Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Parlor and the Kitchen- Tea and Honey

I’m not a coffee drinker by nature. I drank a lot of coffee in high school, and since then I’ve really been much more of a tea drinker. I love tea. I love the rituals around tea, the fancy silver tea sets and beautiful porcelain teacups. I love the different ways you can make your tea, honey and lemon, milk and sugar, fresh mint and agave nectar. Coffee, at its core, is always coffee flavored. But tea can be black or white or green, infused with fruits or spices, it can be spicy or floral, soothing or bracing, energizing or calming. I occasionally have a cappuccino or espresso at the end of a restaurant meal, but I probably only drink 6-8 cups of coffee a year. But tea, tea is an almost daily occurrence. I drink it hot and iced. Plain and sweetened. British, Thai, and Vietnamese.

(I should admit to the fact that I cannot make a decent cup of coffee to save my life, and my guests who request it are given directions to the Starbucks on the corner, or handed a packet of Via. It is very non-polymathematical of me, I know.)

One of the many things I love about working at home is tea. When I worked in an office, tea was a quick grab…throw some hot water and a tea bag into your cup and back to your desk. The only thing I ever had to think about was not spilling it on my computer.

At home, tea breaks can be a real luxury. I can pick whatever flavor of tea strikes my mood…and as you can see, I have many possible moods!

I use an electric teakettle, and love this one from Krups which I have had for nearly 5 years. Still going strong, and ultra fast.

I buy teas all over the place, with a consistent preference for loose teas. I keep a few specific flavors like Constant Comment in bags, but my go-to general brand is Republic of Tea. They have a huge selection of flavors, their decaf teas are as delicious as the leaded versions, and the canisters are beautiful.

I have used these individual pots by Beehouse for a long time now, and I love the convenience of the mesh inserts, the fact that all the parts can be tossed in the dishwasher.

But while the Beehouse pots are great when I know I will be having more than one cup, or when sharing with a friend, sometimes, usually at the end of the night, I just need one cup. And usually with honey.

So I was super excited when Moonspoon sent me their gorgeous tea strainer and honey dipper. I became aware of Moonspoon a couple of months ago, when I bought a few of their Arts and Crafts style pieces as a gift for my Charming Suitor, who loves that period. Everything they make is both beautiful and functional.

I love that the strainer can be used either to steep a single cup of tea, or as a true strainer, to catch extra loose leaves from a full pot as you pour. And the honey dipper is a unique flat design that works great. It held enough honey in one swipe to sweeten my cup, and the design makes it easy to clean, unlike the other honey dippers I have seen.

(The honey, by the way, is from Braswell's, who has a terrific line of honeys, jams, and preserves. Their Balsamic Onion Jam is one of the most delicious things I have ever tasted with sharp cheeses or on roasted meats.)

For a fun hostess gift, try putting together a tea package! A small pot or the Moonspoon strainer, a canister or two of great tea, a jar of special honey with a honey dipper or a box of sugarcubes. I often collect unique teacups from flea markets and yard sales, usually just a dollar or two for singles, and include that in the basket. You can even go over the top and get an electric teakettle!

Yours in good taste,

The Polymath

1 comment:

  1. I'm a tea lover too. Republic of Tea really does have the best flavors out there for tea. For black tea, I also really like Twinings of London.