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The Challenges of Tea for One Sets

Caprice Gingham Tea for One Set
Caprice Gingham Tea for One Set

Living alone has given me a keen appreciation for “tea for one” sets. Not only are these sets often quite cute, they also are the right size for preparing tea for one person.

(Except when they aren’t.)

One troubling feature of many tea for one sets is that the tea pot has a much larger capacity than the teacup or mug. While I certainly have no objection to having plenty of extra tea on hand, I’m left with the problem of over-infusion: While I sip my first cup of tea, the remaining leaves continue to stew in the pot, possibly producing a bitter and disagreeable brew that is unfit to drink.

(What to do?)

I don’t like to waste tea, so simply tossing remaining tea after pouring a cup isn’t an option. Neither is gulping down a piping hot cup of tea just so I can pour out the rest before it over-steeps. Instead, I’ve hit upon three possible options:

  • Decant Into Another Vessel: Buy a separate pot or pitcher for decanting your tea. This protects the tea against oversteeping while allowing you to enjoy the entire pot of tea. Some tea for one sets come with a separate pitcher for milk: If you don’t drink milk in your tea, you can use the pitcher for surplus tea.
  • Use an Infuser: Another option is to use an infuser in the teapot. While this has the disadvantage of not allowing larger leaves to completely unfurl, it does work well with very broken-leaf teas as well as many herbals.
  • Don’t Fill the Pot: A final option is to measure the capacity of the cup or mug and then only use that amount of water in the teapot. This option results in no waste, though it does require the use of a measuring cup or a good eye for filling the pot.

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5 responses to “The Challenges of Tea for One Sets”

  1. […] so my 4-cupper teapot is usually set aside in favor of my 6-cupper. Lainie Petersen pointed out in one of her articles on this blog that most tea-for-one sets have a pot that holds more than the cup holds, meaning that […]

  2. […] afternoon tea service at Chicago’s Palmer House Hilton on Examiner.com. You can also read my thoughts on tea-for-one sets over at the English Tea Store […]

  3. I don’t get the dilemma…I would just pour it into another cup.

    1. Then you wouldn’t be using just a tea-for-one set but a tea-for-one set and an extra cup. 🙂

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