Do you wake up every morning and head straight to your kettle? Do you pop the cold brew in the fridge before you go to bed at night? Is the afternoon just not right without your favorite cuppa? Is your teacup really a mug? Just getting into tea and ready to upgrade to serious tea drinker status? Check out our 7 must haves...
Great tea starts with great water. Without a doubt, the best water to use would be quality spring water with a neutral pH (about 7), and a TDS (total dissolved solids) content of about 30 ppm (parts per million). This is a bit tricky given we don't live near a lovely natural spring, like to be eco-friendly, and aren't into the whole bottled water thing. So, we are left with the water out of the tap. Unfortunately, not all tap water is created equal. Tap water can have every variation of pH level with too high or too low mineral content, along with potential contaminants, all which can have a terrible effect on the quality of your cup of tea. So many times while traveling I've made my cup of tea only to find my favorite cuppa has turned into something flavorless or has terrible off flavors due to water variance. Serious tea drinkers know that fresh filtered water can make all the difference.
Water filtration varies from fancy reverse osmosis, mineral adding permanent systems, to small counter-top pitchers. Most people's water shouldn't be overly funky, so we recommend starting with basic filtration first before moving on to something more involved. This Brita dispenser is larger than the pitcher option. At 18-cups you won't always have to be refilling it, and it's slim design means it can fit snugly in the fridge, if you so desire. Going with the Longlast filter gives you 6 months of filtration before replacement. It's a great place to start your journey towards better tea!
Once you have excellent water, you need to be able to bring it to the right temperature for the perfect tea. First, there is no question in our mind that any electric kettle is better than a stove-top kettle. It's quicker and easier to determine the temperature with an electric kettle. Next, the question becomes, do you just get a regular electric kettle that makes boiling water, or do you splurge for the variable temperature one? The great thing about the variable temperature kettle is that you can get the precise temperature you need for making any tea type. So if you are drinking more than just black tea, white tea, and herbals (hello green tea and oolong lovers!), we highly recommend investing in a good variable temperature kettle.
For a variable temperature kettle, we use the Bonavita Glass Variable Temperature Kettle. We love watching the water do its thing through the glass kettle (kind of soothing right?)! With this kettle, you don't just have the option of preset temperatures like some variable temperature kettles. Many of the presets for variable temperature kettles can be wrong, so you want to be careful. You can choose any temperature with the Bonavita, and it also allows you to heat and hold a temperature for up to an hour. It has a gooseneck spout—which let me tell you, if you've never used a gooseneck spout before, it's amazing. Precision pouring at its max! Trust me, once you go Bonavita Variable Temperature Kettle, you won't ever be able to go back.
Y'all, the tea ball is a thing of the past. Enter the folding handle tea infuser. Infusers like this one are for the modern tea drinker. The extra-fine stainless steel infuser prevents leaves from escaping into your cup (a big no-no), while also providing enough room for all varieties of tea to expand (something that little ball just can't do). This guy also has folding handles, which comes in quite handy. The handles are long enough to allow this infuser to sit nicely in almost any size cup, while folding down to the sides to allow it to be placed inside its carrying case, which means it's also perfect for taking with you to the office or traveling. Did I mention you could put your tablespoon of tea into the infuser, inside its case, and then you have everything ready to go to pop into your cup at work? Oh, and that lid for the carry case, it doubles as a drip tray for the infuser. It is also dishwasher safe. Yes, it is beautiful.
Ok, so why does the serious tea drinker need multiple brew-wares? Because you are makin' tea every which way so you can satisfy your wily tea whims! The simple brew teapot is perfect for making a cup (choose the 400 ml size) or pitcher (choose the 1000 ml size) of iced tea. "Why?" you ask. Because you can make the tea concentrate inside the simple brew teapot, and then pour the freshly brewed tea over a large glass or pitcher of ice. This is way easier then brewing with your folding handle infuser in a cup and then trying to carefully drop your ice cubes into the hot water. Recipe for disaster, my friends.
The second reason that it's great to have a simple brew teapot on hand is for certain teas—those that are extra fluffy (many white teas and florals like rose), teas that like to super expand and need room to roam about to release their flavors (like Iron Goddess), and teas that you can re-steep (any Pu-erh lovers out there?). Who's ready to steep?
Another awesome teaware for the iced tea lover is the Flash Chill Iced Tea Maker. Sure, it is marketed as a great way to make iced tea, and you can flash chill and all of that—yes, yes we do agree that it is great for that. But where we have really come to love the iced tea maker is for cold brewing! This maker is perfect for the job. It's made of BPA-free plastic and closes completely so you can store it safely in the fridge, upright or sideways. The removable infuser is big enough to allow leaves to unfurl and release flavor, and it is also fine enough not to allow the leaf particles to slip through into your drink. It's also dishwasher safe. Cold brew lovers rejoice!
So, you say you're a serious tea drinker. Do you take your tea everywhere you go? No? Well time to upgrade, my friend! The urban tea tumbler is not only super stylish with the glass + cork + stainless steel (and don't forget the handsome Tea Sip logo), but it is also super effective. Great for brewing on the go—hot, cold, or iced. Check out this video showing off how we brew it.
Last, but not least, you need some kick-ass tea. Wait, you're already here! You know what's up. That Tea Sip tea, handcrafted into the tastiest blends using only premium, all natural and organic ingredients, fills your tea cupboard. Congrats—you are a certified, verified, A+, serious tea drinker. But seriously, don't forget that the TEA makes or breaks the TEA.