Tea Tools

by TeaLady on November 5, 2010

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Countless people approach my booth at the market and love the taste of my tea. They enjoy hearing about the different qualities and nutrition of each. Then they get a disturbed look on their face or even a flash of panic. “Do I need some sort of special “tools” in order to make this?”. Well, I try to make it as simple as possible when speaking about it, but there are numerous options.

The first thing I used when I started drinking loose tea was a 4cup measuring cup and a hand strainer; one that was about the size of the top of my cup and mesh. It wore out so I moved on to the tomato strainer. I had a couple of teapots but found them tedious to use and wash. But then I discovered the little tin teapot with the built in strainer in Richmond Hill when there visiting my Nonna. Every chinatown has them. They are $14.99 and sometimes on sale for $9.99. Shiny and easy to use and easy to clean because the basket is BIG and so the tea leaves don’t get caught in the spout like my old ceramic ones. The next time I went down I bought another. We drink a lot of tea around here and may go through 2 or 3 pots before we do dishes.

I drink green tea in the morning instead of coffee. When we are marketing, I need to wake up at 5:30am and prepare tea samples. This is 4-6 pots of different flavors steeped and poured into thermal coffee servers which are never used for coffee. Once in a while I sleep in, and don’t have time to steep the tea before loading up the car and buzzing off. In an emergency situation I grab a square of cheesecloth, add a handfull of herbal tea, and tie up a bundle with butcher’s twine or a twist tie. This goes right into the thermos, boiling water pours over it, and I am on my way. This is also the method I use for large events like Herbfest where we are providing 40 cups at a time of each flavor. I make big fat tea bags then. This way, the tea table volunteers just have to keep the hot water flowing in till the flavor gets weak and then add another bag.

When I’m driving to an event and don’t have time in the morning to sit and drink my daily pot, another solution is needed. I do have big mugs that I like to take on the road, and I found some fill-it-yourself tea bags made with unbleached paper. They come in a box of 100 and so I fill one up with tea leaves, put it into my cup with the flap folded over the side, and pour in the water. By the time my car is packed and I’m on the road ready to sip, it is nicely steeped. Plus, when I get to market I can hit another food vendor up for some more hot water to top it up. In my clear glass mug it does not look very attractive but boy it tastes mighty fine! Also, my box of 100 lasts quite a long time even though I’m always giving a little stack away to new people who are just discovering my tea. These can be purchased at Rainbow Foods in Ottawa, or any Bridgehead or ordered from the internet (which is really what I should be doing) T-sac

This year Ikea started selling the Bodum style coffee makers for $12.99. What a simple way to make tea. We now own 2 of these as well, and I bought a dozen to give for Xmas gifts last year along with tea. You put your leaves in the glass, pour the water over, stir if needed, and when ready push the plunger down. These are the absolute easiest to clean. The top part just needs a rinse and you can easily put your hand in the pot to pull out the used leaves for the compost. No flimsy mesh to get stuck leaves out of, or to rip. Don’t use the same pot for coffee and tea, because coffee is very strong and the flavor will permeate the metal and plastic parts and maybe even your fine delicate herbal tea flavor. Pick up one for coffee and one for tea. Label them if you have to. This is a great thing to have at the office on your desk. You can even have the pot sitting on one of those warmer coasters if you like.

Nowadays they sell teapots in all shapes, sizes and price ranges. The most exciting and interesting one I have seen is the Breville. I am not a gadget lover but this impressed me. I personally like to keep it simple, however. So it is really up to you to decide which method you prefer. The important thing is to have the tea loose so you can see what it is you are consuming. And once you start drinking loose tea, you won’t want it any other way.

I’d love to hear from you. How do you like to prepare your favorite flavour of Take Charge Tea?

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Karen November 6, 2010 at 6:40 pm

I use a pot with the built in strainer but I love your homemade tea bag idea! Great for when I go to visit my Mom (have tea, will travel :) .

I want to say a great big thank you for such beautiful teas. I love that they are caffeine free and I can share them with my children (they love chai the best).


Patricia November 8, 2010 at 7:01 am

I have one like the Breville that my husband bought for me at a teavana in the States a couple years ago. I love it! It is so easy to use, makes one perfect cup and it’s easy to keep using the same leaves for more. The tea is always perfectly brewed and quite yummy.

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