Wednesday, November 22, 2017

A Cup of Tea

Thank you to everyone for your kind and thoughtful replies on my previous post. She was a wonderful mother and grandmother, always unfailingly kind. Things were difficult for a long time in the last few years, but everyone has so many good memories to hold on to. She was deeply loved. My family and I are doing well. 

Today's post is about a few items I bought recently for my desk at work, or that I plan to buy soon, all in service of my tea-drinking habit. I drink tea every day at work, usually going through three to four cups a day, enough that loose leaf is absolutely the only way, and the most cost-effective way, to go. It's an important part of my every workday, so it makes sense to treat myself to a few items to facilitate brewing and drinking tea at the office.

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This will show that I'm absolutely terrible sometimes when it comes to the sustainability and low or no waste-preferred components of minimalism, but at both of my private sector jobs so far, I've relied primarily on... disposable plastic or paper cups for water and tea or coffee. (I know, I know, it's awful of me, and I'm totally kicking myself!) In my partial defense, most of my time since graduation was spent as a government employee, where I used real mugs. The public sector doesn't provide constant, infinite refills of, well, either paper cups, or of coffee, unlike my private sector jobs. Anyway, I'll be better now, with the help of some of these recent purchases. None of this is too exciting, but it's all things that I know I'll be able to make good use of (that tea habit is definitely not going anywhere), and that will make my workday more enjoyable, even during my busiest periods:

  • Mr. Coffee Mug Warmer: This is a new item for me, but I've had it for a few days, and so far so good. The nature of the job means that I often get distracted by a call or a new task that just came up, so quite a few servings of coffee or tea that I prepare for myself get forgotten long enough that they get cold. I don't think I've ever found, or read about, a solution more elegant than an electric mug warmer, so there it goes. Reading the Amazon reviews, it seems that these tend to be a fairly clunky and failure-prone gadget, but I haven't had any issues so far, though, well, it's been a very short time. I'm going to need to be extremely careful about shutting this off whenever it's not in use and not using it for excessive periods of time, as there's some risk of it overheating. 
  • Silicone Drink Cover: These are not something that would normally be on my radar, as I spent more than a year at my last job without, but most of the reviews for the mug warmer suggest that a lid helps significantly with getting a hot drink to stay warm. I see a lot of similar silicon mug or cup covers at various stores, including when I'm traveling in Taiwan, so I figured they'd do the trick, and are generally useful. I picked one of these flower-looking Charles Viancin drink covers, specifically the sunflower ones. They're four inches across, which should be good for most mugs. These are also a new item for me, but are also good so far. 
  • A Pretty Mug or Two: Whatever else one thinks of Anthropologie (I feel like the clothes aren't as nice-looking as they used to be), they stock some of the prettiest and most fun mugs. Out of the current selection, I'm particularly partial to the Liberty floral printed mugs and the pretty Mimira mugs pictured above. I'll be getting something at Anthropologie in person the next chance I have to stop by, but for now I've purchased a Pusheen mug for my desk. I tend to keep both a cold and hot drink at my desk and drink, so having two reusable mugs is the right number for me. 
  • Metal Tea Infuser: I've used quite a few tea infusers or filters in my time, including the little mesh ball-shaped ones, paper tea filters (bad minimalist of me, again!), and even a silicone "manatea", which is absolutely adorable, but also not the most practical, as it's a little difficult to fully clean out and the really small holes seem to prevent some teas from brewing as well. From that set of experiences, I'm thinking that a larger cup-shaped metal filter, preferably one that comes with a little lid that also serves as a drip tray, is the way to go, something like this, though this one on Amazon is cheaper. 
  • Electric Kettle? This is a little more unusual, but I may also be thinking about getting an electric kettle for my office. Like at my first firm, there's a hot water dispenser at my new workplace, but the water doesn't seem hot enough to brew oolong tea, one of my go-to kinds, though it's hot enough for green tea, so I've been holding out for now. I bought and donated this basic metal Hamilton Beach kettle to my previous workplace and it was great and still going strong, though 1.7 liters is a little big if it's just me using it for single servings.

Anyone else a habitual tea drinker? Any favorite kinds? I usually just pick out one of the green teas from the fairly broad selection of loose leaf tea at a nearby supermarket, and I have a range of different oolongs from my trips to Taiwan that will take me quite some time to use up. 

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