Having recently returned to the corporate world after a wonderful two-year sabbatical, my biggest dilemma has been how to brew tea at work.  Simple, you say: heat some water, get one of those neat little cups with its own filter, put your tea in, and go.  OK, that’s true – but there are so many little details that need to be worked out.

And, of course, now that I’m back in the corporate world, I need to come up with TLAs (Three-Letter Acronyms) for every step.  First, the heating of the water – there’s no stove.  I’m a traditionalist; I like to heat my water in a kettle, and then check the temperature manually with an instant-read thermometer (IRT), so I don’t scald my green or white or oolong tea.  Maybe I could set up a TBS (Tea-Brewing Station) in the break room.  If I had one of those great variable-temperature electric kettles (VTK), it would be really easy.  I could put it in the break room, like people put their coffee makers, and that would be that.

However, due to the current economic conditions, I’m trying to economize, and don’t want to spend the money on that at the moment.  What other options do I have?  Oh yes, the microwave.  Not the optimal choice for heating water, I know.  It takes a long time to get the water to boiling, and somehow it seems to lose temperature quickly afterward.  But that’s what I’ve got for the moment.  So I get myself a large, microwave-safe mug as a tea-brewing vessel (TBV), and off I go.  An IRT isn’t expensive, so that’s no problem.

So I’ve got the water-heating method (WHM) down – now I just need to get the tea leaves into the water.  Back we go to the fabulous filter cup (FFC) – but again, there’s the economy.   I don’t want to spend the cash right now.  Make-your-own teabags?  Well, they would work – but I know myself, and I know I’d get annoyed because they would be messy.  So that’s out.

Perusing the tea aisle at my local kitchenware store, I notice something I should have thought of from the start: a filter basket to put in my tea cup.  “Aha!,” I thought.  Here’s the perfect TBM (tea-brewing method)!  But wait: how will I pour the water over the leaves once I’ve heated it?  Another tea cup?  That might work – could be a little messy, but I can pour it over the trashcan.  And if I use my insulated travel mug, that will help with the rapid cooling of the water from the microwave.

So, after much consideration, and a bit of trial and error, I have it.  Until I’m ready to purchase a VTK and a new TBV strictly for work, I’ll have to make the microwave work as my WHM, utilizing my IRT as needed.  I may not have an FFC or the perfect WHM, but my TBM is sufficient to make my cube into a fairly pleasant TEA – Tea Enjoyment Area!