As far as I know, my wife’s teapots are traditional: the proper size for proper tea. But the opening is so small that no one over the age of three could reach their hand in to wipe out the leaves. So I added some water, swished it around, and still all the leaves wouldn’t come out. Besides being small, the opening has an inner lip that is clearly designed to keep you from easy cleanup. And since I didn’t want that stuff getting stuck in the elbow of my drainpipe, I had to dirty a sieve to catch the leaves that did wash out. I then used chopsticks to pick out the rest. (I also use chopsticks to eat Cheetos, but that’s for a later tale.) But a leaf of mint remained stuck to the inside like a frog in a toilet. (I had left leaves in overnight.) I found a long-handled scrub brush in the back under the sink and finally, finally it came off! It was like trying to remove enamel paint from wood.
Well, screw loose leaves in a teapot! I then used a tea ball, which my wife has two. But a ball is only good for one cup, or mug. A teaspoon of leaves fills one half, and then the leaves swell to fill the other half. And their construction is annoying: the little chain is always wrapped around the locking bar when you take it out of the drawer; and both times I’ve used it, I had to use my small needle nose plyers to reattach the tiny hinge that holds the halves together.
Well, screw tea balls! I bought a tea infuser. It has wings that set across the top of a mug and can hold at least two teaspoons of leaves. I put in a heaping of tea, a crumbling of crushed cinnamon stick, a dash of dried garden mint, and a chip of my wife’s dried apple slices. It was good. But then I had to clean the infuser, and naturally not all the leaves would shake out, so it was rinse and shake and wipe, over and over, mainly rinse and shake.
Finally, in desperation for a simplification of hot tea, I used my (and it is mine, not my wife’s) one-quart measuring cup. I added the tea, poured in hot water, put a dessert plate on top to keep the heat, and the leaves stayed on the bottom, so they were easy to wipe out. That is my teapot from on, when I choose to use loose.
However, I pursue an ideology that I call selective impatience. I can wait for grilled chicken at my son-in-law’s house, and my wife’s dumplings at home, and many other things, but I want my tea now, just like I want my coffee now, with as little fuss as possible. I would never be able to sit through a Japanese tea ceremony. So I wrote “Tea Bags Only” on the grocery list, meaning no more loose tea. (Ducky can keep his pot and cozy and dried whole leaves!) Three days later I got a box of Scottish Breakfast bags. It takes two for a mug at 3.5 minutes, but it’s not the same taste. I don’t know why. I no longer talk to my wife about tea.
Ultimately, I am an aficionado of all things instant. A mug, a spoon, and a jar of dehydrated is all I need. Easy to make, easy to clean. Oh, I’ll use up the rest of the (probably a quarter-pound) of various loose leaves my wife bought. I might even start putting a pinch of dried tea between cheek and gums to drink it directly with my saliva.
Well, screw that. I’m gonna look up powdered, un-sugared tea, and sneakily throw the bags and leaves away.