Zen and the art of making tea all day
March 20, 2017 3:17 PM   Subscribe

I have a bodywork practice. While people are in the waiting room, I would like to offer them some delicious herbal tea at the least possible inconvenience to myself, while maximizing their enjoyment. Is there a beautiful tea maker and warmer that is easy for people to pour from and maybe even works on a timer? Do you have recommendations for an extremely delicious herbal tea that I could source online? Have you seen any small ceramic cups that look like "California hipster wellness" that are not overly expensive? What am I forgetting?
posted by andreapandrea to Food & Drink (19 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
While possibly not fitting with the aesthetic, but as someone who has been to many hippy massage joints i always appreciated the ones that had a hot water dispenser (see for example zojirushi)that dispenses water at precise temperatures for tea brewing. That combined with a nice box with tea packets would work well.
posted by Karaage at 3:32 PM on March 20, 2017 [15 favorites]

Behold the Breville One-Touch Tea Maker.
posted by Miss T.Horn at 3:36 PM on March 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

My suggested setup for self serve would be a glass tea kettle, filtered water container (maybe this?), and a nice selection of bagged organic herbal teas (not loose -- while I prefer the former, I think a majority of people consider loose tea to be a fuss and might be intimidated without guidance). I would also aim for mugs, rather than a teapot & little cups, since you are serving individual portions, but Teavana is a nice place to browse for either.

If you do really love the idea of individual teapots for everyone and are open to caffeine, a fun option would be a clear teapot & flowering tea, though that would be pricier than normal bags. Or if you do want to present each person with a little teapot with loose tea, Mountain Rose has great selections.
posted by veery at 3:36 PM on March 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

I think the small, 5-6 oz Corning Centura tea mugs are some of the cutest ever made, and you could pair them with a vintage white Corning thermos for tea or hot water.
posted by jamjam at 3:59 PM on March 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

As someone who drinks a lot (lot lot lot) of loose leaf tea, I'm going to echo Karaage here. Unless it's something your clients are already familiar with, any kind of setup that isn't a hot water dispenser and tea bags is just going to cause a lot of hassle and make a big mess for you to clean up.

I'm also wary of the ceramic cup idea, because the first thing that's going to come into my head is "...when was the last time this thing was washed?" While it might not fit the image you want, something disposable (that was made to be recycled and made from recycled materials) would probably be better.

I'm not an herbal tea drinker, but I've seen stuff by The Republic of Tea at a few places I go to that are on the earthy/new-age spectrum, and Celestial Seasonings has been around forever.
posted by ralan at 3:59 PM on March 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

95 percent of people are going to be very happy happy with tea bags and hot water.

If you bought a kettle with the preset temperatures and teas, I a tea fanatic would love you. But I have never seen it outside of a tea shop and my own home.
posted by AlexiaSky at 4:58 PM on March 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

Go the coziest route possible and keep a teapot under a cosy. I make a pot once in the morning, pop on the cosy, and sip hot cups for the better part of four hours. Add a handsome electric kettle for refills and you're set.

Mint tea blends are the best for spa settings. I can buy several kinds of dried mint leaves from the co-op in my town. You get to mix and match your own proportions, and even select stuff grown in the neighborhood. Depending on your space, you could also grow peppermint pretty simply in containers. You don't need super hot boiling water or a long steep to make mint tea--a few teaspoons of dried leaves or a few stems of fresh in a filter basket, steep for one minute, remove the leaves, pop on the cosy.

If you only need a couple cups at a time, find an artist you like online (maybe from your town?) and grab a couple pieces. Maybe Klai Brown's cups? I'd rather have two nice cups that I wash between visits than more I have to keep clean.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 5:26 PM on March 20, 2017

If you want a specific signature herbal tea on the go all day, Whittards (UK tea specialists) use a glass teapot, kept warm over a tealight warmer, and it seems to work quite well. Pick your own loose leave herbal tea, or stick a teabag in the pot. Small high-quality paper cups are probably the best option - less to wash, less chance of breakage.

If you want to give people a choice of teas, a hot water dispenser and selection of teabags is the way to go.
posted by tinkletown at 6:53 PM on March 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

I drink a lot of tea, but I think you should not get too fussy with what you do. I would invest a bit of money into getting a good water boiler/warmer, and then get less expensive and get some cups like these Dew cups, and some bagged teas (I love loose tea, but I think that is too fussy/messy for your purposes). I'm a fan of this hibiscus mint tea, but Celestial Seasonings also does some perfectly decent stuff, like this Decaf Lemon Jasmine Green Tea, and they have stuff like an Herbal tea sampler.
posted by gudrun at 7:22 PM on March 20, 2017

Small, ceramic cups used for tea st Chinese restaurants can be had cheaply at an Asian restaurant supply store - even online. If you happen to be in the SF Bay Area, memail me and I can give you some suggestions.
posted by asphericalcow at 7:42 PM on March 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

I love my Breville one touch at home but for your purposes the dispenser-style Zojirushi would be better.
posted by O9scar at 8:32 PM on March 20, 2017 [2 favorites]

The tea drinking, bodywork getting folks I know all carry at least one drinking vessel at all times, so I would not worry about going through too many disposables.

If you don't have a real dishwasher in the place I'd veer away from washing cups yourself. Only takes one person getting a lipstick trace or norovirus to make a huge fuss you don't need.

You could sell logo mugs :)
posted by kapers at 9:29 PM on March 20, 2017

If I had a bodywork practice, I would be inclined to serve herbal or decaffeinated teas, and the one that would be at the top of my list is Palais de Th├ęs l'Herboriste, a lovely blend of gentle peppermint, invigorating lemon balm, and stomach calming licorice, which I think would be a flavorful, centering, and soothing tea to sip before a session

Other favorite brands of mine are Rishi (their Valerian Dream is good) and Yogi tea's Egyptian Licorice- both of which should be available at Whole Foods.

I would get a Zojirushi appliance built specifically for heating and maintaining water/beverage temperatures, and go to your local artists market and pick up some handcrafted stoneware drinking cups.
posted by Queen of Spreadable Fats at 9:35 PM on March 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

I'm also a tea drinker and suggest the zojirushi, nice bagged teas, and cheap ceramic cups (I don't mind washing cups, though). My zen temple has the zojirushi and makes big pots of tea when we're all drinking it. A bodywork place I (used to, it doesn't exist anymore) frequent had a hot water dispenser and that set up. They had an assortment of thrift store mugs, and I believe a sign about washing your own, but for a small quantity daily you could just have a tub for dirty mugs and take care of it at the end of the day.

I have a cheaper kettle in my studio and the 1L size is really too small, and also you need to keep refilling/boiling because it won't keep the water hot. So that needs a lot more attention.
posted by jeweled accumulation at 10:22 PM on March 20, 2017

Water: get a Zojirushi water boiler. It's wonderfully convenient for you and your clients, since you don't have to refill or reboil the water each time. If that's pricier than you prefer, then you might try looking for a glass water kettle like this one. You may have to refill it between appointments and your clients will have to wait for the water to heat up, but maybe that's ok.

Tea: I personally really like Harney & Sons teas -- I find them delicious and beautifully presented (you can get them in regular teabags or in silky, tetrahedral sachets, as well as looseleaf if you prefer). I've tried & enjoyed their Mint Verbena, Passion Plum, and Organic Rooibos, but you probably wouldn't go wrong with any of their herbal teas. If you want a more "wellness"-looking brand, you could also check out Yogi Tea, Numi Tea, Rishi Tea, or organic Tazo teas.

Teacups: H&S also sells wares, among which are these lovely teacups that sound like what you're looking for. If you search for "zen teacups" on Amazon you will find many other similar options (like this and this). Cost Plus World Market often has affordable stoneware-look mug/teacup sets that might work for you: Dipped Organic Style Mugs, Indigo Organic Glaze Mugs, Fuji Teacups.
posted by ourobouros at 10:34 PM on March 20, 2017

One more teacup resource: Korin has a wide variety of beautiful Japanese teacups. There are several options on sale that might work for you.
posted by ourobouros at 10:39 PM on March 20, 2017

I dislike them for all the obvious reasons, but. So many people now expect Keurigs...

But, you can buy refillable pods quite cheaply now. I would be charmed to find a Keurig (I have to admit to enjoying the ease of use) with little drawers with pre-filled pods with interesting teas.

They do have the benefit of announcing "this will be quick and simple. You can get a cuppa before your appointment starts."

(I would also want a countertop dishwasher. They're not very expensive, and very cheap used.)

Restaurant supply stores (incl on-line ones) now tend to have some sleek and modern teacups.
posted by kmennie at 2:00 AM on March 21, 2017

(Queen of Spreadable Fats reminds me to recommend that you have more than one variety of tea/tea bag. They recommend several teas with licorice as an ingredient, which, personal tastes being what they are, I find undrinkable. So please have at least 2 options if possible :-)
posted by gudrun at 4:56 AM on March 21, 2017 [3 favorites]

Thank you all! Some very excellent and thoughtful recommendations. I think the easiest possible cute option seems to be the Breville One-Touch with some good tea; I will buy an assortment of options from these suggestions here and see what's the best. Ourobouros' mug selections are gorgeous and one of these will work great!
Thanks once again metafilter; come on by for a cuppa!
posted by andreapandrea at 3:32 PM on March 21, 2017

« Older What flag/insignia is this, seen at a march in...   |   I need 11 reasons why turning 65 is a good thing Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments