You know the score. You and your brew beau have been dating for a while. You enjoyed the heady days of waking up together after long, sleepless nights of the romantic kind; rushing home from work just to be together; and long, steamy, multiple steepings in the afternoon simply because you could. But lately, the spark has gone. The romance has subsided. You are getting bored of the same old brewings, the same predic-tea-ble moves, and fondling the same dir-tea mugs.
You need to bring the spice back, the adventure. You want to really fancy your brew again, to want it so much that you NEED to rip it out of its tea caddy and go balls deep into its aromatic leaves. Y’know what you need? What livens up all modern, tired but well loved relationships?
TOYS. That’s right. Guaranteed, 21st Century, pleasure-giving TEA TOYS, to revi-tea-lise your dalliances with your favourite caffeinated beverage. Luckily for you, I’m here as your mari-tea-l counsellor to guide you through a selection of my favourite tea-chnology to put the steam back in your kettle…or at least make your cuppa taste a tad better anyway.
Now I know this might sound as staid as trying out Anne Summers’ sexy lingerie, but trust me, sometimes the simplest in-tea-ventions make the most difference. A Forlife Stump Teapot will make the taste of your brew sing. With an in-built infuser that has lots of room for your leaves to par-tea in the water, it means the tea’s flavour has ample opportunity to circulate. Dressed up in pretty alluring porcelain packaging (the teapots come in a range of jazzy colours, but I stuck with ‘Apple Whore White’), you will both visually and sensually fall in love with your brews again. For those of you that enjoy a ménage à trois, you can also buy pots that make up to three cups.
This well made pot of trickery has totally re-ignited my passion for my most well loved but tired brews. My Birdhouses blindsided me. My Jollybrews jellified my knees. My We Are Teas were wank worthy. That little bit of extra room to infuse, in porcelain that locks in the flavour, certainly goes a long way; a ForLife Stump Teapot is where you should start to fall in love with your tea collection again. Followed by…
2. Tea Timer iPhone Apps
Sometimes you need to go back to basics to make sure you are doing it right, for the correct length of time, and in the right hole. We all make mistakes after all, even me, personification of perfection herself. There has been a proliferation of mobile phone applications recently to help you on the way to a million dollar brew. The first app I recommend to guide you is Mighty Timer which is free, so you might as well give it a go even if you are a tight sod.
This is the ‘Dad’s Advice on the Birds and the Teas’ of tea-chnological brew support. It is simple to use, lists 11 types of the most common brews with recommended infusion times, leaf weights to use and infusion temperatures, and as such is a great aid in the pursuit of the perfect cuppa. All you need to do is click the desired tea, hit ‘start brewing’ and whack your leaves out of your mug once the blaring alarm goes off (now a constant annoyance to Ms PG Poontang in the Witchy household). I don’t recommend it for surrep-tea-tious steeping around in the office though, as it is rather loud. For the more fortunate amongst you who own an Apple iWatch (*cough* WANKERS *cough*), it also has a compatible app for your arm candy, so you can be reminded that your tea is ready no matter if you are pouring over a spreadsheet or having a troublesome toilet stop.
In sum then, Mighty Timer is a good – if a little basic – app to walk you through your first steps in brew experimen-tea-ation.
Yet, what if you want an app that is more advanced? What if you are beyond the fooling around stage and you are ready for the Karm-tea Brew-tra instead? If this is you (welcome to an elite club, by the way), then perhaps Tea Ave is a better bet. Tea Ave is another free app that lets you catalogue all your brew pimpin’ with elaborate detail. You can log your entire tea collection, including a photo, the exact amount you have left of it in grams and an option to record your tasting notes. These notes enable even the most anally retentive sommeliers to log the millilitres of water used for a cuppa, at what temperature and the specific amount of loose leaf brewed for a particular length of time. You can also add notes for second infusions (and third, fourth and fifth if you are really being a loser about it), and search your catalogue for the tea that you fancy at that precise moment in time.
Beautifully designed and intuitive to use, Tea Ave is an ideal bit of kit if – like me – you have more tea than sense. The cataloging function is ideal for keeping tabs on those packs of tea that languish at the back of the cupboard like pros-tea-tutes the wrong side of middle age; and the facility to record tasting experiences is handy for brew bloggers…or those with OCD. I should mention that there is a tea-timer built in to massage your tea-spot even more, but it only goes up to three minutes which is limiting when infusing herbal blends that need a little longer. Additionally, if you are a tea virgin, you won’t get the same level of hand holding as the Mighty Timer, so I suggest newbies start there. Don’t want you to get preg-tea-nant too soon now, do we?
Finally, why not pep up your tea journeys by frothing at the…mesh of your tea infuser? More is often more when it comes to the white stuff (I’m talking about milk folks, if you lost me), and tea lattes in the comfort of your own kitchen might be what you need to break your brew dry spell.
One of many dangerous battery operated gadgets I own, the Aerolatte is basically a VERY aggressive whisk that froths milk with scary efficiency. So efficient in fact, that you almost believe you have paid through the nose for an extortionately priced beverage from ‘Charbux’. (If you don’t know the coffee shop I’m alluding to, leave this page, close your laptop and punch yourself in the face…please). You can use this gizmo with normal, soya, almond and breast milk I believe, and this magic whizzer creates a satisfying froth for any crazy concoction you desire. A couple of my personal favourite recipes are Jollybrew’s Chai latte (see pic below for my miserable attempt), and London Fog (AKA a milky Earl Grey with a shot of vanilla).
This gadget is great fun, adds a new dimension to your tea time and helps save pennies in January as you can act as your own personal Cafe Zero barista instead of paying for it. May the froth be with you.
I hope this mari-tea-l counselling has been useful; do let me know if you give any of my suggestions a chai. Oh, and that will be £150 for the thera-tea session by the way.