Tea Cabinet Tour

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As promised, here’s the tour of our tea cabinet.  It is literally a cabinet – and entire section of the kitchen devoted just to tea.


First, and most importantly, we have two tea pots.  Tea tastes better when it’s made in a tea pot (just like margaritas are yummier if they’re in proper margarita glasses – right?!). 


I prefer the pot on the left because our Tower of London pot is hard to clean, although it is very cute.


The other key accessories include:


A strainer – again, trust me – loose leaf tea really tastes better than the bags.


And a tea timer.  Lighter, more delicate teas generally require a shorter steeping time.  Bolder teas need more time to really settle into the flavor.  But all teas taste like crap if they brew for too long – they become all bitter and yucky.  Hence, the need for a timer.  Tea is a science!



To boil the water, we use an electric kettle.  If you do not own an electric kettle and make tea frequently, I HIGHLY suggest buying one.  They are so convenient and much more efficient than boiling water on the stove.


While the water is boiling, I scoop the tea into the pot (side note: some people say you must scald the pot first with boiling water – maybe their taste buds are more sensitive than mine, but I don’t noticed a different when I do this). 


Right now, our three main teas include Keemun (a black Chinese tea), a berry and green tea blend, and China Breakfast.  We keep them in Teavana containers, which keep air and moisture out.


We have a few other teas, including some bagged teas that I’ll use if I’m feeling lazy and don’t want to dirty the teapot.  But quite honestly, it’s a rare moment when there is not a dirty teapot sitting in my kitchen sink.


Regardless of what tea I brew, I’ll usually mix in local honey (and sometimes cream, too – China Breakfast is great with cream).  The whipped honey from Cloister Honey is the best honey that I’ve ever tasted.


Oh, and a little trick:  keep your tea cups, saucers, and spoons in the same spot as your tea supplies.  I love being able to brew my tea and prep my cup in the same area…. especially in the morning when I haven’t had a caffeine fix yet.


I’m sure some tea collections are much more extensive than ours, but that’s the tour of our beloved tea cabinet!


Time to debate:  tea or coffee?  Which is better?  Two years ago, I would’ve been firmly in the coffee camp, but now I’m a tea lover.  I’ve been converted!



  • shae April 14, 2012, 6:36 pm

    I’m a member of Greenpeace and just saw this on the Twitter feed the other day…have you seen it?

    • CaitlinHTP April 14, 2012, 6:47 pm

      Grosssss. I buy organic teas anyway, but that’s yucky… for the tea drinkers and the environment. Tea tastes better without pesticides. 🙂

  • Katie @ Peace Love & Oats April 14, 2012, 6:38 pm

    you are pretty serious!! I prefer coffee, although I do like that tea has so many flavor options when I’m in the mood for them. I did get a strainer this past summer when I decided to buy my favorite flavor of tea in loose leaf form, rather than paying $3 for a small cup whenever I wanted some!

  • Hillary April 14, 2012, 6:38 pm

    It would be very, very hard for me to give up my coffee. I just love the taste of it—and the caffeine is nice, too ; )

  • Lea April 14, 2012, 6:39 pm

    I’ve been a long time coffee lover, but tea is starting to grow on me, there are so many fun flavors and styles. My favorite at the moment is Yogi’s Kava Stress Relief tea, it’s so good!

  • Dynamics April 14, 2012, 6:41 pm

    I bought a tea pot but realized I could not leave the second cup of tea in the pot. What do you do to keep it warm? Will this make you cringe? I drink my tea out of my mason jar glass.

    • CaitlinHTP April 14, 2012, 6:46 pm

      I pour my second cup of tea out of the pot and into a second cup, and then I put the tea lid over top of it to keep it warm. 🙂

      I drink everything out of mason jars!!!

  • Whitney @ Whit Likes Fit April 14, 2012, 6:49 pm

    I have tried and tried and tried to like tea. I swear I’ve tasted every tea known to man but now matter what I try and what I add to it, I hate it. Bums me out because I wish I enjoyed it. But no luck. For me, it’s coffee all the way.

  • Nina April 14, 2012, 6:51 pm

    Are you drinking any teas for pregnancy? I blend a lot of medicinal herbal teas and think a nice prego tea would be a nice addition to your cabinet :-). As for tea or coffee, I drink both, sort of. I get my caffeine from coffee and pretty much exclusively drink herbal teas.

    • CaitlinHTP April 15, 2012, 9:26 pm

      I’m drinking everything but chamomile because my midwife told me to avoid it!

  • Tara April 14, 2012, 6:56 pm

    I don’t think I could pick between tea or coffee, it really depends on my mood or the day!

    I agree, loose leaf tea is the only way to go! Have you tried teavana’s perfect tea maker? I love mine and don’t think I could go back to a regular mesh strainer.


  • Angela April 14, 2012, 6:59 pm

    Coffee for me. I love it!

    I was surprised at the specific mention of kettles. Are they not common appliances in the US? As a Brit I can’t imagine having a kitchen without one.

    • Pam April 14, 2012, 8:10 pm

      I thought this too… we have had an electric kettle forever, I can’t imagine not having one (I’m a Canadian – and growing up in Nova Scotia, my parents always had tea on, and now as an adult I still drink a lot of tea)

    • Rebecca April 14, 2012, 8:24 pm

      I didn’t really know specific tea kettles even existed until I started watching a (British) YouTuber who uses one… So no. I don’t think they’re super common here. I feel like most people heat water in a pot or in the microwave.

    • Nina April 14, 2012, 9:19 pm

      The idea of making tea to me is more about slowing down, so I’m not really in a rush. I’ve got a stovetop kettle.

    • CaitlinHTP April 15, 2012, 9:25 pm

      No! Not common at all. I had never seen one until I met my mother in law (a Brit).

      • Pam April 16, 2012, 3:06 pm

        This just blows my mind! I had no idea that they were not common elsewhere.

  • Sana April 14, 2012, 7:30 pm

    I love both coffee and tea 🙂 Both are warm and soothing.

  • Leatitia @ The Sweetest Year April 14, 2012, 7:31 pm

    Thanks for the 101 crash course on tea! I love your Tea Timer! Where did you get it?

    • CaitlinHTP April 15, 2012, 9:25 pm

      I think Teavana – there’s a link at the end of the comment section with a similar timer.

  • Stephanie @ Legally Blinde April 14, 2012, 8:02 pm

    I love Teavana! I’ve got a few teas from there, and I swear one tastes just like graham crackers. Yum! Whenever I’m at a mall with a Teavana, I have to stop in and try all of the samples. I drink coffee and tea – usually coffee for my caffeine fix, and tea at night. It depends on the mood I’m in, though!

    • jen May 6, 2012, 8:04 am

      Stephanie- can you tell me which flavor tastes like graham crackers?! sounds so delish! thanks 🙂

  • maria in moderation April 14, 2012, 8:04 pm

    I love tea–but I always but it bagged for convenience sake.

  • Jen April 14, 2012, 8:21 pm

    I like both coffee and tea; it depends on my mood, sometimes I’ll go weeks drinking only one or the other. My favorite tea is Barry’s Irish breakfast tea, but I always take the free samples of the white chai at Teavana. Soooo good, I’d buy it if it weren’t so expensive!

  • Rebecca April 14, 2012, 8:25 pm

    I’m not a fan of either, actually. Heh. My dad drinks coffee, and my mom drinks tea mostly.
    I did buy my mom a Teavana Tumbler (pretty sure it was Teavana) for her birthday, though. Her only complaint when I asked her after she’d used it some was that she can’t heat her water as much before putting it in the tumbler or it’s too hot! Other than that, she likes it, I guess. 🙂

  • Debbie April 14, 2012, 8:37 pm

    I took a class about 20 years ago:How To Brew A Proper Cup Of Tea. Been hooked ever since! I just started drinking coffee about 7 years ago. Where did you get your timer? I’ve never seen one like that!

    • CaitlinHTP April 15, 2012, 9:24 pm

      I think we got it at Teavana.

  • jassy @ Healthy Egg April 14, 2012, 9:05 pm

    hot tea i really could’nt take but coffee i can. but both contain xanthines which could be converted to uric acid so i avoid both now 🙂

  • Catalina @ Cake with Love April 14, 2012, 9:08 pm

    I am a tea lover, we have home at least 12 different loose leaf teas 🙂

  • Laura @ She Eats Well April 14, 2012, 9:19 pm

    This was a really fun post. I am convinced I need more tea supplies now. I usually use bagged tea but I would love to venture into trying the loose leaf and also, buy a tea lid :). The best tea I’ve ever had is at Mariage Freres in Paris. They sell the tea in the states but it’s kind of pricey…

  • Colleen April 14, 2012, 9:24 pm

    I love both. Green tea is the only way I can get through the cold months.

  • Caitlin @ This Bride's Joyride April 14, 2012, 9:36 pm

    Coffee all the way! I love a cup of tea at night to relax, but I can’t imagine my morning without a cup of coffee.

  • BroccoliHut April 14, 2012, 9:45 pm

    I periodically go through coffee kicks, but I always end up returning to my beloved herbal and green teas. They’re just so comforting and all-around lovely in comparison to coffee that leaves me feeling jittery.

  • Tracy April 14, 2012, 10:25 pm

    Both! 🙂

  • Katie @ Soulshine and Sassafras April 15, 2012, 12:16 am

    I like coffee, but I’m definitely a tea drinker. It has more health benefits and has way more different flavors (I currently have about 25 different types of tea. It’s stupid). Also, I react to mild doses of caffeine like a cocaine junkie, so I can’t really handle very much coffee.

  • Lindsay Loves Veggies April 15, 2012, 12:51 am

    Wow! You just made me really want to go out and buy everything so I can make yummy loose leaf tea now! It all looks so good! 🙂

  • Jen April 15, 2012, 12:55 am

    I’m a tea girl. I’ll have a coffee in the morning to wake me up, but nothing beats a freshly brewed cuppa tea when I’m sick, stressed, happy, sad, just watching tv…I heart my tea.

  • Emma April 15, 2012, 5:20 am

    You know you should never, ever wash a teapot! Similar to a cast iron wok, over time the tea seasons the pot and improves the flavour of your brew.

    I’m from England so I know what I’m talking about. 😉

    • CaitlinHTP April 15, 2012, 9:24 pm

      Nice. I never wash my teapots anyway so I’m in the clear LOL

  • Emily April 15, 2012, 5:45 am

    I’m English and this post is so funny!

    Firstly, the concept of not owning an electric kettle is just out there. I doubt there is a house in England that doesn’t have an electric kettle. Most people have a spare in he cupboard for just in case.

    Also, I’m sure loose-leaf is better, but most people here just use tea bags. Maybe we have a better market for tea bags here? And since people tend to drink 4+ cups a day, its mostly done in the cup not a teapot.

    I’ve also never seen a tea timer. Most people just go by colour or instinct!

    Your husband needs to introduce you to builder’s tea, which is what I would estimate to be the most popular kind here.

    The worst one I know is a brickie who drinks about 10 cups of tea a day (why do builders have so many breaks?) and refuses to contemplate less than 8 sugars in each.

    • Nic Dempsey April 15, 2012, 6:33 am

      I’m English too and can’t imagine not having an electric kettle, it’s an essential part of every kitchen, although I haven’t gone as far as having a spare in the cupboard!
      I drink a lot of herbal tea and put the bag in the pot and that makes the clean up easier and tastes better! My favourite proper tea is darjeeling but I don’t take milk or sugar in my tea or coffee because then it just tastes of milk and sugar, I am resigned to the idea that this makes me odd (well here it does!) I’ve never heard of anyone putting cream in their tea though.
      Of course we also have a tea council http://www.tea.co.uk/

  • Cat April 15, 2012, 7:29 am

    Love your tea cabinet Caitlin! I’m from the UK too and my mum taught me to scald the teapot, the main reason being to heat up the teapot before adding the tea so that minimal heat is lost when you add the boiling water. Black tea is best done with freshly boiled water and if a lot of heat is lost when you add the water then it will take longer 🙂

  • Emily April 15, 2012, 7:52 am

    I don’t think I’m either. Though I do like a good peppermint tea, have you tried that? And Chai Latte with cinnamon sugar and a pinch of nutmeg – “practically perfect in every way” (Mary Poppins, 1963). I’m definitely a hot chocolate or Milo person besides those excemptions though.

  • Marla April 15, 2012, 7:56 am

    Ever since I gave up coffee on a dare from a friend
    ( started one month, grew to over 5 yrs. now) I have
    become addicted to loose leaf gunpowder green tea, but only
    certain types. I drink 2-3 mugs of it in morn and at least 1 in aft slump
    ( in evening drink herbal tisanes such as lemon chamomile ,
    peppermint or sometimes rooibos tea which has no caffeine).
    Still inhale deeply when I smell high quality coffee in a nice cafe-
    what a fantastic smell. Enjoy not having the headaches I used to get when I didn’t get my morning coffee, although I had horrible
    headaches for 2 weeks during ” withdrawal”…
    Ok my passion for gunpowder green tea is evident by this essay !!

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin April 15, 2012, 7:57 am

    I love both! But I drink tea way more often because I only drink coffee with breakfast, then switch to tea for the rest of the day. Lately I’ve been on a licorice tea kick – it’s so good!

  • Earthy Nicole April 15, 2012, 8:57 am

    Oh no, I almost missed this post! I have a tea cabinet too, although mine is half the size of yours. But I agree, it’s so nice to have everything in one spot. Anyways, I have a local tea company that I really love to buy my loose leaf from but I do have some different bags too. I really love Choice Organic Wild Forest Black tea right now. You do have me curious to try the China Breakfast tea though! And I could definitely use a timer, I sometimes forget about my tea altogether, ugh! I would say I’m a tea fan because I can drink tea all day, I really only want one cup of coffee a day and I don’t actually enjoy it as much!

  • allpointswhole April 15, 2012, 9:27 am

    What a cool tea timer..I am a total coffee addict but love tea when I drink it..especially love smelling the exotic flavors at Tevana. Vanilla roobios is my fave

  • Jeanelle @ Glocal Girl April 15, 2012, 10:21 am

    Since I’ve moved abroad and moved in with my European boyfriend I have slowly converted to a more tea drinking routine. Plus, I work with a lot of Brits who are tea-snobs, they’ve taught me the best ways to prep, milk and sweeten tea 🙂

    It’s so difficult for me to buy tea at a Starbucks anymore…

  • Christina April 15, 2012, 10:29 am

    I’ve heard that you warm the pot with hot water so that the tea says hot longer. I don’t believe it has anything to do with taste.

    • CaitlinHTP April 15, 2012, 9:23 pm

      Oh interesting! That makes sense.

  • Lynne April 15, 2012, 1:25 pm

    This made me smile. As an English woman, I can’t imagine not owning an electric kettle. My tea is always made using a tea bag in a mug! I think the last time I used loose-leaf tea and warmed the pot was about 30 years ago, for a Brownie Guide badge! Ah, the memories! 🙂

  • Amber K April 15, 2012, 1:51 pm

    I am in the minority because I HATE coffee and tea. There’s just nothing that can be done to either to make them palatable.

  • dynamics April 15, 2012, 2:18 pm

    Everyone is talking about timers. I love this one…http://www.teavana.com/tea-products/tea-accessories/tea-tools/p/teavana-perfect-preset-tea-timer and only 9 bucks.

  • nancy April 15, 2012, 2:38 pm

    I’ve never been a coffee drinker but I have been a tea lover since I was a little girl. My mom drank tea so that was something I got from her. At this point in my life (middle age) I pretty much drink only green tea. Never, ever a flavored tea, though when people know you are a tea lover you tend to get lots of flavored teas as gifts. I have several varieties in my pantry right now but they are all straight up green. I can’t imagine starting my day without tea and I pretty much drink it all day (along with plenty of water). It’s nice to know there are health benefits to green tea but that’s not why I love it so much. I enjoy the process of making it and love love drinking it. As I write this I am sitting in my kitchen looking at my china cabinet full of mine and my mom’s English bone china tea cup collection. Those cups remind me of my mom more than anything else. 🙂

  • Claire April 15, 2012, 4:49 pm

    Hi, this is a fab post.

    As an English reader, it does make me smile to recomend a kettle! I don’t think people use anything else here, unless their electricity is off and they need to boil water on the cooker in an emergency! 🙂

    Your husband should introduce you to Tetley or Yorkshire tea bags. Much, much easier than using loose tea, and pretty much the norm here. Tea is the best. I love coffee but nothing beats a lovely cup of Yorkshire tea 🙂 X

    • CaitlinHTP April 15, 2012, 9:22 pm

      Americans are not very familiar with the electric kettle but it is SUCH an awesome invention.

  • Megan April 15, 2012, 5:23 pm

    I really love tea, but it always makes my face break out. I’ve tried several different brands and sure enough the next day my face is covered with a lot of pimples. It’s so frustrating…

    • CaitlinHTP April 15, 2012, 9:22 pm

      Oh no! I wonder what you’re allergic to it in the tea.

  • CheezyK April 15, 2012, 8:42 pm

    Both, definitely both! Why be either/or when you can enjoy the best of both worlds 😀

  • Kristin April 15, 2012, 9:47 pm

    Your Tower of London teapot is so awesome! And what a collection 😀 I’m a fan of tea myself, though I can’t say no to a good cup of coffee

  • Lindsay April 16, 2012, 12:33 am

    Hi Caitlin! I love your blog. I have a question about the tea you drink… I’m 20 weeks pregnant and have avoiding tea this whole time because I’m not sure what kind is safe for pregnancy. I keep forgetting to ask my midwife. Which kinds are you drinking during your pregnancy?
    Thanks in advance!

    • Caitlin April 16, 2012, 8:43 am

      I’m drinking everything but chamomile because my midwife told me to avoid it! 🙂 happy pregnancy!

  • Joy April 16, 2012, 8:38 am

    Until my stomach problems I didn’t drink tea – them my sister bought me teavana gingerbread cookie to the hospital holy yum (they discontinued it and I’ll never forgive them)
    Now I NEED tea – its how I wake up in the morning and how I go to bed at night (the at night came from a stint in residential treatment where they gave us honey vanilla chamomile every night – still my most common night tea)
    Currently my favorites are tazo zen or refresh (green) with soy and (Splenda) but I’m growing chocolate mint and orange mint to steep for my own tea!

  • Sarah @ See Sarah Eat April 23, 2012, 10:04 am

    I could never pick between coffee and tea, I love them both! Plus the variety of both available keeps me from getting bored 🙂 I also love Teavana, we just recently got one here in Louisville and it made me so happy!

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