So now I’ve mentioned it. You may carry on.
I admit, I got them only because they looked so striking. Usually I pass up tea infusers like Tovolo’s lolipop design here, because they are hard to fill with enough loose leaf tea and don’t really allow enough room for the tea leaves to expand. This design is not exception, but darn it, it just looks so delicious. Yum.
On the other hand, in-mug infuser work really well. This design is pretty and the strainer doesn’t stain, but I found that the sides of the strainer drip down outside of the little base to set it in. Still, I like this one and I can just set the base on a small plate. (Another trick is to set a used infuser on/in a small Asian soy sauce bowl.)
Unfortunately it appears I’m too late to get the version with the cute little top hat. According to an archived post at DVICE and Popgadget these were available from Signals back in October of 2007. They’re still available from Amazon.com, but without the hat. Rats. It’s just what my Linux-loving, geeky heart desires. And he really looks spiffy in the hat.
Yet another sexy tea maker, this one from Eva Solo, comes with it very own little neoprene jacket:
Available from Amazon.com:
The tea brewer features a unique, patented filter system and a drip-free spout with flip-top lid that snaps open automatically for easy pouring. Insulated, zippered cover keeps tea hot.
Unfortunately, it’s pricey ($140) and most of the reviews I’ve seen of this item have been fairly negative. Apparently the mechanism for stopping the brewing process doesn’t work as it should. That’s too bad, because the design is lovely, and I’d be tempted to add it to my collection, even if I didn’t use it much.
I’m in love.
One of my favorite online tea stores (fantastic service, great community and cool tea ware – though can be a bit pricey), adagio teas, has put together a section of the site that allows customers to make unique blends for thier online tea store . (As an aside – adagio teas seems to understand how to use social media for it’s business model, with Twitter-delivered coupons and updates, video tea reviews and a vibrant online tea community.) With over 3700 blends, there’s not only a lot to choose from, but ample evidence that tea lovers like to experiment with flavor.
But what really won over my geeky little heart was the set of twenty-six Signature Blends by Austin Browncoats, (a fan organization turned 501(c)(3) non-profit fundraiser organization for charities.)
How can I possibly resist Serenitea: Kaylee:
“Goin’ on a year now I ain’t had nothin’ twixt my nethers weren’t run on batteries!” Well, don’t you worry any longer about twixed nethers, because this tea is sheer happiness in a cup. A perfect combination for our favorite ship’s mechanic: a red vanilla tea with lots of wild strawberries. This is a “glass half full” kind of dessert tea, and we think Kaylee would call it “shiny!” (rooibos vanilla, wild strawberry)
Or Serenitea: River:
“You take care of me, Simon. You’ve always taken care of me. My turn.” Once River was able to make sense of the memories that weren’t hers to carry, she was able to see things with some well deserved clarity. And kick a whole lot of reaver butt! While we hope the fruity oaty bar jingle will no longer cause her to go all kick crazy on innocent bystanders, we have a feeling this brilliantly complex character is still a might unpredictable. This blend melds together black teas from different regions, allowing a deep, smoky background which is fused with the sweet, sultriness of caramel and the delightful unexpected addition of almonds. Dark, sweet and just a tad bit nutty, just like River. (ceylon sonata, peach, apple)
or even Serenitea: Jayne:
‘Sure would be nice to have some grenades right now!’ Ok, so maybe not grenades, but how about a bold tea, strong enough for the Hero of Canton? This tea is mostly Assam which gives the cup a nice reddish tinge (and as River notes ‘he looks better in red’). Throw in a bit of chestnut and the smoky, tobacco taste of lapsang souchong and we think we have Jayne figured out: always in a bit of trouble, kinda crazy and definitely an acquired taste. (assam melody, chestnut, lapsang souchong)
The blends seem to be thoughtful combinations that would be a delightful tour through the many varieties of tea even without the wonderfully quirky Firefly theme. I’m hoping adagio teas decides to go with my suggestion to offer 1 oz sizes of the custom blends, since I’d love to try this whole set, as well as many others by fellow tea lovers, albeit in smaller “taste-test” amounts.
P.S. You can check out the Austin Browncoat’s web site here.