Tea is a magical beverage. It's a warm and cozy miracle that can turn a cold, rainy afternoon into a comforting and peaceful time of reflection. Drinking tea, saving money, and shopping for cute-yet-functional kitchen gadgets are three of my most favorite things. This list of tea lover must-haves will help you do all three at the same time!
Chef'n To Go Tea Tumbler: Okay, so it's not exactly dirt-cheap, but think how useful this would be! When I was in college, I always loved to take tea to class. But since I didn't have any kind of to-go cup, I had to dump hot water and a tea bag in a mason jar, screw on the lid so it wouldn't spill, and carry the whole thing to campus wrapped in a dishtowel so I wouldn't burn my hands. Lol. These days, I imagine this would be perfect for my subway commute to work. Its best feature? When your tea finishes steeping, you can just rotate the infuser to stop the brewing process! Available at Williams-Sonoma for $24.95.
OXO Twisting Tea Ball: If, like me, you can't get enough loose-leaf tea (bags are for losers!! #looseleaf4life!!) this is the perfect gadget for your kitchen. I want one for home, one for the office, one for my parents' house...you get the picture. It's a scoop and an infuser in one, so you can dip it into your looseleaf tea like a spoon, and then simply twist to close and stick it in some hot water! Apparently it can also be used to "sprinkle powdered sugar, cinnamon or spices over baked goods." My baked goods don't usually last long enough for any kind of sprinkling, but if that's your thing, this is the tea infuser for you. Also available from Williams-Sonoma, for $9.95.
These. Are. Adorable. Perfect as gifts, or to showcase your fun personality. They could also help introduce kids to the world of tea! My little sister loves to drink a cup of Vanilla Chamomile before bed; I'm sure she'd enjoy it even more if it came out of this adorable Manatea Tea Infuser, available from Urban Outfitters for just $14! For all you sloth lovers out there, they've also got the incredible Slow Brew Sloth Tea Infuser, also for $14 from Urban Outfitters.
If manatees and sloths aren't your cup of tea (heh heh...) ModCloth has this great squirrel infuser with a hollow bushy tail! It's called the Finders Steepers Infuser, and it's 14.99.
There are plenty of punny, non-animal tea infusers out there, too. One of my personal favorites is the Fred and Friends Deep Tea Diver. You can get it on Amazon for $8.68.
Set of Two Tea Strainers, Medium and Large: Although these simple tea strainers aren't ideal for tea on the go or making more than one cup at a time, they certainly will get the job done for a quiet solo tea at home. Simple and elegant, these sweet little strainers are adorned with a charming teapot design. They're dishwasher safe, and their fine mesh baskets will work with any kind of looseleaf tea. Available from Williams-Sonoma for $12.95.
Fox Run 2-Inch Tea Strainer: Basically a cheaper, less elegant but still functional version of the Williams-Sonoma strainers above. It's two inches in diameter, but thanks to its long handle, it should work with any size cup. Only $5.80 from Amazon.
Stainless-Steel Lemon Wedge Infuser: I think this would make a lovely and refined gift for a tea lover of any age! It's got a small hook that anchors it to the side of your cup for easy removal. Also dishwasher safe. Very cute! Available from Williams-Sonoma for $12.95.
Floating Flower Tea Infusers: I've used these adorable IKEA infusers in person, and I can attest: they really work, and they're adorable! It's so cute having a little flower bobbing in your teacup. Opening them to clean them is quite simple; the flower and metal parts just snap apart. An amazing extra feature is that they're double sided, so that when your tea is all ready, you can take the infuser out of your cup and place it on the table flower-side-down, and the extra liquid will stay contained in the plastic flower instead of dripping all over. A 2-pack (pink and yellow) is only $3.99 from IKEA.
For A Crowd
Bodum Assam Tea Press: No tea party is complete without a beautiful teapot! The two I've picked here both have infusers built-in, which makes brewing multiple cups of tea easy as pie. This one is made of heat-resistant clear glass and stainless steel, and the infuser features a design a lot like a French press, so that when your tea is done steeping, a quick press of the plunger will bring the brewing process to a halt. It's dishwasher and microwave safe, and just gorgeous. The only problem is that it's a bit pricey, but if you're a real tea fanatic, it could be worth it! $39.95 from Crate and Barrel.
Riklig Glass Teapot: Here's a less expensive IKEA version of the pot above. This one's also made of glass, but unfortunately, it's only available in-store. $14.99 at IKEA.
I hope you found some tea accessories you like! These items could make amazing gifts for friends, parents, and grandparents who like tea – last Christmas, I got my grandfather (who drinks green tea every single day) a cute infuser, a mug, and a satchet of a delicious floral green tea. Until then, he had only tried teabags, but after seeing how easy and worth it looseleaf tea is, he's never looked back. :) Hope you enjoyed this long post! Cheers!