Travel and tea drinking (at least in the United States) don’t always mix. Loose-leaf tea can appear “suspicious” to airport security, American hotel rooms don’t always offer electric kettles or teapots, and the recent trend toward drinking out of paper sippy cups doesn’t do much for the flavor of tea. Here are some suggestions for enjoying your tea while away from home:
1. Reconsider Carrying Loose Leaf Tea
Yes, I have a bias toward loose-leaf tea myself, but carrying “herbal matter” while traveling may raise some suspicions. Take some high-quality bagged teas with you, ideally in their original packages and then, if you wish, snip open the bags and brew the leaves loose as needed.
2. Bring Your Own Kettle
Hotels in the United Kingdom almost always include an electric kettle. Not so in the United States, where coffee/tea services may simply include an in-room coffee maker which can taint your tea water with the flavor of coffee. Small, inexpensive electric kettles can cost as little as $16, cheaper if you pick one up at a second-hand store. Bring one with you to avoid the disappointment that only coffee-flavored tea can produce.
3. Take a Travel Mug
A tea travel mug with an infuser doubles as both a teapot and teacup, eliminating the need to order both (or either) from room service. Many in-room coffee/tea services now only supply paper cups, which can negatively affect the flavor of tea and the hotel may not have teapots available. A sturdy tea mug won’t take up much room in your luggage, and it can help ensure that you’ll enjoy good tea during your travels.
4. Search Out a Tearoom
One of the cool things about traveling is making new discoveries. Search out tea rooms and shops while you are on the road: Stop in to enjoy a cup of tea and, if you like what you taste, buy some to drink during your trip.
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