Monday, November 4, 2013

Brothers K and the ingenuiTEA gadget

{ "ingenuiTEA, with Russian novel and office window,"
media mixed with afternoon sunlight, 2013 } 

As many of you have surmised from my last post several weeks ago, I am now a teacher of English literature. And I have an office that is not embedded in my home, which is a giant plus for me, forcing me out of my cave and into the wide world. I find it a bit exhausting, because PEOPLE. You've perhaps noticed that I avoid taking pictures, because I don't have some cool macro lens, and my knowledge of photography is limited to . . . well, the above. But it's a moment I caught, with sunlight, tea, and Russian literature combining pleasingly.

Because I'm in an office, I've been casting about for a way to make tea that isn't completely hopeless.

I'll tell you about the tea later. Today I'll focus on the ingenuiTEA, which is available through my friends at Adagio Teas.

Happily, there are many tea gadgets out there, ranging from amusing tea balls, to mini French presses, to cast-iron tetsubin with mesh baskets for the tea to float about in. This is a testimony to the growing tea culture in the US and elsewhere, and it behooves us to take advantage of these fun accouterments to our tea-drinking experience.

The ingenuiTEA is one of several similar devices, sold by a number of online tea marketers, which are a boon to the office-working tea drinker. The device above is made of clear plastic, and it has a removable mesh strainer for easy cleaning. It invariably makes the students and staff ooh and ahh over how cute it is. The ladies, that is. The young guys do not ooh and ahh over anything, but they do try to ask me questions about tea so that they don't have to discuss 19th-century Russian literature.

I brought the ingenuiTEA and a Darjeeling oolong to class recently, and I gave the students a point on their test if they could guess where it came from. Several of them got it right, just by sheer luck.

Adagio's device is an open container into which I can pour my boiling water, and the tea leaves have plenty of open space to steep. Once they're ready, I place it on top of a cup, and a cleverly hidden lever inside opens a sluice through which the tea pours into the cup below. I've discovered how much my cup will take, so I don't overflow as much anymore and endanger my computer hardware.

I like gongfu cha, and I also like convenience when I'm at work. This thing sits at that sweet spot, where I don't have to bring in a complex set of teaware to get a decent cup of tea, and it takes what seems like a rather complex system I have at home and simplifies it for the workplace, where mucking about with six or seven different implements just isn't practical.

It won't replace my precious purple-clay teapots or my gaiwan and tea table, but it's just right for making a cup of tea that honestly tastes almost the same (particularly because I use good water that I've purified using Japanese white charcoal, as well as decent tea), and it makes my afternoons much better.

If you haven't experimented with such a device, please drop by their website and try one out.