As you may be aware, the United Nations has declared 2013 the Year of the Novelty Tea Infuser. Well, that’s not true, actually. The UN surely has better things to do and the good people who bring us novelty tea infusers actually seem to be quite active every year. I wish I’d had the good sense to keep track of the best and most unusual of these gizmos that I’ve encountered over the years. If I had I’d surely be adding the Teatube Test Tube Tea Infuser to the list. It’s a rather clever gimmick, if I do say so.

The Teatube Test Tube Tea Infuser (Screen capture from site)

The Teatube Test Tube Tea Infuser (Screen capture from site)

Of course, if you’re going to inhale your tea I guess you won’t be needing a tea infuser. As this news report noted recently, a London-based tea house has come up with a type of breathable or inhalable tea. As the article put it, “a number of its blends were vaporized and served up as a smoky gas, which visitors could inhale the beverage through a straw.”

While one might reasonably question such alleged benefits as no burned tongues, zero calories (pretty much the case for any tea with nothing added), or delivering antioxidants more quickly to the bloodstream (?), it sounds like an interesting gimmick nonetheless. For more along somewhat similar lines, take a look at my article from a few years back called Smoking Tea.

While we’re on the subject of tea being used in other ways than as a beverage, it’s a good time as any to discuss what the car maker Lincoln is doing with tea. As this recent article noted, “Lincoln is teaching its dealers how to appeal to the $4 latte crowd.” One of the ways they’re doing so is by pumping a “specially developed Lincoln scent” through showrooms that’s a mix of Earl Grey tea and various floral aromas.

For sheer gimmickry and stylish design you’d surely have to give a tip of the hat to the Tipcup. It’s a compact and sleek-looking gadget that allows you to actually tip the cup to control the steeping process. See the various models here and look here for a primer on how it all works.

See more of William I. Lengeman’s articles here.

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