable. So no more coffeemakers for me. Plus, with a pourover, it tastes really good!

    I'm not so picky about my tea, though I do have brands I prefer over others. I love my green tea, and am a big fan of Earl Gray tea with milk and sugar, too. The tea also keeps me from eating cookies all afternoon. :)

    Love this post!

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  26. Kusmi!
    http://us.kusmitea.com/
    I was introduced to this French-Russian tea brand by Bikeyface.
    She discovered it in Paris a few years ago and we now enjoy it regularly.
    Most of the blends are variations on Earl Grey and Russian classics (maybe you can confirm the latter) and I have a few large tins of the smoked "samovar" variety. It's lighter than my favourite Lapsang Souchong and Russian Caravan teas, but still quite nice. We've been working our way through many of their variations and I think the "Anastasia" is still her preferred choice.
    You can find these locally (for us) at Cardullo's in Harvard... or just have tea with us sometime!

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  27. There's also http://www.google.com/patents/USD328219.
    I've heard bicycle messengers fill their water bottles with hot coffee on cold mornings. I've found it to be useful when riding out early for a randonneur.

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  28. Years ago, on a visit to the Bay area, I bought a tin of Peet's Earl Grey with Lavender. Wonderful! At a Newton Peet's recently I could find only "regular" Earl Grey with bergamot, but I was inspired to look for a black tea - lavender blend again.

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    1. Since the 90s, some marketing"wizard" came up with a variant called "Lady Grey". Typically, this is Earl Grey with some lemon and lavender-- although some tea merchants (such as Twinings) use cornflower instead of lavender. At any rate, expand your search to include "Lady Grey". It might help you out...

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    2. Peets still offers the Earl Grey variant with lavender. You might be able to order it through the Newton shop- it's easy to find here in CA.

      I remember when they brought that back; I was working for them at the time. Alfred Peet himself had a cup with a few of us.

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    3. Thanks for the tips!

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  29. I prefer coffee to tea, because the tannic acid in tea can be a bit too astringent for my taste. But if there's one thing I am more obsessive about than coffee it's words. Sometimes I can't restrain Pedantic Man, and seeing a line like "I was gifted a teapot" instead of "I was given a teapot" sets him off. Egregious verbification when perfectly good verb already exists! Gaah!

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    1. News flash: English is a "living" language, with new words (and uses of existing words) being added to the lexicon every day. We aren't required to like them all, but if we consider ourselves to be at all fluent in English, we'll need to recognize and accept them.

      "Given" and "gifted" both exist b/c they offer the speaker opportunities to further refine their communication. If I gave you $5 to pick up a latte while you're on break, I have "given" you $5. If I give you a crisp five dollar bill, folded up inside a birthday card, then I have "gifted" you $5.

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    2. I agree with Moopheus. "Gifted" will always seem to me a gimmick. One of my favorite pet peeves in the language department is the confusion of "as for" and "as far as [noun]". If one could just remember that the latter always includes "is concerned" after the noun, it would be a treat, and correct, besides.

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    3. Given, Gifted, I dunno'... If "gifted" crosses a line I'm not sure where one can safely step off the path. I'm perfectly cool with that sort of thing in peoples writing, it's when it creeps into our speech that I get all puffy and judgmental.

      If one of my friends were to use the term "cupping" in conversation I think I'd probably form a one person playground circle, point,laugh and break they're crayons till an adult arrived to break it up. I had to do just that the other day when one of my chums asked me how the "Build" was going,(referring to my new bike(which isn't "going" anywhere because evidently the gnomes in the hollow tree in England are too busy CUPPING to BUILD ME A DAMN BIKE!!! Oh my word, I can't breathe again...)). If you could just see me, all middle aged, thick browed and hairy, you would NEVER use that sort of word and tone with me. But let's feel free to write that way if we want.

      If you could cook with any spice you wanted, regardless of cost or what far place it comes from, just by thinking of it, wouldn't your meals be more interesting than if you just used the ones on the little wooden rack your Granny gave you at your wedding?

      Write how you like, just talk 'Murican to me, OK?

      Spindizzy

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  30. Team Tea! When I found Beg Bicycles online and discovered they also sold tea thermoses and picnic rugs, I thought somebody had stolen my brain:

    http://www.begbicycles.com/bicycles/flasks-and-coolboxes

    Too bad they're British and I am resident of a far flung Colonial outpost.

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  31. If you use espresso blend and a French press, that qualifies you as a connoisseur in a country where most guzzle Dunking Donuts drip and $tarbucks frappacinos!

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    1. Well, there are degrees of course. I would equate the French press & espresso roast ground beans to owning a teapot and some English Breakfast loose tea.

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  32. Tea all the way. Noticeable difference on tours in particular as tea does not tend to leave the body feeling dehydrated and over-caffeinated as I feel is the tendency with coffee.

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  33. Really strange. While BSNYC can't seem to confine himself to one topic, today's entry has a big section on biking and coffee.

    He is such a kidder. For a while, he had me convinced that Chris King had invented a new method of absorbing caffeine with appeal to roughly half of potential cyclists.

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    1. It's things like "espresso tampon" that keep me coming back to BikeSnobNYC

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  34. Recent intriguing discovery: it's pretty difficult to buy a cupholder for a bike in the Netherlands. Quite easy here in the US, despite the vastly smaller number of bike commuters. Compare the Google results for "cupholder bike" vs. "bekerhouder fiets." It's instructive.

    But yeah, I love both coffee and tea. Can't drink tea first thing in the morning, though -- my stomach can't take it. Honestly, I've tried lots of fancy coffees, but very few of them are better than my old standard: Eight O'Clock 100% Colombian, beans ground fresh before brewing in a Farberware percolator. I'll vouch for Intelligentsia Coffee from Chicago, though. They're serious.

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  35. LOOOOOOOOOVE your teapot! So cute!!

    I developed an allergy to coffee and chocolate a couple of years ago, and after getting over the shock, mourning their loss, and giving thanks that there is still wine, I turned my attention to matcha...

    Now an almond milk matcha latte sweetened with a bit of manuka honey brings me a cuppa joy every morning, and I wouldn't switch back for anything.

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  36. Delightful diversion!
    I've been making my coffee with a Chemex the past few years and will never go back. So smooth! I prefer it over French press immensely.
    Tea: once my mom brought me some Fortnum & Mason tea from England. I became hooked, and fell into despair when I ran out. I lived in Cambridge at the time and luckily found it in ample supply at Cardullo's. When it comes to English-style tea, only the real thing will do.
    Fun post! I will go make myself a cup now...

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    1. Is the Chemex a type of pourover? I think that would be my preferred method if I had the patience for it.

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  37. Chemex is pourover and produces a very clarified cup with zero muddiness - press fans usually find it suspect in my experience, but I think it's great for a quiet Sunday breakfast.

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  38. The Wednesday morning coffee rides are a somewhat different approach to the subject:
    http://oceanaircycles.com/2013/02/13/wednesday-morning-coffee-ride/

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  39. V, if you can try a Chemex , do so. You might find it is easier on your stomach than the other paper filter methods, and certainly easier on the stomach than a French Press.
    The only drawback I have ever found for Chemex is the filters are proprietary and somewhat more expensive than Melitta. Chemex is about the same or less than the little Hario ones.

    Then there's the cold Toddy method....

    edit: Holy snappin, the turing word is ATMO

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  40. My favorite loose black tea is Zarin, packaged in Ceylon, sold in a local Albanian grocery market. All the writing on the box, except for one side, is in Arabic. When the water hits it, it's real leaves, not saw dust or floor sweepings. After collecting and using various tea pots (at least 40) of different designs, sizes and materials, my most satisfactory go-to has been the cast iron Staub which boils the water, brews the tea and re-heats on the stove. And is very easy to clean. Makes great ice tea also, with a full taste that is not bitter.

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  41. Mount a single propane burner, small grate and a cylindrical windblock (could be made from sheet metal or a jumbo coffee can with a few vent holes in the bottom) on a front rack and run a flexy camp stove gas line to a disposable propane tank in an oversized water bottle cage. Mount a pair of "Flammable Gas" diamonds on the bike for DOT compliance and watch motorists give you three feet and then some to pass!

    Alternately, get a Worksman front loader trike and tote around a pot-bellied stove (with smokestack, of course) for the utmost in both country charm and rock-hard leg muscles.

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  42. I don't like tea at all. Just has never appealed to me in any form. Every year or so I'll have a cup and it's like "okay, that's nice, but I want a real drink now."

    I drink coffee in great quantities, though almost always iced. I don't buy the spendy stuff, because I can't really tell the difference between most brands so there's no point paying for expensive blends when a $6 bag of grounds works fine. I think a lot of the taste might get obliterated in the icing process.

    Sometimes I feel like the only non-foodie/drinky(?) cyclist out there. Except for all the working-class cyclists who don't ride by choice.

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    1. Try cold-brewing your iced coffee in a French press in the fridge over night. It will open up a whole new world of flavor.

      FWIW, some "working-class cyclists who don't ride by choice" are absolutely foodie-types, at least as much as they can afford to be. (Jobs and contacts in the food industry help a great deal with that.) Moreover, many working-class cyclists have made a deliberate decision with the choice of a bicycle as their primary mode of conveyance. On the flip side, I have witnessed countless moneyed cyclists (of the "weekend warrior in lycra with a nice bike" variety) as they order DECAF-- in PUBLIC!

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  43. Try Upton teas right here in Massachusetts if you really want to feed your addiction. You can order online and they will even provide samples. Every kind of tea imaginable!

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  44. I'm a tea drinker. PuErh Tuo Cha is my go to tea for the past several years. I was raised on tea! Every morning my mom would make us all tea with breakfast. Just the basic black with some milk and sugar. I still start the day with a cup, once again (at least) in the late morning and in the evening. I usually prefer the black teas. Green tea is ok, though I do enjoy white. I've got this lovely little handmade tea pot with two matching cups (japanese cups - no handles). I could go crazy collecting tea pots!

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  45. Coffee. Blehhh. There's not enough "craft" and nifty vintage accoutrements to get me past the burned burrito smell. If I had started drinking it before I found myself in a dormroom with a microwave and a minifridge full of cheap frozen Mexican food maybe I would've had a chance.

    It's not that I'm picky, on the contrary, my standards are really appallingly low(I ate most of those charred burritos after all)but coffee is firmly on the "nasty" list. I DO like tea and find all the ceremony and cultural connotation(Asian and European) to be pretty fascinating. There's something charming about it that coffee culture lacks for me.

    I have a friend who's REALLY into coffee, buys beans from all over, has them custom roasted by a guy who does it as a home business, owns a kitchen counterfull of machines/presses/mills/stills/compressors etc. and who can talk about coffee like I talk about old airplanes. What the hells gotten into him? He used to smuggle hash back from his winter trips to Jamaica but now gets himself all worked up twisting my arm to bring him Haitian coffee back whenever I go down there. It's funny, he brought back dope from Jamaica every year for 2 decades and never got caught, I bring him 10 pounds of Store bought "Rebo" and get worked over because they suspect I'm trying to smuggle something hidden in the beans. He says he's developed an allergy to cockroach from all the bug bit's in preground stuff(can THAT be true?) but still makes himself ill drinking it when he can't get his "clean" stuff. He can't understand why I'm not interested...

    Spindizzy

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    1. Just when you think you know someone. And I always imagined you writing these things with a cup of coffee by your side.

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    2. No Way, it fouls the buzz from the Four Loco.

      Spindizzy

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    3. Oh yeah, I forgot to ask, do you know Jacquie Phelan? She's seems pretty fabulous. She's a good example of the best sort of people you get to meet messing around with bikes. I used to see her at the races in the early days and always wished I could get in her bubble, everyone seemed like they were having a nicer time around her.

      Sue Haywood is like that too and we're lucky to have her living around here. She is soo squared away. My daughter is getting deeper into MTB racing and it's largely due to Sue that she stays motivated and doesn't let all the drama from having to train and race with the guys drag her down. Maybe it's all the tea...

      Spindizzy

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    4. JP... It was one of those serrendipitous psychic connection things. I really hope to meet her in person some day in the not too distant future.

      Great news re your daughter. I am not familiar with Sue Haywood, but then I am far removed from the MTB world.

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  46. I'd love to see a bicycle with a samovar strapped to the back!

    I drink one cup of coffee every morning and I'm not too picky, aside from using freshly ground beans and filtered water. I don't drink nearly as much tea. Every time I go on a trip, I buy some fancy loose-leaf tea, which lasts a long time with me and has led to quite the collection of teas from London, Paris, Dublin, St. Petersburg.

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  47. Tea is a kinder, gentler source of caffeine than coffee, and more in keeping with the British roots of bicycle touring.

    Alcohol stoves are light and compact enough to carry for a roadside brew-up even on a day trip. The Swedish Trangia stove complements a lugged steel frame well, while an Evernew titanium model is more appropriate for a high-tech bike. If you're into DIY grunge-tech, you can make your own out of beverage cans.

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  48. I've at times subsisted on Moroccan whiskey. Actually its a Moroccan joke. Nothing more than green tea and mint. They make it with obscene amounts of sugar. I recommend without.

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    1. The sugar helps when it's been heated over a camel-dung fire....

      Big drinker of mint tea here too.


      (Yes, Screech, I knowiknow, it's not really tea.
      Clipless pedals aren't clipless, either. I endeavour to persevere.)

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  49. I am a pure tea drinker, and to a higher extent almost always raw puerh check out my blog, chakungfu.blogspot.com thank you for your writings as I always look forward to your next post.

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  50. You filed a post about tea under 'silliness'! How could you! ;-)

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  51. Dollar Store coffee in a French press, tea loose by the cup - Lapsang Souchong or Earl Grey for me.

    There's something very civilized in feel about making tea from loose leaves. And done right, it's not a terribly expensive luxury. I get the same "living the good life" feeling from drinking loose tea as when I sit on my porch smoking Black Cavendish tobacco from my dad's pipe.

    "Postman's tea" (as the Russians call it because it comes in envelopes) just seems like I'm drinking a decoction of floor sweepings. I get no more joy from it than I do drinking coffee from an electric maker.

    Not long ago I made a "Thermos Corset" (my daughter's name for it) so I could carry a thermos of coffee, tea or stew upright on my bike's cargo rack. It was an adaptation of a design found in a book put out by Tandy Leather Factory. It never fails to get noticed; but more than its attractiveness, it allows me to carry drink or grub as opposed to stopping and buying it.

    gvi

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