Here at Seattle Coffee Gear, we get to do a lot of coffee testing. Yet contrary to what some people might think, this is not to the exclusion of tea. A few of us, myself included, are avid tea drinkers and are very serious about our tea. In fact, we’ve gotten to do a few fun experiments of our own including tea tastings, determining the right brew temperature for various teas and playing with new tea ware.
Despite all of the exciting things we get to do, my favorite part of the day is simply brewing up a cup of tea. There is just something relaxing about sipping on a cup of tea while I write (especially on rainy days, which happens pretty frequently here in Seattle). Perhaps it provides me with the extra creative “juice” I need to overcome the curse of a blank page and a blinking cursor.
Another aspect that makes my “office tea time” enjoyable is that I have a much better tea setup than in offices past. At my previous jobs, I often had to make do with getting hot water from a spigot or even microwaving it – neither of which provide much, if any, control over the water temperature. At SCG I’m lucky enough to have several tea kettles (and a variety of loose-leaf teas!) to choose from -- from more traditional looking steel ones to modern glass ones. We even have a machine that would practically make my entire cup of tea for me (except for dispensing it into a cup) if I so desired.
Out of all the kettles, I am most drawn to the glass variable temperature kettles (like the Capresso Tea C100 Temperature Control) most likely because you can watch them in action. Whoever said watching water boil is boring was wrong or at least didn’t have a glass kettle. It is so neat to watch the water bubble and bounce around as it heats up; it almost looks like a lava lamp. The beauty of this kettle is that it allows you to select from five temperature settings that accurately brew whatever type of tea you desire. The kettle also automatically shuts off once the water has been heated to the selected temperature, which is great since I don’t have to worry about leaving a burner on while I’m typing away.
Tea time has become a daily ritual for me. One of the first things I do when I come into the office is select which tea I want for the morning, set my kettle to the appropriate temperature setting for the tea and watch the leaves unfurl as I pour the hot water over them. I often repeat this procedure again later in the day for a mid-morning or afternoon (sometimes even both) pick me up. What is even more fun is educating my co-workers about the joys of tea and telling them about different teas I’ve tried. Hopefully it won’t be too long until more of them start joining me for afternoon tea, which would be the best moment of all.