Inviting myself to tea...

I have recently rediscovered the joy of loose leaf teas.  

It wasn't that I ever really fell out of love with them.  It was that they were hidden away in the pantry, so I never remembered to make them for myself. This weekend, I decided to get them out into the open.

The cubbies of my shelf are 5"x 5" and Sprouts sells clear jars that fit nicely.  I simply labeled with old time packing tape--the kind with an adhesive on the back you have to wet to stick. I like the casual feel of it.

I have three favorite vendors for loose leaf tea purchases: Mountain Rose Herbs, Art of Tea and Amitea. You can also often find quality teapots with mesh infuser baskets in the Home section of discount retailers like Ross, TJ Maxx and Marshalls. (Mine doesn't have a basket so I usually use a teaball or pour through a strainer into my cup.)

A cast iron trivet that holds a tealight is a nice add; however, I love the way Katya makes tea.  She simply makes a strong base in the teapot, then pours a bit of it into the cup and adds the hot water from the kettle on the stove to top it off.  That way, it doesn't matter if the base gets cold.  (Is a nice way to do it when you are spending time at her kitchen table talking because the tea lasts for a long time.)

Retailers like Teavana sell a host of tea paraphernalia, but I recommend keeping it simple.  A teapot and a strainer.  That's all you need. You can also go crazy ordering types of tea so that you wind up with a stockpile (not that I have any experience with this <wink>).  If you are just getting into it, choose a black, a green and an herbal tea that you rotate.  If you find a flavor you don't like, give it away and try something else.

As for me, the kettle calls!

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Maira Gall