La boîte à thé

Nous parlons du thé, de recettes, de lectures, de voyages et d'entreprenariat

How-to: the tea infuser, the accessory for all modes

Tea infusers have a little broken history. Dynasty after dynasty, China did not think about it. Necessity being the mother of invention, it appears that the Chinese did not need it: they just poured their hot water over the tea leaves, leaving the leaves swell and infuse water from the teapot. Instead of infusing, the Chinese invented accessories to remove the leaves.
It was in Britain that the infusers emerged and their popularity exploded in the late 19th - early 20th century. However, when a merchant named Sullivan sold tea in silk bags, disposable tea bags were invented and gained popularity in the market.

Disposable bag or infuser?

Teas sold in bags have mixtures and pre-decided amounts, and most of the time, these individual disposable bags comprise venting tea rather that the leaves themselves. It is possible to buy individual disposable infuser paper ... but with the return of loose tea, Chinese or here, infusers are increasingly fashionable. They control the desired quantities and produce a well-brewed tea - without having to sift, sort, or provide issues fishing the floating particles following the infusion. Practical and useful!

Freedom of Choice

Another reason behind the new "boom" of tea infusers: the impressive array of shapes and different looks. Although tea infusers may be very common (metal mesh balls, for example), you will find fun and original variations. Infusers surmounted by shark fins or by a plastic duck with infusers having the effigy of animals or humans taking a dip in your cup, these infusers are not only useful: they are pleasing, perfect to offer as a gift. Who would not melt immediately in front of their unusual charm?

When talking about tea Accessory, talking about a teacup is obvious, unmistakable, it even creates expressions around the subject ("It's not my cup of tea") whose origin is then forgotten.
Yet, there are several characteristics to that cup of tea! Its forms and materials have evolved since the first models were fashioned in clay, a marvel of Oriental pottery dating back centuries before the year 0.

Talk with cup of tea

Cup of tea

When talking about tea Accessory, talking about a teacup is obvious, unmistakable, it even creates expressions around the subject ("It's not my cup of tea") whose origin is then forgotten.
Yet, there are several characteristics to that cup of tea! Its forms and materials have evolved since the first models were fashioned in clay, a marvel of Oriental pottery dating back centuries before the year 0.

The Japanese and Chinese tea cup

Chatting around a cup of tea
It is often said that the cup of tea we know was developed from that of the East. Now the teacup as conceived in Asian territory is very different from what we know. First, it is very small, tiny in front of our modern coffee mug and thermos. At most, China tea cup contains 30 ml of liquid. This means pouring often - but also that the tea cools faster.

Another feature of the Oriental cup of tea is that it does not possess a handle. No handle to gracefully lift the cup between two pinched fingers. Apparently, this absence would have a practical function: that of checking, without burning the tip of the tongue, if the tea is cool enough for drinking. If you cannot hold the cup without burning yourself, it is obvious that it is better not to soak our lips in it! Patience, patience.

In the European Far West (and soon the rest of the world):

If the Oriental antiques teacups (or rather, tea bowls!) were fashioned from ceramic or porcelain, the historical records are uncertain about the biggest influences on the famous English tea. Inspired by Asia, Europeans first drank from these tea bowls without handles, the handles came later. Others say that the French already drank their tea in cups of wood. When tea became popular among the British, it was the rich who were privileged, and so appeared the pretty china cups with delicate flower motifs.
Today, these traditional cups are always used, each attracting different tea lovers. Daily, tea drinkers do not hesitate to infuse tea in the first cup that falls into their hands. But for ritual or collection, a typical cup always produces a striking effect.

The eternal pursuit of progress: the modern tea accessories


The history of tea is a long story of love, through centuries, dynasties and continents. Just as there are books dedicated to the history of tea, you will find tea services and teapots in museums. This shows how tea is part of the tradition! If traditional accessories vary slightly from country to country, the fact remains that when we think of "traditional accessory", we rather imagine the pretty teapot ancestry rather than the electric tea heaters and D.E.L. lights!

Tea Boxes:

One must keep his tea somewhere! If today, individual packages are very common, it must be remembered that this is a fairly recent phenomenon. In yesteryear, one kept his tea leaves in a tin containers, lacquered wood, porcelain, ceramic - or even aluminum.


The Gaiwan is a typical tea accessory from China. In fact, there is a covered cup to better infuse the delicate teas (like white or green tea) than a teapot. The Gaiwan can be used for any type of tea, though. As the infusion container is less bulky, water also cools faster.


This accessory is a Japanese classic. It can have a very simplistic look, a little like a gravy boat, but can also take an elegant or cute appearances in different materials and colors. Its role: to help cool the water after boiling, to arrive at the proper infusing temperature!


Halfway between the kitchen whisk and the garden rake, the Chasen is traditionally made of bamboo and used to whisk the matcha. In Japan, matcha has a range of traditional accessories: spoon matcha (chashaku), the appointed box (Natsume), and of course the chasen and the Tate Chasen, where one rests chasen.

A fully equipped tea: collectibles and to use

The world of tea is a rich universe. There are the most traditional teas (green tea, white tea, black tea, oolong or jasmine tea, for example) and today's more elaborate tea blends (their names are often peculiar and they combine unctuous flavors, like chocolate and caramel, or fruity, such as orange, lemon or pineapple, to types of green teas or chai). There are also tea accessories.

Basic material, in all its forms

There are tea accessories that you already know, must-haves, if you will. Even a child who has never seen tea in his house will know what a teapot is (only thanks to Alice in Wonderland!) And, of course, a cup. The cups can be printed mugs to your taste, just as they can be tiny or delicate, like the more traditional tea cups. Also, if you buy loose tea instead of tea in a tea bag, you will need an infuser to avoid tea leaves or other components with every sip!

Yesterday and tomorrow

We are more and more used to having tea ready in a few minutes (thanks to powerful electric kettles) which stays hot for a long time (thanks to insulating thermos). With a new way of life comes new equipment, after all! And modern tea accessories are often as practical as they are aesthetic. Light but durable material; sometimes eccentric and delirious forms ... but above all, more control and flexibility in the ways of using and drinking tea.
Traditional accessories, for their part, are often made of heavy materials (tin kettle, for example) or very fragile (glass or porcelain), but they have the irresistible charm of a tea service "à l'au old ", where each object has its function. Using traditional tea accessories also calls for slowness and meditation: drinking your tea thus becomes a privileged experience.

La voie du thé au quotidien : un art de vie


On peut l’acheter au pif et en vitesse au supermarché, le préparer au four à micro-ondes sans trop y mettre de cœur ou de pensée, vrai, mais le thé est beaucoup plus qu’un sachet d’herbes à infuser! En effet, saviez-vous que le thé est la deuxième boisson la plus consommée à travers le monde, arrivant avec une bonne médaille d’argent après l’eau? Angleterre, Égypte, Chine, Japon – le nombre de pays où le thé possède une importance majeure n’est pas bas, et les rituels qui y sont associés incorporent réellement cette boisson à la fabrique même de la vie quotidienne.

Des rituels de vie et de thé

Vous doutez? Pensez un peu à l’heure du « tea time » anglais – comment cette pause est essentielle, symbolique, conservée avec passion par ceux qui la pratiquent. Voyagez dans les pays du Maghreb : les marchands auront tôt fait de vous offrir une tasse de thé brûlant afin de retenir un peu votre attention, et de vous montrer leur hospitalité légendaire. Ou encore à Hong Kong, où vous serez surpris de voir les restaurants poser une théière en début de repas afin que vous y « rinciez » vos couverts. Les rituels ont si bien intégrés le quotidien que l’habitude est devenue culture, et que le thé lui-même est devenu un art de vivre.

Le zen japonais

Toujours pas convaincu? Peut-être faut-il loucher un coup vers le Japon, qui a fait de sa cérémonie du thé un tenant majeur de la culture. Au même titre que les haïkus, que l’origami et que l’art décoratif et architectural nippon, la cérémonie du thé dénote ce même sens d’élégance et de minimalisme. C’est qu’à la base, la « voie du thé » était pratiquée par des samurais recherchant leur « zen » intérieur au milieu d’un pays chaotique. Cette quête de paix et de sérénité est toujours valable dans un monde moderne effréné.

C’est pourquoi adopter le thé comme une manière de vivre (chado, la voie du thé) permet de se recentrer et de se reconnecter à une culture – et à une plénitude intérieure. Rien de moins!

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