We’ve all heard of tea-for-two, but sometimes your tea moment calls for solitude. Tea-for-one sets to the rescue! They are a visual representation of how separate pieces, useful on their own, can join together to make an even more useful whole. (There’s a moral in there somewhere, I think.)

Like Russian Matrushkas, where each doll opens to reveal a smaller one, all stacked together like a cozy group, these all-in-one tea sets for one have that same feeling. They stack into a space-saving form yet unstack to reveal their true nature and purpose. A tea-for-one set usually consists of a cup, a teapot that fits on the cup and a lid for the teapot. Some sets also have a saucer for the cup.

The first prerequisite when using a tea-for-one set is picking a tea moment. Doing laundry, reading a book, watching the birds in the birdbath, or just about any activity-for-one will do (even thumb twiddling — no productivity required). The second prerequisite is to be solitary, at least in the enjoyment of the tea. You could actually be in a room with other people, but having tea in your tea-for-one set can make you feel like you are all cozy by yourself, enveloped in a soft cocoon of tea aroma and flavor.

Of course, an alternative is to use tea-for-one sets to satisfy the various tea tastes in your household. Sometimes, for example, I’m longing for Oolong but hubby is ga-ga for Assam. A dilemma that’s easy to solve with tea-for-one sets. We just have to decide who gets to use which one, quite a struggle since, you see, these tea sets seem to bring out the “cute” gene in pottery designers.

You can go floral, modern, animalistic (dogs, cats, insects, etc.), plain, bunny cute, or even rustic with hand-painted fruits and flowers. You can also choose from a rainbow of colors to suit your mood and décor. One of the marvels of our modern world: the choices are many.

These may be tea-for-one sets, but that doesn’t mean there is only one cupful in the teapots. In fact, they come in various sizes (I’ve seen them ranging from as little as 11 ounces to as much as 20 ounces). The one issue I have with such sets is that the teapots usually hold more than the cups (in many of the sets) but not a full cupful more. For example, a teapot can hold 16 ounces but the cup holds 11 or 12 ounces. That’s sort of like a package of hotdogs having eight and a package of buns having 10. Argh! At least with a tea set you can have a partial cup of tea. Of course, if you are using a tea that stands up to multiple infusions, you can just add more hot water to the teapot. (Where tea is concerned, there’s always a silver lining!)

That brings me to another point here: Choose what tea you steep very carefully. Some teas are best enjoyed in small amounts. For me, Green Chai is one of these. So is Lapsang Souchong with its strong smoky taste and aroma. Others can be steeped multiple times and enjoyed one cup after another. Tie Guan Yin is definitely in this category, as is a good quality Assam, such as a Golden Tippy. You might need other tea equipage to go with your tea-for-one set, such as a strainer, a cream pitcher, and a sugar bowl. Gee, your tea table could get a bit crowded. Thank goodness you can stack up part of it when you’re done.

Enjoy your tea moment with your tea-for-one set, whether it’s solitary or shared with someone you love!

Make sure to spend some time checking out A.C.’s blog, Tea Time with A.C. Cargill!

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