The Tea Detective
Uncovering and Exploring the Facts About Tea
Tea Tools and Accessories Make
Brewing Tea Easier and More Enjoyable
The great thing about brewing tea is that it's a fairly simple process, yet it's also
gratifying and relaxing.  You don't need a whole lot of gadgets to brew a cup of
tea.  But that's not to say they aren't fun to use, and help simplify the process.
There are plenty of tea tools
to choose from, some be-
cause they're pretty or tra-
ditional, such as decorative
china teapots, or
elaborate silver tea sets.  And then there are
the functional tools that help to simplify or
make tea brewing easier.

Some of the useful tools would include tea
infusers, which go by many different names,
such as leaf lockers, tea balls, tea eggs, or
can be plain baskets or sieves.

Infusers are basically
strainers that hold the
tea leaves during brew-
ing, and keep them out
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of your cup when done.  When the infusion is complete, you just remove the
infuser and place it aside.

The type of infuser you use depends upon how many cups of tea you're
brewing at one time.  If you're just brewing one cup for yourself, a tea ball
or egg are fine.  But if you're brewing a full pot of tea, you'll want a basket
infuser that is larger, allowing the water to circulate freely among the tea leaves.  

Other useful tea tools and accessories include:

                                             Infuser Mugs
                                             These are great for brewing a single cup of tea.  They are based
                                             on the Chinese covered brewing cup, or
guywan (or gaiwan).
                                             
They're large enough for the leaves to infuse properly, giving you
                                             a perfect cup of tea. A chawan or tea bowl was the precursor to
                                             the gaiwan.

The Basket Infuser
Just as its name says, it's a basket -- actually
it's shaped like a small mesh barrel.  It comes
in two sizes and works great to keep the
mess of the tea leaves in check.

Tea Press Pot With Plunger
The idea behind this pot is to isolate the
leaves after the infusion (brewing is done).  
Once the tea reaches its desired strength,
          you depress the plunger, pressing the
          leaves to the bottom of the pot with
          the strainer, removing any contact be-
          tween the leaves and hot water. This
          stops the brewing at the exact perfect
          point, and removes the drippy mess by keeping the infuser inside of the teapot.

          Tea Caddies
          These are used to store tea.  They come in all shapes and sizes, some decorative, others
          plain glass jars. The only thing to consider when buying a tea caddy, is that it's airtight,
          to keep the tea as fresh and moisture free as possible.

                                                    Tea Cozies
                                                    Like a hot pad, the outer layers of the tea cozy are made from
                                                    decorative cotton fabrics, with several layers of cotton batting
                                                    between, to provide insulation.  They fit over the top of your
                                                    teapot like a jacket to keep the tea nice and hot between
                                                    servings.

                                                    Chinese Tea Bowls
                                                    These are basically small bowls without handles (called a
                                                    gaiwan or guywan).  They are made for brewing your tea right
                                                    in the cup, and come with a lid to
                                                    keep tea hot.

          Japanese Tea Bowls
          These look similar to the Chinese tea bowls, but have no
          warming lid.  You'll typically see them in use in all types of
          Asian restaurants in the West.

                                             Yixing Teapot & Traditional Teapots
                                             The Yixing teapot is crafted from stoneware made from a special
                                             purple clay, believed to be some of the best in the world for brew-
                                             ing tea.  Teapots come in all shapes and sizes, some whimsical and
                                             fun, others plain and utilitarian.  


                                             Tea Kettle
                                             Last but not least, every tea brewer should invest in a good, heavy
                                             duty
tea kettle in which to boil water for tea.  The best in my opin-
                                             ion are enamel over steel, or stainless steel.  You should never use
                                             aluminum kettles for boiling water.  
Enjoy.     
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