While I prefer a hot tea made from leaves steeped in a ceramic pot, there are times when it’s just easier to reach for a tea bag. As a child, I watched my grandmother drink tea throughout the day, often squeezing more than one usage from a limp, Lipton tea bag.
Today tea purveyors bring us an array of choices from around the world. I keep my cabinet stocked with herbal, fruit, green, black, oolong, and white teas. Like Uncle Wiggley, the elderly rabbit from my childhood books, who drank chamomile for his “rheumatism,” I’ve found the aromatic brew can have a therapeutic effect or, at least, warms the innards on a cold day.
From Soggy Bag to Silken Infuser
My go-to, tea bag is Tea Forte—though the Concord, Massachusetts, seller refers to the unique bags as “gourmet whole-leaf teas in a leaf-topped, pyramid silken infuser.” No limp, soggy bag for these uppity leaves!
I learned from their website, that when I finish with my “pyramid silken infuser,” I could use Forte’s ceramic holder that keeps the bag upright until ready to use again. But I have a teapot-shaped holder, that I got from Harrods in London on my first visit there during the 80s. It has sentimental value. It was my first trip abroad and all I could afford to buy from the pricey department store.
My grandmother’s tea bags were inexpensive and filled with “fines,” that is, the crumbs of tea leaves. But these gourmet blends have whole leaves and exotic additions. The label on my organic herbal box reads: “Soothing chamomile blossoms, lemongrass, and herbs blended together for a citrusy infusion.” Forte’s exotic blends come at a price, but when you consider that you can get several cups from a single bag it seems more reasonable.
The Gift of Fine Tea
For the tea drinkers on you list, one of Forte’s gift assortments is ideal. In addition to tea chests and tea boxes, they have cute accessories to enhance your imbibing: tea cups, tea pots, tea press, and steeping cups. (I got my daughter one of their Pugg Teapots in the Spring Grass design for Christmas last year. Nice piece.)
Tea Forte is available in St. Charles. If you’re considering a gift, take a look at this Herbal Retreat, organically grown and nicely packaged. Price: 10 infusers for $20 or 20 infusers for $30.