… for a new teapot. Deana suggests the new Clara from Bodum:

I like, I like, but not sure that I need a kettle so much as a capacious pot. Suggestions?

None so tasty as my yum cha, but tasty nonetheless — if you’re in NYC, keep track of your favorite brewskis with Beer Menus. Looks like the most promising venue near my office (in Midtown East) is CB Six, with 16 varieties on tap and 106 different bottles. Cheers!

Tomorrow? I’m totally going to the Coffee and Tea Festival (Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 W. 18th St., between 6th and 7th Avenues), even if a day pass is $20. It promises:

  • Coffee and tea sampling
  • Lectures / Classes
  • Shopping
  • Contests
  • Demonstrations
  • Art
  • Java/Tea Lounge with music & entertainment
  • Funds will be raised for the official event charity, Cup for Education

If you’re in NY, come! I’ll be there with bells on. OK, not really. I’ll probably wear all black like I always do. But you get the picture.

…but it doesn’t stop me from dreaming about tea-themed goodies, like this print from RansomStone on Etsy:

Cool piece in the Indian Express on a tribe that’s gone from subsisting on sales of pulses to positioning the coffee it grows as a brand symbolizing sustainable development in emerging markets:

The foundation helped the around 8,000 tribals of the valley organise themselves into the Small and Marginal Farmer Mutually-Aided Cooperative Society, with support from the Green Development Foundation of the Netherlands, and assisted them in setting up a coffee processing plant with machinery imported from the UK.

The Tribal Cooperative set up by the farmers happens to be the only cooperative in the country to have both fair trade and organic trade certification.

Although the tea culture in India seems much more entrenched than the coffee culture, there’s a surprisingly long coffee tradition:

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… for the perfect teapot. The spout of ours lamentably broke. I am mopping up a lot of spilled tea these days, and that’s just a pity. I’d love to get the Black Forest Teapot (by Bodo Sperlein for Dibbern), but it’s $185. And I’m pretty clumsy; my butterfingers are classic.

A group in Indore, Madhya Pradesh, India, just set the world record for the largest tea party — 32,000 people gathered for a ritual cuppa, breaking the record previously set in Japan.

“From an industrialist to the man on the street, a cup of tea is a major bonding factor in India,” said Sanjay Mani, general manager of the Dainik Bhaskar newspaper, which helped arrange the event.

Darjeeling, anyone?

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Current obsession? Making my morning brew in a Mono Fillio 50-ounce pot. Now, if only I could justify spending $139 on a tea accessory …

BoingBoing Gadgets highlights a new gizmo that heats water for your cuppa in three seconds. Not exactly sure why it’s necessary — my electric kettle only takes a minute or two to heat up my water, and I’ve never felt unduly put out by those 57 extra seconds — but if you’re an extravagant spender, or incredibly impatient, or a collector of all things tea-related, I suppose the Tefal QuickCup’s sorta neat.

One of my latest guilty pleasures has been doing Google Book searches on my favorite topics. A search for “tea” yielded a full scan of Kakuzo Okakura’s The Book of Tea, a meditation upon the social meaning of the beverage (particularly in Japan, but larger meaning can certainly be extrapolated). Okakura writes:

Teaism is a cult founded on the adoration of the beautiful among the ordinary facts of everyday existence. It inculcates purity and harmony, the mystery of mutual charity, the romanticism of the social order. It is essentially a worship of the Imperfect, as it is a tender attempt to accomplish something possible in this impossible thing we know as life. … [W]hen we consider how small after all the cup of human enjoyment is, how easily drained to the dregs in our quenchless thirst for infinity, we shall not blame ourselves for making so much of the tea-cup.

Okakura also offers insight on the foibles of globalization (applicable, still, 100 years after he penned this tome):

Unfortunately the Western attitude is unfavorable to the understanding of the East. The Christian missionary goes to impart, but not to receive. Your information is based on the meagre translations of our immense literature, if not the unreliable anecdotes of passing travellers.

(And, an addendum in the form of a cool link: the National Institute of Health has an interesting collection of info on America’s tea craze, which blossomed right around the time Okakura’s book came out.)

An MP in the U.K. has called for the introduction of tea trolleys — manned by a bevy of beautiful young ladies, natch — at airports as a salve for weary travelers.

The managing director for Waitrose, who also supports the idea, said, “I do a lot of foreign travel and I have been progressively disappointed with how poor it feels when you return home. The whole experience is pretty bleak. I thought wouldn’t it be nice if, when you arrived in the UK, you were greeted with a nice cup of tea.”

But for the concomitant sexism, I’d say it’s not a half-bad notion.


Photo courtesy Flickr’s cheesebikini, licensed via Creative Commons

NYT offers a neat piece on the siphon bar, a glorified coffee-brewing machine from Japan that retails for $20,000.

I’m happy with my Aeropress (a bargain at $25.95!), but the artisanal brewing fad is intriguing. One question — just how much does a single cup cost?

Anyone have an extra hundred or so bones for indulging in this lust-worthy new pot? 

Joey Roth‘s Sorapot is a marvel: a bit mod for my taste (I’m over stainless steel), but I’m not sure if I’ve seen such an imaginative wholesale rethinking of a ubiquitous kitchen utensil.

I can’t tell if this is a joke or not, but if it isn’t … well, you better believe I’ll be paying an outrageous $24.99 to taste 100% monkey-picked tea. That’s right: tea. Picked by monkeys.

Think Geek notes:

The legendary flavor is something that can only be tasted to be believed. Monkey Picked Tea is truly in a class by itself. Full of antioxidants, this tea will calm your soul, temper your spirit, and put you in divine touch with your monkey ancestors.

This one time, when I went up in the Himalayas and stayed in a town that boasts the world’s highest cricket grounds, we were packing up the car to leave our hotel and left the car’s hatch open. My partner was in the lobby, settling the bills, and I carted our pillows outside — when I realized that there were three huge monkeys galloping full speed to our measly little car. One was already sitting in the drivers seat, looking about five seconds away from buckling himself in and careering off down the winding mountain roads. No head for self-preservation, I ran shrieking toward the monkeys, which then set off a chain reaction of hotel employees gasping and sputtering in Hindi about how dangerous the primates were. At that point, the whole thing became a blur, but somehow, someone (possibly with the aid of a large stick and/or delicious foodstuffs) extricated the monkey from our vehicle. I still don’t entirely trust them, but who knows? Perhaps they have a discerning palate for a good first flush.

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I already have more teacups (and teapots) than is necessary for any well-adjusted 24-year-old woman, but I just can’t stop myself when I see something that would enhance the drinking ritual. From Bits and Pieces: Heart-shaped teacup and saucer! Only (OK, only?) $12.99, or two or more for $9.99 each! Ooh la la!

(They also have a fun 3D jigsaw puzzle of a teapot and cup. Mmm. Gifties.)

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 Interesting (quick) read on Bloomberg about a pretty sizeable drop in tea exports from India. Exports are down 24%, attributable partly to the rupee’s appreciation and partly to an increase in supplies from Kenya.

What are Kenyan teas like? Anyone tried? Can you get all tea snob and check out their estate wares like you can with Makaibari, &c.?

(Picture is from trip to Dharamsala in February — it’s always tea o’clock in my house!)