Choosing The Best Tea Mug
Of course, the best tea mugs are free, but if money were no object, then what kind of tea mug would be the best tea mug for you? Even if money IS an object, how can you choose the best mug for you? Or, perhaps, does the mug choose you? Tea is a pretty magical beverage, remember able to refresh and heal and stimulate memories.
So, what makes up a good tea mug? It keeps your tea hot, is comfortable to hold and appeals to your individual sense of style. If you love your tea, drinking out of a favorite mug can enhance the pleasure or the brew. You don't just taste food and drink with your mouth, the sight of it should also satisfy a craving.
How hot do you prefer your tea? How much do you like to drink at one sitting? What kind of tea is your preference? All of these questions need to be looked into to help you click with a tea mug.
For example, if you like to just sip your tea and savor it, then the traditional English teacup will suit you to a T. But if you need a good tea break without having to stop and make another cup or pour out another cup, then a coffee mug may be more your style. That keeps in the heat longer. And keep in mind - the smaller the lip, the longer it will hold in heat. If you like your tea hot for at least ten minutes after brewing, aim for a mug that's fat in the middle (or bottom) and narrow at the top.
But how about if you like herbal teas? Technically, they are called tisanes since they don't contain any of the tea plant Camellia sinensis , but since they are marketed and sold as "teas", they might as well be called teas. Herbal teas retain their heat longer than black teas IF you add milk or cream to them. Since herbal teas stay so hot for so long, since no cream or milk is added (at least, I hope not), then you should look for a wider lip on your tea cup or mug to get the tea to cool off a bit. You could also add a little cold water to the herbal tea, but I think this greatly effects the taste.
And if you prefer Oriental teas taken in the Oriental way of a small handle less cup, then by all means pick a small cup. This way there will be enough tea to quench your thirst, but not enough to singe your fingers into a crisp.
It is possible to buy mug warmers and tea mugs/coffee mugs that automatically keep the beverage warm. They include either a battery or a wall socket of some sort. Although an interesting idea, there are those of us that want our tea to be as free from electrical dependence as possible. In other words, if the Revolution comes and cuts the power, you can still make a great cuppa from a good old campfire.
A Touch Of Comfort
A great tea mug will feel comfortable in your hands, feel neither too light nor too heavy and will not burn your fingers when you grasp the handle. The lip of the mug should pleasantly kiss your lips each time you drink your tea. Your lips might like the feel of porcelain, ceramic, melamine or thick glass over any other material. I've never been able to enjoy drinking tea out of a tin cup or a thermos with a metal cup. They bite my lips rather than kiss it.
This is where your personal sense of taste and feel will come in. You might never have thought to try drinking tea out of anything other than a Styrofoam cup. Try different kinds of mugs and cups made of different materials. They can often just subtly change the flavor of the tea.
The look of your perfect tea mug will depend entirely on you. You might like a solid colored mug, one with a pattern, or one with blinding neon stripes to wake you up in the morning. You might want to have your mug with a wacky logo or your favorite cartoon character. And if you don't have a favorite tea mug yet, that's all right. This is one Holy Grail quest that never has to end.