Thursday, May 18, 2006

Have a Tea Party

Did you know that Philadelphians prefer tea over coffee, while New York prefers coffee over tea? I didn't either, until I heard a podcast from KYW on the subject of best places to get coffee and tea in the city. There was a nice gentleman from the Equal sweetener company who also insisted we mix Red Zinger (hibiscus) tea with Southern Comfort. Not really a morning person, I'd think.

Most of us are used to consuming bagged tea, mostly because loose tea is messy and we're not sure what to do with it. If you're thinking of making the fancy switch, you will need to start with a tea infuser of some sort. A tea ball (available from Remedy Tea Bar, 1628 Sansom St.), is very handy and easy to use, even if it does look like a microphone. I should also note that the people at Remedy take very kindly to people who are very new to the world of tea balls.

If you plan on having frequent tea parties, or just require more to your mornings, you should upgrade to a teapot with an infuser built in. The Bodum Tea Pot at Williams-Sonoma (200 S. Broad St.) is very basic, has a pleasing shape and a plunger that allows you to control the strength of the brew. The Flowering Tea Pot, also from Williams-Sonoma, is the Cirque du Soleil of tea- the included "tea flowers" bloom as they brew. The downside: The teapot is only 14-oz.

When you think of teacups, you normally think of porcelain. That's very nice, but I'm told it's not the most efficient material for consuming hot tea. Glass is the best, as it retains heat better than all other materials. Remedy has a selection of efficient tea-specific glassware, if you're so inclined.