Many tea drinkers think they don’t have time to steep fine, loose leaf teas. They go for the quick fix, the easy solution. Thus, the tea scene is still dominated by teabags and sachets, as well as RTDs (ready-to-drink, aka bottled) teas. There are also tea syrups used by those coffee shop chains out there to mix up those fancy (and expensive) tea drinks out there, such as pumpkin chai latté. But you have another route for enjoying fine teas in a simple and satisfying way: the kitchen tea station. The key is telling yourself that it’s worth it!
Quite simply, a tea station is a spot in your kitchen where most of the things you need to prepare your tea are located. This saves time, effort, and injuries (from bumping into family members also seeking sustenance).
Some items you will need in your tea station:
- TEA! (stating the obvious first here)
- Your steeping vessel of choice such as one of these:
- a 1-cup for steeping up that special cupful just for you
- a 2-cup for a larger portion of that special tea or for sharing with someone
- a 4-cup for tea with the family
- a 6-cup to make a potful for your afternoon tea party
- a steeping mug
- a gaiwan
- A tea strainer and holder (unless your teapot has its own infuser basket or you are using T-sacs or similar products)
- A tea cozy or two sized to fit your teapot of choice (definitely needed for the 4-cup and 6-cup teapot sizes)
- A selection of your favorite mugs and/or teacups and saucers
- Teaspoons and a spoon rest
- Your sweetener of choice (sugar, honey, aspartame, etc.)
- Optional: A tray on which to set everything
The next consideration, as they say in the real estate game, is “Location! Location! Location!”
Since kitchen layouts vary widely from simple galley-style to farmhouse to gourmet, I can only give you some general guidelines:
- Keep it in an area where you can prepare your tea without interfering with anyone else preparing food.
- Be a short enough walk from the stove for you fill the teapot by the stove once the kettle has boiled and easily to carry it to the tea station (always fill the pot by the stove, instead of carrying the kettle to the pot, so that the water doesn’t get a chance to cool).
- Ditto for the microwave (if you heat your water there instead of on the stove).
- Be a step or two away from the refrigerator so you can easily get to the milk (for those masala chais) or lemon.
- Be within easy proximity to the pantry or cupboard where your cookies and other tea-time treats are squirreled away.
Once you have your tea station all set up, you will find that enjoying loose leaf teas is as easy as those other kinds and a lot tastier and often cheaper, too. Everything is convenient and takes about the same time as steeping bagged tea. Just be sure to keep your fave teas in stock.