Switching from coffee to tea


As a telecommuter, I drank a lot of coffee.  When I worked from home, I polished off a pot before noon, and when I worked from coffee shops I’d drink a couple of large lattes before lunch.

This presented a few problems:

  • Caffeine makes me cranky (when consumed in these kinds of quantities)
  • Lattes have calories (around 150-300 depending on the milk)
  • I moved to the middle of nowhere, 16 miles from the nearest coffee shop.  (16 miles is a heck of a long distance when there’s icy roads.)

A few DBAs on Twitter were talking about their love of teas, so I did some research and fell in love with the Adagio Teas web site.  They offer things that make it easy to get started with teas, like:

  • Starter Set – for $19, you get several different kinds of teas in a given family, plus their ingenuiTEA teapot. It’s microwave and dishwasher safe, easy to use, and uses loose tea leaves instead of bags.  The video makes it look like your cup has to fit exactly under the teapot, but I use it with bigger cups. You just push the rim up of the cup against the ingenuiTEA’s trigger, and as Erika says, the teapot pees into your cup.
  • Sampler Six-Packs – for $16, you get 6 tins of teas in a family.  There’s a black tea sampler, oolong sampler, rooibos sampler, you name it.
  • Individual Samplers – if just one tea calls your name but you’re not sure about it, you can get a small sample-size tin of it for a few bucks.  Different teas are priced differently.

I had no idea what I’d like, so I picked up a starter set of black teas and a couple of sampler packs for around $60 total.  It seems like a heck of a lot of money when you can go to the supermarket and get a box of tea bags for $2, but if you’re a coffee addict, think of it this way: you can’t buy a decent coffeepot for $60.  (Yes, cheapskates, you can get a Mr. Coffee for $15, but if you’re drinking coffee out of that, you’re not really an addict.)

ingenuiTEA Teapot from Adagio
ingenuiTEA Teapot from Adagio

I’m hooked.  Big time.  Here’s my findings so far:

Golden Monkey is a great tea for coffee addicts.  It’s got a dark, complex flavor that reminds me of coffee.  It doesn’t taste like coffee, mind you, but if you’re a coffee addict that appreciates dark, subtle differences in flavor, you’ll probably like this.  It doesn’t have that pleasant coffee aroma by any means: one of the reviewers on Adagio said it has the flavor of warm mushrooms, and I’d say that’s a good description of the aroma too.  This one does have caffeine.

Rooibos Earl Gray is amazing. Rooibos is an herbal tea, not a real “tea” in the traditional sense, but I wanted to try it because it’s caffeine-free.  If you’re just getting started with teas and you’re thinking about avoiding caffeine, it makes sense to start with Rooibos since you won’t know what you’re missing.  Earl Grey refers to tea made with an orange oil, and Adagio’s Rooibos Earl Grey throws in some orange rind as well. I tried several black teas before I tried an Earl Grey,and when I first smelled the Earl Grey, I think I actually said “Eureka!” out loud.

They’re serious when they give temperatures and brew times. Adagio’s tea containers have the water temperature and steeping times printed right on them, making it easy for tea n00bs like me to do it right.  Let the tea steep too long, even just a minute too long, and it tastes bitter and nasty.

The ingenuiTEA teapot makes the experience more fun. I like having a clear teapot, watching the leaves blossom and color the water.  Part of the joy of coffee and tea is the brewing experience – this is the same reason I used to like my Bodum Santos, a vacuum-driven coffee pot. It was just fun to watch.

I’m not swearing off coffee – it’s still my favorite beverage, but now I have a pleasant alternative I can use while I’m telecommuting in Michigan.  When I get back to Houston this fall, I’ll probably settle back into my old ways at Coffee Groundz.

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11 Comments. Leave new

  • I have a friend whose espresso machine monopolizes an entire counter & looks more like a calliope or a contraption from the Wizard of Oz than a coffee machine–& it's every bit as complicated to use. That's much too much ado about caffeine even for me.

    Over the objections of my lovely bride, we recently donated the Mr. Coffee & replaced it with a Cusinart gizmo so fancy that–egad!–we even have to grind our own beans. The difference was made very clear just yesterday. In need of an additional bolus of caffeine once the pot was drained, I made four cups with a packet I'd liberated from a hotel. BLECCHH! The juxtaposition of my own good coffee from that pre-ground for the hoi polloi was remarkable.

    I'm still not a fancy-schmancey coffee connoisseur freakazoid. I'm too frugal for one thing. (And if I wanted to emulate a metrosexual, I'd get a pedicure before I started hangin' in Starbucks.)

    However, Brent, your tea deal seems interesting. I'll let you know if I pursue it…

  • I recently switched from nothing to tea. I've been perusing the Adagio website, and I've ordered their electric kettle. I haven't gone so far as to order any of their teas yet – I'm trying to be reasonably budget conscious at the moment… 🙂

    Glad to see your recommendations, however, and I've shared your post with my other coffee/tea buddies…

  • Ilya Kreymerman
    January 25, 2009 12:38 am

    thanks for the glowing review. hope you continue to enjoy the ingenuiTEA teapot and teas.

  • Wow, must be a DB thing, I recently decided to try switching. Made for a killer headache. Im down from several pots of coffee a day to 2 cups of coffee and tea tea tea.

  • If you want the experience of drinking a campfire (no joke) give Lapsang Souchong a try.

    Evidently "you'll either love it or hate it":


    I drink Twinnings L-S although that's because it's what I found at the grocery store. Thanks for the link.


  • Should you ever come to Columbus, Mr. Ozar, I will treat you to a meal and tea at an AMAZING tea shop. I spent several hours there the other week and I cannot wait to go back. The tea menu contains well over 100 different varieties. Good times.

  • "I’m not swearing off coffee" – Wow, for a moment there I thought I was going to have to take your blog off my Google Reader list. 🙂

    Actually, tea is rather nice and agreed, there are some great heavier teas that make drinking tea as much fun as coffee. Still doesn't compete with the smell though. I do love the smell of coffee.

  • Hahaha, yeah, definitely not. I still think there's nothing as perfect as a cup of well-made espresso. I would drink that stuff all day long, except that it would make my days 24 hours long and my nights nonexistent!

  • Great info! How long will it be before you walk up to the "tea maker" and pull a Star Trek Jean Luc Picard by saying "Tea … Earl Grey … Hot!" and wait for it to self-dispense?

  • Jason Williams
    February 1, 2009 12:38 am

    I am a big tea drinker myself. I do love coffee though. Not so much for the caffeine but for the taste. I usually drink one cup a day, followed by tea in the afternoon, usually green or black.


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