A cup of tea is easily one of the simplest, and most effective, ways to do just about anything: wind down, warm up, detox, increase your antioxidant intake, get to sleep, or perk up. There’s no need to get fancy with your tea time, but making an enjoyable habit out of it will help you drink more of it—meaning you’ll reap all those nutritional benefits. Here are 10 essential buys to help you make your daily ritual even better:
10 Essential Tea Accessories
1. Reusable tea strainer/infuser
A mesh tea stainer is a must-have for loose teas, as it allows the tea to steep without any pesky leaves or debris making their way into the water. Many different shapes and styles are available, including the classic type that hangs on the handle of your mug, as well as removable infusers you can set right in your cup.
2. Infuser Mug
If you’re okay using one dedicated mug for tea at home or work, a mug with an infuser built right in (most models allow you to pop it out for cleaning)—like this glass version—is a great option.
3. Tea kettle
I think I went about two years heating tea water in a pan on the stove—and getting annoyed every time—because I refused to spend money on a tea kettle. Do yourself a favor and buy one! Not only are they the easiest way to heat water, they can become part of your kitchen decor when left on the stove or a nearby shelf. Invest in a nice pot that’s easy to clean, a complementary color to your kitchen, the right size for your tea-drinking frequency, and that’s heavy duty (I’ve had more than one cheap pot get rusty or start sticking in the handle or spout).
4. Tea Pot or Press
If you regularly drink more than one cup and you don’t like heading back to the kitchen for a refill, a tea pot is a must. Some (like this adorable one) come with their own infusers, meaning you don’t need to spring for a separate mug infuser. If you’re serving several kinds of tea, use it without the infuser and steep the tea in your mugs.
5. Tea Press
If you’re a French press fanatic, they make presses for tea, too—like this modern-looking one from Bodum. The same plunger-style mechanism applies to your tea leaves as it does to your coffee: Once the leaves have steeped, press down on the plunger to stop the brewing.
6. Loose teas
Sometimes pre-bagged tea is more efficient or portable, but many tea drinkers swear by loose, whole-leaf tea (which contains higher grades and whole leaves, versus smaller pieces and fannings, or tea dust) for better flavor, quality and nutritional quality. Look for loose teas at local coffee and tea shops, in bulk at natural foods stores, or online. I’m a big fan of Plum Deluxe’s Organic Tea of the Month club. Read more on tea grading here.
7. Temperature-Controlled Tea Maker
Different teas have different recommended brewing temperatures and steeping times. If the stove isn’t cutting it for you, or you don’t want to approximate the temperature of your water, invest in a tea maker, which not only sets the right temperature and steep time for the tea you’re making—it agitates the leaves for you!
8. Sugar and Creamer Set
If you sweeten—or add cream or non-dairy milk—to your tea (and/or coffee), a cute creamer-sugar set is a must. We recommend black tea with a little almond milk and coconut sugar.
9. Brew Timer
If you tend to get distracted while waiting for your tea to brew, a timer will ensure you never over-steep.