My sister is a bigger tea drinker than me, which may be somewhat surprising since I am the Chai Tea Chick. In our family, though, she is famous for her all-consuming love of tea.
In the last couple years, our extended family has caught on that tea accessories are easy gifts to buy for her that she will always enjoy. Her apartment is now overflowing with tea devices and tools, and she still wants more.
The amount of tea tools out there seems endless, and every day businesses like Teavana are inventing new contraptions designed to make tea drinking that much easier. I think, though, the tea drinker only needs a few key tools to get a quality cup of tea.
The Teapot/Tea Kettle
The ultimate symbols of tea, teapots and kettles are actually not synonymous. A teapot is for brewing tea, although some types can be put on the stove to warm water. Tea kettles are solely designed for heating water on the stove.
A tea kettle is a great tool but don’t feel like you have to get one right away if you’re starting out with tea. There are plenty of other ways to heat water. An alternative that I like is the Sunbeam Hot Shot, which heats water with the touch of a button. It’s become my way to brew tea when I’m rushing around in the morning. Another tool, one many tea aficionados might scoff at, is the microwave. Put your mug in for one to two minutes, though, and you’ve got hot water. The real fun of teapots, of course, is all the different styles and types you can buy.
You’ve got your hot water ready to go, so the next step is to steep your tea. If you’re using tea bags, all you have to do is rip open the package, but if you read my previous post, you’ll know loose leaf is usually the better option. A must for tea drinkers is a tea infuser, pictured here.
The tea goes inside the pouch, and you leave it in until you’ve finished steeping. I have a few of these in my kitchen, and I go through them every week. There are several styles of infusers and strainers, but they all accomplish the same goal.
One of my favorite new items for steeping is Teavana’s Perfect teaMaker. Basically, you put tea leaves into the teaMaker and pour hot water over the leaves. After the tea is finished brewing, you put the teaMaker over your cup or mug and the tea automatically drains into the cup. It is a magical device and makes me feel like Harry Potter.
Teaspoons, Mugs, and Cups
The final tools you will need include a teaspoon, which you can use to add loose-leaf tea and sugar. It’s important to use the right amount of tea per cup, which is generally one teaspoon.
It’s also time to start buying yourself loads of mugs and at least one teacup. I drink most of my tea out of mugs, but you never feel quite so good as when you drink from a fancy old teacup. Here is personal pictorial evidence of said phenomenon: