Many of the best-loved tools used in tea will never touch your lips, but they will touch your heart. Tea pets are small, generally ceramic animals, traditionally placed on a tea table during a gongfu cha ceremony, or any intense preparation of tea. They can be simple or complex, beautiful, adorable or all of these things at once. The most common animals represented are frogs, dogs, and water buffalo, but many others exist.
To sum it up, a quote from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory:
Charlie Bucket: Candy doesn’t have to have a point. That’s why it’s candy.
Looking at a tea experience holistically can be dangerous. A flimsy disposable cup with a bag of faded-label Lipton, topped off with a run to catch a bus added together equals a bad time. However, a small cup of something fresh and green out of a modest but pretty tin, poured from an heirloom teapot onto a tea pet while watching a thunderstorm blow outside, composes a lovely memory.