When we were kids, many of us had little “banks” (often shaped like little pigs) that we would put our coins in (mostly pennies). When enough had gathered up, we would take those coins to the local store for a sweet treat. Now, as an adult and tea lover, I save my pennies for tea. With the price of some premium teas out there, it can take awhile to save up enough.
Never fear. The teapot bank is here!
The teapot bank is not, as the name might imply, a teapot turned into a bank. As crafty as it would be to take a tired teapot past its prime and put it to good use keeping track of those thin, round, metal pieces that you would otherwise spend foolishly or lose in the sofa, the teapot bank I’m talking about is specially made to be a bank. No scent of Darjeeling or Ti Kuan Yin or Japanese Sencha pervading those coins within (hm… tea-scented coins… that would be a good thing!). Glazed in white and decorated with musical symbols, the teapot bank can adorn any shelf it’s on.
So, where do you get one of these wonders? They are available exclusively through Tea4Kate.com, the blog of a woman with real pioneer spirit and who has enjoyed some thrilling tea times: Kate Barker. According to her bio on the blog, Kate has “opened a tea room, had tea in a Ger in Mongolia, viewed the Three Gorges Dam in China and waved to the Queen of England.” (‘Ger’? Never mind…) Now, Kate writes, enjoys time with her grandchildren, takes photos, blogs about etiquette on anewscafe.com, tweets, posts stuff on her Facebook page, and has a little shop in the Oregon Street Antiques Mall where she sells tea and related items, including the teapot bank.
Okay, so you get one of these banks and diligently plunk your coins into them (actually, each coin type sounds different, from the light “plink!” of a dime to the heavy “plonk!” of a quarter). You do this daily. “Plink!” “Plunk!” “Plink!” “Plink!” “Plonk!” “Plink!” The teapot bank gets heavier and heavier. Finally, you decide that there should be enough in that bank for you to make a tea purchase. You pour out the coins and begin counting… 10 cents… 35 cents… 60 cents… and on and on until all are counted… and you end up with — uh, $3.35. Ack! That’s it? Yeah, most of the coins were pennies. What else can you do with a penny besides save it and its kin until you have enough of them amassed to buy something? Still, as heavy as that bank was, and only $3.35? Sigh! Time to see what tea we can buy for that amount.
A few low-priced yet good quality tea options here:
- Loose Leaf White Tea — 4-oz pouch — A white tea (Pai Mu Tan) that is amber colored in the cup and tastes jammy/malty similar to some black teas.
- French blend tea loose leaf — 4-oz pouch — A blend of black teas (Assam, Nilgiri, Ceylon, Kenyan, and Chinese) flavored with vanilla, oil of bergamot, jasmine, and lavender to impart a taste with a real French flair.
- Keemun Panda China black tea loose leaf — 4-oz pouch — One of my fave teas. A wonderfully flavorful black tea from the Qimen county in the Anhui Province of China.
- Assam Loose Leaf Tea — 4-oz — Another of my fave teas and one with a rich malty flavor that takes milk well. A bit of sweetener is also good. This is an Indian tea made from the varietal of the tea bush called Camellia Sinensis assamica. It is used in Irish Breakfast tea and other blends.
My other option, of course, is to put the coins back in that teapot bank and keep saving up for teas like these:
- Adams Peak White Tea — 2-oz pouch (the tea is so lightweight that this is the equivalent in bulk to 4-oz size of other teas) — An especially rare white tea with only 30 kilos made per week since only the best fresh shoots are selected, withered, and sun dried. The leaves have silvery tips and fresh peach-like fuzz. The aroma is heady and somewhat piney, and the subtle taste may only be appreciated with an experienced palate — a rare gem.
- Flowering Tea – 3 Flower Burst – Green Tea — 20 pcs. — A wonderful and visually intriguing flowering tea from the Yunnan Province in China. This tea contains lily, osmanthus, and jasmine blooms tied together with steamed full leaves of Yunnan green tea. Watching it unfold is like seeing the Yunnan countryside where the strong sunlight and ample rain make the landscape quite lush.
There are even more expensive teas out there. Maybe I need several of those teapot banks so I can save up much more than $3.35. Aged pu-erhs are top of my list, with some of them costing in the hundreds of dollars for a full-sized cake. (The vendor says the bank will hold as much as $100 of coins, so there’s hope!)
Time to get saving. “Plink!”
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