If you assumed that the files of various patent offices are full of inventions that are eminently practical, useful, sober and serious, you’re absolutely right. But then there are the rest of the inventions. You could spend plenty of time perusing said files for offbeat and just plain weird patents, and I like to skim them every once in a while for another batch of offbeat tea patents. So, with no further ado, here they are.

I’ll start off with one that’s not quite so offbeat as some but is interesting nonetheless. Realizing that pod type beverage machines treat all beverages equally and that this might be to the detriment of tea produced in such a manner, one inventor recently came up with a Process of Brewing Tea Leaves Contained in a Capsule.

Steep in a capsule? Well, maybe... (ETS image)

Steep in a capsule? Well, maybe… (ETS image)

The inventor’s goal was to solve “the problem of brewing tea leaves in a process of preparation of tea beverage from a capsule containing tea leaves in the shortest time as possible while maintaining an optimal extraction of the tea extract from the tea leaves.” The patent document goes into considerable detail as to how to achieve this result. Even more recently, a Chinese inventor tried to solve the problem of how to prepare tea more quickly by devising a Stirrer For Brewing Tea. Simply put, it sought to do so by agitating the tea leaves to convince them to release their flavor more quickly.

Speaking of Tea-Brewing Appliances, a certain Mr. George Stockman patented a curious one nearly a century ago, in 1920. I don’t claim to completely understand how it works but it appears to consist of a teapot with a mesh-bag full of tea therein. This is then attached by a string to a conical piece of fabric that’s placed over the teapot spout to help retain the steam. I suspect that it was not a rousing success.

Finally, it seems that the history of the tea bag pretty much goes hand in hand with efforts to keep that pesky tea bag tag from taking a dip in your cup or pot. A 1958 patent attempted to resolve this problem by providing “a tag which normally possesses a more or less conventional size and shape but may be quickly and easily converted into hook-like form at the time of use.” Said hook can then be attached to the rim of the cup or pot.

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

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