You’ve heard about it in those snapple commercials and seen the boxes of it in grocery stores – but what is white tea? It comes from the same plant, the Camilla Sinensis tea bush, but white tea is instead made from immature leaves plucked from the […]
Recent Tea Posts
It has been found that people who drink black tea are less likely to develop type II diabetes. A new analysis of data from 50 countries found that the nations who drank the most black tea also suffered the lowest levels of the metabolic syndrome.Even further, […]
In Norway there was a good degree racial tension between the native population of Norway and the immigrant Muslim community, due both to lack of interaction between the two and harsh media coverage. The anti-racism organization decided to alleviate the problem with something as simple as a cup of tea. They literally had Muslim families invite Norwegians into their homes for a cup of tea. As Norwegians found the home to be very important and with tea deeply rooted in Muslim tradition – it was the perfect way to link those to groups. And it worked – the tea parties opened up over 200 Muslim homes to over 1000 Norwegians. The idea was to get the two groups to get to know eachother. The anti-racism organization used even used Facebook to link Muslim families to Norwegian families that wanted to meet and have tea, and even added to their popularity. They even got the Queen of Norway to participate in this movement for tea time. The “Tea Time” campaign received national media coverage and resulted in the Norwegian government giving the anti-racism center funding to continue the program. There was even real change in attitudes towards Muslims : a national survey found that negative attitudes had dropped by 40 % after the campaign.
With that kind of progress, it is amazing what tea between friends, or soon to be friends, can accomplish. If it works in Norway, why not anywhere else? If not in the global perspective, maybe just in everyday life. Maybe that cup of earl grey can help restore communication with old friends, that green tea to help you really talk with your mother or even that chai to figure out those parts within yourself that you don’t understand. Anyway you go about it – there is safety in a cup of tea and it is meant to be used. So have a cup. Take in that steam with the good and when there is nothing but the dregs – hopefully the bad is gone too – at least mostly.
Movie references aside, I think we can all admit to ourselves that loose leaf tea is better. There is something about the taste – there is something richer and more beautiful about the tea. It tastes real. More real than that grocery store variety black tea ever did. It’s because it’s free. I don’t mean it in some magical metaphor of a way, but when a tea is free it can literally be that much more the tea. “Whole leaf tea”, which you can sometimes get when you buy loose leaf tea, is made of whole unbroken leaves while tea bags are usually made from low tea grades, like dust and fannings. Dust and fannings are small pieces of tea and because they have more surface area, some of the essential flavors and oils can evaporate from it – making it more dull and bitter. Even if the tea in the tea bag is whole leaf, the size of the teabag can limit what the tea could be. Tea leaves expand as they take in water to infuse the tea, and if they are crammed into a smaller tea bag – it limits the flavor of the tea. For those still clinging to the tea bag, there are now pyramid tea bags and bigger tea bags made by companies to make the taste better and truer. Even more, the standard tea bag is just that… standard. Year after year that same brand of tea will taste exactly the same, while in loose leaf tea there tends to be nuance. You can get something different and more compelling in your cup every time you get a new tin of the stuff.
It is admittable that loose leaf tea is somewhat tricky. That’s the reason that tea is still sold by and large in those bags they’ve been in for years. You put it in a teapot and you could forget to strain it and all of a sudden you’re coughing up soggy leaves, you could live dangerously swallow a leaf or two drinking it straight up loose – a bag doesn’t require this commitment. You stick it in, wander off, take it out and throw it away. Luckily for tea drinkers everywhere the idea of strainers was expanded into tea infusers. There are even teapots built with strainers in them as well. These infusers, when you put the leaves in them, take the same amount of time that a bag would take and you have your tea. It doesn’t get too strong over time. The tea just is. The same amount of commitment. So with a tea infuser in hand or living dangerously (the other loose tea routes) live a little looser. After all, we don’t buy coffee in bags. We buy the ground stuff, even if it is store brand. So give your tea the same amount of dignity. Put a tea infuser in your life and love that loose honest to goodness tea.
There is something lovely about that perfect tea cup – that one that you always want to be clean and will use again and again. Perfect size, perfect shape, perfect warmth. Inside that cup lies your home, your safe place. It is the cup from where your creativity flows forth, It is the cup that tells you that everything is going to be okay, in that cup is ritual and solitude – the tea cup is about as important as the tea you put in it.
Everyday innovators are making a better tea cup, another cup to add to your collection that can take tea drinking to the next level. Here are some examples of people making that new perfect tea cup,
First there’s the Dunk Mug with biscuit holder, top left image, that allows for you to store biscuits or other treats within the cup you are drinking from. How many times do you eat cookies with your tea? It practically goes with tea, especially on cold winter nights – getting the warmth and sweetness at the same time.
The top right image, MyCuppaTea, has a color guide along the inside of your mug so that you know what color the tea should be according to the type and according to the amount of milk or creamer you put into the tea. It’s like the interior design method of tea drinking.
Another interesting thing is the self stirring tea glass, bottom left, where if you swill the glass a little, the ball at the bottom of the glass will mix tea – no spoons required. It is an elegant and interesting design. There is even, now, glassware that you can write on. You can write to-do lists, bottom middle, on your glass mug when you start thinking about your day and then erase it later.
Last but not least, there is a mug, bottom right, made in an elliptical shape and with the handle shaped differently so that the center of gravity closer to the hand – making it easier to carry and move around.
The possibilities are endless and new innovative tea cups and mugs are happening every day. So next time you’re drinking that perfect cup of tea in that perfect cup – maybe think about experimenting with some more experimental mugs – or even do some designing yourself – that cup of tea could be even more awesome than it already is.
Tea is not just something nice to drink, but an international commodity. Have you ever wondered where that tea in your tea cup came from? Tea was first grown and cultivated in China. Before long, it spread to Japan and then was transplanted far and […]