For those of us who live the “tea life,” one element is just as essential in our kitchen as a stove or a refrigerator: a tea station. As a true, diehard tea drinker, I have one prominently placed for easy access whenever the irresistible urge to indulge strikes (which is several times a day).
“What’s a tea station?” you query. Thought you’d never ask.
Basically, a tea station is an area that has all of the necessities for the daily preparation of your favorite teas. This saves a bit of time, effort, and injuries (from bumping into family members seeking sustenance).
Some items for a typical American-style tea station:
- TEA! (bet you didn’t see that one coming!)
- Your sweetener of choice (sugar, honey, aspartame, stevia, etc.)
- Your favorite teapot
- A tea cozy (you’ll want that tea to stay hot as long as possible)
- A selection of your favorite mugs and/or teacups and saucers, plus teaspoons
- A tea strainer (or a teabag holder, if you prefer bags to loose tea)
- A spoon rest for your teaspoons
- Optional: A tray (or, as I have, a turntable) on which to set the teapot, sweetener, tea strainer (or teabag holder), and spoon rest.
What you have in your tea station will depend, of course, on the main types of tea you drink. From gaiwans to Brown Bettys, you need to stock your tea station appropriately. (The setting can vary, too. For some, an Asian one is preferred for gongfu tea times, including tea tables low to the floor surrounded by mats to sit or kneel on. For others, a British tearoom setting, lace curtains and all, is more in order.)
The next consideration for your tea station, as they say in the real estate game, is “Location! Location! Location!”
My tea station occupies a portion of the kitchen countertop, with a few items sitting on a small shelf unit sitting next to the base cabinet beneath that countertop. Hubby and I like to steep up a 6-cup pot of a breakfast black tea first thing and enjoy it as the morning goes by. (Later, we might go to something more esoteric, such as Genmaicha, an Oolong, or a white tea such as Silver Needle.)
Here’s where those “interlopers” enter the picture. They’re items that mysteriously end up where they shouldn’t be.
Being a normal kitchen, things get moved around in it. For example, a trivet that normally sits beside the stove, waiting to accept a hot pot, is suddenly over by the sink, leaving me holding that pot and searching around for a place to put it. Whenever this happens, hubby blames the kitchen imps. However, I see that trivet as an “interloper” into the sink area, which is supposed to be dedicated to cleaning dirty dishes and pots and pans. (My theory, contrary to what hubby thinks, is that some things in my kitchen have an identity crisis. They want to be something else so badly that they convince themselves they are that thing and behave accordingly.)
When it comes to my tea station, “interlopers” keep making their way into it. One time we found a cheese grater in the teapot cozy doing his best teapot impression (didn’t fool me, though, and thoroughly exasperated my Blue Betty teapot). Another time, it was the garlic keeper sitting in place of the sugar bowl. Hubby said that it was as if those kitchen imps were saying, “Have a bit of cheese or a little garlic in your tea.” I just figured the garlic keeper was seeking to sweeten its disposition. Every now and then, an infuser sneaks into the tea station, knowing full well that I have come to prefer letting my loose leaf teas float free in the pot.
Obviously, there’s skullduggery afoot.
Maybe I’ll set up a hidden camera or two and see if hubby is right and it’s kitchen imps who are placing those “interlopers” in my tea station, or if I’m right and my kitchenwares have gone a bit loopy.
This could take awhile, so I’d better fix a pot of tea. But first, I need to get this cheese grater out of here!
You’ll never feel like an interloper at A.C.’s blog, Tea Time with A.C. Cargill!