Teabag holders are unsung heroes of tea time, along with those hardworking cream pitchers. They sit by, all humble, and await your pleasure, like a butler or the server at a really nice restaurant or a loving spouse. Every self-respecting tea hostess/host needs a few dozen on hand for tea party propriety.
Let’s face it — teabags are here to stay. They’re convenient, keeping the tea leaf pieces and fannings and dust in a neat package that you plop in your mug of hot water, let float around awhile, and then remove to prevent oversteeping. (Hollywood always gets that last part wrong, showing people sipping their cuppa with the string-and-tag bag still in the mug.) This is where the teabag holder comes in. It’s there, ready, waiting to receive that hot, wet, staining teabag.
So, just what is a teabag holder? A small dish that holds your used teabag — duh! They are also called “tea caddies,” which is a bit confusing since tea caddies are also containers for storing tea (shaped like chests, jars, etc.) as Jess Hodges explained in her article Tea Caddies. The most common shape for teabag holders seems to be that of a teapot, although you can find them in other shapes such as owls, poinsettias, tree leaves, roosters, bunnies, sail boats, and even cats! Something for every taste.
Teabag holders (or caddies, if you prefer) are made from ceramic, melamine, pewter, silver, and other metals. They’re decorated with flowers, fruits, butterflies, shamrocks, dragonflies, and even cattitude. They are often used as hostess gifts, party favors, etc., since they’re relatively inexpensive and versatile and can be easily personalized.
As multi-taskers, teabag holders are practical; they can be spoon rests, candy dishes, candle holders, etc. Even those of us who steep our tea loose at all times can use them to hold the strainer.
Sometimes, though, you are out and about where no teabag holder can be found. My advice: stay near the trash can and be prepared to shout, “Look out! Something hot and steamy coming through!”
Just be sure they know you mean the teabag!
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