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Good Stuff


My favorite coffee, Lavazza Qualita Rossa, brought back from Italy by a co-worker.  Lavazza does not sell whole bean Qualita Rossa in the US.  They do sell Qualita Oro in whole bean, but I prefer the Qualita Rossa.

A close up of green tea.  A special friend brought back packages of loose green tea and jasmine tea (my favorite) from China.  Part of the tea is very fine, and doesn’t work well in a typical American tea ball.

The solution?  A good tea pot.  Here is mine; it’s a 900 ml Chinese model from 99 Ranch (it was on sale for $5).  It’s not a surprise that it works very well with Chinese tea. The fine mesh keeps the tea in, and I like that the mesh goes all the way to the bottom – I typically only make 12-16 oz of tea at a time; 12 oz of water is just over the bottom of the strainer.  The quality is acceptable – workmanlike, but nothing extraordinary. The handle is a little wobbly, and you can see weldmarks on the strainer. I think it will last at least a few years, but not a few decades.
Assam tea pots
Bodum makes designer tea pots. Most of the Bodum tea pots are actually tea presses designed to work with tea bags (supposedly the Bodum design eliminates any bitterness); I don’t think it would work as well with my Chinese tea.  The holes look a little large, allowing tea leaves to get into the tea drink, and the holes don’t go all the way down.

I don’t care for most of Bodum’s designs, and they can be very pricey (the Bora Bora is nice, but $150 for a tea pot?).  But I do really like the Assam Line I (shown above; photos re-arranged from the Bodum web site).  It’s a nice size for me (16 oz), the quality is definitely better than my Chinese pot, and the price (about $25), while pricey compared to my tea pot, is much less than the others I like (the $50 Classic or the Bora Bora).  From the boxes I’ve been able to examine, it appears the Assam Line I is made in Germany, and the Assam Line III (about $35) is made in China.  If I’m going to buy an expensive, fancy European brand tea pot, I want it to be made in Europe, not China.  I haven’t seen any reasonable prices for the Assam on eBay, so while I might get one (new or used) eventually, it’s not going to be anytime soon.
Bodum chocolate mixer
I do like Bodum’s Chocolatiere.  It’s a simple, reliable, non-electrical design that’s classic. It’s occasionally seen on eBay, at both reasonable (<$15 with shipping) and unreasonable prices.

Tony

Notes 8/24/2011: sometime I’ll write more on tea and teapots, but I’ll just add a few quick notes for now.  I’ve had a Bodum Classic teapot for a couple years now.  It really is very nice, with great style, quality construction, wonderful pouring, and a fine mesh that works great with loose teas — but it wasn’t cheap (~$40).  A friend uses a substantially cheaper (~$20) — and more compact — Bodum coffee press with loose teas, and is very happy with it.

2 comments

1 Jonathan Yeandle { 09.18.09 at 12:51 am }

Hello Again Tony!

I do like your site; we sometimes find Lavazza beans (black bag not red) in the UK supermarket chains but otherwise ‘explore’ a variety of makes (?) and flavours of bean.

Been (!) into coffee now since our eldest daughter studied Italian and spent a year in Urbino and hence got us hooked. I need to put up a shelf just for the coffee pots – the best I think are the Italian aluminium type. We use a Kenwood Chef grinder attachment (Ebay) to convert the beans.

I’m also with you on the glass teapots, expensive here in the UK for a pukka one (20 quid or so) but sometimes a low cost copy pops up but needs the innerds drilling for more holes. The very best Jasmine tea I’ve tasted was a leaving gift after a short spell of work in Santa monica some years ago. I got hooked on Jasmine tea but I’ve not found a really good taste supply back here.

Small pleasures 🙂

Kind regards,
Jonathan

2 Tony { 09.18.09 at 7:46 am }

Thanks for your feedback.

I have a post with more info on glass teapots in the works; the only good local sources around here are Asian stores (e.g. large Korean supermarkets); you might see if there are any close to where you live.

I’ve been too busy recently to blog, but expect to see new material within a week. And sometime I will get back to my blog’s official topic, automation software; right now it looks like it’s turning into a system integrator blog.

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