Certain events shape our lives however simple or innocuous they may appear. It must have been close to 10 years since it happened. Then I was just a newcomer to the glorious world of Chinese tea.
I love the taste, love the experience but there was a problem- I didn’t have time to brew a nice pot, and when I did which was usually at night, I feared insomnia. I toyed with the idea of bringing my pot to the office but I feared portraying the image of being too free- being able to brew the gongfu way took time after all.
As a result, I was unable to nurture our relationship and give it the attention it deserves. The sporadic rendezvous left us increasingly unfamiliar with each other and we started drifting apart.
Then, one day as I was waiting for a friend, I hovered about a tea shop, just browsing. The sales assistant was so friendly I would be tempted to buy something if I didn’t have lots of tea gathering dust at home.
I told her my conundrum and she promptly introduced me to this little baby- the infuser mug.
Well, actually this was the second one I bought. Like the first, you can see the lid has been broken.
Suffice it to say, this simple contraption changed my life. I was free to drink tea where I spent the majority of my waking moments- in the office. Though working life continued to be terse, there was always a tea moment to inject calm and tranquility into my life.
Of course, familiarity breeds contempt. Once I had my hands on her for a while, I was discontented. Tea stains white ceramic, especially when you might be involved in long meetings and you wouldn’t want to risk your career by washing your tea cup halfway.
Also, there was a tendency for the ceramic to scald my fat fingers as steeping.
Yet imperfect as she was, the infuser mug set me thinking. If only everyone could enjoy Chinese tea in loose leaves form at the workplace. This would actually boost consumption of Chinese tea.
It tastes great, it is affordable, it has a plethora of health benefits that are being published every day. Once the difficulty of brewing tea is removed, we could actually see a surge in Chinese tea drinkers all over the world.
Woe to you if your experience with Chinese tea has been limited to tea bags or that awful low-grade over-steeped stuff they serve you in most restaurants. I feel that if someone drinks Chinese tea the way it was meant to be, they would fall in love with it.
Anyway, back to the infuser mug- later I found something even better.
The dark ceramic material lessened stains and retained heat better. (Note: it looks like but is not Purple clay aka Zisha aka Yixing Clay). But the best part is that the porcelain material portion doesn’t conduct heat much, so I could happily remove the inner filter without fear of scalding my delicate fingers.
The world of tea can be so much more enjoyable with some better utensils. Tea utensils may start with the famous Zisha or Yixing pot but it doesn’t end there.
There is a place for elaborate tea ceremonies but there is a place for simple brewing procedures so you can enjoy your tea. Thank God, we have both- so we can enjoy more tea, whether at home, with guests or in the office.