Trials of a Tea Addict: Tea-Related Injuries


Welcome to Saturday, where we post a fabled column known as Trials of a Tea Addict (you can find it in our list of categories)These are a little bit less serious than our usual posts, and we hope to enlighten everyone on the humorous (or in this case dangerous) side of tea.

Without further ado, let’s begin!

You could be forgiven for thinking that the humble teapot surely couldn’t be the cause of much trouble. However, every year there are approximately 40 teapot-related accidents in Britain that land people consistently in hospital. In addition, there are also many more incidents that lead to people becoming injured (however not to the level of hospitalisation), with that particular statistic increasing to around 4,000 reported injuries worldwide. To anyone who drinks tea, this statistic is not particularly comforting.

A majority of accidents, predictably, come from burns. Teapots are notorious for having boiling steam billowing from their spouts, while are also quite well-known for collecting enough heat to make the pot itself scalding to touch. In one particular incident – in which Starbucks was forced to recall approximately 257 of its ceramic teapots released in 2005 – printed on the bottom of the teapots was “Microwave and Dishwasher Safe”. The teapots most notably were not safe, as the teapot handle, made of bamboo, would overheat when placed in the microwave for any reasonable amount of time.

Teapot cosies do not avoid the injury list either, with large numbers of people reporting burns from these decorative woollen teapot jackets. Another object of scrutiny that can cause tea to act as a burn machine is none other than the biscuit. Yes, a biscuit. A survey has reported that around half of all Britons have injured themselves with biscuits, one of the notable incidents involving people accidentally dipping the biscuit into their tea so far that it scalds their fingers.

Although not as recent – but even more disturbing – are the cheap teapots produced by China in the 1720s and 30s, when export demand for red-painted earthen tea-ware well outstripped supply. In order to keep up with the demand, manufacturers decided to begin using cheaper materials in order to get that beautiful, highly sought-after red colour; materials like lead paint. Lead can begin leaking out of the paint at temperatures above 80°C, which was particularly awful for drinkers of black and oolong tea who owned these teapots. As a result, there were many reported cases of lead poisoning.

At this point one may be reminded of the Romans who, in their infinite wisdom, decided to use a revolutionary lead piping system for their water taps. Unfortunately, their knowledge of the element never advanced sufficiently enough to realise that large portions of the affected population had lead poisoning.

In the end, however, perhaps a teapot isn’t awaiting you at the beginning of a terrifying, death-defying accident. But it is noteworthy that both teapots and tea can pose a significant risk to your health and safety when handled improperly, and should be enjoyed with care.

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Follow Friday: T-Lovers


Welcome to Follow Friday! This works more or less the way Twitter’s fabled Follow Friday works, but in a much more blog-friendly way. Each Friday we’ll promote someone’s blog at our own discretion, and give you a few reasons to follow them, as well as some links to some posts from them that we were really very fond of indeed.

If you would like us to feature someone, just drop us a comment sometime with a mention to who it is, and we’ll definitely think over it!

Who and Why?

This week we’ll be featuring WordPress user tlovers, with their blog T-Lovers. T-Lovers is a photo-rich blog that says a lot more than plain words ever could, in a sort of visual-diary manner. It’s very appealing to any tea lover, especially those newly making their journey into the expansive world of tea.

Link Me!

A video of us making Yixing teapots in China

Teanamu – an unusual tea house in London
Finding time for tea
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There’s Luck, and Then There’s *Luck*


We interrupt our normal tea-related coverage to bring you possibly one of the most surprising stories a teapot has ever yielded.

Ms. Hazel Gordon had the luck and privilege of pulling out a 30-year old obituary for her husband’s grandfather from a teapot she found in a scrapyard.

You can read about the story here:

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Growing your Own Tea, Part 2


Perhaps you’d like to read Part 1, first? Read Growing your Own Tea, Part 1.

Growing the Tea

Make sure your tea plant gets sufficient water, but never too much; this can cause your tea plant to drown, especially if the soil doesn’t have adequate drainage (read: don’t plant in clay-like soil types). While your tea plant should always be wet, at no point should it ever be swimming. A quick sprinkle once or twice a day is more than sufficient.

If it floods and you are desperate to save the tea, attempt uprooting, draining and potting until the effects of the flood are over – otherwise the plant may become drowned and die.

Do not harvest the tea leaves the first time they grow. In order to survive effectively, the tea plant needs to be around three years of age before it is pruned and plucked, otherwise you will compromise it during a vital stage of development.

Pruning should be conducted after about three years of age, particularly if your plant is becoming too big to be manageable in its location. Tea plants tend to grow one to two metres tall, but can reach even higher if you allow them.

That’s all there is to it! As long as you treat your tea plant with love and care, it will reward you generously with all the tea leaves you could ask for. Please remember, however, that these tea leaves should still be processed before you throw them in your water to steep. Ancient Chinese people may have enjoyed unprocessed tea for many years, however it does not bring about the leaves’ full potential.

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Growing your Own Tea, Part 1


Tea is a versatile shrub, even if it is quite sensitive to cold. At first this may seem like a wonderful fit for Australia; we’re an extremely hot country that becomes steadily more tropical the further you move north. However, we’re also extremely arid, and particularly in the South Eastern states such as New South Wales, Victoria, and Tasmania, cold winters await. Neither aridity nor cold is a friend to the tea plant (camellia sinensis), so growing it in southerly areas of Australia may be difficult unless you own a greenhouse or are willing to bring the shrub inside during the winter.

It should be noted that frost can and will ruin tea leaves and destroy part of the plant, so avoid exposing camellia sinensis to it at all costs.

However, while this may at first seem to be an uphill battle, tea is still a wonderfully hardy plant and a good ornamental, if you don’t intend to harvest the leaves and turn them into drinkable tea. In order to turn them into drinkable tea, however, you will need to learn the proper treatment procedures.

Planting the Tea

Seedlings for tea plants can often be found at a local nursery, however if that doesn’t pan out, you might like to see if any online nurseries have it (and are allowed to deliver; a company based in Australia is best if this is the country in which you live, due to strict customs laws about organic matter).

Once you’ve obtained your tea seeds, you can go about planting them. If you live in Queensland you can quite safely plant them in your garden, but further south you may want to think about using a greenhouse (if you own one) or planting the seeds in a pot that you can take inside during cold days and nights. Its okay, even preferable, that the soil you plant the camellia sinensis seeds in is a little on the sandy side; it grows best under these conditions. The soil should also be well-drained (while tea plants need a lot of water, they also need excellent drainage) and have a small amount of acidity. You can raise or lower the pH of your soil through a number of methods, as detailed by this site. Please be careful when doing this, as other plants in your garden may be sensitive to different pHs, and plants adjacent to your tea plant may notice and react poorly to the change in acidity.

If you intend to plant your tea in a pot, it may be wise to use potting mix with some sphagnum moss added in, in order to promote growth.

Growing your Own Tea, Part 2

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