You have a tea pantry, right? No? Well, that needs to be the first step here. I’ll wait until you toss aside all of those food items taking up the space in there … tick tock, tick tock, tick… all done? Great! Time to see what “must have” teas you need to have in your tea pantry!

Some “must have” teas you can always count on for a great cuppa! (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

Some “must have” teas you can always count on for a great cuppa! (Photo by A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

The Basics

Just as with food where you need to keep sugar, flour, and other basics on hand, so it goes with tea. Let’s keep it really simple here. Experts will tell you that there are anywhere from four to seven or eight basic tea types. But let’s just stick with two: black and green.

  • Black: A blend is best here so that it’s balance of flavors can go with a wide variety of foods or stand on its own at your Elevenses or Afternoon tea times. A nice one is English Breakfast Blend No. 1 Tea. You can serve it hot, iced, straight, or with milk/sugar (British style).
  • Green: Great to have on hand even if you usually drink black tea. We all need a change of taste now and then. Or you may want to have them alternately during the day. Whatever the reason, be sure to have some on hand. Again, stick with a basic. There are many types of green tea, but Gunpowder, Sencha, or even a Ceylon Green Tea are great options here.

Personal Favorites

Okay, that gets the mainstays out of the way. Now it’s time for the special ones. After all, flour and sugar do not a meal make. And so it is with teas. You will need some teas that are extra special or flavored in a way that you really, really like.

  • Special ones: These are the premium teas. An extra special white tea such as Adam’s Peak versus just a generic white tea, or a rare and totally hand-made tea made from leaves hand-picked from old tea trees, or a pu-erh processed in an extremely limited quantity by a true tea master. These are just a few options. The point here is to have something really special on hand for those private tea moments or even a special cuppa with someone special.
  • Flavored ones: Think of these as that special package of cookies or box of chocolate truffles. Something to indulge in to a limited degree as a bit of a treat. Earl Grey comes to mind, and not just because Captain Picard claimed this as his tea of choice, but because it has remained a favorite since it was first created in the 1800s. But others would be some fruit flavored such as Monk’s Blend or Rose Sencha or a nice Spiced Chai. Seasonal choices are good, too, such as Pumpkin Black Tea in the Fall and Peppermint in the holiday season.

Odds and Ends

Even teas that are just there, some how, in your stash deserve a place in your pantry. I still have a tea I bought during one of those impulse moments at one of those shopping mall stores, and every now and then I pull out the well-sealed package, steep some up, and re-seal and store the package for the next time. You might also have such a tea or two on hand, plus the teas that you received as gifts at some point in time from some well-meaning gifter.

Keep ’Em Organized

Whatever teas you have, keep ’em organized. It helps you grab the right one at the right time. You wouldn’t want to grab those truffles instead of that bag of flour, right? So you wouldn’t want to pull out that special hand-made tea when you want that breakfast blend tea. A proper order will assure that you can enjoy that cuppa whenever the urge strikes. Cheers!

See more of A.C. Cargill’s articles here.

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