Saturday, January 27, 2007

Tea Things

I received a phone call the other evening from a friend wanting to know where to buy a teapot and loose tea locally. I gave her some ideas for things that would be close to where we live and not too pricey. There aren't any tea shops in our area at all. The closest place is in downtown Denver although there are several places in Lakewood, Littleton, and my favorite place, The Tea Rose, in Arvada.

I told her that we usually buy our teas on-line, but suggested she check out CostPlus/World Market in the shopping center close by as they do sell a variety of tea products. Our daily teapot is a Bodum glass teapot. Its built-in infuser is wonderful and easy to use. Simply place your loose leaf tea in the infuser. Pour boiling water into the pot. Let the tea steep as long as desired, usually three to five minutes. Then press down the plunger into the infuser and enjoy your tea. The leaves remain in the infuser, but out of the water keeping your tea from becoming bitter. When you have finished the pot of tea, just pull out the entire infuser out of the pot, pull up the plunger and rinse out the leaves. It really is quite simple and makes a great pot of tea.

Our everyday tea is Ashby's Earl Grey. We buy it in bulk from The Cafe Connection. We usually order two of the large bags to save on shipping. When it arrives we fill up our ceramic tea cannister, reseal the bags, and keep them in the pantry to refill as needed. It lasts a long time in spite of how much we drink!

The Ashby's Earl Grey is also available in tea bags as well. We've found it to be considerably less expensive to buy it loose. Also, the tea leaves used is tea bags are usually of a lesser quality than the loose teas.

There are also these nifty things that are available in stores and on-line. They are little bags to put your loose leaves in. They are handy if you aren't using a pot with a built-in infuser. They allow you to use higher quality loose teas, but without the mess. Once your tea in steeped, just remove the bag and toss the whole thing out. I use these when I'm brewing tea in one of my pretty ceramic pots.

Now, what I'd love to get soon is one of these Bodum Iced Tea Pitchers. Your leaves steep in the side chamber as desired to brew iced tea. Simple remove the infuser when done and before serving. This would be nice as the weather grows warmer.

Of course, it's currently snowing here. Again. Good thing I have my cup of tea sitting next to me to enjoy as I type! Have a lovely day and go make yourself a pot of tea!


Anonymous said...

< Also, the tea leaves used in tea bags are usually of a lesser quality than the loose teas. >

Is this true with all teas?

Kimberly, does tea get old?
For instance, I bought a Christmas tea in a small tin last month. Will it still be good this December?

Joanna, in dry and sunny northern
Ca. (sorry~I don't mean to rub it in, lol)

Kimberly said...

Dear Joanna,
I hate to say it, but from all that I've read tea bags are usually made with the "fannings" or "tea dust" left behind from the whole leaves. There are exceptions. Some tea companies, like Harney & Sons, and Tea Forte do put whole leaf teas in the bigger bags, or sachets that they use.
Yes, tea does grow old, but don't toss it automatically. A lot has to do with how it is stored. By keeping it in a dark, airtight container away from moisture and strond odors can help your tea to last a long time. I still use my stepmother's Christmas Tea when I go down there even though it's SEVERAL years old. I'd say, just try it. If it still has flavor, drink up! It won't spoil, it just may lose flavor.
Glad someone is warm!!

Kimberly said...

Dear Joanna,
I was just over at Ruth's site and she had some questions about tea's peak of freshness. Go on over here
for more info!


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