Ah, the lowly tea bag. Some swear by them while others viciously deride them. But few people on either side of the tea bag divide are likely to argue with the fact that tea bags are messy.
So what to do with that messy little packet of tea after it’s been plunged into the cup, steeped and must be disposed in a manner that will cause the least fuss and mess? And then there’s the tea bag string and tag, which always seem somehow to creep over the edge of the cup and submerge themselves in the liquid.
There are many intrepid inventor types who have attempted to overcome the menace of the messy tea bag. I won’t rehash said gadgets here but will direct you to my regular tea gadget reports that appear at this site, many of which have covered tea bag mess reducing gizmos. As for that string problem, here’s a recent Washington Post article in which readers contributed strategies for overcoming the problem.
Just for the fun of it I thought I’d do a Web search on the topic of messiness and tea bags. This didn’t bring up as many pertinent results as I expected but there was some interesting stuff nonetheless. One site proposed that tea bag concentrates were the perfect solution to the problem of messy tea bags and maybe they are, but I can’t help wondering about the quality of said concentrates.
Of course there are more gadgets, some of which I might have remarked upon in my gadget reports and some of which I apparently missed. The Teatool is a tong-like device that uses a plunger style mechanism to remove the tea bag and squeeze it. The Tea Bag Buddy is a notched plastic lid, of sorts, from which you dangle your tea bag into the water below. Thus solving that tea bag string problem rather nicely.
If that’s not enough on the subject of tea bag strings have a look at the Tie Tea Cup, which offers a quite simple way to solve the problem, though it does involve manual labor by the user (oh, the humanity). Lastly, you could try this line of teapot-shaped teabag tidys, which don’t really solve the problem of tea bag mess, but are rather clever looking nonetheless.
To wrap things up, consider that some people apparently get quite worked up when it comes to matters of tea bag design. Here’s an article in which the writer tackles an “appalling” design flaw in the tea bags made by a certain beverage retailing giant. You may know the one.
See more of William I. Lengeman’s articles here.
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