Modern Day Tea Drinking
Tea has been around for centuries and everything from how tea is prepared to the teas themselves has evolved significantly. In China, where tea was discovered, some of the tea making traditions included a variety of vessels and equipment. For example, a Yixing teapot is commonly used for one type of tea, like oolong tea, since the Yixing clay absorbs the flavors and essence of the tea after repeated uses. Or, a gaiwan, or a special lidded bowl, can be used instead of a teapot particularly for green tea and white teas.
Furthermore in traditional Chinese tea culture, a tea scoop is needed to measure out the correct amount of loose tea leaves, a separate tea kettle or container is used for storing the hot water, and a tea cup and strainer are also essential for making a cup of tea. Additionally, a decanter fitted with the strainer may be used to cleanse the tea leaves before steeping the tea for the required time.
The British also have their own customs for making tea, from the tea party to a full tea service. The styles of teapots and tea ware used are different from the Asian styles, as bone china teapots and fine porcelain tea sets are more commonly found at a British tea party or service.
Today, though many still enjoy preparing and drinking tea according to these British or Asian traditions, there are a number of modern tools and techniques that can make drinking loose leaf tea more convenient and appealing to a wide variety of people. First, many tea cups, tea pots, and even travel tumblers have removable infusers built in to make steeping tea fast and easy. These types of tea drink ware come in a variety of materials and designs. These days, you can get glass teacups or mugs to observe the tea leaves as they steep and view the vivid colors of the tea liquor. Or choose a ceramic or porcelain teapot or tea cup adorned with beautiful art work. Also, yixing and cast iron teapots really make a statement through their simple or symbolic designs.
The use of tea makers is another staple among modern day tea drinking. Tea makers like the Teavana Perfect Tea Maker eliminate the need for a separate teapot and infuser since the tea leaves are steeped and filtered from the same vessel. Clean up is easy with the Perfect Tea Maker, because it is made of plastic it is dishwasher safe and no hand washing is needed. Automatic gourmet tea makers also make tea drinking easier. Some electric tea makers can heat the water to the desired temperature, portion out the correct amount of tea leaves, and steep the tea for just the right amount of time depending on the type of tea. Making tea doesn’t get much easier than that!
Tea itself has also evolved in its variety and flavors. Real tea purists seem to primarily drink unflavored and straight teas like Gyokuro Imperial Green Tea and Silver Yin Zhen Pearls White Tea. However, the blending of fruits, flowers, spices and herbs into teas have made tea drinking appealing to many more people. Classic tea scents like jasmine in Jasmine Dragon Phoenix Pearls Green Tea are still common but superfruits like acai berry in Youthberry White Tea or sea buckthorn and cranberries in Superfruit Unity Green Tea are becoming very popular. Tea has always been viewed as a healthy beverage and the additions of these flavors and aromas can make a seemingly plain cup of tea suddenly much more inviting.