Drinking tea at work is one of those things that sounds simple, but can be aggravating if not both easily accomplished and good tasting. I feel that it is well worth some time, effort and a little money to find a set-up that provides a perfect cup of tea any time throughout the workday.
As soon as I saw the For Life 14 oz. Café Style Tea for One I knew that it was the perfect tea accessory for work. I’ve had mine for several months and it has lived up to my expectations. Capacity of the top steeping section and the bottom cup section are the same, obviously, so after steeping I just pour from the top into the bottom. The steeped leaves are nicely contained in the upper portion with no messiness and when not in use the parts stack so that they take up less space. The steeping basket insert is stainless steel and easy to remove and clean. The spent leaves don’t dry and get harder to clean out even if accidentally left for a couple of days or over a weekend because they are not open to the air unless the lid is left up. I can’t imagine wanting one in any other color than red, but they are available in many other colors. The only place that I am sure carries them locally is Perennial Tea Room, but I’m sure there must be others.
The other thing I use at work is a slick little piece of freeware called Tea Timer. The program is, unfortunately, only available for the Macintosh. The interface is very simple, as it ought to be. The timer can be set for whatever length is needed, which is convenient when doing multiple infusions of the same leaves. When the timer goes off the software changes into an image of “Big Ben” and sounds a chime. It’s pretty charming and extremely convenient since I keep it easily accessed from the dock.
There are tea timer applications out there for Windows, but I have only been able to find inelegant ones like Tea Timer and Tea Timer. They launch and run in the system tray and flash an ugly window with sound when the time is up. Perhaps it’s just me, but I’d prefer to estimate steeping times than have to look at anything that looks like this:
Neither of these should be confused with Tea Timer, the useful component of SpyBot which, surprisingly enough, grew out of an application developed for timing the actual steeping of tea in the development lab.