T2’s Under The Sea Jade Tea For One

Under The Sea Jade Tea For One by T2
Porcelain & Stainless Steel
$59.00 USD

First Impressions

I first stumbled across T2 online, and then in-person when I was on a trip to New York City last October. Unfortunately, I had found the T2 store on my last day and my luggage was already woefully over stuffed so I couldn’t justify buying anything else. Fast forward a few months and I wound up buying some things off of T2’s website! I picked out the Under The Sea Jade Tea For One set because I love cup & saucer sets, and I’m a sucker for a cute teapot. The Under The Sea Jade Tea For One set came to me with each piece individually wrapped in a lot bubble wrap, in a black box and that was in a shipping carton. There was a lot of packaging material to the point that I felt kind of bad about my order because of all the waste involved. However, with all the packaging material, each piece to this tea for one set arrived intact and perfect. Under The Sea Jade consists of five pieces: tea pot, lid, infuser, cup, and saucer.

I love the design on this tea for one set. I spent a good portion of my undergraduate degree studying invertebrates and the oceans, so I was quite smitten with the artwork when I first saw it on the T2 website. Under The Sea Jade consists of illustrations of jellyfish, coral, anemone, and fish. There is gold detailing throughout the design and it really just pulls it all in together. The teapot has a 300ml capacity while the cup has a 200ml capacity.

Preparation

I hand washed of all the components of the Under The Sea Jade Tea For One set prior to use – using warm water and dish soap. T2 recommends doing a gentle hand wash and the product page states that it is not suitable for the dishwasher or the microwave.

First Use

The first time I used this set, I was steeping Lemon Lily’s Rose Petal Chai. The stainless steel infuser isn’t very large, but neither is the teapot so I didn’t mind that too much. Both the teapot and the teacup get pretty warm when it’s in use, so watch your fingers/hands. The mesh of the stainless steel infuser did a fairly good job of keeping all of the tea leaves together, which I appreciated. The pour from the teapot to the cup was good, there was no dripping. I found that the handle of the teapot is almost too small for my hand to lift comfortably, depending on how I hold it – I usually wear a size small in adult gloves, so if you’ve got larger hands, you might find the teapot to be uncomfortable to use.

The teapot is roomy and is wide so it makes for a nice shape to use both of your hands to cup if you’re looking to warm your hands. I love the saucer – for both the size and the design, it’s just cheery to see the gold fish. I found when I poured the tea from pot to cup, the remaining tea is out of the way of the infuser, so there wasn’t any risk of my tea over steeping. One potential downside, there’s no little tab on the infuser to make it easier on you to remove the infuser if you wanted to after the tea has steeped without potentially burning your fingers on the stainless steel infuser.

Despite the teacup having the capacity for 200ml versus the 300ml of the teapot, I didn’t find myself filling up the cup to the brim, so I found that the teapot holds about two teacups worth of tea, which is nice as its a personal-sized teapot. I found that the teapot sits well into the cup when it’s stacked for display in my cupboards.

Overall Impression

I loved T2’s Under The Sea Jade Tea For One. I love the illustrated design, I think it’s really pretty and love the gold accents. I had no concerns regarding the usage of the teaset, aside from the handle. My hands aren’t the largest, so if I’m feeling like the handle might be a little small, I’m thinking others might have an issue with it as well. That said, it performs its function well, has a beautiful marine-themed design, and was packaged well for shipment. I wish there was something somewhere to say that the bubble wrap was biodegradable though, because there was a lot of plastic bubble wrap involved in getting this teaset safely from T2 to me.

Curious about the cup rating system? Click here to learn more.

Thinktea’s Matcha Set

Matcha Set by Thinktea
Ceramic, Bamboo, and Oak
$29.99

First Impressions

Last year, I was wanting to branch out and start preparing and reviewing matcha at home, which is the primary reason why I purchased this set from Thinktea (a brand available via Stokes Stores). This four piece matcha set consists of a matcha bowl (ceramic), whisk (100 bamboo prongs), a long handled bamboo scoop, and a Japanese oak spoon (where 1 spoon = ½ teaspoon). The one piece that I would say it probably missing is something to sift the powder to break up any clumps prior to whisking.

All the pieces seem pretty solid, the bowl has a lovely floral design on the inside and outside of the bowl. I’m not that familiar with what the difference is between the scoop and the spoon, so I’m not sure why both would needed.

Preparation

I gave everything a quick rinse under hot tap water prior to usage, you just never know how long everything’s been sitting in storage for or how many people handled it.

First Use

I am not a matcha expert, nor do I play one on television. The first time I used this matcha set, I used the scoop to transfer the matcha to the bowl and I wound up spilling some on my counter. I found the oak spoon a lot easier to use (and less spillage!), so my novice self thinks that the reason why both are included is that one is for novice matcha makers and one is for more experienced tea ceremony masters.

I whisked the matcha in an M (or W) motion until it seems well mixed and has some bubbles on top. You do have to whisk quite vigorously to get some foam action happening, so it’s both an exercise in making matcha and a small arm workout. I learned about preparing matcha from Kimmy of Whisk Matcha (when I met her at the 2017 Vancouver Tea Festival) so I’m somewhat confident that I’m doing it somewhat properly.

Overall Impression

I loved Thinktea’s Matcha Set. I kind of wish it came with some instructions for the very novice beginner, but I think for $29.99, it makes for a great beginner set. If you’re new to matcha, you don’t necessarily want to be spending a lot of money in your teaware right away because what if you decide that you don’t like matcha or you decide that your preferred way to prepare matcha is in smoothie.

For $29.99, you get a bowl, spoon, and scoop that’ll last you for quite a while (possibly forever if you don’t drop or break anything), and a whisk that’ll be decent for whisking up some ceremonial matcha. You could easily spend that much on a fancy matcha bowl alone (or a lot more). Of the four piece set, the only item that I can see having to be repeatedly replace would be the whisk, since it’s not meant to last forever, which makes this Matcha Set a modest investment in my matcha journey.

Curious about the cup rating system? Click here to learn more.

Tea Ave’s Aroma Cup Set

Aroma Cup Set by Tea Ave
Porcelain and Oak
$34.99

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First Impressions

The Aroma Cup Set comes in beautiful packaging. The box itself is sturdy with a lovely texture feel to the outside with the Tea Ave logo in gold. The box stays close due to magnets in the flap. So nice. The aroma cup (tall cup) and the sipping cup (short cup) are nestled inside of the box in a thick black foam cut out that keeps everything safe inside. When you pull out the cups, you can pull out the foam insert. Underneath is a thick piece of black cardboard with a hole for easy removal. Under that is the smooth oak tray. It’s really quite beautiful. The porcelain feels thick and durable, all with a smooth finish. The oak tray is light but feels durable in my hands.

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Preparation

I washed the porcelain pieces with hot water (from the tap) to warm up the pieces before I used them in my first use with the set. I gave the oak tray a light swipe with a damp towel to get off any nonexistant dust on the surface.

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First Use

For my first use of Tea Ave’s Aroma Cup Set, I used a sample of Oriental Beauty that came in my order. I steeped this in my gaiwan for the recommended steeping time. I have a review of Tea Ave’s Oriental Beauty if you’re curious about the oolong that I used.

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I poured the oolong from the gaiwan into the aroma cup. I let the tea sit for about 30 seconds before I placed the sipping cup over top (it looks like a mushroom). What you want to do is pick up both of them together and (holding them tightly together!) then flip it over so that the mushroom is upside down and the sipping cup sits on the tray.

You could also pour it directly from the aroma cup to to sipping cup if you’re not confident in your cup-flipping skills. Safety first!

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After the flip, I let the cups sit for a little while (maybe about 15-20 seconds) before I gently lifted up the aroma cup at an angle. This allows the tea to fill the sipping cup without being a bubbly mess from the air entering the aroma cup.

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Once the tea is in the sipping cup, I alternated sniffing the aroma cup and taking a sip from the sipping cup. As the tea that remains in the aroma cup dries, the smell changes.  For the Oriental Beauty, the smell in the aroma cup got sweeter and more floral as it dried. This adds an extra level of experience to a tea session. Aroma cups are generally used for teas that have complex flavour and aroma profiles, like oolongs.

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For an intense steeping session, you can continue to refill the aroma cup (and then transfer to the sipping cup) for as long as you’re steeping your tea. And for some oolongs, that can go for quite a while, especially the ones that hold up for multiple resteeps.

Overall Impression

Tea Ave’s Aroma Cup Set is darling, useful, and fun. I think it would make a great gift for someone (or to yourself) because it comes in gift-ready packaging. Using the aroma cup helps add an extra layer of experience to tea as you drink it, which I think is so important to exploring the nuances in teas – especially oolongs. I’ve used this set multiple times now and always with oolongs because I find those resteep the best, and if I’m going to pull out extra tea ware, I better be able to resteep my tea. The presentation of the Aroma Cup Set made me feel like I was unboxing something luxurious, and the pieces feel like they’re durable and high quality.