In case you’re not one of those people with lots of well-meaning friends and family who buy you teabag holders, I have a few suggestions for things you can substitute.

I’m assuming, of course, that you use teabags at least now and then to steep up a nice, tasty cup of tea. You also most certainly know that, unlike people in the movies who wave around their mugs with the string and tag from the teabag dangling over the side of the mug while they occasionally sip, you should remove the teabags when the steeping time is up. Otherwise, you’ll have a cuppa with real pucker power. You are probably also aware that letting teabags air dry before putting them in the trash keeps down mold growth (if you’re a composter, though, dampness can be beneficial).

Thus, the need for some kind of teabag holder. But you don’t have one. So, now what?

A few obvious choices:

  • Spoon rest (get those spoons busy, they rest too much)
  • Saucer (wait ’til your kitty has licked all the cream out of it first)
  • Small bowl (no, we’re not talking about knocking down pins here)
  • An old mug or teacup that you don’t drink from anymore
  • Ramekin (a small, round dish used for things like the “au jus” in “prime rib au jus” and even for mini-soufflés)
  • One of those little square, white Japanese sauce dishes (preferably without sauce in it)
  • Styrofoam cup from the office break room

Some slightly out-of-the-ordinary choices:

  • Rinsed out tuna can, margarine tub, or other empty food container
  • Ashtrays (you’ve given up smoking anyway, so you don’t need ’em for ashes now, right?)
  • Empty candy dish (helps you stay on your diet)
  • Candle holder (remove candle first)

To paraphrase the banditos in “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre”: “Teabag holders? We don’t need no teabag holders.” [Actual quote] Just toss that teabag in the trash or nearest container, or plop it on your plate next to the French fry runt you don’t want and the few remaining peas that keep rolling off your fork every time you go for them. Don’t worry if the teabag soaks up a bunch of grease from the burger or fried fish you had. You won’t be getting a second steeping from that bag anyway.

If none of these options appeals to you, there is another I can suggest: make friends with someone who has good taste and likes to buy their friends gifts. Then, they’ll buy you a teabag holder or maybe even two. Of course, you can always eschew bagged tea and stick with loose leaf teas. But then you need a strainer, possibly an infuser, and something to set them on. Never fear, though, the superior taste will be worth it. Enjoy!

For more advice on living the “tea life,” visit Tea Time with A.C. Cargill!

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