The Search For A Decent Teapot
Sometimes you have to laugh.
The tea industry has long been beating the coffee industry on the packaging front. Whilst we're all sitting back complaining about baggy coffee and marvelling at the foil packaging now being used for some Daterra and Mountain Top coffees, tea drinkers are sitting back and laughing - they abandoned jute sacks years ago.
But when it comes to brewing methods, coffee has it all over tea. To make a decent cup of coffee, you have to grind the coffee minutes before using it and come up with some way to efficiently separate the ground coffee from the brewed coffee when all is said and done. Whilst this is always a somewhat messy affair, the number of elegant solutions to the problem is simply mind-boggling. If you discount the mess caused by grinding, you can clean up after espresso, aeropress and drip in a matter of seconds.
Tea drinkers have definitely had it too easy. Whilst I appreciate that there is certainly a whole layer of art and science to brewing tea that will mirror anything that we'll find in espresso, the fact remains that you can steep tea quite effectively in a jar and strain it with a small sieve. I know because I have been doing it that way for years. Why? Because although it's a stupid way of doing it, it beats the hell out of the crappy teapots that have gone through my household. Let's examine the reasons why:
- I don't want to brew a litre of tea. Is it just me, or does every teapot seem to need you to brew enough tea for two or three people. Where's the teapot for the thirsty bachelor?
- I do want my tea to steep. What's the deal with these mesh filters that barely reach down into the teapot? I would have thought that it was perfectly bloody obvious that the tea needs to actually be able to be submerged in the water.
- I want to control how long the tea steeps for, and I want an easy clean up. This one goes out to the teapots that I have used that don't have any sort of filter. If these abominations must force you to brew enough tea to be illegal under the current water restrictions, at least they could do it so that you can drink the whole pot without the leaves steeping for too long. And life is definitely too short to be spent scraping tea leaves out of some crappily designed teapot. (Although admittedly life is long enough to vent one's anger about said cleaning process online ;P)
- I want the tea to end up in my cup. Seriously. This one just isn't difficult. Even a $0.005 cardboard milk container has a useable spout on it. Whilst designing a decent spout is a pretty trivial exercise, two rather elegant solutions spring to mind. First, check out the elegant Eva Solo pour system. Second, those silver spouts on some wine decanters are used specifically because they cut through the steam of liquid to stop drops. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. I can go across the street and buy a $5 plastic measuring jug that won't drip. There's simply no excuse.
- I want to avoid battle-scars on my table. Hasn't anyone thought of putting rubber feet on a teapot? Or a dual-walled bottom? OK, so having a light coloured wooden table wasn't ever going to be a clever idea. In my defence, it was bequeathed to me - I didn't choose it. But am I really going to have to look around for a saucer or a place mat every time I brew tea? Call me lazy, but for $0.02, teapot manufacturers could fix the problem.
- I want to be able to see the colour of the liquor. This point isn't terrifically important, but I would prefer a teapot to be white on the inside, or transparent, so that I could actually judge the strength of the resultant brew.
- I would like the tea to maintain some heat. What genius came up with the idea of an aluminium teapot?
- 400mL (enough for a large cup or a little bit more)
- Non-drip spout
- Large mesh filter that nearly touches the bottom of the pot
- Space for storing said filter after removal
- Dual-walled (both for insulation and so that you can plop it right on the table)
- Dishwasher safe
- Transparent or white on the inside
(Oh, and for any moronic manufacturer that would like to rip off those specifications, please don't let your stupidity make you omit obvious things. I'd like the teapot to have a handle!)