Tools of the Tea

Seeing as how this week started off all about tea and tea reviews, I thought I might mention a couple of kitchen items that I’d been meaning to write about for some time. One is loose leaf infuser and the other is a bag squeezer (no bondage jokes please…)
Sometime back, Alton Brown did a show about tea. It wasn’t a bad show. It may have been a bit technical and really, a 30 minute show all about making a cup of tea is a tad long winded, but he had one really good salient point. All those tea balls and other things for making a cup of loose leaf tea? They don’t work. The tea can’t expand and reach its full flavor potential. There are tons of them out there, but they’re pretty much all the same. He recommended just steeping the tea in a pot and then straining it when pouring. This is obviously the purist’s way to go, but I’m a big fan of the infuser. It’s just a meshed item that you set in the cup or pot that allows the tea to expand and steep. Mighty Leaf has a really fancy one, but I’ve been using this one from For Life Design. They have others as well. They’re great because they make good tea while at the same time keeping waste down to only tea leaves. That and you have very little to clean up when all is said and done. I highly recommend one if you’re in to the loose leaf like I am quickly becoming.
But when it comes time to using the bag, while you’re not supposed to squeeze the bag (especially according to Alton) we all do it anyways. For the longest time I either tried to wrap it around a spoon to squeeze it (awkward) or just use my thumb and forefinger (painful). I often found myself using the second method the most and as unmanly as it is (or maybe manly in some circles) I actually got a callous on my thumb from doing this too much. I still don’t know how my wife was able to see beyond this to marry me…
Anyways, the best solution to all of this is a bag squeezer. I went around to find one and unfortunately found that they’re all made in China. This is the one exception where I broke my general rule of thumb to not buy Chinese-made goods and I got one from Sur La Table. Beyond the fact that it’s saving my thumb, it’s great for fishing out those bags that don’t have a string on them. It’s a solid purchase that’s cheap and I place to have for a long time due to it being one piece of formed stainless steel.
But anyways, these are just a few suggestions for those in to tea. I wrote about kettles earlier for those interested in that item. Oh and while there are 15 comments on the tea giveaway from two days ago, I assure folks that it is still indeed open and you should toss in your hat on that one as I’m putting together a good box of stuff to send out.
Tools of the Tea

2 Replies to “Tools of the Tea”

  1. Tea is an excellent source of polyphenolic antioxidants and also has adaptogenic benefits as well. A good way to get yer caffeine.

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