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There are two cups of tea.

The first is a caffeinated drink made of, in some form or other, tea leaves and boiling water. It’s there because it’s a cup of tea, partly a symbol, though not of anything. This tea is the tea of drinking, the point being to sit and have a cup of tea, possibly while doing something else. Writing a journal entry, for example. It’s tea. It’s quick, and it’s easy, and it’s brown, hot and wet.

The second is the ritual. Ten minutes or so to draw and boil water; assemble teapot – remember to warm it (or use paper filters or something else); spoon out the correct amount of tea leaves; pour and steep to get the best flavour. Drop in, or over, some milk and – if you wish – sugar; and go back to what you were doing before. It’s a ritual, a natural break from your task and time for your brain to process what you’re doing while your hands perform a ritual you could do in your sleep (not recommended, scalding not fun). Return to the task refreshed and with a nice cup of tea.

6 comments
  1. Would you be interested in the tea infuser “tongs” (no. 2339) in this picture?
    http://www.sveico.se/sortiment/diverse/SID2.jpg

    I know that such items often aren’t very reliable — to the point that they’re usually skewed even before you buy them, and/or open unpredictably and spill the leaves — but I’ve tried and tested three of these (I have one in each location I spend significant time at) for several months, and they’re good.

  2. Fair point. Tea leaves do swell a bit, and even just a teaspoonful of dry leaves (which is all I need) will fill the tongs up when wet.

    The big upside of them is that they’re re-useable and require minimum maintenance. Well, the *big* upside is that they make use of loose-leaf tea more convenient, and allow one to level up from tea bags.

    Mmm… tea…

  3. There are pairs of those tongs in our local Carrefour in Thailand, however they are poorly made and the rims only meet at one small point at the tip. Kinda defies the object of them. (I don’t have an engineering degree so bending them would be beyond my personal capabilities)

  4. Tea tongs often are poorly made (like I said, it’s not unusual to find them skewed in the shop, which doesn’t exactly inspire confidence), not to mention flimsy.

    The Sveico ones, however, are quite well-made and sturdy. Swedish manufacturing is *almost* as good as German engineering and Danish design. ­čÖé

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