17 April, 2016 by Simon Descoteau
Brewing Loose Leaf Tea in the Office
For most of us, the majority of the tea drinking we do is in the office mostly because that is the place where we spend the majority of our waking time during the week. There’s nothing quite like a hot beverage when you’re trying to write up that report or work your way through your emails. Perhaps that’s why coffee shops have become so popular for workers and students who do not have a fixed office space to call their own. But at the same time, the office is where we most often end up taking short cuts for the sake of convenience and ease in our consumption of hot beverages. We don’t often have time to prepare a teapot and clean up afterwards or the inclination to grind and brew our own coffee beans. I’m going to reveal to you a piece of kit that is fairly inexpensive and easy to acquire, yet will transform the way we drink tea at work!
Now the majority of offices have access to a decent kettle and sink, so I am going to assume you have the same at your place of work already.
The very intelligent and innovative people of industry have created a most wonderful piece of kit that is designed to contain loose leaf tea and allow us to brew the same. Now please do bare with me here as I imagine your thoughts have gone straight to the novelty shaped plastic or metal balls with small chambers and tiny holes. Those things are not fit for purpose as they do not allow space for the leaves to expand, nor water to circulate around the leaves.
What I mean is a fairly new type of basket that is becoming readily available. It’s fairly large in size and takes up the majority of the cup size, allowing tea to properly expand and move about. They can be had for between £6-15 depending on quality and supplier but they all do much the same job. I’ll be reviewing a few in the near future but honestly, they aren’t all that different to each other.
The beauty of these things is that they take seconds to prepare, and seconds again to clean up when you’re done. You simply place your tea leave into the infuser, put the infuser into your cup and pour over with water. Most of the designs I’ve seen have a lid which you put over to keep some of the heat in. At this point, you just take the whole lot over to your desk and carry on working.
The second rather intelligent design feature with the lid is that once your brewing time is up, the lid doubles as a coaster and allows you to take the basket out, let the majority of water drip out, and place it onto the lid to avoid any mess on your desk leaving you with a hot cup of tea to enjoy while you work.
Once you’ve finished your drink, the design then allows you to re-use your leaves if using teas which allow for multiple infusions, or if you’d like to clean up it’s just a matter of dumping the leaves into the bin, and rinsing out the basket for use next time. Due to the materials used, the metal does not keep any flavour and a quick rinse is all that is needed to have it ready for use again. Most products I have seen are dishwasher safe for added convenience.
A brewing process no more difficult than using a teabag, with none of the preparation or cleanup associated with traditional teapots. Sure there are some compromises here compared to a full brewing procedure but the time saved and convenience means it is possible to enjoy a proper cup of tea at work without much space or mess.
The process of drinking loose leaf tea requires the storage of loose leaf until such a point as the tea needs to be drunk. Tea absorbs flavour from its surroundings and loses its own as time goes on if it is not stored correctly. The best way in which to do this is to keep as much air out as possible. I have a little secret for this that’s inexpensive, easy to get hold of, and durable…
RELEASE THE KORKEN!!!
Sorry, I really couldn’t resist. Ikea has a fantastic range of Korken jars with rubber gaskets on the lids to ensure an air tight seal. They’re surprisingly affordable compared to other similar jars and available in a whole host of sizes. The best part is they have a very retro look to go with their functionality which looks great in any kitchen. My personal kitchen is full of these things. The smaller sizes are ideal for small quantities of tea to be kept fresh in the work kitchen ready to be brewed and drunk.
There we have it folks, a simple and efficient way to easily store and brew tea at work with almost as much convenience as tea bags. Leave a message if you try it out, or if you have any comments or questions about anything you’ve read!