Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Cuppa Tea?

I am obsessed with tea.  Pretty much ever since I can remember, I've been drinking it in large quantities on a daily basis.  Every single morning, I start my day off with a cup of PG Tips, and I spend the majority of my work day sipping various green teas, chais, whatever I can find around.

My family is well aware of my obsession (in fact, I think it was instilled in me by them) so I occasionally receive lovely tea-related gifts for the holidays and my birthday.  For instance, a few years back my mom bought me the cutest mini-teapot from the Tao of Tea on a trip my parents took up to Portland, which I brew my PG Tips in every morning.

This Christmas was no different...except this time it was my sister who bequeathed to me the requisite tea and tea paraphernalia.  "How much of this stuff is out there?" you may ask.  Well there is quite a range of options.  But it is my firm belief that Robin scoured the globe, looked at all of it, and gave me only the very best.

Christmas Gift, Part One:  Glass tea cup/brewing vessel.  Now these things are tricky.  I've had them before, and have always loved them (certain tea leaves unfurling in the hot water are sort of beautiful I think, so I like being able to see them), but the functionality hasn't always been great.  Either the handle gets too hot to touch or the strainer piece is too delicate and ends up cracking.  It can be quite disappointing.

But as if she had read my mind, Robin found me the perfect glass cup (with strainer and lid!).  The handle does not get even remotely warm, the construction is sturdy, and I kind of love that weird, whimsical, Alice in Wonderland-esque handle.

And she also supplied me with the most magical tea to brew in the cup...Ghost tea from a British website called Nothing But Tea.  The tea leaves are tied together with a bit of twine, and then dried into balls like these:

When these balls steep, the tea leaves open up like a flower, and the most beautiful string of jasmine flowers floats out of the middle to rest placidly on the surface of your tea water.  It is truly stunning, a nice bit of subtle beauty to behold when sitting in a somewhat aesthetically uninspiring office setting.  And I don't think the price is outrageous in the least, especially considering that I can use one ball per day, refreshing it up to seven times without seeing any diminishment in the strength or quality of the tea.  And the shipping to the United States is only about 3.50 pounds.

So go nuts, order your little heart out.  

Jasmine Phoenix Eyes tea:

Jade Bamboo Tea:

Red Lychee Balls:

Apparently this one has a red lychee flower that "blooms" during steeping.  I think this might have to be the next one that I try, once I run out of ghost balls. 


wambalus said...

So funny - I was debating between getting you the ghost or the red lychee!

Laura said...

Great minds...

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