What is Making me Happy: a tea infuser

Following the model of NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour and, to a lesser extent, the Make Me Smart daily podcast, I want to remind myself that there are things that bring me joy. These posts are meant to be quick hits that identify and/or recommend things—usually artistic or cultural, sometimes culinary—that are making me happy in a given week. I am making this quick format an intermittent feature.

This week: a tea infuser

I switched from coffee to tea a few years ago after it turned out that coffee was contributing to some health issues I was having. There are days when I really miss coffee (most of them end in y), but the pain was mitigated somewhat in that I also like tea, particularly varieties of largely unflavored black teas that I drink with just a little bit of milk—i.e., the same way that I like my coffee.

When I moved into my current office I had visions of a regular tea service that I could share with students. I brought an electric kettle, a ceramic mug, and a variety of tea bags. I drank some of these teas and did manage to give away some cookies last year, but the pandemic habits last year and so far this year mean that I haven’t yet shared a tea with anyone. Gradually I resigned myself to bringing a travel mug from home and sipping on that throughout the day. Satisfactory, if not satisfying.

A few weeks ago, I decided to invest in a tea set up for my office that I could enjoy more. After a little internet research, I settled on Adagio Tea’s ingenuiTEA, a 16 oz loose-leaf tea infuser that offers me a little tea ritual to perform every day in my office. One week in, and I am quite taken with this system.

A pot of tea steeping, earlier today.

The infuser is a clever little contraption. You place the tea leaves and water directly into the main compartment, which has a mesh strainer over the release mechanism. When the infuser is resting on a flat surface gravity holds the release valve in place, but it when it is placed over the top of a cup, that valve is pushed open and the tea drains out the bottom.

After the first infusion I just leave the leaves in place and use them for a second mug sometime later in the day. My biggest problem to this point is that I need to pace myself. A fun new toy and ready availability of a fresh brew means that I have been altogether too caffeinated this week.

The next step to this little adventure is going to be further exploring the world of loose leaf teas. I am currently drinking Harney and Sons’ English Breakfast, mostly because it was the loose leaf that I had available. But now that I have a fun new toy with which to make tea, I am starting to set my sights on other varieties of unflavored black tea. Suggestions for where to look are welcome—I just don’t like bergamot and often avoid additives altogether.

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