Well Equipped for Tea

You can spend a lot of money on stuff with which to make tea, if you want too. There are lots of kettles available in steel and copper. There are piles of teapots for purchase in all kinds and colors. There are all sorts of noodley, fiddly tea type things that invariably end up in the bottom drawer, unused and forgotten. I have a teapot, a nice little porcelain one, clean and white. I’ve stopped using it.

Tea needs room to swim as it steeps. My teapot has a little infusion basket to hold loose-leaf tea, and it cramps the brew (brewing without the basket makes the teapot painful to clean). Also, I can’t see what’s going on in there, and I often forget to set the timer. It’s a lovely thing for serving tea, but it’s somewhat unfortunate for brewing the stuff.

I’ve been taught these things by friends of mine who have been at the art and science of tea for quite some time now. My friends brew tea in a metal bowl with a plate on it, and then pour the tea out through a little strainer into mugs. It is worth noting, I think, that as their tastes in tea have grown more cultivated, their equipment has become ever more simple.

So: I was in the local cafe, eyeing the shelf of pricey things, and they had replacement parts for various sizes of french presses on display. One of them was the tempered glass insert, straight-sided and clear, and I thought: “that would be fantastic for brewing tea! If it only had some kind of markings…”

Well.

I bought some lab glass: a half dozen one liter beakers can be had quite cheaply, and make good gifts, besides. I can only make tea in metric amounts, but that’s alright. The leaves swirl happily in there, and when covered by a saucer the beaker doesn’t lose too much heat. I can see the tea, which is useful for those times when I forget to set the timer. It’s also nice to have a touch of mad scientist littered about the kitchen.

Good tea!

Additional Resources

Lab glass is available all over the place; I had good luck with Lab Depot, Inc..

I have two kettles: a beat up ancient stainless steel kettle that I keep on the stove at home, and an electric kettle for work. The electric kettle came from Adagio Teas, and it’s worked out great; the kettle has a thermostat, so I don’t have to worry about the water being too hot.

The good folks at Upton will sell you tea as nice as you like.