Wednesday, 14 April 2010

tea cozy or Lapsang Souchong (whichever you prefer)

A cozy for your teapot was mentioned by a few people here, and I want to just run this up the flagpole...see if it flies.

It seems the deal with a tea cozy is very simple. Both Jeffrey and Jackie talked about them in the comments here recently, so I thought I'd mention my deal with the tea cozy. Philosophically, I'm ok with them. Theoretically even.

But I don't use one. And I have no intention of buying one. My mother has a funny one in the shape of a hen that I use whenever I'm visiting her. It's ok. The hen tea cozy always makes me smile.

The way I keep my tea warm isn't tea lights, but I've been known to use them. What I like most is a good thermos. I pour the hot water that I used to heat the teapot into the thermos to warm it while the tea is steeping. Then as soon as the timer goes off to alert me that my tea's ready, I dump the water that was warming the thermos and pour the tea in there.

Am sure some tea enthusiasts will tell me that I'm losing heat by transferring the tea from teapot to thermos, but I just really don't care. I love my Art Deco teapot and the tea seems to stay warmest the longest time in the thermos. Problem sorted.


Now that I read over this post, I'm a little concerned that this is even enough content to make a full post. Maybe I should tak about something else to make it a bit meatier.

Oh, I know.

A tea recommendation, yeah?

Lapsang Souchong. Someone mentioned it here or at or http://steepstercom, and I made a mental note that I wanted to write a few lines about this really tasty sort of tea. It's strong, so if you only like light Darjeelings and Chamomile tea, this isn't for you. It's smoky. Everything I read/hear about Lapsang Souchong is 'smoky'. In this case the reviews are accurate. It tastes strong, dark and definitely smoky.


  1. I have very strong opinions on Lapsang Souchong and they can all be summarised in 3 simple words viz. I HATE IT. It doesn't just taste smoky, it tastes OF SMOKE. Some reviews think it's delightful because 'it's like drinking a camplfire!' or some such. Well as it turns out I don't WANT to drink a campfire, I barely want to inhale it. I'm not a fan of delicate darjeelings either. I like my tea strong, and I want it to be able to hold its own when i grate a bit of cinnamon and/or ginger or crush a couple of cardamom seeds into it. I guess my main gripe with Lapsang Souchong, apart from the pollutionness of it is the fact that it doesn't really taste like tea.

    Sorry for the rant, I just have an honest-to-goodness standpoint here!

  2. Combining two recent threads - maintaining as much heat as possible is critical to black tea flavor. Once while skiing in Colorado we dined at a restaurant that was about 12000 ft alititude (3658m). We ordered tea and were warned - water boils at 190F (88C) at this altitude, so the tea won't be very good. It wasn't.

    I was a sceptic about the rules as well. "These pedantic Brits with all their rules about tea making, sheesh, don't they have anything better to do?" But each time I followed one more rule, the tea tasted better. So now I follow them all.

    Inlcuding a tea cozy. Not the most masculine of devices but I likes me tea hot. Our current model is a black Harrods with a cute pooch on it. I don't like cute so we have the pooch face the wall.

    We use a ceramic tea pot, so we warm it in the microwave. One minute, while the kettle is heating, then it stays under the tea cozy until the water is ready to pour.

  3. You know Radhika, I felt the same way the first time I had Lapsang Souchong. We have a decent British tearoom/restaurant here in Munich that serves it. I ordered a Kännchen (little pot) and honestly wanted to spit out the first sip.

    But because I'm geizig (stingy), I couldn't not drink the tea I was paying for. I drank the little pot and went my merry way.

    Every time I ordered tea there, I avoided it, but eventually tried it again. I have no idea how I gradually developed a taste for it. There are other flavors of both tea and food that I can't get used to or enjoy. Variety is the spice of life and all that, right?

    Bob, I think it's great that you've found a tea cozy you like. Jeffrey's is nice, and I'm sure despite the floral pattern on Jackie's that it is both functional and attractive.

  4. My family uses tea cozies, but it makes sense because they brew a big pot of tea and usually drink more than one cup after brewing it.

    It's interesting, I do not consider Lapsang Souchong to be a "strong" tea all around. It is true that it's very smoky (some would say overpoweringly so), but in every other way (bitterness, astringency, caffeine) it seems very mild. It's also made of larger leaves, lower down on the stem (not the usual two leaves and a bud) so it tends to have less caffeine. (more info that I've found on Lapsang Souchong)

  5. This is true, it just tastes unpleasant, but might not be 'strong' in the truest sense of the word. I am willing to give it another shot but remember only too vividly what it tasted like when I first had it, so it's not going to be me buying it. Same as my first taste of a *cringe* 'chai latte' *cringe* - that phrase makes me want to poke needles into my eardrums. Anyway - it wasn't me who got it, I just had a sip of it when my friend ordered it and it was one of the vilest things I've ever taken in. Frothy, unsweetened milk tea with cinnamom, in a tall glass. Forgive me, but - W.T.F.???

    (talk about going off topic, eh?)

  6. Although I'm not a Chai drinker, I try to keep an open mind when it's served.

    Glad you'll give Lapsang Souchong another chance. I looked at the link Alex provided and there's some interesting information there.

  7. My friend James told me about a great solution to the overly-smoky Lapsang Souchong mentioned above.

    He said brew your customary dark, strong breakfast tea and simply throw in a pinch or even a whole teaspoon of the Lapsang Souchong to spice up your normal pot.

    Was thrilled he had something to say on the subject, and I'll try his tip later this afternoon. I don't mind the taste of a whole pot of this tea, but I like the idea of doing what he recommended to help others into trying it.

  8. 'CHAI' MEANS 'TEA' it does NOT mean 'Spiced Tea' that is 'Masala Chai' and 'Masala Chai' LITERALLY means 'Spiced Tea' while 'CHAI' LITERALLY means 'TEA' - green, black, white, oolong - THEY'RE ALL CHAI

  9. I've heard this before but forgot. Chai simply means tea, and Masala Chai is the spiced tea.

    Ok. Hope I got that straight.

    I'm not a Masala Chai drinker then.