We enjoy the comfort of our tea setups at home. From simple infusers to teapots to gaiwans and yixing pots, it is nice to be able to make tea however we want at home. But what happens when we find ourselves traveling but still want to make tea? There are several ways to still enjoy good tea while traveling.
Perhaps the easiest way to make quality tea while traveling is to buy tea in sachets. Unlike tea bags which contain the dust and fannings, full leaf sachets contain loose leaf tea in a larger bag that still allows the tea to expand and properly infuse. Most hotel rooms nowadays have a coffee maker in the room. Use the coffee maker to heat the water and infuse your sachet in a cup.
If you still want to brew loose leaf tea while traveling, fear not. There are still many ways. There are two ways to be creative in a hotel room. If the room has paper cups, poke holes along the bottom of the cup and along the bottom quarter of the sides of the cup. Put another cup outside of the cup that you just poked holes into, and fill the cup with your tea. Heat up some water in the coffee maker into the paper cups and let your tea steep. Once the tea is steeped, very carefully and slowly lift the top cup up and allow the tea to filter into the outside cup. This method best works with larger leaf teas as smaller leaves can clog up the holes. Another way to utilize the coffee maker and paper cups is to take a lid and strain the tea leaves through the mouth hole. I’ve had success with this method with smaller leaves as large leaves may block the opening of the mouth hole.
Another option is to drink tea “grandpa style”. This refers to the method of brewing tea without filtering the leaves out. Not all teas are suitable for this type of brewing as some teas can become too bitter by overbrewing. Some recommended styles of teas to enjoy this way are dragonwell greens, shu (ripe) puerh, silver needle white teas, and roasted oolongs. This is a great method for hiking! I’ve also used this method during long conferences at work.
If your hotel is nice enough to give you a mini fridge, you can cold brew! Cold brewing tea needs to be done the night before, but can give you a delicious cup of tea that is ready when you wake up. Be careful and make sure that the mini fridge doesn’t have motion sensors. Some hotel mini fridges may charge you even if it detects something has moved, if you do not have a motion sensor in the mini fridge, you’re in the clear! My favorite teas to cold brew are Japanese green teas like gyokuro and sencha. Green oolongs and Yunnan black teas are also delicious when cold brewed.
Of course, if you are traveling, do not miss the chance to find great local tea shops!
Image provided by author
Originally posted in October 2015 by James Rubly