Tea in O.C.: Changing My Tea Mind

My morning tea ritual has seen a real sea change in the past month or so. For the first time maybe ever, I’ve been making tea in a teapot not made in England. It’s still a bit difficult to wrap my Tea Mind around.

This new-to-me teapot is one of those borosilicate glass ones with a press infuser (you can see the photo at right). It’s from Bodum and made in Germany, a country which is no slouch in the tea department. While not as identified with tea in the popular imagination as Britain, supposedly the best in the world goes to German wholesalers and then everybody else competes for what’s left.

I was induced to try this pot, a style coincidentally named Assam, which is the bracing, malty black tea I drink every morning, when I happened across one for something less than $2 at the Orange thrift store I frequent. After years of assiduous loyalty to a succession of stoneware Chatsfords (with the fitted, drop-in infuser), the Universe clearly wanted me to try this much-touted-in-the-world-of-tea pot.

And, maybe unsurprisingly, I love it. With the same capacity as my 6-cup Chatsford, it is less than half the weight, the press infuser is FAB, and—the unforeseen lagniappe that might put it over the top—all parts are dishwasher-safe. While the Chatsford-loyal me would never in a million years put teaware through the dishwasher, the thrift-shop Bodum me blithely bungs it in the old Bosch, presses the button, and never looks back.

A question for Orange County tea drinkers: Where do you buy yours? I’ve been ordering from Upton Tea in Massachusetts since the 1980s—they always have a fantastic variety of Assams, and a delicious oolong with osmanthus flowers. I’ve made occasional forays into the array of inexpensive Assams at the local Persian market, and the excellent Maeda-En inside Mitsuwa Marketplace in Costa Mesa has kept me in sencha and other greens for years and years. (The greens and oolongs have a dedicated Chatsford pot—but now I daydream about getting them their own little Bodum.)

Am I missing anything wonderful in Orange County, tea-wise?

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