Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Tools

Before I start talking about the latest tea that I've tasted, I need to give credit to the tools that I use. If it weren’t for these stylish but efficient tools of the trade, making tea might not be such an enjoyable experience.

When making any tea, you have to have hot or boiling water. My electric tea kettle does that job with flare. This particular kettle called to me from the English Tea Store. The main thing I like about it is its old fashion meets modern design. The rounded body with equality beautiful round handle gives it a sleek style. However, no matter how hard I try, I cannot get water to boil from something just because it looks good sitting on the counter (oh the possibilities). As I mentioned before, this is an electric kettle, which means it keeps me as far away from the stove as possible (and some will agree that is the safest place for me). All I have to do is fill it with water, sit it on the base, plug it in, and turn it on. It has an automatic shut off when the water starts to boil. The only draw back is that it doesn’t have a temperature gauge like some electric kettles… but it’s soooo pretty!

I got this “Kat” teapot from In Pursuit of Tea. I love the bold black and blue colors, along with the simple cat design. The paw prints on the back of the teapot and all over the teacup add to the aesthetics. I, also, like the stackable space-saving trait to this teapot. Don’t be fooled by its cuteness, though, as it sits on the counter because it still makes a mean cup of tea. The cup and the teapot each hold the same amount of water so all I have to do is dump in my leaves and add the hot water – no measuring required. Can making tea be any easier? I submit that it cannot!

The other teapot that I have is my IngenuiTEA from Adagio. This teapot holds about 32 oz. of water at one time. I mainly use this teapot when I want to chill and bottle my tea to take with me. If you have never seen this teapot in action, it is actually kind of neat. You put your tea leaves in the teapot then add your hot water. When your tea is done steeping you put the whole teapot on your awaiting cup and when the teapot rests on the cup, the valve is opened, allowing the tea to come out of the bottle while the filter stops the leaves. Genius!

Ok, now that you know what I brew my tea in, it is time to talk about what I taste the delicious concoction out of. The first cup I purchased (other than my “Kat” collection) was a glass cup from Adagio. I really like drinking tea from this cup because the transparency of the glass lets the color of the tea really shine. With this cup, I don’t have to hover over it in order to see elaborate hues. For the fullest effect, I drink my choice of tea as the morning sunshine comes through the window and hits the glass.

The next container is one of my travel mugs. Being a college student, I’m on the go all the time, running from this class to this class. I didn’t want to have to wait until I got home to enjoy my tea. I want it with me to sip on and keep me awake through the boring lectures. The first mug I bought was the black insulated mug from In Pursuit of Tea. This 12 oz. mug is amazing. Not only does it have a vacuum seal but it keeps the temperature of the liquid inside relatively stable. The top lid screws off for sipping while the strainer holds loose leaves back. Then the strainer screws off to add the contents.

The next travel mug is one of my recent purchases from Xiu Xian Tea. This is another 12 oz. mug. As you can see, this one is not the best at keeping a constant temperature of the substance inside, but it is a handsome mug. There is a dragon on the front that will never wear off because it is protected between two plastic layers. The top lid screws off to reveal a strainer (the second lid), in which that screws off to the open container.

These are my first and only tools for tea making. I hope to acquire more in the future, but for right now, these are what I have to work with. I know this is an odd collection, but I think I have made the right choices and purchases. They have been with me to witness my first tea experience and I’m sure they will make several hundred more cups for me… and I can’t wait to see what the next brew brings me!

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