Years ago we received a teapot for Christmas from a relative. We were not really tea drinkers at the time, beyond the usual tea bag of Lipton or Oolong received with Chinese takeout. We used it a couple of times and then it got put into a cabinet and forgotten.
Then we received a package of loose tea and the teapot was remembered. I really wish that I could remember the tea that started us on this whole journey. We pulled out the pot, heated some water on the stove, and brewed it up. And we were hooked.
We've added a few things to our tea arsenal along the way such as this and that, but we still use the teapot. I took a picture today to share with you. It is just a classic white, ceramic teapot. It is probably used at least once a day.
I have dreams of adding a cast iron teapot to the collection sometime. They are great for retaining heat and keeping your tea warm. Plus the Tetsubin are handcrafted and have beautiful designs.
Anyway just wanted to share where our tea cabinet started. Share in the comments below where your love of tea started. We would love to know.
We are going to be posting several Black Friday tea deals as we learn of them. Our first one up is from Teavana. Starting today and running through Monday 11/30/2009 you will receive 2 oz of Rooibos Rose Garden loose tea for free with any purchase. It is described as a flowery and fruity blend of green Rooibos, rhubarb pieces, red currants, and pink rose petals. And you will get to try it for free.
This is a great time to purchase gifts for others or to try out some new teas from Teavana. Or just restock your tea cabinet with your favorites.
Here is our top gift suggestion:
Imperial Blooming Flower Tea Collection. This lovely gift comes with four kinds of blooming tea as well as four tea tins and two double-walled glass tea tumblers. Who says that flowers just have to bloom in the garden?
Again the deal is for Free Tea with Any Order - Receive 2oz Rooibos Rose Garden Tea with any order at Teavana.com Wednesday 11/25/09 thru Monday 11/30/09. You will also receive free shipping on any order over $50. Avoid the stores and shop online this week.
Monday through Friday I have to drive my daughter to school, so morning is a rush. I seldom like leaving without a travel mug full of fresh brewed tea in hand though. The mornings are pretty cold right now and it is nice to have something warm to drink for the drive. I typically brew my tea inside of a teapot, but in the morning I am in a hurry and don't want lots to clean later.
My solution for brewing loose tea to go is an infuser basket and a stainless steel travel mug. Why stainless steel? We tend to avoid plastic in our house for a variety of reasons. They do make some lovely glass travel tea mugs, but I'm a huge klutz so I'm guessing it wouldn't travel for long (for me anyway). Stainless steel is a great choice because it is resilent (within reason of course), cleans up easily and retains heat for a long time.
I use this one and really like it. It has a 20 oz capacity so I can make a really big cup of tea to get me through the morning. Plus it can also be used at my local coffee shop for their venti size drinks. I like to go green whenever I can. I then start my kettle, set the infuser basket to rests on the rim, fill with some loose tea, and steep for a few minutes. When it is done I just remove the infuser basket, put the lid on and go. Very easy and minimal cleanup.
That is how I enjoy a nice cup of loose tea to go. You can save even more time by setting up everything the night before, including putting the tea in the infuser basket.
While there are some tea bags in our tea cabinet, the majority is loose teas. I find that they have a far superior flavor to tea made from a teabag. We have everything from a gundpowder green tea flavored with almond slices to a rooibos with red currants and blue mallow blossoms.
Loose teas can be either single origin teas that are just purely tea leaves. Other times they are blends of various teas, flowers, fruits, or berries. Brewing tea loose in a tea pot or inside of an infuser is a great way to let the leaves expand and uncurl in the water. You want to give the essential oils a chance to impart as much flavor to the water as possible.
While I have tried some poor quality loose teas, for the most part the teas that I sampled are all very good quality. Most tea merchants choose the finest quality tea leaves.
What do you look for when choosing a tea? What are some of your favorite loose teas? It is definitely all based on personal preference. My husband has not found a rooibos tea that he likes and while I like most teas, I do not like to drink chai tea iced. We would love to know what you like and dislike.
The Art of Tea is a great source of loose leaf tea and tea accessories. They are known for both their single variety teas as well as their original blends of teas with exotic flavors. Right now through the end of the year they are offering a free shipping coupon code with a $50 order.
Some of their tempting creations to try with this great free shipping code are Pomegranate Green, Chocolate Monkey, and Hojicha de la Creme.
It will not be difficult to fill your shopping cart when you visit their site. They definitely have some great teas to brew. When checking out you want to use code SHIP50 to receive the free ground shipping.
What are some of your favorites from Art of Tea in your tea cabinet? Let us know in the comments below.
If you are new to tea drinking or are a long time tea drinker, than chances are you are used to making tea with a tea bag. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, but you are missing out on having a really great cup of tea. Loose leaf tea makes a superior cup of tea for a number of reasons.
The tea leaves inside of a tea bag are usually the leftover little pieces of tea that are too small to be used in a loose leaf tea. These bits of leaves, or fannings, do not have the same quantity of essential oils that a whole tea leaf does. These oils are what gives a cup of tea their flavor.
A typical tea bag does not allow the tea leaves the chance to unfurl and expand in the water either. Tea leaves need to be able to do that to impart flavor to the water. A tea bag just compresses the leaves together and doesn't allow for that.
It is however possible to get a great cup of tea while using a tea bag. Look for a tea bag that contains whole tea leaves. There are several companies that offer tea bags that unfold into a pyramid shape. This allows the tea leaves to unfurl and expand so that the water can swirl around them. One of my favorites is Mighty Leaf Tea. Right now Mighty Leaf is on Sale Today! Check it out. I especially love their Green Tea Tropical and Chamomile Citrus.
If you have a favorite whole tea leaf tea bag tea, please share in the comments below. We would love to check them out and add them to our tea cabinet.
If you are just starting out or are a long time tea drinker, it is always a great idea to have all of the right tools for brewing the perfect pot of tea. Here is our list of the Top 5 Tea Essentials that you should have in your kitchen.
- Tea Kettle. You need hot water when making and having an appliance that is devoted to this task makes it very easy. We currently use this Chef's Choice Tea Kettle. I like that it is stainless steel, shuts off automatically, and will not operate if there is no water in it. It holds 1 3/4 quarts of water, which is perfect for making a pot of tea. It boils water in minutes and is much faster than trying to do so on the stove top and safer than using the microwave. Someday I would love to have the Breville Variable Temperature Kettle, as it brings water to 5 different temperatures no thermometer required. This is a great feature for tea making as different types of teas need different temperatures of water for the perfect steep. For now the Chef's Choice is a great tea kettle though.
- Teapot. When brewing loose leaf tea, it is necessary to have place for the tea to brew. Tea leaves that have a chance to open, infuse the water with more flavor than your standard teabag tea. There are many different ones to choose from, made from a variety of materials. The standard teapot is ceramic, but there are also glass, stainless steel, and cast iron ones.
- Infuser/Strainer. Many people that brew loose leaf tea prefer to steep their tea inside of an infuser basket. These generally sit within the lip of the teapot and then can be pulled out when the tea is done steeping. We prefer brewing the tea loose inside of the pot and then pouring the tea through a stainer into a tea cup. We are currently using the Rösle Tea Strainer and absolutely love it. It is a very fine mesh, so even the smallest of tea leaves do not get through.
- Tea cups. It is always nice to have an assortment of teacup to choose from. Sometimes you want a large cup of tea and other times it is nice to have some smaller cups to share a pot of tea with friends. It is all up to you to have all matching cups or an oddball assortment of cups to choose from. Our tea cabinet has a collection of tea cups and mugs that we have gathered over the years.
- Tea. This is definitely the most important component of all to making a great cup of tea. All teas are definitely not created equal. Personal preference is also a very important part of deciding just what kind of tea you are going to keep in your tea cabinet. Some of our favorite teas come from Teavana and the American Tea Room. We will be giving reviews of them in future posts.
We hope that gives you a little peak into what we keep in our tea cabinet. These are definitely the tea essentials that you need in order to brew a great cup of tea.
Growing up, I was never really a tea drinker. My parents were more into coffee, so it wasn't really something we had around the house. About 10 years ago, my husband's aunt gifted us a teapot and some loose leaf tea for Christmas. It all got placed on a shelf somewhere and we forgot about it. Fast forward about 4 years ago, we were again given some loose leaf tea. The teapot was remembered and we used it to brew the tea. It was wonderful.
I had tried many different types of tea, in their teabag form before that, but this was something else entirely different. The flavors were so much stronger. Plus I loved the ritual of setting the tea leaves to steep, pouring through a tea stainer and into a teacup. Whether it is a enjoyed alone or with a group of family and friends, there is something very comforting and appealing about tea.
My husband and I have a whole cabinet in our kitchen devoted to our love of tea. Now we would like to share that love with you. Welcome to the Tea Cabinet. Brew up a fresh pot and enjoy this journey with us. We can't wait to get to know you better and explore the world of tea.