I seem to recall Elizabeth was traveling, and worried about the availability of her preferred caffeinated bubble diet cola, and loves Assam tea[en.WP], so I decided to put together a cute travel tea kit. Or maybe that was later. Or something.
Anyway, this little unit has become my favourite thing the past few months as I have (threatened by scalpels) given up coffee. I make 3-4 pots each morning – small pots, less than a full pint. The leaves are still warm when I chuck them to prepare the next pot.
I drink a lot of caffeine.
And this strainer just keeps on working. It cleans up easily, which is probably the best I have ever said about a tea strainer. The little carry case is a bit bulky, and I am sure it will die relatively soon during my perigrinations – I am a terribly abusive traveler, forcing bags into small spaces, throwing them across rooms, etc. But while it survives (and it is brilliantly engineered to gain strength from the strainer inside) it makes a superb traveling companion, able to be used with random hotel-room and travel mugs and even re-used paper cups.
Of course one does need a small travel tin of loose-leaf tea; the little 2 oz. one has a few dings but it was less than $4 CAD. I keep thinking I should get another, filled with sugar packets and those little cups of ultra-pasteurized coffee cream (not the sweetened non-dairy creamer.)
My experience with kits for making tea away from home have been mostly miss with an occasional hit. Honestly, foil pack tea bags are probably more logical. But making tea on the road is a moment to de-stress, and taking the time to get out ‘your’ tea things, the several steps to prepare your cuppa, these are little pleasures to get a bit of perspective. When flying, my kit includes the tin of tea and the strainer. When driving I have the luxury of also bringing a large travel mug (which doubles as the tea pot) and my tiny electric kettle, to ensure I have a source of boiling water that doesn’t taste like it rinsed a coffee pot on the way to tea pot.
Super-important side note: Pack a spoon in your kit for measuring your leaves. First, most hotel rooms have zero cutlery available. Second, you know how much tea is needed with your own spoon, but some random plastic spork you found en route? an unfortunate ratio is highly probable.