Recently, I’ve had a lot of ‘tea for two’ experiences, that is, enjoying a pot of tea with another person. Sometimes this has been with friends, sometimes with family. It has reminded me just how personalised tea experiences can be, especially when they involve only one other person. Just as the conversation and energy will differ from person to person, so will the types of tea, teawares, and amount of tea we drink.
To start with, the teawares that I select completely change depending on who is coming over for tea. I choose teapots, or infusers with cups or mugs depending on what I know they prefer to use, and select specific ones based on what I know or think they might enjoy. But, of course, the most important factor influencing the type of teawares chosen is what type(s) of tea we’ll be drinking.
Last week I knew that my tea visitor would be coming over to share a pot of oolong (we had been talking about sampling this specific oolong, which she had not tried before). Knowing that we would be there for a while chatting and catching up, I opted for my medium sized yixing pot that I use for oolong, complete with a warmer to keep our tea hot during our natter. This tea companion knows their oolongs, and I chose the yixing because I knew it would bring out more of the tea’s flavour. Although not a large pot, I decided that it would provide plenty of tea, since this particular oolong can be re-steeped up to 7 times.
With another tea companion there was no specific tea plan. When he arrived we decided to go for a pot of black tea, since it was late in the afternoon and we both needed a bit of a boost to get us through the rest of the day. Taking our tea with milk meant a more traditional English tea set up, with a shared teapot, individual teacups, and a milk pitcher.
With my most recent tea companion, things were quite different. We have fairly different tastes, and, as usual, she and I were not at all on the same tea page. As such, we ended up going for different teas that required different water temperatures and steeping times and we used an eclectic assortment of teawares more suited to our different tea selections.
Thinking about these recent experiences, I find that the character of ‘tea for two’ experiences varies as much as the conversation, location, and personalities of the different people I meet for tea. Which, when you think about it, makes sense!
See also Tea-for-Two Sets.
See more of Elise Nuding’s articles here.
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