Since I nagged you all about proper tea storage for an entire article, I think it’s only fair to point out some of the compensations of responsible tea leaf stewardship. While the less virtuous amongst us will have a cupboard full of boring boxes and packaging, we who care for our beverages can choose to use a tea caddy instead.
The first tea caddies seen in Europe made their way over from China, as did all of the earliest tea table accoutrements, and were made of porcelain or glazed pottery. They were attractive, ornamental things for the tables of the upper classes who were the first tea drinkers. As tea became a drink for the masses, cheap, functional caddies became a household must for the days when tea was bought by weight instead of in pre-packaged boxes. Wood was the most common material, though there was always a place for expensive, ornamental versions fit to sit along side the silver tea pots and fine china of posh tea tables. Tea caddies often came with different compartments for different types of tea, and for the true enthusiasts tea chests were used for the storage of huge volumes of tea.
As tea became cheaper and more readily available, people became less concerned with carefully storing and preserving it and tea caddies were used less and less. Today, they are more of a collectors item than a kitchen must have, and I think that’s a real shame. If you’re willing to look, tea caddies can be found in every shape and size and offer another opportunity to customise and personalise your tea drinking.
It may seem strange to go to the trouble of buying a box for a product that already comes in one, but a tea caddy isn’t in danger of degrading like a cardboard box and they’re more airtight. They really will offer better protection for your tea and they’re pretty as well! If you’re reading this blog, then you’re probably well on your way from being a tea drinker to being a real enthusiast. Treat yourself to a tea caddy as a great bit of kit for a wonderful new hobby, so when you find a tea that you think deserves special care, you can treat it like the luxury it is.
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