Friday 5: Afternoon Tea with Dragonflies

I am an absolute tea addict.  I usually drink somewhere between 5 and 15 cups of tea a day (hot and iced) and I simply can’t get enough.  It’s gotten so that I can read a tea catalog (yes, I receive and read tea catalogs) and know exactly how a Darjeeling tea with an “exquisite floral aroma and pungent nutty taste” with “abundant golden tips” is going to taste.   My tea collection fills an entire cabinet in my kitchen.  I offer tea to nearly everyone who visits, but I think most of them are intimidated by the giant cabinet o’ tea and the 6 page single spaced list of teas I currently have stashed in there.  Most people take one from the front and never delve into the wonders I’ve got hidden further back.  But that’s okay.  I don’t particularly want people drinking my tea that was picked by monkeys in China because I want it all for myself.  It’s delicious and the idea that it was fondled by grubby little monkey paws only adds to its charm for me.

My tea addiction collided with my love of dragonflies long ago and I have quite a few tea tools, cups, and pots with dragonflies on them.  For this week’s Friday 5, I wanted to highlight some of my collection.  Combining these things with buttery cookies (cut with my dragonfly cookie cutter of course) or a small cake (made in the insect mini cake pan I couldn’t live without because it had a dragonfly in it) makes for the perfect afternoon tea!


A while back it occurred to me that, as a tea lover, I should collect teapots.  Terrible idea!  Two months later I already had something like 15 and ran out of space.  Since then, I’ve limited myself to dragonfly teapots and the teapot collection growth has slowed significantly.  These are my favorite dragonfly teapots:


Some of my dragonfly teapots

I like the Japanese tetsubin pots a lot better than the ceramic one though.  In case you don’t know, tetsubin tea pots are made from cast iron, so they’re super heavy and they tend to be rather small.  But look at those dragonflies!  Aren’t they amazing?  This is what happens when a tea drinking culture with a deep and profound appreciation for dragonflies makes a teapot.  I adore my tetsubin pots.  I’d get more, but they tend to be really expensive, usually $60+ for a 12 ounce teapot.  It’s just as well because I don’t have space anyway…


I already posted a photo of my favorite ceramic coffee mugs and it’s common for me to carry one of my dragonfly mugs from room to room with me all day.  My latest acquisition is these fabulous little teacups:

tea cups

Dragonfly teacups

Like my favorite teapots, they are also tetsubin, so heavy little cast iron teacups.  They hold about 5 or 6 ounces of tea.  I fell instantly in love with these after years of searching for dragonfly tetsubin cups to go with my pots, and they even had little saucers with dragonflies on them!  Hooray for the new tea shop in the local mall for carrying so many colors of these cups and saucers!  If I ever win the lottery, I’m buying a whole bunch more of these.


I do not own the testubin trivet you’re supposed to use with your tetsubin teapots, but that’s because I had this one long before I ever bought my first tetsubin teapot:


Dragonfly trivet

This trivet was one of the first housewares I ever bought and I can’t imagine I’m ever going to want to replace it because it is exactly my style.  It’s 3/8 inch thick glazed terra cotta, so it’s heavy and strong and does exactly what a trivet should do.  Why spend $40 on a boring tetsubin trivet when you’ve got this baby?

Tea Ball

Most people who love tea as much as I do tend to be a bit anal about their tea preparation.  They heat only pure, freshly drawn filtered water to the perfect temperature for the tea they will prepare, measure out the exact perfect amount of tea for the size of the cup, and use only loose teas so that the leaves have enough space to spread out for the best infusion.  Me… I’m rarely that patient.  But sometimes it’s nice to do things right.  When I do, I use this:

tea ball

Dragonfly tea ball

Tea balls are nice because they’re a quick and easy way to make a single cup of tea using loose teas.  There are a lot more loose teas in the world than bagged, so most tea connoisseurs have a tea ball or two so that they can take advantage of the endless variety of teas on the market.  I was so thrilled when I finally found one with a dragonfly on it!  I think all of my other tea balls are jealous of how much love this one gets.

Tea Twig

I use this when I’m in the mood to be fancy with my tea preparation, such as when I treat myself to a true afternoon tea:

tea twig

Dragonfly tea twig

This tea twig holds a large tea filter bag in place inside the cup so that the leaves have a lot of room to spread out, but they’re still contained.  The resulting tea is a lot like using a tea ball, but I can’t help but think that using the tea twig is a whole lot more fun.  It’s just so cute!

I’ve gotten away from science this week, but I’m jumping right back in with a series on using insects as indicators of water quality starting Monday.  Until then, have a great weekend!


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