I am a bit of tea snob. I drink lots of loose leaf from local shops. I adore a good Earl Grey, especially the more floral varieties. I also love a fruity white, or jasmine green. And I'll pretty much always go for a nice oolong, especially if it's a bit toasty.
“We need to remember what's important in life: friends, waffles, work. Or waffles, friends, work. Doesn't matter, but work is third.” - Leslie Knope
"Nothing lasts forever, some things aren't meant to be. But you'll never find the answers 'til you set your old heart free."
Been doing Yerba mate daily for a few weeks. I tried it years ago but didn't stick with it, just couldn't get into the bitter grass-clippings taste and my setup wasn't like the true south-american way anyhow. I ended up buying a nice stainless steel bombilla which sat in my desk @ the office for a few years.
This time around, I have a cup that (while it is fired clay) generally mimics the traditional gourds better, and there's a new international market in town that sells the mate. Got 1 kilo of Cruz de Malta, an Argentinian mate that is apparently known for being smooth/mild. Then I tried the "traditional" preparation techniques--like shaking the gourd upside down w/ mate and gently forming a mound on the side, adding cold water to the bottom to support the mound & protect the tea from burning at first infusion, and I'm happy to report it's pretty good! Cold water to buffer the temps gets rid of the bitterness and the shaking/sifting technique supposedly brings the stems to the bottom to act as an in-place filter to help the bombilla's filter so you don't ingest as much fines. Goes down smooth and tastes pretty good.
I've been drinking a lot of this loose leaf tea at work recently: Loyd Yunnan. I got it at an "international" supermarket (mostly middle eastern stuff), which had a crapload of fancy imported teas. I restrained myself and only got the yunnan, some british brand of assam bagged tea, and a big box of decaf tea (almost gone now). Will need to return soon...
I don't drink a ton of loose leaf teas because I usually make tea by leaving the bag in forever and adding milk and sugar/honey (I'm a barbarian, I know) which doesn't work so well with a strainer. A lot of teas taste bland/soapy/bitter to me without milk. I like this one on its own, though. It has a really strong, interesting flavour.
Also my sister got me a tin of earl grey for christmas, and besides being a freaking fantastic tin, I really like the tea - it's a lot more strongly floral/bergamot-y than the usual earl grey I buy (twinings or umm...some supermarket discount brand).