Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Beginner's Tea Kit

Tea is a great hobby. It has a rich and unique culture complex enough to challenge your mind, while it's varieties are complex enough to challenge your taste buds. But for someone who has only drunk bagged tea at hotel continental breakfasts, it may be intimidating to get started.

Hence, a list, with the bare necessities to get started making tea for yourself. There will be a similar guide to the necessities for making tea for groups, including electric kettles and tea sets. The objective here is affordable, intelligent design that will enable you to discover the joy of tea for under $20.

I know this is kind of an ugly color -- they call it "bamboo," but it also comes in black, white, red, and periwinkle. The lid doubles as a saucer or a tray for the infuser, which fits inside the cup. The cup is ceramic, which is the best material for steeping tea, and is microwave safe. Even though you should generally pour your hot water over the tea leaves, this gives you options.

If you don't have kids or rowdy dogs, this is the teacup for you. It's all glass, which means there are no odors or tastes to be leaked into the tea by the infuser, and the slits cut in the nested infuser allow for a minimum of dregs while still infusing your tea. If you can keep it in one piece, this is the best option for great tea, and at the same price as above!

Do you have more teacups than you need already? This is the infuser for you. Made of polycarbonate plastic it has a large bowl to hold orange or lemon peels and still allow a free circulation of water for the best cup of tea you can brew. A good infuser like this is a great buy for around $10. Also available in red and green, although the green rivals the bamboo color above in terms of unhealthy colors for bodily fluids.

These accessories should offer enough selection to fit whatever tea needs you have ... in the beginning. Next time we'll have the beginner's teas themselves.

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