If tea’s your bag, then we’ve some gear for you

The Province - - HOMES - KIM COOK THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Tea lovers are in­clined to brew a cuppa any time of year, but es­pe­cially now in the dead of win­ter. Time to put the ket­tle on and savour the warm, sooth­ing flavour of steeped tea leaves. Luck­ily, su­per­mar­kets and spe­cial­ized shops are full of the fra­grant dried leaves in both loose and bag form. And there’s gear ga­lore for those in­ter­ested in pre­par­ing and savour­ing a de­li­cious cup­ful.

Yix­ing Chi­nese teapots are made of or­ganic zisha clay that’s free of lead, ar­senic, cad­mium and other toxic sub­stances and have a nat­u­ral plas­tic­ity that makes it easy to mould. Mrs. Lin’s Kitchen of­fers one with the spout and han­dle crafted in the shape of a branch in win­ter.

Good Life Tea has a smart and sturdy teapot with a sim­ple mod­ern de­sign. It comes in fun colours like man­darin, lime, turquoise, pur­ple and blue. Here, too, is a range of tra­di­tional Ja­panese iron teapots, in­clud­ing a gift set that in­cludes a cast-iron teapot with a dragon­fly mo­tif, a trivet, two cups and two tea tins cov­ered in hand­made washi pa­per and filled with Jas­mine Pearls and Gyokuro green teas.

CB2’s teaware col­lec­tion in­cludes a re­ac­tive, iri­des­cent, glazed teapot and a stain­less-steel can­is­ter fin­ished in ei­ther cop­per or gold for stor­ing your teas. You can put on a show at tea time with the Betty teapot, made of ul­tra-durable beaker glass. A re­mov­able glass in­fuser perches in its belly, ready to be filled with loose tea.

A pretty ad­di­tion to a clear pot: Good Life Tea’s flow­er­ing tea — a blend of lily, jas­mine and os­man­thus dried into a pod that un­folds into a mini gar­den in the pot when you add hot (not boil­ing) water.

Stove­top or elec­tric ket­tle? There are stylish op­tions ei­ther way. Smeg’s retro-style ket­tle comes in colours like cream, red, pas­tel green and black and in an elec­tric or vari­able tem­per­a­ture ver­sion.

Stephen Twin­ing, a 10th-gen­er­a­tion mem­ber of the Twin­ings tea-mak­ing fam­ily, has some pro tips for per­fectly brewed tea:

■ Use fresh, cold water. “Never re­use al­ready boiled water.”

■ Never let the water over­boil. “In do­ing so, you’ll cause the oxy­gen in the water to be re­duced, mak­ing the tea taste ‘flat.’”

■ Pour the water over the tea bag. “Place the bag in the mug first and then pour the boil­ing water over it.”

■ Let the tea bag sit. Twin­ing says it’s best to let it sit and steep rather than dunk it or squeeze it.

■ Be pa­tient. “I rec­om­mend let­ting it steep for a full four min­utes.”

How­ever, green tea is ready in two, oo­long in three and chai in five. Im­pa­tient sorts should go with white tea, for which a quick one minute of brew­ing will suf­fice.

— GOOD LIFE TEA

Good Life Tea of­fer Ja­panese-style, cast-iron teapots in fun colours.

— CB2

The see-through Betty teapot from CB2 is made of durable lab-grade beaker glass.

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